The fifth volume of Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online light novel series features the conclusion of the third Squad Jam event. There may be some betrayal involved, as the title implies.
A brand-new battlefield awaits!
As the third Squad Jam begins to wind down, the special rule takes effect. One player from each group is chosen to become a part of the new Team Betrayers and fight against their friends! LPFM – one of the favourites to win it all – has lost a crucial member, and Pitohui couldn’t be happier to have been picked. Not looking forward to her rematch with the trigger-happy lunatic, Llenn is forced to watch as Pito gets escorted to the mysterious Unknown area at the centre of the sinking map, which is surrounded by a thick fog. As bullets of betrayal fly past former allies, the fog finally clears to reveal… a luxury cruise ship?!
After the special rule comes into effect, the surviving teams in the 3rd Squad Jam have one simple task: make it to the cruise ship.
Naturally, it is defended by Team Betrayers. This particular team is nothing to sniff at, either. There are some very familiar faces present, many of which Llenn has fought before.
The first part of this volume is the fight to get onto the cruise ship. It does hold some pretty interesting moments; Team Betrayer’s plan to limit entry for their foes, and an explosive solution to a sluggish teammate being two that stand out in particular.
It is once the surviving teams make it onto the ship that things get really intense. For a bit, anyway. The ship is so big that there is some downtime before the teams clash.
Once it does get to that point, though, things get incredible. Llenn’s fights against Eva and Pitohui respectively in the previous two Squad Jams almost don’t compare to what happens in the third Squad Jam.
I would love to see Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online get a second season of anime, just to see the third Squad Jam’s final battle animated. It was a spectacular read, and I suspect it would be spectacular to watch as well.
There are plenty of great moments leading up to said final battle, but that will almost certainly be what most readers will come away from this light novel remembering. That, and Pitohui sharing her honest thoughts on Llenn.
Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online is also at its best when it is focusing on Gun Gale Online rather than the real world, and that is exactly what this fifth volume gives us (with a couple of small exceptions).
There are some almost absurd stunts pulled off in the pursuit of victory here, yet they are totally fitting for the characters that pull them off.
The 3rd Squad Jam is arguably the best one we’ve had so far. All three have had some very memorable moments, but there’s what I guess you could call a set piece for the third one that really sets it apart from the others. Honestly, its hard to imagine this one being topped in the future light novels.
As usual, Sigsawa’s gun obsession is clearly shown, too. There is one moment where there is quite a lot of information given on fictional guns, which I thought was quite an amusing aversion.
Still, Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, Vol. 5: 3rd Squad Jam: Betrayers’ Choice: Finish delivers exactly what makes the GGO spin off so good, and plenty of it, too.