An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 9

By Fuminori Teshima and COMTA. Released in Japan as “Maou no Ore ga Dorei Elf wo Yome ni Shitanda ga, Dou Medereba Ii?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

As this series has gone on and become a reasonable success, the author has sensibly decided to widen its brief. As such, the “will they actually do anything?” parts get smaller and less relevant as time goes on. This is not to say that they’re absent, however, and we do get possibly the funniest moment in this volume when Zagan thinks that he and Nephy are literally cursed to never get closer to each other rather than, as everyone else around them can see, just being two socially awkward dorks in love. Still, at least the two of them share a honeymoon suite. That’s progress? And they sleep in each other’s arms, and call each other (as they are under cover) as “honey” and “dear”. But yeah, that’s all you’re going to get. Honestly, even Chastille and Barbatos make more progress in this book than Zagan and Nephy, who are adorable but really should grow up the teensiest bit. That said, they’re ahead of Shax, Mr. “I had your underwear in my pocket for a reason”.

The main thrust of the plot sees everyone converging on the Holy City for various reasons. That’s where Azazel’s Staff is, which is highly important to every single faction in the series. So we get the Angelic Knights, who don’t know much about it but know it should not fall into the wrong hands; Bifrons and Shere Khan, who have sent two minions to destroy the holy treasure room to get it; and Zagan and Nephy, who are actually there to try to find Orias, who might be able to help her cure Kuroka’s blindness, but end up looking for the staff as well. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of fighting towards the end of the book, mostly involving everyone attacking Zagan and his mopping the floor with them. That said, in the final battle against one of the stronger Angelic Knights, he has to use martial arts, rather than sorcery, to win. He regards this as a loss. Everyone else thinks he’s simply ridiculously overpowered.

It is amusing to see how many of the characters are leading double lives. There’s a traitor among the Angelic Knights, and you might briefly be worried for Chastille, but everyone agrees her alliance with Zagan is far too open and honest; she’s not tricky enough to be the real traitor. Then there’s Michael, who is secretly an Archdemon, but is also not the actual traitor. We also continue to get more insight on Alshiera, who continues to stay true to the course of “blond underage vampire mistress” in modern Japanese works, i.e. she’s pretending to be an irredeemable bad guy but really fits the caring mentor role better. And props to Foll, who is growing powerful enough to take on Bifrons and deal him actual damage. Our little dragon girl is growing up.

We’ve now caught up with Japan, as the 10th volume came out there two weeks ago, so it might be a bit till we get it here. Till then, though, this is a good, solid entry in the series, provided you don’t care that Zagan and Nephy are the most awkward couple ever – still.

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