Ever since their mysterious eruption from ancient ruins, mechanical monsters called kihei have been threatening to wipe out humanity. Kou Kaguro and his classmates at the Twilight Academy military school might be the last hope to defeat them. But when he nearly dies in an attack on the school, an unusually humanoid kihei calling herself White Princess saves his life and vows to protect him. With White Princess by his side, Kou begins to learn more about the secrets of the kihei—as well as those of his own government.
Kou has a strangely stiff narrative voice, describing even the gruesome injuries that his comrades suffer from battle in a uniformly matter-of-fact tone that makes the horrors of war sound almost boring. A lot of early exposition in the story also comes from Kou blandly stating basic facts to himself in an unnatural way. However, this writing style certainly fits his character, as his classmates often comment on how weird and unemotional he appears to them. As difficult as it is to get used to at first, the narration of The Bride of Demise immerses the reader in the perspective of someone who has experienced so much extreme violence in his life as to become completely desensitized.
Where the story gets less unique, however, is in the progression of the plot after the introduction of White Princess. As it turns out, several other Twilight Academy students have also found themselves supernaturally bound to individual kihei that they refer to as “Brides” (regardless of whether the kihei in question are at all feminine or even humanoid, many of which are not). Kou transfers into this elite top-secret unit, and several generic school story tropes follow, wherein he proves himself worthy of the friendship of his initially hostile classmates. With each character in a quasi-romantic relationship with an inhuman creature, you’d expect something more original than just combat training in class and hanging out in the cafeteria.
The characters also get difficult to keep track of at this point, as do their alien companions. Several of Kou’s classmates and their kihei are all introduced at around the same time, making it easy to get mixed up about who’s who and which kihei has which powers. The constant chatter about terms like “Demon Rank” and “Type B kihei” does nothing to clarify, and would be more suited to the character selection screen of a video game than to the pages of a book. This potential for confusion makes it hard to get emotionally invested in Kou’s developing relationships with his classmates.
The setting of The Bride of Demise has potential, and much of the visual spectacle described within its pages might be well-suited to an anime adaptation. However, the first volume on its own lacks anything beyond its initial concept to grab the reader’s attention. If you want to read a sci-fi military story, you might be better off with something more original that spends less time on school life and exposition.
The Bride of Demise is published by Yen Press and is available now on Amazon.
Title: The Bride of Demise, Vol. 1
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Type: Light Novel
Author: Keishi Ayasato
Translator: Jordan Taylor