An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 10

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.

This has been such a relaxed, somewhat sweet series that it actually can be startling when bad things happen. For the most part, the bulk of this book involves building a giant bath at Zagan’s castle, which he doesn’t really care about, but the rest of his increasingly large cast of women staying with him want very much. There’s discussion of the different kinds of baths, lots of teasing of various people who are still not quite hooked up with anyone yet, and a huge fight between Zagan and Barbatos, taking out large chunks of the forest, that basically revolves around “is it OK to peep?”. (Zagan says no.) Even when we cut to the bad guys, things are seemingly a bit more calm, with the twin assassin girls being given pocket money and sent out to the city, whereupon they buy a giant parfait. Unfortunately, horrible things do still happen here, and there is actually a real plot burbling underneath.

It can be a bit difficult to figure out who the major evil that needs to be defeated is in this series. First of all, Zagan has ended up turning a lot of former enemies into his allies. Secondly, of the current evil forces group, the twins are actually very cute when they’re in downtime mode (which makes the fate of one of them all the more tragic), Shere Khan is essentially a non-entity here, and Bifrons, the closest thing we’ve had to a big bad to date, ends up helping Zagan at the end – sort of. He’s still plenty evil, as the leading archdemon will attest, but there seems to be something even more evil behind all this – perhaps related to Azazel. Speaking of the twins, the serious part of the book has them both realizing they’d sacrifice their life to protect the other one, and then getting in situations where this is required. It’s touching and also a bit horrifying.

Then there’s the flip side of all this, which is Zagan and company. He’s still trying to figure out his own past, and there are several new revelations here about his childhood with Stella and Marc. Indeed, one of Archdemon’s Dilemma’s conceits is that everyone has connections to each other person in the series that they either don’t know or forgot about – ranging from serious (Marc’s identity in the church) to somewhat comical (where Chastille learned how to be such a good swordswoman at such a young age). Zagan and Nephy, fortunately, just get to be a cute little couple, again not actually achieving a romantic breakthrough just yet but this time around they manage to have a bath together with washing of the backs, which is nice. Certainly they’re miles ahead of the other not-quite-couples in this book.

So yes, this is mostly sweet and fun, but be warned it gets quite dark about 3/4 of the way through. Still a solid entry in the series, though.

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