Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 44

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

It has to be said, Rokujouma!? is a very methodical series. We’ve gotten so used to seeing series derived from webnovels where the author is clearly making up each chapter… and sometimes each page… as they go along. So it’s refreshing seeing a series that really feels plotted down to its bones. I suspect the author has outlines and spreadsheets up the wazoo to keep track of all this. A “Pantser” they are not. And sometimes this can be a drawback. There are a few conversations in this short story volume between the heroines where you sort of want one of them to snap and turn evil just for the variety – everyone is polite, pragmatic, and thinks things through – even Theia, who gives the appearance of being impulsive. On the other hand, given what happened in Volume 43, I’m honestly OK with everyone being pleasant and casually discussing their polycule. It’s a lot less sad and downbeat than what I expect the start of the 45th volume will be like.

As with previous short story volumes, this consists of three short stories from HJ Bunko’s online website and a longer story at the end. In the first story, Elfaria, Theia, Ruth, and Ceileshu are ordered to take a day off after the civil war (and despite Ceileshu’s guilt about her part in said civil war), and play various board games from Japan (the Game of Life, etc.). In the second story, with Maki unavailable, Harumi and Shizuka are chosen to try to teach our resident Power Ranger knockoffs how to fight against someone who has magic. In the third story Kotori and Kiriha meet with the student council to discuss how the alien transfer students are fitting in, and then discuss Koutarou’s childhood. In the story written for the book, we see Koutarou going out on dates with all nine of his current polycule… and it becomes clear that it’s going to be expanding to more than nine.

It’s been about fifteen books since the first supposed “ending” of this series, which pretty much cemented that the nine main heroines were all quite friendly with each other and would be happy to share Koutarou in a polyamorous relationship whenever he got over his hangups. He’s mostly done that now, at least in terms of no longer thinking “if I admit I love someone they will die”, but he still feels that choosing just one girl will destroy everything. And, well, he’s not wrong. The second half of this book goes into great detail about how his marriage is now a political decision, and there is no way that he will be allowed to NOT marry someone from Forthorthe. Which… could be Theia. Or Clan. But it could also be Elfaria, who is single, the Empress, still young (for an alien race), and in love with Koutarou, something she is reluctant to admit in front of her daughter. The one thing that none of the heroines are allowed to do in Rokujouma!? is bury their feelings of love. And that’s true if you’re the Empress, or if you’re a god in disguise, or even if you’re the little sister of his best friend, who is starting to realize that maybe he isn’t just a “big brother”.

Of course, that assumes they all survive the next book. The author promises it’s back to the main plot next time. Till then, enjoy a staid and somewhat boring but also warm and comforting light novel volume.

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