I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 8

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 Mana Z.

We conclude Little Apocalypse’s first two-parter here, and though things end as one might have expected, the purpose of the journey has changed. Little Apocalypse has always waffled back and forth between whether it’s a parody or not, and it’s true that the next volume may make me eat my words, but for the moment it’s taking itself seriously. What we see here is what we’ve seen in previous books. Rekka uses various powers that he has available to him via the girls around him to solve his problem. (It’s much like Rokujouma in that regard.) But there’s little joking around here, the villains are seen to inflict horrible consequences, and the solution, as R notes, may actually make things worse. In fact, that’s how you know things are super serious – R is actually dispensing advice and trying to help, at least as much as she’s allowed to.

Speaking of R, we get to hear more about her actual mission than we have since the first volume. It’s clear that she’s not allowed to help Rekka figure out which girl he likes, or even clue him in that the girls like him. She’s only allowed to help him in his missions to save the girls’ stories. As we’ve seen, this can be very frustrating to her, as Rekka is deeply clueless about the feelings that the others have for him. That may change soon, though I somehow doubt it – he seems to think that Harissa’s gambit at the end of the book here might be accidental, whereas I’m pretty sure she, and R, knows exactly what she’s doing. Unlike Rokujouma, where you can pretty much tell near the halfway point of the series that they’re headed for some sort of polygamous ending, and everyone’s mostly confessed, here you’re continually reminded that the girls really are in constant rivalry with each other, and something else is probably needed to make sure we don’t end with an even bigger apocalypse.

All right, let’s talk about the time travel. I mentioned in my review of the seventh volume that even though I suspected that Sophia was somehow going to be saved, that didn’t make the matter of Lyun’s grief and rage any less important to Rekka. We get to see that even more with the massacre of the psychic gang, which hammers home once more how difficult the “job” that Rekka has is, and how easy it can be to get an unhappy ending. Fortunately, this is not Grimgar or something similar, and I was happy to take the time-travel out, even if it did involve Rekka disturbingly having to leap off a building to trigger it. But even with the time travel there’s still a lot of tension here – I’d mentioned that there was little humor in this book, and it’s true. Little Apocalypse has gotten serious, and thankfully in a good way.

Now, I’m not sure this will last. We’re exactly halfway though the series now, and I think the next volume may be far more comedic to make up for the serious bits here. But as long as it keeps up the small but noticeable character development we see here, and moves us closer to Rekka getting a clue and making a decision, then Little Apocalypse is still worth your time.

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 7

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.

I was somewhat taken by surprise by the ending to this volume, as I kept reading and thinking “shouldn’t things be wrapping up soon?” It wasn’t until I got right near the end that I realized this would be Little Apocalypse’s first two-parter, something that should have been mnre obvious given this book features four heroines but only two of them are on the cover. It might be frustrating to wait till the 8th book too, as this volume actually ended up being one of the strongest in the series to date. The author has realized there’s only so far he can go with parody, and has moved on to deconstruction, which is a far richer vein. He’s also gotten better at juggling the heroines – sure, some are still missing or deliberately left out, but the balance we get here shows he’s thinking “who needs more attention?”, so Harissa gets a larger role here, as does Tsumiki. The series is beginning to mature… as much as a series like this can.

As I said, we stack up four different heroines in this book, and they are of a wide variety: an idol singer who’s getting tired of the grind; a psychic (which is a much broader term in Japan than it is here) on the run from a yakuza-like psychic gang; a (seeming) former hero sealed in the depths of an alien dungeon; and a sylpheed (wind fairy) dealing with a zombie infestation. It’s a tall order even for someone like Rekka. Fortunately, his current harem is not at war with each other (that’s supposedly in the future), and he is thus able to use them as sort of a mobile army. Thus, he and a team of girls go off to try to solve one issue, and Hibiki and another group try to work on the psychic problem. I really liked this, and enjoy that (for the most part) there’s not really much rivalry between the girls when serious events are happening. We also get lampshaded how weird everyone is when Rekka explains who he is to the idol and is surprised she DOESN’T know about magic.

The other highlight of the book is a bit of a spoiler, but I want to discuss it anyway: what happens when Rekka fails? And how do we define failure? The sylpheed rejects Rekka because her sister (who we saw in the prologue) is already dead – she died before Rekka even arrived in her world. As R points out, that doesn’t mean that the story is over, and Rekka is working on another aspect of it by trying to fix the zombie thing. But Rekka fixing the stories usually ends with everyone happy (and happily in love with Rekka), and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out this time around. Now yes, I am very familiar with the genre, and would not be too surprised if a magical sister-saving solution popped up in Book 8. But it’s still a good question to ask: what if Rekka fails? Can he deal with the aftermath of NOT saving someone’s story?

The book ends with everyone in trouble, and we’ve got to wait a bit till the next one. But Little Apocalypse in general has been qa quick, light, fluffy read. It’s nice to see it gain a bit of added depth.

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.