Agents of the Four Seasons, Vol. 2

By Kana Akatsuki and Suoh. Released in Japan as “Shunka Shūtō Daikōsha” by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Sergio Avila.

This is very much the sort of series where I needed a “She does not get eaten by the sharks at this time” moment. In the book The Princess Bride (which is why it’s sharks, shut up movie fans), The father says this so as to make William Goldman less anxious about exactly how deadly this book is going to get. It’s OK, this says. This may be deadly, but it’s not THAT deadly. I needed a moment like that in this book. I did not get it. This is a book where I spent nearly the entire length of the book wondering if it was going to kill off some of the cast. Now, to be fair, I already said that the point of this arc is that the agents, who have been used and abused for their entire lives, are taking back control and saving things their way. It would undercut it quite a bit if they fail. But they don’t ALL have to succeed. Hence the worry.

The agent of Autumn has been kidnapped, and Hinagiku knows who’s done it. It’s the same organization that captured and tortured her, the terrorist group New Year, which theoretically wants the Agents to be more proactive and save the world a bit more with their cool new powers, but in reality it’s a far more personal sort of reason. Hinagiku knows exactly what the head of New Year is like, and really wants to stop Nadeshiko from sharing the same fate that the old Hinagiku did (I am trying to respect Hinagiku’s belief that the old Hinagiku died during captivity, since it’s still a big part of who she is right now). Towards that end, she rallies the forces to the headquarters of the Four Seasons. Unfortunately, there are traitors everywhere. New Year turns out to have infiltrated a lot more than everyone thought, and they have one goal: get Hinagiku back, and kill everyone else.

This is a long book, and has a lot going on. I’m actually going to skip talking about Summer’s agent here, as the next book looks like it’s going to focus on that, and I don’t want to spoil too much of what happens here. We do hear what happened to Hinagiku in the time she was in captivity, and it’s both sordidly bland (she was forced to make pot with her powers to help the terrorist organization make money) and also part of a cycle of abuse (the head of New Year had several traumatic experiences as a child and also lost her baby, so is determined to get a “replacement” daughter). The triumphant part of the book is seeing how she, Sakura, Rosei, and Itecho are all; still dealing with trauma but manage to gut past it and score a triumphant victory. The book honestly reads like one of those action movies that’s almost all climax. And that’s fine.

It’s not perfect – I was annoyed at the identity of some of the traitors, as I liked them (that’s the point, Sean), but it’s still hugely enjoyable, and I look forward to the next book, which apparently moves away from Hinagiku and Sakura for a bit. It’s fine. Let them rest.

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