Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 33

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

The most annoying thing about this volume, of course, is what ISN’T here. We had been expecting that each girl would get their own “what if?” arc detailing their lives if Koutarou fell for them, with Harumi being the first. Now here we are with the next one, Clan… only we find that Maki already had hers, as an exclusive 75-minute CD bonus track. I gotta hope this is part of the Kickstarter in some way, because if that’s how it’s going down in the future, I suspect half of English-speaking fans are going to be left without satisfaction. Maki’s looks cute, seems to involve rescuing some stray cats (who continue to hang around her), and… well, sorry. As for the book itself, it’s fine. As with previous “short story” volumes, it contains three stories written previously for the “Hercules” website, and Clan’s “what if”, which is empty of surprises but is as sweet and cute as you’d expect. And you learn far more about vacuum tubes than you ever thought you would.

The first short story has Koutarou getting a cold while skiing (blame Yurika, who ends up going down the hill like a cartoon, as a rolling snowball) and getting nursed back to health by Elfaria and Kiriha. They both want to get closer to Koutarou, but are also nice and mature, so they end up having a “gambling match”, loser has to take care of him, and then both trying to throw the match, sort of. It shows off how Elfaria may not be quite as far out of the harem as she thinks, despite not being one of the “core girls”. Next we see just how Yurika got to be a magical girl, and her early days with Nana. If nothing else, this tells us that Yurika was indeed born on Earth and not in Magical Girl World. Other than that it’s slight, emphasizing how she’s still basically Usagi Tsukino in a Yurika skin. The third short has Kiriha and Maki, on separate outings with their friends, meeting at an amusement park and talking. It’s sweet, but again, two of the sensible characters having a conversation makes things a bit dull.

As with Harumi’s “what if”, Clan’s stems from one slight issue going worse than canon; while in the past searching for the Blue Knight, she gets a bad cold, and has to be taken care of by Koutarou. This allows the two of them to be far closer and less guarded than they are in canon, and that extends to when they return to the present day. Clan is not Harumi, so as you’d expect there’s a lot more tsundere action going on in this story, but the beats are the same – Koutarou’s defenses are brought down, he ends up hanging out with Clan more than the others, and they gradually fall in love, though being who they are said love is mostly exchanged via unspoken handholding and hugs. There’s also a nice examinatio9n of Clan’s tendency to think of herself as a “villain”, and the regrets she has from her past. She’s always going to be snarky, but Clan has soft4ened up a lot.

So overall, not an essential volume unless Clan is your best girl, but it’s readable. Next time we should get back to the main storyline… in fact, I think we get two books of main storyline in a row, so no what-ifs for a bit.

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