After beginning the first volume of the manga adaptation of I Kept Pressing the 100-Million-Year Button and Came Out on Top, I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it. However, I was left pleasantly surprised by how great the character writing was for our protagonist Allen and his desperate situation to become a powerful swordsman. I Kept Pressing the 100-Million-Year Button and Came Out on Top Vol. 2 continues this same trajectory but focuses more on the bond of friendship and just how powerful Allen can be.
I Kept Pressing the 100-Million-Year Button and Came Out on Top Vol. 2 gives the readers what they want from the beginning. This would be considered the fanservice chapter as Allen and Lia awkwardly work out how they will live together. Unfortunately, Allen doesn’t seem interested in dating Lia, making her feel like a bad slave. Finally, however, Allen finds a way to calm her down, and we move on to the real story. Now that Allen’s been accepted into the Thousand Blade Academy, he finds himself once again being an outcast.
However, the homeroom teacher Reia uses this to get accepted by his classmates using some not-so-straightforward techniques. Although many themes revolve around friendship in this volume, Reia is the real mastermind behind all the more significant plot points. Her personality is loud and unpredictable, but you can’t help but trust that she knows what she’s doing. There are several moments where her serious side kicks in, and you understand that she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s the type of character that knows more than they led on, but she does this exceptionally well, as it’s probably the least prominent trait about her.
Aside from Reia, Allen discovers the joy of friendship, mainly between Lia and Rose. The two girls have a little rivalry, but it’s not a central theme. They seem to put that aside and support each other, which is nice to see, even though you can tell something is brewing between them and Allen, who is none the wiser. Allen is such a good lead, though, and some heavy moments of character growth are highly emotional.
Regardless of these themes, the volume makes room for plenty of action. Aside from a very nice PE scene where the girls wear pe uniforms for whatever reason, we are treated to several high-action moments. The entire volume ends on a multi-page fight that will undoubtedly grab your attention. These final scenes introduce another layer of complexity to Allen’s world and create more tension for the story moving forward. That said, a brief scene toward the end of the fight was tough to follow and broke up the pacing. It will likely be addressed later, but its inclusion felt odd, and then it was glossed over.
The illustrations are excellent from Yutaro Shido. From fan service to action, this mangaka knows how to do it all. Each character has a high amount of detail in their facial reactions and movement. The swordplay seems to be a central focus as the illustrations of the stances and characters’ styles play into their stance and abilities. The battles aren’t simply bolded lines of close-up characters screaming. Instead, we see true animation across the panels as we follow the tense action.
I Kept Pressing the 100-Million-Year Button and Came Out on Top Vol. 2 keeps up the pacing and delivers a thrilling follow-up. As a companion to the light novel series, this only enhances the core narrative. Given that Allen is already a well-written lead, the manga shows how true that is during each chapter. Sure, he can be a little oblivious at times, but I appreciate how much time is spent developing these characters’ bonds and allowing their friendship to feel real, given how important friendship is to him.
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