I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 6

By Namekojirushi and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Ore ga Heroine o Tasukesugite Sekai ga Little Mokushiroku!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Lensenmayer.

Despite the occasional attempt to tie things together between sections, this is what we always knew was coming in a series this large: a short story collection. The good thing about this is that everything takes place around Rekka’s school and neighborhood, so we get to relax a bit after the high stakes of the last volume. The bad thing, of course, is that low stakes events sometimes don’t equal high impact. The first story in this volume deals with Lea, the human-looking leviathan from Volume 2, and her attempts to actually hold down a job and earn money so she does not have to rely on “nice young men” buying her meals. Lea’s ‘clueless yet strong’ character is not really top tier among the heroines, and the addition of a terrible gay stereotype (which I was going to give a pass until he took the perverted customer into the back room for punishment – yes, the guy was a lech, but no. don’t do that) did not help matters. Thankfully, things pick up a bit after that.

Only two heroines on the cover and added to the pile (that’s a total of 15 now, if you’re counting), but both of them are solid additions. Little Apocalypse sometimes tends to forget it’s meant to be a parody, but it’s a bit better on that front this time around – Rekka has never been more clueless about the fact that all these girls are in love with him. Given that, if you’re going to add memorable new heroines you need to make them ‘types’ so they stand out. Thus we have the teasing, large-breasted literature club girl, Midori, who is thought to be a ghost but in reality is simply quiet and weird – except around Rekka, whom she loves to hug from behind because, well, did I mention the large breasts? Despite the stereotype, she’s a lot of fun – it makes you realize we never really had a ‘tease’ among the heroines till now, and it gives a nice dynamic. The other heroine is Momone, who is not only Student Council President but also a Shrine Maiden and Demon Hunter. Honestly, you could fit three heroines in that description, but she does it all herself. Her blunt forcefulness is also something new added to the heroine lineup.

Neither one of these girls needs saving by Rekka, as R notes – they aren’t “traditional” heroines the way the rest of the group has been, they’re more like Hibiki (who gets a short story at the end dealing with a vengeful ghost, which reads like an episode of Urusei Yatsura so much that I’m going to check my DVDs to see if they actually did that one). That said, it’s fairly clear by the end of the book that they both like Rekka just as much as the rest of them. The final story here is R reporting to her superiors on her progress, which is pretty much near zero. It does have R serving to remind us that this is technically HER story – the story of how she’s stopping the Apocalypse by going back in time and helping Rekka. Which so far seems to involve dragging him around then house as he sleeps so that she can watch TV late at night.

So overall a decent addition to the series, and these books are always so short that they’re a light, snack-like read as you wait for the next Arifuerta or something similar to come down the pike.

I Saved Too Many Girls And Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 5

By Namekojirushi and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Ore ga Heroine o Tasukesugite Sekai ga Little Mokushiroku!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Lensenmayer.

After a couple of books where I was fairly dissatisfied with the series, this is a much stronger volume of Little Apocalypse. It still has its cliches that it falls into, and has pretty much given up being a parody, but that also means the plot gets much more serious and thrilling. Rekka actually manages to achieve cool things, and his wishy-washyness about the heroines is a bit less frustrating. Also R has a lot more to do, and has become the reader stand-in, admiring the girls and tweaking Rekka. We also get a second book in a row where one of the heroines turns out to be not what they seem, but this one actually comes as a bit of a surprise, one of quite a few genuine surprises I had reading this book. There are still a few major problems with it (more on that below), but rating it against other books in the series, it’s the best since the first.

The plot kicks off when Iris invites Rekka to a water planet for the weekend to do some swimming. By now Iris has gotten used to the fact that she can’t have Rekka all to herself as much as she wants, so she even goes as far as to invite the others as well. (The revolving heroine door revolves again this time – Lea can’t make it, but instead Tetra gets a much larger role, to make up for being absent in the prior book.) Upon arrival, they find the planet, in order to survive, has basically become a resort, with the mermaid palace a glorified hotel. Unfortunately, the palace is soon attacked by pirates, whose motive is murky but who seem prepared to kill. Rekka teams up with his usual crew, along with Rain, the princess of the mermaid planet; Shirley, a scientist who seemingly was simply there on holiday as well; and Fam, one of the pirates who’s noticed that the captain has not been himself lately. Interestingly, only the last two are identified as ‘heroines’ by R; I wasn’t sure why Rain wasn’t, but in the end she ends up being one anyway.

As I said, for the most part I enjoyed this. The first at the end was quite good, and the villain’s broken motivation was treated with sensitivity by Rekka when almost any other hero would have simply taken them out. That said, I had two big problems. The first is Raul, a Lupin wannabe who seems to be there to do all the things that the author realized would be impossible for Rekka to achieve, which is nice except that seeing how Rekka achieves impossible things is the main reason to read the series. He’s a deus ex machina character. The other is the ending, which I knew was coming but still cringed at. If you’re going to have a villain threaten an entire planet with death and be well advanced in actually achieving this, even if the motivations do turn out to be “I have never had friends and am desperately lonely”, I’m pretty sure you still have to serve time. The Get Out Of Jail Free Because I’m A Heroine card works far less well here than it does for Rosalind.

But oh well. Little Apocalypse is never going to be perfect, particularly as it keeps advancing its ridiculous premise. Most of the book works pretty well, some neglected heroines get things to do (and no doubt will be neglected again while others rotate in), Rekka gets to be cool and yet still unaware that people are attracted to him, and R is snarky. We’re almost a third of the way through the series, and I’m starting to be curious as to how the author can keep this up without it collapsing.

I Saved Too Many Girls And Caused The Apocalypse, Vol. 4

By Namekojirushi and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Ore ga Heroine o Tasukesugite Sekai ga Little Mokushiroku!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Lensenmayer.

Life as a parody can be difficult, especially when it’s unclear whether you are a parody or not anymore. Little Apocalypse started off being pretty blatantly a parody of all of those harems with piles and piles of women, as well as titles where the male lead goes around “rescuing” the girl of the week (hi, Index). But as the volumes have gone on I think it’s safe to admit that sometimes it tends to forget this and just tries to be a straight up harem action novel. You can usually tell by the fact that the author is forgetting to include R’s sarcastic asides for dozens of pages at a time, and it’s R that reminds us that Rekka’s frustrating indecision and waffley-ness is not actually bad writing but a deliberate decision. That said, I would not blame those who hate indecisive male leads from dropping the series, though I do wonder why they started it in the first place.

We’re back to three girls on the cover, and the author brags in the afterword about having made it to double digits on the heroines. That said, one of the previous ones doesn’t even get mentioned, and a second is only mentioned in passing. As with Negima, all heroines are important but some heroines are more important than others. New heroines this time include Rosalind, the blonde loli vampire that you knew we were going to get sooner or later, and who serves as the main antagonist (though she’s also a heroine); Silver Slayer, a homunculus trained to destroy Rosalind who has been chasing her the last two hundred years or so; and Chelsea, a mage who is desperately searching for a way to save her dying little brother. Add to all this Hibiki (from Book 3), who actually brings Chelsea to Rekka; Lea (from Book 2), who’s there to provide some muscle; and the main three heroines from Book 1, who likely always will be the top heroines.

And then there’s Rekka, who continues to be the savvy-only-when-necessary male lead. As with most of these books, the first half drags quite a bit as we set up the pieces, and the second half is much better as the pieces all interlock and Rekka can deal with them all at the same time. When Rekka is fretting about having set up dates on Sunday with all the girls at the same time, the book sadly falls into the exact cliches it’s meant to be making fun of, and is not as interesting. (Also Christ, I hope he went to buy Harissa some clothes after this.) For a book that’s so low in page count, there’s a lot going on in each one – I didn’t mention the evil genie, or the Philosopher’s Stone. The author knows how to bring a situation to chaos and let it play out. He now needs to work harder on what to do when everything is at rest. Recommended for those who can tolerate a wishy-washy male lead, written by design. If you can’t, avoid this series with great avoid.