Volume 13 is arguably the best in the entire series thanks to a spectacular rank war featuring Azuma Squad, Kageura Squad, T2, and cover boy Ninomiya’s Squad. What makes the battle so memorable are the surprises – T2 battled their way to the top of the B Squads but both all three contain A-Squad level members who can defeat Osamu’s hopes.
Story: Osamu has asked for special training from A-rank squads. He wants to be able to score points to help his squad win but, as pointed out by Arashiyama, that might not be the best strategy for a shooter. With the help of A-1’s Izumi (and a humiliating experience with the 3rd A-1 team member Yuiga), Osamu does gain more experience. As the rank war dawns and the teams plan their strategies in their own ways, T2 is going to find that there is a reason Kageura and Ninomiya dominate the top of the B Ranks.
The fight scenes are excellent – with some great finishes by captains Kageura, Ninomiya, and especially Azuma. T2 has had surprise on their sides for most of the previous battles but that all changes with the very experienced squads they face in this battle. Of course, this is also a personal match since two of the teams have ties to Chika’s brother (Ema’s former mentor is Hatohara and she was a member of Ninomiya Squad).
Also wonderful to see was the Sniper practice where Narasaka’s freakish accuracy takes second seat to the impressive creativity and ‘out of the box’ thinking of Kageura’s sniper Ema and A2’s Touma. Of course, the addition of a cat on the head of Touma while he was sniping was very, very fun!
The volume ends with a surprise that Osamu asks of Jin. This will lead to complete changes in the T2 squad in future volumes. But for now, this is by far the best rank war and best character interactions thus far in the series. Ashihara really hits his stride here. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.