Incaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 8

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.

Just as Volume 7 had a focus on Theia’s evil counterpart while also starting to make plans to soften her up and add her to the harem, so this 8th volume does the same for Yurika, with Maki’s determination to destroy Koutarou undone by his basic goodness and niceness. The book is well-written enough that I’m all right with the repetition, but I do hope that we aren’t adding too many more girls to the pile. This isn’t Little Apocalypse. Of course, one could argue that Yurika isn’t really a member of the harem group yet either, as she still hasn’t quite had the “oh, I’m in love with him” moment that several of the others have. As for Maki, she’s spent her entire life being unable to trust anyone and constantly betrayed, so it’s no wonder that she’s going to fall for a guy who doesn’t actually do that. Whether that sticks, we shall have to see.

I found the first half of the book stronger than the second, mostly due to its focus on Yurika. She is absolutely the butt monkey of this series, and as a normal girl may be almost too whining and pathetic to bear. We see, over and over again, how she fails at some of the most basic things. And yet give her a chance to actually do her magical girl job and she becomes amazing. I’d suggest that it’s like Sailor Moon, but Usagi was never this competent when powered up. She gains a second staff from Koutarou’s trip to the past (we haven’t gotten Vol. 8.5 yet, but it’s hinted it’s from Yurika’s past counterpart) which is essentially a spell wikipedia, and combining it with her own magic staff she’s suddenly far more dangerous, much to Maki’s surprise. Of course, Koutarou gives her the staff saying “look, now you can do REAL magic”, which hurts, but you can’t have everything.

After a badass fight showing Yurika at her best, alas, she has to be frozen in ice for the second half so that Koutarou can bond with Maki as they battle a sort of demonic Abominable Snowman. Koutarou is in many ways your typical harem protagonist, but he lacks many of the traits that set many fans’ teeth on edge – there is little to no falling into boobs or walking in on girls changing, he doesn’t realize that the girls like him but not in a “you lost me” Shirou Emiya sort of way. And he’s a good strategist, but needs a hand when it comes to the physical stuff most of the time, which is why Theia’s powered armor is so useful. Basically, while you know he’s going to get all the girls as the’s the protagonist of a harem series, there’s no real sense he hasn’t earned it. I do sometimes wish he’d be a bit more quirky, as he can fall into the generic trap, but for the most part I just like him.

So we’ve resolved the dark magical girls for now, though I’ve no doubt that plot will return. Next time we go back in time with Vol. 8.5 and finish Koutarou and Clan’s Excellent Adventure. Till then, a very good Rokujouma for fans of the series, and an excellent one for Yurika fans.

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