Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 12

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.

Rokujouma is, of course, a balanced harem sort of series that in all honesty feels like it’s going to end up with some sort of polyamorous resolution. That said, obviously as a reader I have my favorites. After after realizing that the three volumes where she gained character development are my three favorite volumes, it’s time to admit it: Yurika is my jam. (I may have admitted this before, but forgive me for the slight return.) It’s a somewhat unusual choice given that Yurika’s default state is essentially Usagi from Sailor Moon: a whining, clumsy, somewhat bad at life sort of girl. But, like Usagi, when you put her into a situation where she has to protect the world and her friends, she comes through with flying colors. In addition, her scenes with Koutarou in this book really have a nice amount of romantic tension, even if it’s just on her part. And finally, praise the Lord, everyone admits that Yurika is indeed a real Magical Girl. This book is basically everything I want in a character arc.

Being a Yurika book, it’s no surprise that the chief villains here are Darkness Rainbow, though one of the main plot revelations is that they’re getting help from another group of villains. This means that Maki also gets a large amount of character work, following up on her bond with Koutarou in the 8th volume… in fact, the literal bond created between them becomes almost a chain to Maki, who worries that it means that her feelings aren’t her own. And Harumi, who has always somewhat suffered from being the normal girl in the group (Shizuka can beat up monsters with martial arts, so doesn’t count), gets a power up thanks to the narrative explicitly acknowledging her reincarnation of the princess status, even if Harumi doesn’t quite get it herself. Her scenes with Yurika were also fantastic, as Yurika’s guilt in falling for the guy Harumi loves is wiped away by the power of friendship, and the two end up literally merging souls for a bit when things get rough.

The nature of the Rokujouma license means that’s we’re getting these books once a month, and while it can be hard to catch up, not to mention expensive, I also think it’s helped me appreciate the plot and the way the book tie together in a way I wouldn’t if I was reading these three times a year. The last several books have felt like one continuous narrative, even as they change focus and emphasis, and I’ve no doubt that when Vol. 13 focuses on Theia (as the cliffhanger implies), it will also pick up threads from this book and others. Koutarou too is recognizing his faults out loud, and actually doing something about them. Yurika as well, though she needs a lot more help with her more comedic faults. (The funniest joke in the book may have been the final one, where Shizuka points out to Koutarou that not letting Yurika get any sleep at all will not help her study habits.)

Broken record time: Invaders of the Rokujouma!? is the best light novel series you’re not reading. Catch up as soon as possible.

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