I Refuse to Be Your Enemy!, Vol. 4

By Kanata Satsuki and Mitsuya Fuji. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Teki ni Narimasen!” by PASH! Books. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tara Quinn.

I’ve mentioned before that, aside from the basic “villainess otome game” plot, there’s very little here that could not simply be imported as is to a Western romantic fantasy, albeit one with a very military strategy sort of bent. No one is trying to make miso, and the references to Kiara’s past life in Japan are kept to longing for family and nothing specifically cultural. So, for the most part, I had this down as a book you could happily recommend to casual, non-anime fans… at least until the catgirl Festival showed up. See, one city has a legend of being saved from certain death by a cat goblin, and so every year girls put on kitty ears and wear angel wings. And then go out and look for men they might be attracted to. It’s not particularly handled in a bad way, and it doesn’t detract from the rest of the book. It just made me go “really? cat ears?” when I got to it.

We pick up immediately where we left off, and continue to slowly wage war against the enemy army. Several things happen here that are of note, though. First, after a second encounter with him disguised as a merchant, Kiara finally clues in that the helpful guy giving her advice is actually the opposing king. That said, the king has an “I am not evil” backstory, so I suspect we may be able to work things out. Secondly, Lady Emmeline, who was the savviest of the hostages we met in the last book, becomes a major supporting character, and another person for the perpetually baffled Kiara to turn to when it comes to emotions. She also makes a great general. Lastly, and most importantly, Lord Credias, Ada’s husband and the one who turned Kiara into a spellcaster, is on the battlefield, and his presence makes Kiara unable to use her magic.

I have, of course, left out Ada, who has the most interesting plotline in the volume. We get several short chapters from her point of view, as she struggles with trying to win Reggie over, her intense hatred for Kiara, and the fact that Kiara turns out to be a fairly decent person. I had briefly wondered if they might try to redeem her, especially as the book seemed to be shipping her with Reggie’s guard, Felix. Unfortunately, after the events in this book, I suspect if there is a redemption it’s going to be one ending in death. Ada is, as has been lampshaded, in the same position that Kiara was in in the original game. And, unlike Kiara’s game self, Ada actually has someone to blame for all of this. It is understandable that she does not decide to turn herself in. (There’s also a very interesting side scene from the POV of game Kiara, a few years before the game events, where she attempts to drown herself and is saved by Reggie.)

We’re now 2/3 of the way through this, and an ending is in sight, but until then there’s going to be pitched battles. At least Reggie has tried to make his feelings relatively clear… but Kiara’s romance aversion and low self-esteem are a wall that is still too high to climb. Definitely recommended for J-Novel Heart fans, though. Despite the cat ears.

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