Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 9

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.

There are many things that I greatly enjoy Rokujouma for, but it has to be said that surprises and plot twists are not one of them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, of course, but it does need to be said: if you’re reading Rokujouma and wondering what is going to happen next, “the most obvious thing” will be the correct answer. In this book we see Ruth getting an arranged marriage visit – given she’s the princess’s attendant and closest friend, she’s a bit of a hot commodity. We meet her theoretical fiancee, who is handsome, turned his father’s business around, donates to so many charities it’s ridiculous, and no doubt spends his spare time petting kittens. There is no reason to refuse this marriage except, of course for two things: 1) she’s in love with Koutarou, something that she finally accepts by the end of this book, and 2) he turns out to be… well, let’s save the gripping suspense for the next paragraph.

If you guessed “turns out to be secretly EVIL!”, congratulations, you can now write an anime series. In fact, not only is he secretly evil, but he turns out to look exactly like the sneering evil guy that Koutarou fought in the past in the previous mini-arc, something Koutarou lampshades. Actually, that arc is becoming the kick off for a lot of new plots – Koutarou is teaching Ruth sword fighting now because he wants her to fight like her ancestor did. More importantly, Ruth figures out the truth of what happened, that Koutarou is in fact the Blue Knight. She almost kneels before him in worship, to be honest, which made me a little uncomfortable, but given who Ruth is and the appearance of their biggest legend before her as the man she loves, it’s very much in character. Actually, given this book is almost all Ruth’s book, it’s pretty well characterized. Which isn’t surprising, as likeable characterization and development is the strongest point of this author.

As for the rest of the cast, it’s Valentine’s Day, and we are briefly reminded that Koutarou was supposed to, at the start of the series, be one of the “unpopular” guys that never got valentines. The very idea is laughable now, of course, so instead we’re treated to a comedic series of his love interests handing out chocolate one by one to an increasingly baffled Koutarou. Harumi is satisfied just saying it’s “obligation chocolate” when she knows it’s not. Theia gets the prize, however, as she says it’s definitely love chocolate, leaving Koutarou poleaxed. (She also implies that she’d be perfectly happy sharing Koutarou with Ruth, making me wonder if this is another series that’s going to have a harem ending of some sort.) The other girls also do well for themselves, apart from poor Yurika, who’s stuck in comedy relief mode this book, so is totally useless.

So now we have a new enemy, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be back, but probably not next book. Shizuka’s on the cover of this one, and of the main heroines she’s the least developed – in fact, is she a heroine? Perhaps she’s the best developed of the supporting roles. I wonder if she’ll get more focus next time. That said, the cliffhanger for this book implies Kiriha will get the bulk of the next one. Rokujouma remains a delight, even if it’s a very predictable delight.

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