Spy Classroom Short Story Collection: Bridal Royale

By Takemachi and Tomari. Released in Japan as “Spy Kyoushitsu” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nathaniel Thrasher.

When I reviewed the 4th volume of The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady the other day, I talked about how the success of the anime gave me a new appreciation and love of the books. The same season that that anime ran, we also had the first season of the adaptation of Spy Classroom. Sadly, here I have the opposite problem, as I have to remind myself that I actually did enjoy this series and was looking forward to the next book. Fortunately, this short story collection is in prose, which is the series’ greatest strength, and so I don’t have to worry about lame attempts to hide Erna under a table. Also, I know it’s a short story collection, so am not really expecting it to be more than it already is. As such, I am pleased to say that this is a solid book in the series, with the ending especially pleasing me a great deal, even as it really leans in to having its cake and eating it too.

The wraparound plot, and final short story, involves the girls finding out that Klaus has married one of them on paper for the sake of missions where he needs a wife. However, no one is admitting they’re the wife. As such, interrogations ensue, which form the four main short stories. We see Klaus and Sybilla embark on a miniature Oliver Twist story, only one where Bill Sikes rather than Fagin is the leader. We then see Sara, who already has low self-esteem in regards to being a spy, trying to make herself usual by repairing the mansion, which ends up turning into a contest. Monika goes on a solo mission where we learn her backstory, and she also bonds with the mark she’s trying to take care of, despite her best efforts to be cool and collected. And Grete tries to help Klaus by saving the local meat pie shop he likes, which ends up becoming an escalating comedy of errors. Finally, there’s only one way to resolve the wife question… have a winner-take-all fight to determine who gets to be Klaus’ new bride!

The four main stories all ran in Dragon Magazine, which exists primarily to run short stories for light novel franchises. They’re all pretty decent, though the meat pie story was struggling to keep my attention. The four girls who star were chosen as they weren’t the focus of the first volume in the main series, so this fleshed them out. (This takes place mostly before the climax of Vol. 1, with the rest happening right before the start of Vol. 2). If you like romance, you’ll enjoy this, as most of the cast are in love with Klaus, and a few are not shy of saying so. If you hate the idea of romance, though, you will also love this, as Klaus makes it very clear that he sees his relationship with the girls as teacher and students, does not want to cross a line he shouldn’t, and hopes they all find other partners. I am in the camp that prefers this cast as a found family, so to me this was the best part of the book.

So yes, wipe that taste of the anime out of your mouth, the books are fine. What’s more, for some odd reason, this SS volume did not follow Yen’s normal publishing schedule, meaning we only have a month till the fifth book in the main series. I look forward to it.

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