An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 11

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 series is trying its hardest to keep a good balance between the light-hearted romantic comedy that the majority of its readers are here for and the increasingly dark backstory that is constantly threatening to become the front story as well. That continues in this book, which has an awful lot of Zagan and Nephy being incredibly blushy and goofy around each other, wearing each others clothes, being in each other’s dreams, and generally being the most adorable couple around that haven’t even gotten to first base yet. Contrasted with that is the increasingly doomed Alshiera, the plotting, sinister or otherwise, of the various other archdemons, and the continued horrors being piled upon Dexia and Aristella. Fortunately, with one or two exceptions, this remains very readable overall, even if you are only in it to see when these two lovebirds will finally get it on. (Spoiler: don’t hold your breath.)

The main plotline involves Lilith, who is a succubus that controls dreams. She’s able to give Zagan and Nephy a shared dream (that, oddly, shows them in a Japanese high school) and is also trying to rescue a boy who is stranded in a nightmare. He’s connected to Alshiera, who is still slowly dying from events in previous books, and is trying to show everyone that this is fine and that she’s content with it, ignoring the fact that there are others who are absolutely not content with it. To make matters worse, Zagan and friends may have found Azazel, who is also in Lilith’s dreamland, and is likyly going to kill Alshiera once and for all. And, perhaps worst of all, Foll is going around asking everyone what they think about love. Is there someone actually interested in her? Or is she just a normal girl? (Well, a normal powerful dragon girl).

Describing the plot is somewhat difficult, as you can tell from the preceding paragraph, but it holds together pretty well. One irritating negative is a new character is introduced, and there is some anti-trans humor about them, so be warned. Still sadly very popular in Japanese manga and light novels. Lilith is, for the most part, taken seriously, and proves to be pretty awesome when she tries. I especially liked Alshiera gently trying to push Lilith away and get her to accept Alshiera’s death, and Lilith basically saying “nope, fuck that, gonna save you”. Zagan is also awesome as always, though there is worrying evidence that he’s pushing himself too hard that may come up in future books. Oh yes, and Kuroka gets drunk and horny on catnip wine. Let’s ignore that.

The series seems content to meander along, both in its romantic plotlines and its more serious fantasy-based plots. And we’re caught up with Japan, meaning we’ll likely be waiting even longer for the next book. Still, if you enjoy archdemons and elfs being super cute together, and don’t mind the occasional tonal crash when the bad guys have a scene, this remains a good series to be reading.

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