Thoughts on Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, Vol. 7: 4th Squad Jam: Start

The Squad Jam even returns in the seventh volume of Keiichi Sigsawa’s Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online light novel series, and of course Llen is participating once again.

Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online Vol 7 4th Squad Jam Start

Front cover of Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, Vol. 7: 4th Squad Jam: Start, featuring Llenn

During any difficult encounter, whether in a game or in real life, it’s always good to have an exit strategy. In Karen Kohiruimaki’s experience, when she gets questions like “What’s your type?” she’s able to respond with a smooth “Someone like P-Chan…” But when a handsome man appears during Llen’s Fourth Squad Jam strategy meeting and surprises her with a marriage proposal, she gets a sinking feeling that this is one battle she’ll have to face head-on!

A new volume of GGO brings with it a new Squad Jam competition, but before we get in-game stuff there’s some real life business to take care.
I maintain that the real world stuff tends to be the weaker part of GGO, and this volume does no favours with the introduction of the character named Fire Nishiyamada.
He interacts with Karen for all of fifteen minutes, and decides he wants to marry her. He doesn’t ask her directly, though, but instead tries to go through Karen’s father.
Miyu is right to be wary of someone like Nishiyamada, but things only get worse for Karen.

Nishiyamada literally cyberstalks Karen into GGO, and blurts out her real life name in front of others. I don’t know whether it’s a nuance of the translation or what, but the novel almost seems to try to write it off by saying “practically cyberstalked”, which is just wrong.
To make matters worse, apparently Karen’s father is willing to give Nishiyamada a chance, and Llenn seems totally incapable of refusing Nishiyamada when he meets with her in GGO.
One day Llenn will just get to fight in a normal Squad Jam event, without some other factors being involved.

On that note, however, the Fourth Squad Jam is another one that comes with a special rule in place. It is a rule that players are not made aware of to begin with, but it does seem to be designed to move the event along quicker.
There’s a lot of self-deprecation towards the author for coming up with these special rules, which I did find quite amusing.

Once the Fourth Squad Jam starts, though, things definitely get far more entertaining. Sure, Llenn’s going to have to contend with Nishiyamada sooner or later, but before that, the LPFM team gets expanded, and there’s the small matter of the new rules.
For the first time, LPFM enters a Squad Jam with the maximum amount of six members. Shame two of them have their own plans for the event, but it is nice to see some familiar faces fighting alongside Llenn and her team.

The first major battle team LPFM has to contend with is against team DOOM, who employ some pretty unique tactics that require quick thinking to overcome. Llenn’s goal of getting a rematch against team SHINC is immediately put in jeopardy, but it sure is thrilling to read how that all unfolds.

So, yeah, everything that happens in Squad Jam in this volume is excellent. Everything that happens in the real world… ugh. Not a fan of it. I want nothing more than Llenn to put Nishiyamada in his place; and if she doesn’t, then Pitohui almost certainly will.

Kouhaku Kuroboshi’s art is as wonderful as ever. I particularly enjoy the illustrations of Llenn in action, though we do get a pretty notable illustration of the person behind Pitohui, too. Llenn lying on top of Fukaziroh is a fun one, too, leaning very closely into yuri territory. That exact moment is even described as them practically being about to kiss.

I guess I have mixed feelings about this volume. I’m not really entirely sure what the point of introducing Nishiyamada is. Llenn was always pretty much going to enter the Fourth Squad Jam, and throwing extra complications on top of that special rule and suspect team mates seems a little extreme.
On the other hand, more excellent Squad Jam action, which is almost worth slogging through the IRL stuff for.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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