Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 9

By Rhythm Aida and nauribon. Released in Japan as “Buta Koushaku ni Tensei shita kara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to Iitai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Zihan Gao.

For today’s reading we have Exhibit A in “the suspension bridge effect is bullshit”. Slowe and Alicia are put into a situation where they’re supposed to band together to survive and slowly realize their feelings for each other. There are, however, a few minor problems with this scenario. 1) Slowe is in love with Charlotte. 2) Alicia is MUCH more stubborn than even those who knew her imagined. And, most importantly, 3) They’re just not that into each other. This book starts with the cliffhanger of the last volume, which has the rumor about Slowe and Alicia being engaged again, and both are determined to break it off – Slowe for obvious reasons, and Alicia because, even if she does think Slowe is not as bad as he used to be now, an arranged marriage is anathema to her. I really like Slowe and Alicia’s dynamic, but as “put upon heirs”, not as a couple.

So yes, the campus is abuzz with the rumor about Slowe and Alicia, to the point that neither of them can even have a moment’s peace without the gossip reaching their ears. And a lot of the gossip is nasty, on both sides. Plus Slowe is now having nightmares where he’s married to Alicia and Charlotte is crying. Theoretically, they should team up, but Alicia is not that sort of person. Instead, Slowe and Charlotte have to sneak off after her when she flees the campus. She’s going to one of the most dangerous dungeons in the world to get back a priceless royal heirloom that was taken by a slime monster. If she can return it to the royal family, she’ll have enough clout to get the engagement called off. To help she’ll have Slowe, Charlotte, Charlotte’s “pet cat”, and the world’s most suspicious guide.

The weak point in this book is Blau. She’s a good character, but a lot of her felt underdeveloped. Given what she’s got planned for Alicia in the dungeon, I expected her to be a lot more morally grey than she ended up being, but she was more of a dumbass than anything else. Also, her character really needed a cathartic last meeting with the one she’s been searching for, and just did not get it. Honestly, both of those problems seem like poor editing – I wonder if she was meant to be a villain but that was rejected? Charlotte is also much stronger here than in previous books, which is good, because given the cliffhanger to THIS book she’ll need that strength. And I also appreciated the repetition of Slowe never quite realizing what his reputation is with the kingdom now that he’s saved the day multiple times. He’s still trapped in that damn anime.

The next book promises a confrontation we’ve wanted to see since the start – Slowe vs. his family. Till then, this was a strong volume of Piggy Duke, and had a bunch of cool fights as well. Plus, skeleton warriors. Always terrific.

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