Toward the end of Volume 3 of Wistoria: Wand and Sword, the series kicked off a brand new arc which sees Will and his classmates taking part in the All-Student Praxis. What awaits them as they dive into the dungeon? Let’s find out with Volume 4!
The All-Student Praxis sees students nearing their last semester at Regarden Magical Academy dive into the dungeon where they’ll explore the first ten floors and defeat powerful monsters worth many credits. For the event, Will has been invited by top student Lihanna to join forces with her, Wignall (an elf whose one of the top three students in the school), Julius, Sion and Colette.
Of course, Julius isn’t thrilled to have Will on their side after the events of the Grand Magic Festival where the two faced one another in a fierce battle. But he’s beholden to Lihanna’s decision and recognises that Will is incredibly skilled, even if they’re not on friendly terms. As you may expect, Will has chosen to have Sion and Colette join the party after their performance as his teammates in the Grand Magic Festival and Lihanna is so keen to have Will join their side that she’s willing to accept his conditions.
So, the group set off for their dive into the dungeon where they’ll be pitted against their classmates in a rush to collect credits by defeating monsters, but the monsters and students aren’t the only thing they’ll have to worry about. As they rush to defeat the master of the tenth floor, the group can’t help but feel something is wrong as they come across defeated monsters everywhere, despite having taken the shortest route to their destination and seemingly being ahead of everyone else.
Then the party are attacked by a powerful enemy, which causes the ground to cave in under them and sends Will and his friends down to the 11th floor. The group are now in a dangerous position as they’re in a ‘danger zone’ not handled by the academy. It’s unlikely the teachers will come down to rescue them and now they’re split up, they’re easy pickings for the monsters on this floor…
Readers who are familiar with author Fujino Omori’s other series Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? will be familiar with the dangers of characters exploring a dungeon, as well as getting stranded somewhere. It’s an interesting storyline of course, but I will say that the arc isn’t really solving the issues I was having with Volume #3 (and to some extent #2) where the characters are lacking in development.
I will say that newcomer Wignall does get developed as he ends up paired with Will after they fall through the floor, but that doesn’t help the rest of the cast. And that’s a shame, honestly, because how Omori handles Wignall’s story is well done; it’s emotional and gets the reader attached to his character. So it’s frustrating that other members of the cast like Colette haven’t been given the same opportunity and are sidelined in favour of the newbie.
Still, this arc is suitably compelling, thanks to Toshi Aoi’s artwork which depicts the fearsome monsters as well as the battles against them. There’s a suitably unnerving atmosphere to the whole thing once the cast fall to the 11th floor too, which is difficult to pull off when there’s so much happening otherwise. Despite some of the shortcomings of Wistoria: Wand and Sword, this author/artist duo are a talented pair and manage to deliver on most of the promise of the series. Hopefully, it will continue to improve as it goes on!
Wistoria: Wand and Sword Volume 4 comes to the West thanks to Kodansha. Translation for the series continues to be handled by Alethea and Athena Nibley and as usual, the release reads well with no problems to note.
Volume 5 has been released in English this month with #6 set to follow in early September, so as is often the case with Kodansha releases, there is plenty more of this to enjoy soon.
Overall, Volume 4 of Wistoria: Wand and Sword is another strong entry in the series. Readers overly familiar with Omori’s work will recognise many of the twists and turns on offer here, but depending on how you feel about that, it’s not necessarily a negative. Still, a series I recommend despite some problems that are yet to be smoothed out.