Apocalypse Witch:Volume2 Afterword
This is Kamachi Kazuma.
Hooray, it’s Volume 2!! Thank you for letting this become a series!! To celebrate this second volume, I wanted to do some worldbuilding by first establishing their school life in the new Grimnoah and then doing a major school event. That’s why I had gym clothes, school swimsuits, and such appearing so early on. For the field trip, I wanted a nice place that could be both midsummer and midwinter, so I invented that artificial beach that is something like eating ice cream in a kotatsu.
The opening Grimnoah part might seem unrelated to the rest at first glance, but I made sure to include some important setup there, such as the nonlethal mode and the flying in through windows.
The overall theme of the series is revenge, but I switched things up a bit this time and had Karuta’s group caught up in someone else’s revenge instead. I think that showed things from a different angle than in Volume 1.
I also focused more on showing the twisted side of revenge instead of the glorified version commonly depicted in fiction.
Karuta’s group might have ended up that way too.
In a way, they were lucky in their revenge since they could focus only on killing their targets. Each chapter of Volume 1 started with a comedy part (as part of the repetitive structure I included to mimic samurai stories) and those parts were necessary for them to keep fighting against the Problem Solvers. This volume should have shown you what would have happened without that.
Revenge requires trust, friendship, and unwavering feelings.
As you can see from Karuta’s shock, I think that is a fairly ironic concept. But I think it also shows how characters can head down the path of evil when they might have been heroes had they made the right choice. People cannot always apply their strength toward the correct goal. And the biggest reason those three lost was their inability to trust in the path they had chosen for themselves, even if it took them in the wrong direction. But depending on your way of thinking, I bet some of you will think it is better to stick with it to the end like Karuta’s group and some of you will think it is better to give up partway through like those three.
I pictured Natalena Blast not so much as someone who was not yet ready for revenge, but someone who would never be the vengeful type yet was forced on that path.
And by introducing such a good girl as part of Anastasia’s family, I thought it could hint at a different side of the former world’s strongest. Anastasia was driven to the edge all alone, but she never chose to rely on her family. Why didn’t she? No, why couldn’t she? I hope you could guess at the answer from the way Natalena continued to adore her sister even after being pushed away and not allowed to play a role in what happened.
I think Natalena’s presence shows that Karuta’s group had a few rules they refused to break in their revenge, even though they could be so merciless when they chose to do something.
Yes, they did not track down the family of their revenge targets and take them hostage.
I felt that was a necessity in order to make their revenge feel more righteous. They also rejected an effective plan for their attack on Elicia because it would have affected a helicopter pilot who was not part of their revenge. I thought I could show how oddly clean they wanted to keep things by having them take on extra risk with little detours like that.
I ended Natalena’s revenge by having Karuta confess his sin to Anubis, but how did you like that bit of extra flavoring? That was not strictly speaking a magical ceremony, but I thought it still had some meaning in the sense of borrowing a god’s name to perform magic. You can be the judge of that.
With the Threat, it might help to imagine how the Problem Solvers survived fighting against them. They used a dinosaur, a spear of light, a giant sword, regeneration, and magic, so you might be able to see what kind of battle was expected of those strongests.
If something attacked humanity in some way that rendered our existing militaries powerless, I just know some people would rejoice as they used it as an inspiration to develop new weapons. And since I had already established that cyborg tech on Susannia’s level exists in this world, I knew I had to go for it.
The final boss of the volume was her, but in a battle between Crystal Magicians, you end up with the dilemma you saw: the Preset regeneration prevents it from ever ending until one side or the other receives a fatal wound.
I focused on breaking people’s spirits this time, but it will probably also give you some ideas about how to deal with rule violations within a giant community like Grimnoah.
By the way, which of the Four Living Gods – Karuta, Aine, Marika, and Kyouka – did you think was the most twisted? I think Aine is mostly just cute, including her complaint about Karuta at the end of Chapter 4. I think the truly frightening one is Kyouka who still hasn’t aggressively yelled at her enemies or the clueless people around her despite everything she was involved in during these two volumes. Which is what makes her my favorite.
A lot of you will probably think Marika’s friendship(?) is too overbearing, but she is a childhood friend, which means her powerful bond to Karuta came from nothing more than geographical proximity at a young age. That relationship remained as they left home and moved to Grimnoah, which I think had to be the result of her powerful attachment, not just a natural turn of events. She did not want them to drift apart after they moved away from their childhood homes.
She was willing to make a lot of enemies to protect her small little world.
She was willing to bloody her hands to avoid losing something she cared about.
I think that too is a type of righteousness and a type of strongest. If that sends a chill down your spine, it is because the world of this series allows for more than the pure sort of righteousness. Even the Problem Solvers could be seen as the samurai in a samurai story when viewed from the right angle. Not that that’s any comfort to the people they cut down because “that’s the way of things” without even trying to talk it out first.
Since Utagai Karuta wants to stop all conflict around him even if it means killing himself, his path of the strongest is a little different from normal. His Crystal Magic is abnormal, but special doesn’t necessarily mean better. I hope you will continue to watch over the battles of a boy who carries both fragility and possibility within him.
I give my thanks to my illustrator Mika Pikazo-san and to my editors Miki-san, Anan-san, Nakajima-san, and Hamamura-san. This one must have been a lot of work with all the costume changes. Not to mention the hellish concept of an “army” that only takes a single word in writing. That must have been a lot of trouble with both the humans and the Threat. Thank you very much.
And I give my thanks to the readers. I had the entire student body face a major incident this time to symbolize the theme of “you aren’t fighting alone!”, but how did you like it? Anyone who has seen the crowds at a Shinto shrine on New Years or at a train station during rush hour might be wondering if 1000 people can really move around that quickly, but keep in mind that Grimnoah provides high-level combat training with a focus on group battles. Thank you so much for reading this far!
And I will end this here.
Did they become the strongest because they were unusual, or did they become unusual because they were the strongest?
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