Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 22

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.

The plot continues from the last volume, with Koutarou, Theia and Yurika stranded away from the rest of the cast and needing to make their way towards them without getting caught by the military. The rest of the cast have little to do, though Ruth does meet her father, who is happy his little girl is maturing, and also happy she’s fallen for a guy, though Ruth has not quiet told him the “let’s share Koutarou” plan she and Theia have set up. And then there’s Elexis, Maya, and the rest of Darkness Rainbow, who are joining up with the military in order to pursue their own goals, only to find that the military’s “burn everything to the ground” strategy is inimical to their own desires and goals. With that in mind, can Koutarou and company trust Elexis and company long enough to save the planet from a killer virus? And is it time for Magical Girl Pretty Yurika to shine once more?

Most of the book is as good as always, though I wasn’t very much into the part where, to get through a city, Koutarou, Theia and Yurika have to disguise themselves as dogs and cats, something which sounds like it was written in order to create a color illustration more than anything else. More interesting by far was the plot with Elexis, Maya and Darkness Rainbow. They’ve been set up as the best of the villains we’ve had to date, and it’s because their goals are, while not the same as our heroes, at least not evil. Darkness Rainbow want a place to return to and freedom. Elexis regards the kingdom’s rule as a failure and wants it replaced with his own as he thinks it’s better. This is why one of the best scenes shows Elexis coming up against the military leader Vandarion and being overwhelmed by his presence – it helps to show us that a) this guy IS ready to do bad things, and b) he’s not going to be a pushover like Kiriha’s villains were..

Despite being filled with battles and fights (indeed, one of Darkness Rainbow decides to help our heroes because a planet with everyone dead from a virus is a planet where she can’t FIGHT EVERYONE!), Rokujouma’s main success continues to be showing how a harem romance does not need constant conflict between either the fiancees and the heroine or the fiancees and each other to tell a good story. Everyone gets along. Yurika may whine, but she stops immediately when it’s something that she’s best at – indeed, stopping the virus bomb may be her finest hour to date. Likewise, Koutarou and Theia get into a stereotypical “tsundere yells and hits hero” fight, but they’re both hitting each other, and it’s actually a way to make her calm down and blow off steam, and everyone knows it. We’re at the point in the series where “there’s a wacky misunderstanding!” is not needed anymore, and that’s the main reason this is still so good.

We’ve caught up to where the “fan releases” were before J-Novel Club’s unique license, so I expect that the next few volumes may come out in clumps – indeed, I may review them in clumps. Till then, despite being 22 volumes and counting, this is still a series everyone should check out to see a Battle Harem done right.

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