Housekeeping Mage from Another World: Making Your Adventures Feel Like Home!, Vol. 6

By You Fuguruma and Nama. Released in Japan as “Kasei Madoushi no Isekai Seikatsu: Boukenchuu no Kasei Fugyou Uketamawarimasu!” by Ichijinsha Bunko Iris NEO. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Hengtee Lim.

I’ve talked before about how we’ve been edging closer and closer to Alec and Shiori confessing each other’s tragic backstory, and while we’re not QUITE there yet in this volume, we get the next best thing, which is an extended flashback showing us what happened with Alec, his brother, and his first love. Unsurprisingly, it turns out to involve emotionally immature people making poor decisions, and feels almost nostalgic. It also helps the reader to understand how much more balanced and mature Alec and Shiori’s relationship it – indeed, while it dances around being explicit, the two of them bathe together, and it’s implied some other activities happen. If you define lovers as “stick it in”, they’re not there yet, but they are in every way that actually counts. And they’re also there to help each other with mental trauma, which is good, as this is a very bad book for Alec on that account – and that’s not counting the flashback.

Alec and Shiori have moved in together, and experimented with the “There Is Only One Bath” AO3 tag, but there’s an issue. The hand cream that Shiori uses to make her scarred hands less stiff needs mandrakes, and Nils is out of them. So a group of adventurers goes to a cave to find some mandrakes, avoid their horrible shrieks, and also deal with – I swear I’m not making this up – Brain Suckers, monsters that apparently look like aliens form Mars to Shiori, but who also cause traumatic hallucinations if they touch you. Alec gets touched. After this, Alex makes a decision to finally set up a meeting with his brother (and former lover if she’ll come) so they can bury their past together. That said, he and Shiori have something big to deal with before that can happen: a ridiculously long extra story at the back.

I appreciated the flashback, as it showed us how much Alex suffered, and what’s led him to tend towards “everything is my fault” in his post-royal life (to be honest, a trait he shares with Shiori). I also liked that Rebecca was not some stock villainess but a teenager who sees a chance to get everything she wants and forgets all about what that would mean other than “be with the man I love”. I appreciated that her punishment was, in many ways, the best thing that ever happened to her. As for the side story at the end, it reminds you that ghosts, wraiths and phantoms are very real things in this world, and need to be dealt with – but it also reminds you that nothing in this world is quite as scary as the average Japanese ghost story, and Shiori’s imaginative yokai is pants-wettingly terrifying.

I’m pretty sure the next volume is, if not the final book in the series, at least the payoff, with Shiori finally admitting she’s from Japan and Alec finally admitting he’s a runaway prince. This remains a nice romantic fantasy.

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