I wish I had a pile of these volumes to read all in a row. It's too easy to forget details. I may have to break down and start buying this series. Goodness knows where I'll keep the volumes.
If I remember right, the previous volume ended with what looked like a tragic memory loss on Phos's part - Phos gained new arms but appeared to have forgotten who Cinnabar was. This volume begins by telling readers this was a fake-out. Phos merely had a momentary memory glitch.
But that doesn't mean Phos is the same. Whereas Phos was previously childish, weak, and too fearful to engage the Lunarians in battle, they're now strangely competent and useful, to the point that Bort offers to pair up with them. It's an awkward offer. On the one hand, Phos could use Bort's strength and experience, especially since Kongo-sensei has just fallen asleep for who knows how long. On the other hand, Phos knows that there's a rift between Bort and Dia and that accepting Bort's offer may widen it.
Not a whole lot happens in this volume, but there are still some interesting developments. There's Phos's new abilities (highly reshapeable arms, an increased ability to note details during battle with the Lunarians), as well as what appears to be occasional hallucinations (?) on Phos's part. Phos keeps seeing Antarcticite, although all but a small portion Antarc has been captured by the Lunarians. I enjoyed seeing a little more of Bort and Dia and hope that they get to talk things over more (on-page!) soon. And the
This volume also adds another piece to the mystery that's been brewing for a few volumes now: what's Kongo-sensei's connection to the Lunarians? Phos has a plan for finding out more, and I'm worried about how it's going to turn out, since Phos's "plans" tend to boil down to "I'll do this thing and hope everything turns out okay." It's not like Phos has many more pieces of themselves left to lose.
All in all, I continue to be intrigued by this series and plan on reading more. This volume was a bit weak, more setup for whatever Ichikawa has planned than anything, but I'm willing to stick around and see what happens. (Here's hoping Ichikawa really does have a plan...) I do wish that the artwork were clearer during the action scenes. I had no idea, at times, what was going on during the big fight with the new Lunarian. I've now watched enough of the anime to be able to say that, yes, it's much better in that regard. And it seems like there were a few scenes even the poor animators couldn't figure out - if I remember right they didn't even try to animate whatever happened just before the Amethyst twins were attacked (events from the previous volume).
A page of translation notes and two pages of four-panel comics. I particularly liked Alexi's efforts to explain how to predict what their reaction to viewing a Lunarian will be.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)