Altina the Sword Princess, Vol. 6

By Yukiya Murasaki and himesuz. Released in Japan as “Haken no Kouki Altina” by Famitsu Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of these books are devoted to scenes of battle, with clever tactics and lots of cool action. It’s well-written, but it does leave very little for me to talk about. I am reminded of reviewing those titles like K-On! or Sunshine Sketch, which rely on cute girls doing cute things. Here we have soldiers doing soldier things. Or, in the case of this particular book, sailors doing sailor things. The enemy is simply better at everything right now, and so Regis is sent to try to stop their supply line. This involves trying to outwit their naval force, something Regis is once again able to do with the help of some books he read once. That gimmick, I fear, will only take him so far. That said, there are more important things going on here that will affect future books: first, Regis won the battle but lost the war, and second, battle commander Latrielle has a war injury that is far more serious than anyone thinks.

The scene with Latrielle and his aide meeting up with Altina and Regis is a very interesting one. Regis notices Latrielle is acting oddly, and is puzzled, but doesn’t really get to the bottom of what’s wrong, and neither does the reader until it’s revealed to us afterward. In the meantime, Regis finally gets listened to by actual powerful people. He also gets a promotion that comes with a title, meaning he can add ‘du’ to his name – not that he plans on doing this. His attempts at remaining a quiet little adviser who reads books seem to be growing less likely every day. Altina also sticks by his side throughout the book, which is handy as he gets to explain everything to her muscle brains. (Her loathing of reading is palpable here.) We also meet a version of what the two of them would be if they were commoners, as Regis hires a boat run by the perky Narissa and her aggrieved childhood friend Phip. Altina is nice enough to forgive Narissa being rude to a princess, but is also immature enough to be jealous of her and Regis getting close.

As for the naval battle itself, we don’t see much of it from the other side except from the perspective of one ship captain, Morins, who would prefer to spend most of his time in bed with his adjutant, Laurelin. He’s clearly meant to be an antagonist who will crop up again someday, so it’s rather annoying that he’s such a sexist asshole. On the bright side, that means I’m quite pleased to see how he gets routed by Regis, who comes up with such clever strategies as “ram the ship with a rowboat full of explosives”. His seasickness means we’re unlikely to see him putting his brain to use for the Navy all that often, but it’s still impressive. Now if only he could take some pride in his achievements. Or even notice that both Altina and Clarisse are clearly in love with him.

The rather imperfect victory at the end of this volume means, I suspect, that the next book in the series will be a bit more serious. Till then, though, this is another fun example of a military potboiler, with a likeable lead couple (even if they aren’t one yet).

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