Sasaki and Peeps: While I Was Dominating Modern Psychic Battles with Spells from Another World, a Magical Girl Picked a Fight with Me: ~You Mean I Have to Participate in a Death Game, Too?~

By Buncololi and Kantoku. Released in Japan as “Sasaki to Pi-chan” by Media Factory. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alice Prowse.

Content warning before we start: near the end of this volume there is an attempted rape scene of a middle schooler, and it is 100% played completely seriously. It helps to show off the strengths and weaknesses of this series in general. The author clearly wants to take several distinct genres and slam them all against each other. We’ve got isekai fantasy, esper battles, magical girls (and, because it’s the 2020s, they’re dark killer magical girls), and now we’re adding a battle between angels and demons using humans as proxy. This works pretty well when things are ridiculous, with our stoic salaryman Sasaki, his relatively stoic bird, and the amusing Futarishizuka. But it’s also trying to tell the story of an abused, suicidal middle school girl who is also deeply twisted, and it’s telling it with all the gravity it requires. Which… y’know, better than the alternative, but it GRATES against everything else.

As with the first volume of this series, things are slightly more interesting on the Japan side of the equation. This is not to say that the fantasy world doesn’t have a lot of danger, but it’s fantasy isekai danger, which means you have a lot of domineering nobles and sneering merchants. All Sasaki is trying to do is sell off all the modern things he’s bringing from Japan, but now he’s involved in a proxy war between two counts, two princes, and two companies. That said… he’s an experienced Japanese salaryman. This is what he’s GOOD at. He fares far less well when being tasked with his high school girl co-worker to try to recruit a new psychic who has fire powers. This goes disastrously wrong in ways I 100% was not expecting. That said, the most interesting part of the book was when the little princess from the fantasy world stows away when Sasaki returns to Japan… not the last time these two worlds intersect, I hope.

As for “the neighbor”, whose name, we find, is Kurosu, we get a little peek into her horrible, horrible daily life. She has to steal food from school to not starve to death, and it’s middle school, so she also has to avoid the class hottie helping her lest she be in trouble with the other girls. Her mother is sleeping with a guy who tries to rape her. Oh yes, and then there’s the corpse that drops in front of her as she’s walking home. Kurosu’s story has still not really intersected with the main one yet, but I expect that to change in the next book – the “death game” mentioned in the ludicrous subtitle of the volume is hers, not Sasaki’s. We also get a bit more about the magical girl… and it’s not really great news. She’s already killer her comedy animal mascot, she alleges that Sasaki’s employers killed her entire family and friends, and she now doesn’t know whether to trust him or not. So, y’know, just another day at the office.

If you enjoy A Certain Magical Index you might get a big kick out of this, because the chaos is the point. That said, unlike Index, there’s sometimes a realistic and very dark undertone to this series. I’ll read more, but YMMV.

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