Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy Volume 3

Astral Buddy Volume 3 cover.

I hope everyone is doing well, especially with the hindrance
the recent pandemic has caused.

Things are going fairly well here, as I can still do as I
like, with some exceptions.

A while back, I looked through Amazon’s catalog, to check on
some series I follow, and I was able to place some preorders, one of which
arrived recently.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy
Volume 3
by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

After deciding to confront the people luring her out, Junko takes
care of one opponent and has to contend with another.

However, these opponents are not going to be her biggest
problem, as she encounters another level 5 esper who thinks she is responsible
for everything.

While the first two volumes were not that bad, with the
first being the better of the two, that does not mean that this series is worth
following as much as the Railgun series, so I have to keep on my guard.

After reading through this volume, I have to say that I enjoyed
this volume.

From the moment I opened up this volume and started reading
the first page, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop
reading for any reason, though not as much as I would have liked.

As I have said countless times before, one of the most
important things in a work of fiction is how things begin, as the beginning is
supposed to bring the audience into another world, thereby giving them the
temporary escape that they desire.

While this necessary hook can be created in different ways,
depending on the medium used to present the work, as well as the kind of work,
this series, like many other manga series, was originally published in a serial
publication, which means that it needs to pick up in a way that makes sense,
based upon where the last installment left off.

In the previous
volume
, Junko Hozake had gotten into a fight with one of the people that
were targeting Misaki and had seemingly beat them, until they decide to push
Junko even further with one last attack, ultimately ending a panel of Junko
taking the brunt of the attack with a defensive stance.

In this volume, Junko takes care of the attack and things
proceed from there.

Even though I am not too pleased with this beginning, as it
does not help remind me about all of the past events too well, though part of
that has to do with the fact that this series only sees 1 volume a year, it
does a good enough job of capturing my attention because it finally shows what
became of Junko and how things would be resolved.

If the ending was a little more confusing, I probably would
have given up on this spin off right here and now, because it would have
signaled that there was only really one good spin off in the entirety of the
Raildex universe, and even alienated some other people.

Fortunately, things started off in a decent way, which means
I can give everyone that worked hard enough to get a passing grade.

Another thing that I liked was the further exploration of
the past.

While nothing really happens in this volume, aside from the
flashback, which the official summary does say makes up the bulk of the volume,
there was a big mystery concerning the ghost girl throughout much of the series,
as well as who these people Junko are facing off against, and the flashback
seen here does give some insight into the connection between them and Junko,
adding to the emotional feel of the final moments of the fight that was
happening in the previous volume.

If this flashback was not present, I would have likely been
incredibly bored by the beginning of the volume, due to the fact that it picks
up in a way that feels like only a month had passed in the real world, even
though that kind of start makes sense, considering this series is published in
a monthly publication, and I would have felt like my time was being as wasted
as it was with volume 6
of Spice & Wolf.

Thankfully, this flashback was included, and it helped to
provide some meaning behind what was said after the fight’s conclusion.

The thing that I like the most though was how this volume
ended.

Aside from how things begin, one of the other important
aspects in a work of fiction is how things end, as that is either supposed to
leave the audience with either a sense of satisfaction, if it is a standalone
work or the final installment in a series, or give the audience some kind of
incentive to continue on with the series.

Even though I had originally been a little disappointed with
the ending, thanks to a little headache that forced me to take a rest, which
made me forget some details, it ended up being better, when I glance through
the ending at this moment.

In this volume, after Junko dealt with a former resident of
the ideal facility, Gunha made a move during Junko’s second fight, bringing it
to a close, Junko notices footage from the event had leaked out, embarrassed by
the whole thing, and Gunha comes in, accusing Junko to be behind everything,
engaging her in battle, while another people talks about Ideal’s Indian Poker
card.

While the start of the battle was definitely exciting,
especially the words Senya, the ghost girl imparted to Junko, what really had
caught my attention was who this girl that claimed to be Yuuri Senya was, if
the ghost girl was lying, and what was really going on, which I do not think
has been answered yet, from what I remember has yet to come, and what she meant
by the power Junko was supposed to have, as well as if it had anything to do
with what occurred dyring what was seen of the Junko vs Gunha match.

If this volume had ended right after Senya told Junko that
levels don’t matter and actively engaging Gunha, or even somewhere else, I
would have been okay with it, though this volume would not have really been
that memorable or interesting, which would give me little reason to continue on
with this series.

Fortunately, things ended in a way that suggested more was
going on than just the clash between a level 4 and the seventh ranked level 5,
which makes me feel like giving Kazuma Kamachi and everyone else working on
this series a good round of applause, as I actually found myself more on the
edge of my seat than what a typical battle manga could do for me these days.

Hopefully, future installments will be able to end just as
well as this one did, because it really saved it from being marked as okay, and
will help keep people coming back for more.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least without giving more away than I already
have.

Because my attention was captured relatively quickly and
held right up to the end, the flashback shown made the beginning have more
feeling, and the ending made me interested enough to find out what would happen
next, this was a pretty enjoyable 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 things that could be inferred from what I said, the only
thing that really bothered me was something that cannot really be helped,
considering that Seven Seas actually publish a volume that is also currently
the latest in its home country, as of the time I wrote this review, according to
the series page
on Baka-Updates Manga.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth
mentioning.

Considering that there were things to like and nothing to
really hate, aside for things that beyond the control of either Seven Seas or
the Japanese publishers, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of the Astral Buddy series,
as they will enjoy this the most, and are likely to have things fresh in their
mind.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
I strongly recommend reading the previous volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or if you
would like to give the reviewed title a try, buy
A Certain Scientific Railgun: Astral Buddy Volume 3
from Book
Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so
that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

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