Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 41

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

No short stories this time around, we’re heading to Forthorthe and things are about to get serious. The start of this series, forty-odd books ago, was very much a slice-of-life comedy, with the aliens, magical girls, and underground girls essentially acting as wacky neighbors in a high school romcom. Clan’s arrival, and Koutarou’s subsequent trip back in time, started to kick that in the head. And now here we are, with the back half of this volume featuring a thoughtless disaster on the part of the villains turned into an even more nightmarish disaster by the most unhinged villain, and you get things like living corpses (I’d call them zombies, but they run very fast, so that might give you the wrong idea) in the remains of a burning factory being weaponized and turned on a nearby city and you realize that this has actually gotten pretty dark, hasn’t it? Fortunately, the first half, which involves introducing cool new tech to the masses, is more relaxing.

Our heroes are now back in Forthorthe, and the big question on everyone’s mind is: who is the Blue Knight going to marry? Sadly, for reporters, the Blue Knight is still running away from that question, so there’s no real progress there. There is much more success in introducing a personal force field that can, among many other things, act as replacement limbs for disabled people as demonstrated by Nana doing various gymnastic maneuvers with just a force field for support. Koutarou thought that would be it, however, many other companies, including the military, quickly realize the other uses this sort of tech could provide, and now he’s even richer, to his quiet despair. There’s no time to enjoy it, though: they’ve found one of Ralgwin’s bases, and it’s time to play catch that villain!

As hinted in the first paragraph, catch that villain does not go very well. Rokujouma!? has gotten more serious as the books have gone on, even including a war, but I don’t think we’ve really taken as much time to appreciate the loss of lives as we did here. Now, these are all factory workers we’ve never met before, so it’s not like the author is killing one of the main characters, but the fury at how this came to be from our heroes is very well done. Meanwhile, on Yurika Watch, she gets to do cool things, and her running gag of “magical girl uses evil powers” is still funny, but this is Ruth’s book to shine,. as the author admits that if he’s going to have a balanced harem series he has to work hard to maintain that balance, and Ruth, mostly, rarely gets to fight at the front line. That gets fixed here, and shows off her awesome analytical skills (and love for Koutarou) in a fantastic manner.

Sadly, the villains get away, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them. Till then, enjoy a more serious volume than usual.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 40

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

If this is your 42nd book of Rokujouma!?, welcome back. As a hardcore fan, you’re well aware of the numbering being off due to the two .5 volumes. If this is your first volume of Rokujouma!?, my god, you’re far too late. We’ve already moved in with this series. We have so many in jokes and memes that you don’t know. You must simply be staring at the chaos from your place by the drinks table in the corner, wondering why you didn’t get Vol. 1, 2, and 3 when they came out (at the same time) in 2017. But fear not, I am here for you. I can sum up the series so you aren’t lost. Nice guy. Alien princess and her aide and her rival. Ghost girl and her real body and her alternate world self. Magical girl and her formerly evil magical girl ally and their mentor. Pellucidar girl. And her things that say “ho!”. Sempai and her soul sister. Landlord and her inner dragon. Annoying best friend. Annoying best friend’s sister. God in disguise. Together… they fight crime! See, that was easy.

OK, clearly not that easy, given the girl on the cover art is “none of the above”. In any event, this is a short story volume but also a prelude to the next arc. The first half is web stories. Koutarou, Clan, the haniwas, and Alunaya all decide to race toy cars. The second story has Maki chatting with Crimson, her former ally-turned-enemy-turned-ally, and has her try to experience things that are not “fighitng is the baddest!”, which mostly fails. Nana goes to visit her old partner Kanae and ends up in a badminton match against Sanae (chan version) and Yurika. Finally, everyone is packing to go to Forthorthe, and we’re even taking Mackenzie and his sister, so that they aren’t quietly killed while everyone is away. Snacks are bought. Underwear is bought. Training scenes occur. And Koutarou remains The Purest Young Lad out there.

Those who have read my Rokujouma!? reviews before know it’s time for the Yurika report, as I gush about my favorite once more. This is a stellar volume for Yurika, possibly as she’s barely around Koutarou at all. In the badminton scene she’s got Nana in the room, so is trying her damndest to show her that she’s a mature and deserving young protege, not even whining when getting a shuttlecock to the face. (That sounds wrong…) We also get a scene showing her training the troops, and seemingly coming to terms with the fact that her “magical girl” magic is unorthodox. Basically, with what appears to be photographic memory and a good eye for improvising on the fly, Yurika is not a magical girl as much as a chemist. And thus is it very important to keep her on the side of good and light. (I hope this is not ominous foreshadowing…)

So as a short story volume goes, this is more important than most. None of the short stories are bad, and the final one is necessary setup for what might (?) be the final (???) arc in the series. And if this IS your first volume in the series… well, you have 41 more to get now.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 39

By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.

The Rokujouma landscape post-Volume 29 has thrown a lot more obstacles in the way of our heroes, but it is not frankly in a huge rush to deal with them. This has become a series that has no real plans to stop, so things will get resolved when they get resolved. This also applies to the romance, where we see that Koutarou is still uncomfortable with the idea that all the other girls have already come to accept, which is to say that he’s going to be in a polycule. Physical affection is also a work in progress, as we see in this volume when he’s forced to share a giant robot cockpit with Kiriha. But at least we’ve resolved all the potential love interests and aren’t adding anyone new, right? …right? Well, OK there’s been an asterisk next to that since Vol. 29, but for the most part we’ve ignored it as Nalfa has barely been in these recent volumes. That changes here, and you get the feeling she will be added to said polycule. If she survives.

After the big battle last volume, most of the enemy have fled, likely to regroup around Forthorthe. But the Grey Knight has hung around, trying to figure out why Koutarou’s magical sword is “incomplete”. In the meantime, it’s the start of a new school semester, and there’s going to be a huge influx of alien students. Nalfa has to give the welcoming speech, and it’s making her a bit panicky. That said, everyone else is on edge, suspecting that the Grey Knight is going to be attacking the ceremony. Fortunately, it goes off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the Grey Knight finally clues in and realizes what it is that he is looking for: Nalfa. She’s got some power he needs to draw out. He tries attempting to kill her – this doesn’t work. Then he tries attempting to kill Koutarou – that works. Can our heroes save her with the power of Sanae x 3?

Sanae, Sanae and Sanae fighting against the grey Knight is easily the action highlight of the book, and also gets in a few good one-liners (is it the power of friendship when you’re all the same person?). As for the Grey Knight, well, he may be from a different timeline but he’s still hella powerful and dangerous, and it’s going to take a lot more than Sanaes to get rid of him. As for the romance side of things, if nothing else I think we see here that Nalfa may be the only other addition to the polycule. She’s very blunt about her love for Koutarou, just like the other girls – and not like Kotori, who holds Koutarou on a pedestal compared to her “cheating” brother, but doesn’t see him as a love interest. That said, this is somewhat irrelevant, as any further romantic progress, if it happens at all, will be at the very end of the series.

We’re back to Forthorthe for the foreseeable future in the next book, with a few additions – Kenji, Kotori and Nalfa need to come along so that they’re not used as hostages. (This will kill Kenji’s love life, but he’s comic relief anyway.) Vol. 40 just came out in Japan two days ago, though, so it may be another few months for us.