By Namekojirushi and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Ore ga Heroine o Tasukesugite Sekai ga Little Mokushiroku!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Lensenmayer.
This was a surprising license for J-Novel Club. Not because of the premise – honestly, the combination of harem parody along with the genre mashing of fantasy, SF, school life, and everything in between is highly appealing to North American markets. No, it’s just that this novel series is 16 volumes long in Japan, which is pretty lengthy, especially for a budding LN publisher. Thankfully, the 16th book seems to be the final one, so we don’t need to worry about it becoming a massive behemoth like A Certain Magical Index. And to be fair, judging by the lengths of these first two novels, 16 Little Apocalypses may be the equivalent of eight Devil Is a Part-Timers. The reason I bring all this up is because we not only get three heroines introduced here, but roles also for the first book’s heroines, and the introduction of (presumably) the next heroine at the end. By Book 16, what will the pileup look like? Well, probably like an apocalypse.
Of course, not all heroines are created equal. Poor Harissa doesn’t really get to do much here except fret and use the occasional spell, and Iris is sent off until the thrilling finale requires her. Satsuki plays a larger role, but that’s more due to her magical wikipedia ability than anything else. This makes sense, given that we get three new girls here, and have fun seeing Rekka try to intertwine their stories in order to solve the problem. Fortunately, two of them are already intertwined: Tetra is essentially a shrine maiden devoted to doing something about the seal that is currently holding back a powerful monster, and Leviathan (aka Lea), the monster in question who turns out to have been imprisoned there falsely. The third heroine is more down to earth: Akane Tendo (cough) pardon me, Tsumiki Nozomuno, who family owns a failing restaurant and needs her to come up with a dramatic menu item to save the day, despite the fact that anything she cooks ends up as a poisonous black sludge, and also the fact that she’s a massive tsundere.
This volume is not quite as good as the first – I suspect the author forgets that he’s writing a parody of the harem genre at times, and when he does, things get rather tedious. The villain was quite good, but the introduction reminded me a lot of Kyubey – possibly deliberately, as I think Madoka Magica was airing when this was being written. There are funny gags, although Rekka in a magical girl outfit is not as funny as the author – and indeed the rest of the cast – think. Worst of all, R’s snark is few and far between here, though when she does make a comment it’s as hilariously sarcastic and bitter as ever. She’s still easily the best part of the book.
As I said, we get a cliffhanger ending to this book, which seems to introduce the subject of the third book. Will it limit itself to just one girl this time around? If we assume 3 girls per book, that would be 48 girls, which is edging close to Negima territory, so I’m hoping that we back off a bit. I’m also hoping for a bit more making fun of the harem comedy and less conforming to it. Still, this is easy reading and fun enough for those who enjoy the genre.