Saturday, August 13, 2016

Final Fantasy Type-0 Side Story Vol. #3 Manga Review

You don't need my lectures anymore. You...seem to have found your own answer.

Creative Staff:
Art: Takatoshi Shiozawa
Supervision/Character Design: Tetsuya Nomura
Translation: Alethea and Athena Nibley
Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

What They Say:
From the ashes of tragedy rises unbridled strength. Those four, wrought by suffering and burdened with despair, will overcome insurmountable odds to become known as the Four Champions of Rubrum.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
When we last left off, our cadets were caught in quite a pickle. Kurasame, designated to guarding the princess, Aoi, had let his guard down just long enough for to be kidnapped by some random, unnamed soldier. Well, never fear, because that is entirely dissolved in the first two pages of volume three when Kurasame immediately shows up and cuts him down. Now, that's one way to solve a problem. If only modern day police were as effective at tracking down kidnappers as Kurasame.

After rescuing the princess, Kurasame begins to [way too quickly] develop feelings for her. Luckily for him, Aoi feels the exact same way. And, all of a sudden, we have a forced romantic subplot that came out of literally nowhere. Whatever, though. She's hot, I guess. Needless to say, the next chapter or so details how Kurasame finds his way back to Aoi in order to confess his feelings. Guided by Miwa, Kurasame finds his way to the tower where Aoi is being sheltered before proceeding to hold her hand and do romantic [G-Rated] stuff on the roof of Akademia. I guess these two are going to date now. Really, though, where did this come from? We've known this girl for like two chapters and she's suddenly dating the protagonist. What good can come from this?

Okay, back to the serious stuff. Apparently, Takatsugu has caught wind of various Milites spies amongst the cadets. Kurasame, being a currently love-struck teen, dismisses this because he feels like his new girlfriend is so perfect that no one would ever make an attempt at her life. UNTIL THEY DO. In the middle of the new couple's date to the...cafeteria at Akademia...a young cadet named Matin attempts to assassinate princess Aoi. Of course, his attack is repelled by the Kurasame and Akademia proceeds to execute the traitor. Apparently, he isn't the one, though. There are more traitors to be discovered. The thing is, Kurasame still doesn't want to believe that and dismisses leading the hunting party because 'he doesn't want to suspect his friends'. Why is Kurasame such a loser all of a sudden?

Eventually, it is revealed that around half of the dominion researchers in Akademia have been kidnapped by Milites rogues. Amongst these researchers are the parents of one of Kurasame's classmates -- Kazusa. Considering that Kurasame is the best friend ever, he decides to go against his CO's orders and set out to free the captured researchers. Of course, this doesn't necessarily go as planned and he winds up jeopardizing literally everyone (Including his brand new girlfriend). The worst part of all of this, however, is that Commander Takatsugu himself has been captured by the Milites. Way to go, Kurasame. As a result, the young cadet is placed on house arrest for going against official military orders. Of course, Kurasame decides that the best course of action at this point is to, once again, go against official military orders in order to save the commander. This guy, I swear.

Backed by the other three champions of Rubrum, Kurasame sets out to rejoin forces with other Rubrum/Dominion soldiers as they conduct a rescue operation. As his pals take on the majority of the army, Kurasame sneaks off into the prison cells where he ultimately uncovers the battered Takatsugu. In the midst of his noble rescue attempt, some more evil guys show up...but one of them has a very, very EVIL GLOVE. Just as the evil, gloved Milites commander is about to harness the earth-shattering powers of his hand-apparel, Takatsugu springs back to life and chops the dude's entire arm off. Of course, he winds up getting shot (I think) in the process. This prompts Kurasame to...suddenly turn his sword into ice and kill everyone? Wait, what?

In Summary:
This volume is confused. There's no other way to put it. The introduction of Aoi brings to the table an unneeded romance that has essentially no place in this series whatsoever. What's even worse is that it feels like the book is trying to get you to feel for Aoi with all of her, "Kurasame, please don't go!" nonsense when readers have basically no reason to care for her in the slightest. As Kurasame's personality begins to transition away from the Kurasame we've come to enjoy, the other three champions of Rubrum remain delightful. The spotlight time that each of them is allotted remains relatively equal and I've come to enjoy each of them a lot more following the conclusion of this volume. Of course, that came at the sacrifice of enjoyment of the protagonist. Without a logical movement in any direction, volume three of the FF Type-0 Side Story is a step backward that I very much hope is corrected in the following release.

Content Grade: C-
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: B-

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 26, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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