Strike the Blood, Vol. 21

By Gakuto Mikumo and Manyako. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jeremiah Bourque.

For once I have actual things to talk about in this volume of Strike the Blood, which is fairly low on cool action sequences. And by “fairly low” I mean there are still about 50% action scenes in the book. However, Kojou being depowered means that he can’t participate in them – indeed, for once, HE is the damsel in distress, as he makes a Faustian bargain that ends up biting him in the ass… gosh, where have I heard that before? So it’s up to Natsuki to get the band back together, as all of the girls who are in love with Kojou and also superpowered (and yes, this includes the two grade schoolers, though at least an objection to this is raised) band together to offer themselves as blood servants. All this so that he can control the new beast vassals inside him, regain his vampiric nature, and this series can FINALLY wrap up in the next. book.

There’s a bit of poignancy at the start of the book, as Kojou is forcibly reminded (by his childhood friend, no less) that giving up his powers means he is no longer the protagonist and therefore he needs to just go away. Of course, that does not stop him trying to think of ways to save Avrora, and he’s helped in this by the First Primogenitor and his servant, who could use a good laugh… erm, I mean, genuine have a desire to see Kojou succeed. Unfortunately, this goes so badly that Kojou has to literally be put on ice for twelve hours while Yukina and company try to gather twelve blood servants who can help to fight and quell Kojou’s twelve new beast vassals. Unfortunately, some of them are easier to persuade than others.

I’ve talked before about how Strike the Blood’s humor frequently is painfully unfunny,l though it’s gotten better recently. (It’s hard to top the record holder in “bad humor in light novels”, A Certain Magical Index.) As for this volume, well, it has a really solid joke that made me laugh. The way that Asagi gets the Second Primogenitor to cooperate with them is genuinely hilarious and also true to character. I will therefore forgive the “we have to fight while dressed in bunny girl outfits” bullshit, which is as lame as it sounds. And doesn’t work. Honestly, girls, it’s been twenty-one books and you’re still trying to figure out what makes Kojou aroused? Even hardcore yanderes would have given up and and found another love interest by now. We also seem to be confirming, in case you hadn’t guessed, that future Kojou is going to have multiple wives – my guess is twelve, though hopefully they will not include his sister. Or his teacher. Or the tank-driving grade-schooler. (Sadly, pretty sure it will include the succubus grade-schooler.)

Strike the Blood is never going to rise above the level of “solid”, and this volume also had some boring parts where it tried to give backstory and explain the villains, which I expect few readers care about. But it sets up the finale and gives the anime fun stuff to animate. That’s really all you can ask.

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