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.

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.