How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 10

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

Once we found out that the world of Realist Hero is one that supports polyamory, the romantic pairings started flying fast and furious. The main focus of this volume is the marriage between Souma and his five wives, and that does happen. But Souma wants to have a lot of other weddings at the same time. His reasoning is solid: he wants lots of babies now so that everyone is available later on, as he suspects soon he’ll be battling Fuuga and other higher-ups for control of the kingdom and other lands, and needs all the help he can get. As a result, he goes around resolving all the sort of romances we’ve had to date that don’t involve him. (Sometimes he doesn’t even need to get involved. Julius marries the princess we saw in Book 8, and Haruhi – sorry, Kuu – proposes to the Realist Hero equivalent of Yuki and Mikuru.) So Hal is marrying Kaede and Ruby, and may also get an elf bride in a few years as a third. The resident mad scientist is marrying her minder. And Poncho also resolves his OT3… well, no. All these marriages are resolved by women. Indeed, the core of this book is that the guys have the nominal power, but the women are the more mature ones who resolve things.

Having had Saber Red on the cover of the first book, we get Saber Lily here for the 10th. Of course, both are Liscia, but the artist has never quite managed to hide their Fate fanart origins. It seems appropriate for this book, which reads almost like a fanfic writer decided to resolve all the uncommitted pairings at once. The “make babies at once” edict also seems like a fan thing, and while there’s no sex in this book, we glide around the topic quite a bit, going from another “Excel Walter Explains It All For You” bridal meeting to Liscia explicitly telling Souma he’ll be bedding everyone one night after another right after the wedding (Aisha is first up) to Serina making sure that Poncho is eating aphrodisiac foods at their own wedding reception. I am not sure if Book 11 will be filled with babies, though. Oh yes, and in non-wedding news, the identity of a certain masked ninja is made a lot clearer.

The best story is saved for last, though, as Liscia’s mother Elisha tells her own life story, and how she discovered her horrible power and used it in order to marry the right man, set up the kingdom so that it would not end in bloodshed, and when all that failed at least send the memories of the one thing she did wrong to the Elisha of OUR world. Yes, that is a plot twist I am spoiling, but it’s brilliant, and I applaud. Elisha’s similarity to Liscia as a child was amusing, but it’s her compassion that is how we remember her. I also liked the callback to an earlier volume where Elisha tells Souma of the fate he and Liscia suffered in that world, and Souma suggests the old “they never saw the bodies” defense, which turns out o be rather relevant after all. In a book filled with sweet, sappy love stories, this one really made me grin.

If I recall, the webnovel this is based on slightly changed the title for future books, implying this is the end of Season 1. I doubt the official books will do the same, but I do expect a change of pace next time. Till then, enjoy all the weddings.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 9

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

While Souma is the focus of these books, he’s not the only ruler in town. We’ve seen some of them taken into his orbit, like Kuu. Some are allied with him but for their own reasons are separate, such as the Empress Maria (who I still say may eventually get into the Souma wife battalion eventually but not just yet). Some, like the Chima leader we meet in this book, are there to make deals using their popular and talented children as bargaining chips and marriage pawns. And then there’s Fuuga Haan, the leader of Malmkhitan, who by his sheer presence, inspirational qualities, and sheer power is the most terrifying of all. He’s compared to Oda Nobunaga and Napoleon in terms of the sort of leader who sets out to conquer. Which is not good news for Souma, who is not that sort of leader at all. Fortunately, Fuuga is on Souma’s side. For now. Fortunately, we also have Ichiha, the youngest child of the Chima ruler, who has a talent that no one recognizes. We know Souma loves those types.

That’s Fuuga Haan on the cover, by the way. No, he’s there in the background, lurking like a Kirito in a Kirito-less book. In the foreground is his little sister Yuriga, who is introduced to us when Tomoe, who has come a long way from her shy little sister days of the early books, goes exploring in the Chima castle. There she runs into Ichiha, who she discovers is not only an excellent artist for his age but is also classifying the monsters into types and seeing what they have in common. Needless to say, Souma LOVES this. No, he’s not taking Ichiha as a spouse, Ichiha being a 10-year-old boy, but he was already going to be sending Tomoe to school, so Ichiha (otherwise useless to the Chima dynasty) gets to come along. But wait, you ask, what does the little sister to Fuuga Haan do? She’s there to be a tsundere. That’s… really it. But she’s also going to the school, and given how obsessed the author is with pairings, I would not be surprised to see her, Ichiha and Tomoe hooking up when they’re of age.

Yuriga is not the only little sister we get in this volume. The main plot of the book takes up about 2/3 of it, the rest being short stories set away from Chima. We get to meet Maria and Jeanne’s younger sister Trill, who should be romanized as Drill, I expect, except it would be one cutesy name too many. Trill is a mad scientist who’s obsessed with inventing new things and blowing holes in the castle by accident, not in that order. Naturally, she too gets packed off to Souma’s kingdom of babysitters, where she can be apprenticed to Genia, their own resident mad scientist, and do mad science together. Which in this case involves building a drill. Which means they need Kuu’s not-quite-girlfriend for the steel. Realist Hero is very good at interconnecting the huge cast it has, which is good as it makes it slightly easier to remember them.

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention: Souma and Liscia’s twins are born, a boy and a girl. Also, motherhood as converted Saber Red into Saber Lily. Now that the mother and children are healthy, there’s nothing stopping the wedding, which I suspect will happen next volume. It should be fun, as this volume was.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 8

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

After a book that was mostly politics last time, we spend much of this book with warfare, as the tiny kingdom of Lastania is under attack by a horde of monsters from the demon territories. This is relevant to Souma and company because Roroa’s brother Julius, who has been wandering around ever since he got his ass handed to him in the early books, has settled down in this kingdom due to falling for the kingdom’s insufferably cute and plucky princess, Tia, who is on the cover despite not getting nearly as much focus in the book as I expected. Julius is a bit desperate here, as the Kingdom is falling to the monsters, so asks Souma for aid even though it may mean his own death. That said, readers of this series know that Souma is (usually) not one to carry grudges, especially not against members of his fiancee’s family. He also has the ability to show up and lead a charge to wipe everything out, which he does.

Given the nature of this series, there’s not really much of an actual threat here. We do see a few of the regulars get to show off their skills, including Hal, Kaede and Ruby, now pretty much working as a well-oiled OT3; Kuu and Leporina, who remain the perfect overenthusiastic royal and harried bodyguard; and Komain and Jirukoma, who are reunited here as Jirukoma is part of Julius’ forces. Honestly, despite all the battles, you get the feeling that the author is more interested in the romance. Leporina clearly has feelings for Kuu, but is waiting for him to mature enough to see them. Poncha, Serina and Komain appear to be forming an OT3 of their own, but Komain may be the only one who actually realizes this. Jirukoma hooks up with one of the Captain’s of Lastania’s forces, Lauren, in a classic “I am too dim to recognize obvious signals” sort of way. Oh yes, and on Souma’s end, Maria is still hinting she would not mind hooking up with him, Excel is hitting on him to the displeasure of ALL the fiancees, and we also hear about a beautiful young warrior from not-China as a tease for the next book. (Hopefully Realist Hero’s not-China holds up better than Smartphone’s not-China.)

There are a few drawbacks to this volume. I’ve talked before about the “Native American” stereotype for the refugees, and we get more art showing it off here. Still don’t like it. Given we’re focusing on how Julius has been reformed, partly due to the power of love, I wish we’d had a bit more time spent with him and Tia, who pretty much exists as a thing to protect. That said, I approve of villains who can reform, and Julius’ guarded conversations with Souma were excellent. I also liked an exhausted Souma confessing his fears of becoming too jaded and uncaring when he becomes king, and Roroa and Naden’s reassurances. I would like to see Liscia again – we do get a scene with her, revealing she’s pregnant with twins, but the nature of the universe, and the “realist” part of it, means she’s still being treated like fine china.

So a mostly solid Realist Hero here, and we’re edging closer to the actual coronation and wedding(s). That said, it appears we have another detour coming up next. Does Souma need an artist?