Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vols. 1-3

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

This series has an unusual history, at least in terms of translation. It’s 24+ volumes in Japan, so no one was seriously considering it as a possible license. Plus it had a fan translation already. But J-Novel Club reached out to the fan translator and made a deal, and so what we have here is that translation, newly edited for published release. It’s available for free on J-Novel’s site, or you can buy it on Amazon and the usual suspects as a normal light novel. As for why you’d want to? Well, do you like Strike the Blood? Do you enjoy its blinding obvious cliches but wish that it was less action oriented and more of a harem comedy? If so, then Rokujouma may be the series for you! It’s cliched as heck, but rarely actively irritating, and at times even can be heartwarming and amusing.

If you are wondering what Rokujouma means, well, I’m a little unclear on that myself, but the basic premise is that this young man, living alone as he starts high school, has found a dirt-cheap apartment. It’s dirt-cheap because, as the landlady tells him, it’s haunted and everyone’s been driven out of it. This does not bother our hero, though, as he’s a deep sleeper. After an accident he gets into while at work (which is, somewhat frustratingly, never followed up on in any of the three books), he comes home and finds he can now see the ghost, a cute young girl trying to get him out as this is HER apartment. And then suddenly we get a self-proclaimed magical girl, a member of an underground tribe, and an alien princess and her retainer, all of whom have designs on the room for their own reasons. And it’s not even a big apartment! Hijinx, as they say, ensue.

The author notes in the afterword of Volume 1 that this is only his second book, and his first series. It shows a bit – the flaws in this series are the sort you see in a new writer’s work, with some stuff explained too much, some not explained enough, and the occasional reliance on stereotypes to take the place of characterization, though that improves as the series goes on. The first book is the weakest, since it has to introduce the cast all at once and can’t really do much else. Stronger was the second book, which involves a school athletic festival and is filled with lots of opportunities for wacky comedy – the anime version of this is likely quite amusing. The best reason to read the series is Yurika, the magical girl who absolutely no one believes. I suspect the author was watching Haruhi Suzumiya when he wrote her, as she’s basically Mikuru, but the sheer amount of abuse and contempt heaped upon her by our hero, the other girls, and even the narration is so overblown it becomes hilarious.

This is absolutely a standard harem comedy, and doesn’t really do much of anything to set itself up above the pack so far. That said, it also doesn’t really do too much to really make it horrible, either. The ghost girl gets a lot of character development in the third book, and I suspect future books will do the same for the others. If you like this genre, and haven’t already read the series online, Rokujouma is worth checking out.

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