Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World is a manga series, featuring art by Okama, that’s based on a light novel series of the same name by Kei Sazane. I haven’t read the light novels, so I can’t comment on how well this manga works as an adaptation, and will instead be reviewing it based simply on its own merits.
The Empire has been at war with the Nebulis Sovereignty ever since that nation was first formed by witches and sorcerers who were fleeing from the Empire’s persecution. Iska was once a high ranked swordsman in the Empire’s military, but has been imprisoned for the past year because he helped a child from the Nebulis Sovereignty escape captivity .He has been released early and had his rank reinstated because his superiors wish him to put a stop to a dangerous witch that they have dubbed The Ice Calamity Witch. Iska agrees to their terms but secretly hopes to continue pursuing his goal of putting an end to this century long war. When he meets the Ice Calamity Witch on the battlefield he is impressed by her powerful magical abilities and she, likewise, admires his fighting prowess. Their initial confrontation ends when Iska’s reinforcements arrive and the witch is forced to retreat, but afterwards neither is able to get the other warrior out of their heads.
So here we have a classic Romeo and Juliet scenario. Two young people come from opposing sides of a conflict but, against all odds, they meet and fall in love. Can their love survive amongst the hatred of their two warring factions? And will they find a way to put an end to the fighting so that they can be together? It’s a compelling set up but one that falls flat here. Neither Iska nor Alice (a.k.a. the Ice Calamity Witch) is very interesting and I didn’t feel that they had any chemistry together. Iska is basically a bland nice-guy protagonist and Alice is your typical cute-girl love interest. Their dialogue during their initial meeting on the battlefield is pretty exposition heavy and the moment when Alice’s mask comes off and they stare into each other’s eyes for the first time, in what was intended to be a romantic moment, felt completely unearned. I just don’t buy their supposed connection. There are some flashbacks that clearly show that these two have met in the past as children, but neither of them has put that together yet and currently their romantic feelings for each other seem to be entirely based on the fact that they are both attractive and both like pasta (a fact that is revealed when the two accidently bump into each other in a neutral city).
I also found the humor in this manga to be pretty hit or miss. Some gags were, admittedly, pretty funny. I liked one scene where Iska is reunited with his combat unit and their mechanic, Nene, launches herself at him to give him a big hug. Except she completely over shoots and winds up sailing over his head, only avoiding face planting into the ground because Iska grabbed her foot while she was midair. I got a good laugh out of that. Some of the other jokes, however, are just plain stupid. At one point the commander of Iska’s unit, a buxom girl named Mismis, tries to give Iska a ticket to the opera in order to cheer him up, only she hands him her bra instead. The manga tries to justify this by saying that she made the mistake because she keeps important things in her bra. But a ticket and a bra are completely different! How would you not realize what you’re holding?! This scenario is too unbelievable for the joke to work and, even if that wasn’t the case, the joke still wouldn’t have been very funny.
Overall I found Our Last Crusade to be aggressively okay. I laughed at a few of the jokes but, overall, this series is just kind of meh. If any of what I’ve described really interests you, then I guess give it a try, but I don’t think I’ll be buying any more of this series.
Final Score: 5.5 out of 10
You can find more information on this series on Yen Press’ website: https://yenpress.com/9781975358709/our-last-crusade-or-the-rise-of-a-new-world-vol-1/
What did you think of this manga? If you’ve read the light novels, then please let me know how you think the manga and the novels compare.