An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride, Vol. 16

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.

These books are getting increasingly hard to review, as there’s simply not much that’s left in terms of “dangling plotline” beyond one or two minor things introduced here. Zagan has gotten to the point where he’s ready to propose to Nephy, and has a ring, but a) is waiting for Nephy to be emotionally prepared for a proposal, and b) has to use the ring as a magic tool when battling a demon. Barbatos and Chastille are still trapped in tsundere hell, but are at least able to go out on dates now, and it won’t be long before they manage to somehow get married while denying it to the last breath in their bodies. The only real ongoing new plot of interest is Asmodeus, who, as predicted, is trying to pretend that the whole Lily thing didn’t affect her, but it totally did.There’s also getting spirits out of angelic swords, but unless we meet any of these spirits, I don’t care.

Chastille’s birthday is coming up soon, and Barbatos is *so* bad at romance that Gremory actually asks another archdemon for help, Vepar. Vepar would rather chew glass, as he regards Barbatos as evil and thinks Chastille is being forced into this, but after a while hanging around Barbatos he starts to get the picture – Barbatos is just lame. Vepar, meanwhile, wants a chance to fight his former master Asmodeus. While this is going on, Barbatos is also approached by Astrologian Eligor, who is trying to recruit Barbatos to switch sides and fight against Zagan. Most of what follows is a string of wacky misunderstandings. While this is going on, actual demons have been appearing in the country more and more, and both Zagan and Asmodeus are trying to stop it. Though Zagan’s may be hard, as it’s 10.000 demons standing on each other wearing a trenchcoat.

There’s nothing really wrong with this volume. The humor is funny if you like tsunderes. The couples are cute, though I’m less fond of Selphy, Lilth and Furcas’ love triangle, possibly as I suspect Selphy will end up on the losing side of it. Zagan gets to do cool things, Nephy gets to do cool things. And another innocent kid walks down an alleyway when they hear a noise, which has happened in this series already about four times, and I feel the need to remind the populace about taking basic safety lessons. But while there’s nothing wrong with the book, it’s not exciting either. It’s there to incrementally move things along, but it has the air of “I can drag this out as long as my publisher lets me”, and it’s starting to show. The manga spinoff that just started probably isn’t helping.

So fans of the series should read this, but don’t be surprised if you, like me, feel a bit tired of the whole thing.

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