Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 26

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

It’s the end of the Forthothe arc, and so most of it ends up being a big battle. Some villains are attacked and kidnapped, as are some of the heroes. And behind it all remains Vandarion, still the weak part of the book. Screaming mad villains just aren’t my thing, and after his main henchman is killed off, he loses whatever sanity he has and just screams threats for 75 pages. He’s helped by a hellmouth of some sort, which means he has the power to keep attacking the Blue Knight even after his mecha-dragon is destroyed, and indeed even after his own body is vaporized. It’s meant to be a terrifying show of willpower, but I have to say I wanted the cast to just kill him off already. Especially as the clever parts of the plan (kidnap Green, then use her to kidnap the royals) was quite good and well handled. Heck, even the henchman’s death was handled pretty well. I get the sense that Takehaya was trying to pad out the battle.

As for what finally kills off the villain, naturally it’s the power of Koutarou and all of his girls. The power of the bond they have between each other is strong, and can repair his giant killer swords to be even more giant and killer. That said, it’s the middle of a space battle, so we unfortunately do not have time to get deeper into Koutarou’s psyche – his mental scars still seem to be in place. It’s only the fact that they might die doing this that prompts the girls to say that while they know that he loves them as family, they want him to love them as women. His reply is said under high emotion, and is not really dwelt on. The series is ongoing after this, so I’m sure we will get back to it. Koutarou needs to be taught to be romantic – and yes, sexual. But not here.

Elsewhere, Elexis and Maya also join in the final battle, helping Koutarou at the cost of their ship and (seemingly) their lives – they’re last seen drifting off into space and can’t be found at the end of the book. That said, I will be VERY surprised if we never see them again. (They also profess their love for each other, though like Koutarou it’s under duress and not particularly sensual – this is a very pure harem series.) Darkness Rainbow’s homeworld makes an agreement with Forthothe, which means that the dark magical girls have achieved what they need to do. All that’s left is to go home and explain why they were gone for two months to their school – I have a sneaking suspicion this will go well for everyone but Yurika. That said, next volume is short stories, which honestly is welcome after an arc this long. It was very good, but I’m happy to see the end of it.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 25

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

Well, I guess I’m going to be dealing with the villain I don’t like for a bit longer. Vandarion is mostly absent from this volume, which sees Elexis and Darkness Rainbow making their big move. It relies on trying to win Koutarou over to their side in some way, shape or form, his identity as the (seeming) Blue Knight, and appointing a Regent who an be manipulated and controlled, but is also sweet as pie and likeable. All these things happen, and yet our heroes prove to be one step ahead of the villains once more, leading to a giant battle in, of all places, a cemetery for the the finale. This despite the fact that Koutarou is minus his main weapon as using it is slowly killing Harumi, and also despite the fact that he has to abandon half his group and run off with “the smart girl” of the harem to solve things. This doesn’t go over well when he returns…

There’s a lot of very clever plotting in this volume, as Elexis’ plan depends on Koutarou being the Blue Knight, but not THE Blue Knight. He (and most everyone else) had been running on the assumption that Koutarou was a descendant or merely taking up the name. The clever bit (you can tell Kiriha was behind this) is that Koutarou reveals not only that he’s the Blue Knight, but also tells everyone about the time travel accident. This means he is the real, honest to god Blue Knight. And, thanks to the second and even more clever plot twist, which I won’t spoil as it’s so clever, he now has Forthothe completely over a barrel. As expected, this means that Elexis has no choice but to kill him NOW – they may respect each other, but Elexis is still a villain. This leads to the final battle, where Koutarou and company try to silently escape but are caught anyway.

The location of the battle is interesting, as it’s in an ancient cemetery that has some of the graves of Koutarou’s lost allies from back two thousand years ago. This means that when the chips are down, as Koutarou can’t use his cool sword, the other girls are mostly tactical rather than battle geniuses, and the arrival of the rest of the girls does not help quite as much as they would like, he manages to literally get help from ghosts of the past, rallying to save Alaia and the Blue Knight. I will admit I am not a monarchist, but seeing the fervor that everyone shows Alaia reminds the reader just what it must have been like back in the days when Kings and Queens were revered and loved. Indeed, Harumi is seriously feeling that pressure now, as she thinks that if she can’t take on Alaia’s aspect to help Koutarou, she’s worthless – something everyone tries to convince her isn’t true, but they don’t quite manage it.

We’re in the home stretch here, and it’s noted once again that there’s going to be a lot more lives lost as this fight keeps going. Will the author dare to kill off some of the harem? Probably not, but you never know. In any case, another strong volume in this series. Go support the Kickstarter and get it all in print!

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 24

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

The majority of this volume concerns itself with the ins and outs of ground forces combat, as the rebels, under Elfaria and Theia, are growing more popular as people are seeing more of their end strategy (“try not to kill people”), and contrasting this with the military under Vandarion, who has a goal that’s pretty much the opposite (“make casualties as high as possible”). We don’t really learn anything we didn’t already know here, but there are lots of cool battle moments, and I liked the stalemate that ensues when it turns out that the main commanders have their families taken captive, so that they literally cannot surrender without seeing those families killed. That said, we do have subtler villains as well – Elexis, Maya, and Darkness Rainbow, who continue to sit around and wait for Vandarion to go too far. Indeed, for those who enjoy BL tease that’s going absolutely nowhere, there are worse ships that Koutarou/Elelix (which sadly does not QUITE work out to ‘Kotex’ as a ship name).

We’re also seeing the past catching up to the present, in many ways. Much of Vandarion’s “kill a lot of people” attitude seems to be due to his past incarnation taking control of him at times (not that he minds). Meanwhile, past incarnations taking over is how Harumi fights, and she gets several really awesome moments here, possibly as she’s not going to be able to do much in the near future – her collapse is the cliffhanger of this volume. The reader has pretty much figured out that her lifelong illness and her reincarnation as the powerful Alaia are connected, and throwing around that much power in this book will no doubt have consequences. And then there’s Koutarou, who at some point is just going to have to come clean and admit he’s the Blue Knight both past and present, but I think is holding off just to have a “normal” life for a little longer.

With a cast this large it’s inevitable that some folks are going to get more attention than others. Yurika is mainly absent here, and Sanae just shows up near the end to save the day with spiritual power. Shizuka gets the bulk of the last battle, as she and her “uncle” face off against their obvious enemy, a giant robot dragon powered with magic. (You can tell that the author is still having a lot of fun pulling stuff out of his hat.) Theia also gets some battles, which she excels in, and press conferences, where she does less well. Reporters have, I suspect, figured out that she has a crush on her “Blue Knight” at the very least, and she can’t dodge the question forever. But mostly what we get here is the fact that not only is Koutarou’s “harem” all in love with him, but they also manage to function well as battle-hardened soldiers. Which is very convenient given what needs to be achieved.

Will Harumi die? (Probably not, though she may be MIA for a bit.) Will Vandarion finally destroy himself so we can move on to more nuanced villains? (God, I hope so.) And when the heck is the next volume out? (It’s out already.)