Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy Volume 2

Astral Buddy Volume 2 cover

I hope that everyone is still having a good week, even with
the monotony of the daily grind.

Things have been going fairly well, as I can still do what I
like.

Recently, while waiting for a title I was interested in to
become available for purchase, I found out that another series I was interested
in got licensed and decided to get the two volumes were available where I live.

So far, I have already dealt with one of them, and only one
remains.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy
Volume 2
by Kazuma Kamachi.

As I have already given a series synopsis in an earlier
post
, I will not go over it again.

Suspecting that strange things were happening, Shokuhou
Misaki started making moves and was ambushed.

However, Misaki was not their true aim, as Hokaze was left
with a message to meet them alone, otherwise something will happen to Misaki.

While the first volume started things off well, that does
not mean that each subsequent volume would be just as good, which means that some
skepticism is still needed.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it,
though not quite as much as the previous volume.

From the moment I opened this volume and started reading the
first few pages, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop
reading, though not quite as quickly or to the extent that I would have like.

In a work of fiction, one of the most important things is
how things begin, as the beginning is supposed to pull the reader into another
world and give them the temporary escape that they desire.

While creating that necessary pull can be accomplished in many
different ways, depending on the genre and the medium used to present the work,
this series was originally published in a serial publication, which means that
things must pick up in a way that makes sense, based on how the previous
installment ended.

In the previous volume, Shokuhou Misaki was a little
suspicious of what was going on and who was really behind taking her bag, and
in the final moments, she was ambushed, with the assailant saying that Misaki’s
suspicious nature made things too easy, then mocking level 5 espers, like Misaki,
and this volume, things continue on from there, as expected.

Even though I am not entirely pleased with the way this
volume began, this was how I expecting it to be, and it helped to bring me back
into the world, which was not too hard, since I got both this volume, the
latest installment available where I live, and the first at the same time.

If things did not start off like they did, I might have been
a little more disappointed than I am, as this was the only way it really could
begin, especially considering the enemy’s personality, and that would have
resulted in a loss of readership.

Fortunately, neither Kazuma Kamachi nor ASCII Media made any
big mistakes, which makes me want to give them some applause.

Hopefully, future volumes can start off as well as this one
did, though I am actually wishing for better, because that will help to
maintain the audience’s interest, which is the most important thing for series,
but with things already being not completely satisfying, I would not be
surprised if things get worse.

I also liked the action and fighting.

One of the things that I really like about the Railgun
series is how things that I expect to be interesting, such as fights, all tend
to be very interesting, unlike the Magical Index series, which has had moments
that I knew I was supposed to be excited about, yet things felt flat, not to
mention that Touma does not fight very effectively using only one arm, and when
I came into this series, which bares Railgun in its title, I was expecting the
same thing.

While it was not exactly on par with mainline Railgun, such
as Kuroko’s skirmish in the Level Upper arc and Misaka’s confrontation with
ITEM in the Sisters Arc, I still found myself on the edge of my seat, wanting
to see how things would end.

This is what I want to see from a spin off, especially a
spin off of the better portion of the Raildex universe, and this volume really
delivered.

If Kazuma Kamachi had executed things in the same way that
was seen in the 15th
and 17th
books in the Index series or ASCII Media, or whoever they had put this volume
together decided to not put in as much as as they did, I would have been
disappointed, as it would have been obvious to me that it was the kind of
milking that people hate, rather than a nice addition to the Railgun universe.

Thankfully, nobody made any big mistakes in this department,
which makes me want to give them a big round of applause.

Hopefully, future installment will have action that is as
good as this, seeing as most of the people reading this series would mostly be
Railgun fans, like me, but seeing as this volume had more chapters than the
previous volume and the next one, which will not be released here until
February of next year, according to the product
listing
on Amazon, has the same number of chapters as this one, according
to the page I linked to in my review of the first volume, I am not too sure if
it will, especially considering that there have only been 2 or 3 chapters published
that have not been compiled into volumes at the time wrote this review.

The thing that I liked the most though was how things were
formatted well.

Other than how things are written and carried out, one of
the things can affect a person’s ability to enjoy a good is how well it is
formatted.

Now, I do not usually make too much of a big deal out of
formatting/layout, since it is one of the things that usually goes unnoticed by
readers, as it should, but Seven Seas has had one major hiccup in the
formatting department in their digital releases.

Back when they released The
Ancient Magus Bride Volume 10
, a few panels were unreadable because
they tried showing an entire double page spread in one image, which made things
completely illegible in the application I was using to read it and difficult to
read in the Kindle app, though the text was definitely more clear, and that
really hurt my ability to really get into the work.

Here, however, in a release that definitely came out after
it, since this volume was released towards the end of July, the pages were
split up like they were supposed to be, which made it easier for me to read.

While I could not really give Seven Seas too much credit for
doing the same thing in the previous volume because it was released before the offender,
I can certainly give them props for not making the same mistake again here.

This is how digital releases of manga should be, though
selling them without DRM would be even better, because it shows that the
publishers and the people working the layout and formatting for them truly
understand that the digital medium cannot truly replicate the printed mediums.

If Seven Seas had made the same mistake they did with The
Ancient Magus Bride, I would be extremely disappointed, as I would have felt
like the effort put into the first volume of this series’ digital release was a
fluke, rather than seeing that the instance that annoying me was most likely a
one time mistake, thereby encouraging me and other readers to follow the fan
translations exclusively.

Fortunately, Seven Seas did not do anything that bad again,
which makes me want to give them a good round of applause for realizing their
mistake.

Hopefully, all of Seven Seas future releases will be like
this, so that their fans and I can be feel like they truly deserved my
business, but because the people at Seven Seas are human, like the rest of us,
I would not be surprised if another slip up occurs.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything
else that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I
talked about.

Because my attention was captured relatively quickly and
mostly held right up to the end, the action was as interesting as I was hoping
that it would be, and Seven Seas really learned their lesson this time, this
was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, and one thing that I thought was a problem that was not as big
of a deal, there was only one thing that bothered me, which is that I felt like
I had a hard time getting into it.

While I did say that I was able to become immersed in the
work easily, seeing as it picked up with the aftermath of Misaki being
ambushed, but I also said was not exactly pleased with it.

If I had to say why, it is because the kind of hook created
by starting the volume like this requires the events of the previous volume to
be fresh in one’s mind.

Yes, I did read this volume not long after the first, so it
is not exactly the same kind of situation as I had with other series, but the
big difference between many of those times and this was that they did not have
to be immediately read after the preceding volume.

Here, however, even though I read through this volume only a
short time after the first, I was not really feeling the excitement from page
one because I was dropped right into things.

Now, this is not new to me, since this is common in even
mainline Railgun, but those volumes made up for it with the action, whereas the
enemy here is pretty much beating a dead horse, going off on her victory,
before anything really happens.

By having things start off like this, the only way I could
have really been grabbed from page one is if I really did start reading this
volume even sooner than I did, in other words, binge through it in a single
sitting.

Readers, regardless of whether they read manga, comics, or normal
books, read for the fun of it and to take their mind off things, and if they
cannot take even a short break from reading, in fear of interest waning
quickly, they cannot really feel that satisfied, no matter how good of a job
the writer, publisher, editors, and proofreaders do in trying to present the
best work possible.

Sadly, I do not think that there is anything either Kazuma
Kamachi, ASCII Media, or Seven Seas could have done to really improve things,
as I cannot of any other good place to start, so I can only mark this as
annoyance.

Hopefully, things will get better from here, since the 14th
volume of Railgun will be released here before the third, and latest,
installment to this series, because I really want to like this as much as I
enjoy Railgun, but I would not be surprised if I am disappointed again.

Thankfully, nothing else really bothered me too much, so
Kazuma Kamachi and everyone that helped him bring this series to the masses can
leave, knowing that they did not really do anything to hurt this series too bad.

While there was only one thing to complain about, it was not
really bad enough to hurt the overall quality too much, if at all.

Considering that the only thing to really hate ended up
being nothing more than an annoyance, though it did kind of hurt my enjoyment,
the good outweighed thing enough to make this worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of A Certain Scientific Railgun,
as they will like this the most, unless they were turned off by the first
volume, though I strongly recommend reading this and its predecessor in a
single sitting.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but it
might be better to read through the Railgun series and the previous volume, so
that the most enjoyment can be had.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or if you want
a copy of the reviewed title, buy
A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy Volume 2
from Book
Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I
can find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

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