An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 15

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 by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

If the 13th volume in this series was the big climactic finale, and the 14th was a short story interlude, then this new volume is very much “start of the next season”. We are reminded that there are a few archdemons that we still have not met, and that many of them are terrible people in almost every way. We also have fallout to deal with from the previous “season”, which means that Kuroka has to go into hiding and Foll needs to get used to being one of the main players on the board. And of course there’s also room for love – Nephy’s birthday is coming up, as is Chastille, and the men in their lives are scrambling for the BEST present. Alshiera’s old crush has been resurrected… as has her old husband, Zagan’s dad. Love triangle? Not so much. Zagan’s dad may, in fact, be there to torpedo the one yuri relationship in this series, alas. In any case, A LOT OF STUFF.

After the big battle from Vol. 13, there are new Archdemons galore… though unfortunately, there’s no room for Barbatos, as there’s a missing sigil meaning he doesn’t get to join in the fun. Fortunately, he’s too busy competing with Chastille in “who can be the lamest possible person” sweepstakes to care. Foll, meanwhile, has been designated by Zagan to handle the Nephilim, who regard Zagan as The Enemy but might be more amenable to a dragon girl. Foll is pretty much sweet as pie and also hella strong, so things go well… till an amnesiac girl arrives. Though she calls herself Lily, her true identity is Asmodeus, one of the Archdemons, and a mercenary who will steal anything and sell out anyone. Is she faking her amnesia? And if so, is it right to just kill her?

The book does not really answer that last question all that well. It’s framed by Asmodeus towards the end of the book that she was faking it all along, but given that we even had POV narration from “Lily” that belied that, I’m inclined to believe she’s lying, possibly to herself. She’s an interesting character… but there’s also a sense that we’ve seen her character arc before with different people. It’s even pointed out they have ANOTHER amnesiac girl to help her out, in a case of non-subtle lampshading. As for the other new Archdemon (well, the one who gets actual screen time), he’s clearly not here to be redeemed by the power of niceness the way Asmodeus is, so is allowed to simply be a terrible monster, though his debate with Zagan about what you should feel when murdering something is interesting in a “cool motive, still murder” sort of way. And for all that this book starts off making a big deal about getting Chastille and Barbatos to admit they’re in love, it really doesn’t follow through at all, does it?

So an OK volume of the series, that will probably read better when this new “season” really gets going. Who knews, maybe the anime will have a release date by the time the next volume comes out, and I can’t see this series ending till that airs.

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