I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 13

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’re starting to run out of series, and so it’s no surprise that we get a school festival here. In fact, it’s two school festivals, as Rekka’s school is combining forces with Hibiki’s school. In fact, this volume really seems to revel in having its cliches and lampshading them too: our heroes get trapped in a game, Rekka has to run around trying to find the key to stopping a bomb from going off; Rekka and Hibiki bump heads and (in the classic tradition) end up inside each other’s bodies, and finally Rekka has to deal with the architect of (almost) all of these, a fortune telling girl who is trying to take Makoto Naegi’s role of Ultimate Lucky Student… though the luck isn’t always welcome. Add to that trying to find room to cram in every single heroine, and you have a book that’s pretty packed despite (as always) a small page count.

Given how huge the cast is already, I am grateful that we once again only have two new heroines. Yorun is a standard RPG girl that the others meet when they’re trapped in a game world, and at first seems to be the same as the other NPCs, but there’s more to it than that, especially since they’re investigating this as a “cursed game” to begin with. The interesting thing about her story is also, to be fair, probably the book’s weak point: it’s not really resolved all that well. Yorun is “rescued” by Rekka, but has already lost damn near everything, and by the end of the novel still has no real clue how to go about getting it back. It feels dissatisfying… but at the same time it’s nice to see that Rekka and his team can’t do EVERYTHING.

The meat of the story lies with the second heroine, Touko, a fortune teller who challenges Rekka to various contests as she’s foreseen that he might actually be able to defeat her – something that no one has ever done as she has reality-warping powers that always make things work for her. The trouble with that is that she feels worse every time she uses them, as she knows that she can’t go nuts – she could literally end hunger, but what would that do to the world? Rekka’s solution to her story is not all that dramatic, but it doesn’t have to be: in the end Touko is sort of the Haruhi Suzumiya of this series, and her “being saved” involves showing her that the world is not, ultimately, as predictable or as small as she thought. It’s a rather sweet, low-key ending to this volume.

We’re three away from the end now, so I suspect that we’re going to get (slightly) more serious going forward. Little Apocalypse will never excite anyone, but it does its premise well, now that it’s mostly abandoned subverting the harem genre.

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 12

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.

What struck me most about this volume of Little Apocalypse was what a well oiled machine Rekka’s heroine saving has become. We get three heroines arriving one right after the other, and Rekka and company know what’s going to be happening – he’s got to save them all. He picks out his crack team of Rekka’s Angels based on who he feels would fit best with what’s planned, and for the most part he’s absolutely right about it. The girls occasionally fight over him, but it’s “offscreen” so we don’t actually need to see it, and when times get tough they’re all business. They’re also the main “muscle” of the story – Rekka admits point blank that he’s the sort of person to rely on the powers of others, and they certainly have a lot of power. That said, there are certainly some spanners in the works in this volume, both on the heroine end and the plot end.

Our heroines this time include Haruka Tenou… erm, I mean a phantom thief who has unfortunately put a cursed tiara on her head; Setsuna Sakurazaki… erm, I mean a noble samurai girl from 500 years in the past trying to save her princess; and another princess, this time from Atlantis, 1000 years in the past. As you can imagine, there’s going to be some time travel here, but by now everyone mostly shrugs it off. The phantom thief is the easy part of Rekka’s mission (and honestly the dullest – she’s too perfect). The samurai is more of an issue, as Rekka, due to events, chooses to prioritize the other two girls first, which pisses her off, especially as she hasn’t yet seem Rekka in action and doesn’t trust him. Why would you trust a guy with a harem of girls who says he can fix everything? Moreover, the Atlantean princess, who as a tragic ghost was noble and sweet, as a living being is… well, a spoiled princess.

The other spanner here is the plot twist near the end, which I thought was rather clever. You know that things are going badly when R can actually talk to Rekka about his actions – usually she can’t influence him. It also allows Rekka to save the day at the end with a very clever device that relies on his “greed” – not for money or power, but his desire to save all the heroines (who are listed in order, which is helpful as I’ve forgotten some of them). I was also amused, if somewhat ruefully, at the twist at the end. Rekka thinks that, due to the fact that two of his three heroines this book live in the past, that he’s not going to have them joining the cast herd. Nope – here they are, and the explanation actually works. This is what you have to face up to when you’re a man whose inability to get it romantically led to the end of the world.

So a strong volume in the series, and we’ve only four more to go. How many more heroines can we stack on? And will Rekka manage to graduate?

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, Vol. 11

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.

By the end of this volume, we have five left to go before the series ends. It’s started to make me wonder what the endgame is actually going to be. Oh, I’m still convinced it will end with him not choosing anyone. But it has to be said, if he is going to choose one of the girls, it has to be someone the reader has a strong attachment to as well. And, well, First Girl Wins is not just a trope for nothing. Satsuki has an advantage that the other girls do not. She’s a childhood friend, she has magical wikipedia powers and is therefore involved in Rekka’s life rather than being kept in the dark. And she gets a big focus in this volume as well, as she and Rekka are accidentally sent to a deserted island for a while, where they can wax nostalgic, almost get eaten by a leopard, and come close (but not close enough) to a confession.

Satsuki is not on the cover, of course. The interesting thing, though, is that both girls on the cover, while heroines that Rekka “solves”, are not romantic heroines that we can see. Yulia is a nun who, like many Japanese nuns in fiction, is also an exorcist and a bit of a fanatic. Given she’s ended up in Rekka’s hometown, which is teeming with otherworldly inhabitants, particularly the vampire Rosalind, you can see why Yulia is flipping out a bit. In fact, dialing back her fanaticism is the point – she’s mistaking the Church’s vendetta for her own, and Rekka has an actual Angel to tell her “no, God says the Church is wrong”. (A very common thing in light novels lately.) As for Poppy the fairy, “staying hidden” and avoiding a group of kids trying to capture her is the sole goal she has. Compared to prior volumes, the stakes are very low key here.

Back to Satsuki, a surprise in this volume was that we not only see her parents, but get art showing what they look like. (In fact, the author wondered if there were enough interesting scenes for the artist, which may be why we see her parents as well as the kids harassing the fairy.) The other plot-heavy part of the book involves L, who has been abandoned by her villain friends and is on her own in the past, and essentially homeless till she gets picked up and adopted, for the moment, by Satsuki’s family. She’s still trying to kill Rekka technically, but it is interesting that whereas R is going for “hammer Rekka with as many heroines as possible to create a crisis point”, L is more “I am in one heroine’s corner”. And that heroine is Satsuki.

Will she win? Likely we won’t know till Book 16. Will R ever be seen? And of course the one question that absolutely has to wait for the last book: will Rekka get a clue that everyone is in love with him and do something about it other than change the subject? We do apparently get a girl in a top hat, though, so that’s nice. If you’ve been reading this, keep reading it. It’s fun froth.