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?

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 7

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

This is a strong volume of Realist Hero, getting back to what most people reading the series are here for. No, not harems, though there’s a lot of that going around. No, not sex, there’s none of that here. But diplomacy gets to be front and center again, as Souma and his entourage end up traveling to not-Turkey to see what that nation is all about. There they find themselves designing syringes and scalpels, dealing with a boisterous yet forward-thinking young prince, heading off the discovery of quite a nasty dungeon (and seeing what it does to the poor villagers who lived next to it), and negotiating a three-way trade agreement involving doctors, drugs, medical tools, and the power of HOVERCRAFTS! And all this is only in the first two-thirds of the book, so there’s plenty of time for short stories involving things like dragon meteorologists and Juno (from the group of adventurers) finally learning the truth about her mysterious adventuring companion.

Sadly, our main heroine, Liscia, is totally absent from the story. She’s pregnant, you see, and so has gone off to live away from all society in case something should happen to the child. In reality, I do sort of wonder if she’s been exiled due to her Saberface. Probably not, though, given that this volume sees the introduction of Yuki and Mikuru from the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Well, OK, not really, but close enough. They’re childhood friend and bodyguard, respectively, of the Turgis prince, who is filled with fresh new ideas and also a head full of teenage stupid, which is what leads him to doing things like proposing to 12-year-old fox girls. You’re meant to get the sense that when he matures he’ll be an excellent leader, and there’s hints of that here, though you can also see why not-Yuki calls him dumb all the time. You also get the sense his polyamorous relationships are shaping up nicely. Speaking of which, Hal has recovered nicely from accidentally getting a dragon bride last book, only for us to find that he’s adding an elf soon as well. the book does not have to pair off Souma with EVERYONE.

The worldbuilding is the highlight of the book, once more. There’s a real feel that the author remembers what he wrote before and is building on and adding to it constantly, which is not only the case in books adapted from webnovels, where often you get the sense the author is just thinking “what is the next cool thing?”. Admittedly, sometimes I could do without the worldbuilding – Komain’s refugees are meant to echo the plight of Native Americans, but having her literally look like a Native American stereotype, complete with war paint and feathers, is a bit much. Still, for the most part I am happy and content to see where the book leads me next. Will we finally deal with the demons? Will Souma be reaching out to yet another country? Will he ever work up the nerve to go to bed with another one of his fiancees? This is apparently a big seller for J-Novel Club, and it’s easy to see why. Go get it.