The Ideal Sponger Life, Vol. 6

By Tsunehiko Watanabe and Jyuu Ayakura. Released in Japan as “Risou no Himo Seikatsu” by Hero Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by MPT.

The idea of “You have to take a concubine for political reasons” has been around since the start of the series, but Zenjirou and Aura have been deftly avoiding it by essentially being in the “honeymoon” stage of their relationship. Now, however, she’s had a son and they’re trying for another child (trying an awful lot in this book, though as always there’s nothing explicit) and the murmurs are getting louder. Lots of factions are arranging to have their daughters be what is essentially Wife #2. That said, it is still something of a surprise when Princess Freya does the equivalent of a public proposal to him at her introductory event. Indeed, it’s a surprise to Freya’s group as well, particularly her bodyguard Skaji. They’d have been less surprised if they looked at future cover art for this series: The Ideal Sponger Life has 14 volumes out in Japan so far, and Freya features on more covers than Aura. She’s absolutely here to stay. That said, politics…

Negotiating Zenjirou’s emotional state is also an important part of this volume. We’ve seen how he is mostly a very kind, accepting person (indeed, the main reason Freya moves so quickly is that she realizes that if she becomes his concubine she’ll still have some power, as he’s not a sexist like most of this society) but that doesn’t mean that he’s happy with everything that’s happening. Taking another woman into his bed seriously bothers him (it doesn’t happen here, and it’s implied won’t for several books – negotiations, etc.) but he sees why it’s very politically advantageous for their nation. It’s a matter of sucking it up and dealing with it, unfortunately. Which is possibly why Aura basically decides the best way to pacify him for the moment is “lots of sex”. Still, at least he now has his goats, which means he can make CHEESE! And chocolate, more importantly.

The maids are also here at the end of the book, of course. Indeed, their presence is slowly starting to intersect with the main plot, as one of the older maids is married off to the middle management noble we saw in the previous book, and her two fellow maids are also called back home by their families to marry, meaning there’s a need for new trainees. Naturally, our three “wacky” maids are not being called home to marry just yet (and we are forcibly reminded that they are from noble families, something fairly easy to forget), but they do now have to act as teachers to the new girls – and it can be especially difficult given that Zenjirou is nothing like other guys that might need maids. There’s less comedy schtick here than usual, and it’s implied that the three maids are – slowly – growing up. I wonder how long they’ll be in the cast.

So with Freya added to the mix, I assume that we need to head back to fantasy Scandinavia soon, but Zenjirou has to learn more magic to do that without it taking years. And what of Bona, the other really obvious concubinal candidate? If nothing else, you know the next volume will have lots of extended discussion about it.

Also, the cover art is hilarious to me. “Sure, Aura’s got big tits, but check out THIS!” (twerks)

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