Sasaki and Peeps: The Psychics and the Magical Girl Drag the Death Game Crew into the Fight ~Alert! Giant Sea Monster Approaching Japan~

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.

I observed as I was reading this new volume of Sasaki and Peeps that I felt the author had read a lot of the Bakemonogatari Series. Their writing style isn’t anything like NISIOISIN, but this is a story of a guy who saved the world while being surrounded by underage girls, and it also has a tendency sometimes to actively drive its audience away. There’s a scene halfway through the book where Sasaki is trying to rescue the first prince, a rival to Sasaki’s group in the other world, and comes across the aftermath of a sexual assault, which is described in detail. This then turns out to be a trick to get him to lower his guard, and what follows is sort of mind control but also involves homoerotic flourishes and… just describing the scene is difficult. I felt like screaming out, WHY? And yet the rest of the book is quite entertaining. This is, in my mind, very much the same experience I sometimes have with Bakemonogatari, especially when Araragi molests Mayoi for the lulz.

After managing to resolve the cliffhanger stand-off from the previous book, Sasaki, Hoshizaki and Futarishizuka end up spending most of the book dealing with, as the title might give away, a giant sea monster. Sasaki pretty much feels he has to deal with it, as Peeps confirms the monster is actually a dragon from the other world, somehow brought over here. It draws in a worldwide response, which not only brings in Sasaki and company, but the magical girl from previous books, who works with her five-person magical girl team to try to destroy it. Unfortunately, bullets can’t stop it, rockets can’t stop it, we may have to use nuclear force! And then of course there’s also the death battle between angels and demons, which ends up affecting Sasaki very personally when his apartment building is bombed.

As always with this series, I find the neighbor most fascinating, even though it’s been four books and we’re no closer to learning her name. (She in turn does not refer to Sasaki by his name, even after she heard other people use it.) She’s growing more confident and outgoing now that she’s around Abaddon all the time – frankly, he’s a better romantic match for her than Sasaki, though I wouldn’t wish that on him. The aforementioned bomb was meant to kill her, and does kill her mother. Sasaki spends the rest of the book thinking that her somewhat remote attitude is due to processing her grief. In reality, she doesn’t even think of her mother a single time after the bombing. This is not unexpected, given her mother’s abuse of the neighbor girl, but Sasaki’s idea of what she’s like versus her own POV (she’s the only other character who gets POV narration) can be amazing.

As for who Sasaki will end up with in his harem of little girls and girls who look like little girls, if I were a betting man I’d say Futarishizuka, but this volume also makes it clear he has no real romantic or sexual drive at all. That’s not what this series is about. It’s about mashing genres together, making salaryman jokes, and occasionally throwing in truly appalling scenes to weed out the casuals. If that floats your boat, read on.

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