Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 35

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.

You would think, now that we are at the 37th volume of this series (counting the two .5 books), that we would be finished with introducing new characters to add to an already overloaded cast, and yet. Coming to Earth to help our heroes with their battle against Ralgwin and his troops is another Princess, Nefilforna Canon Forthorthe. Honestly, there are so many people in this cast I’d like to pretend she doesn’t exist, but unfortunately, she’s Canon. (I’m so sorry.) She arrives and promptly proceeds to kick Koutarou’s ass in a mock battle – as he readily agrees, he only won the second time thanks to all the support he gets from everyone. She’s compared to Theia in that, while Theia has a natural talent for combat, Nefi is the sort who got really good at it through hard work and grinding. Good thing, too, as the raid against Ralgwin’s base, especially now that they’re armed with spirit guns, proves to be a giant pain in the neck.

Harumi is on the cover again, and gets a fair bit to do. The most notable thing is that the troops of Forthorthe that are allied with Koutarou’s group ar4e working with her for the first time, and are… a but weirded out that she is essentially Alaia’s reincarnation/soul carrier/whatever. Even Koutarou is not quite sure how Harumi and Alaia’s relationship is, and honestly, I don’t think it’s going to matter much in the long run. They both love Koutarou, and they both kick ass. Everyone here gets some good time in the spotlight, though as always Yurika gets made fun of, this time for being their “chemical warfare expert”, as her image of being Card Captor Sakura gets further and further away. The one who suffers the worst is probably Theia, who I suspect wanted to try her cool powered suit and so rushes ahead – she’s fine, but she put those under her in danger. She’s still too hotheaded.

Unfortunately, the raid is not a complete success. Ralgwin wants to get revenge for his uncle, but also has an actual logical brain, so is a much tougher opponent. And he has the benefit of a new villain rescuing him, whose identity we don’t quite get yet (though I can hazard a guess), but who seems to have teleportation skills of some sort. Honestly, it feels more like the author using magical writing powers to make sure that the book doesn’t end that soon. Fortunately, our gang does not seem too upset about it. Also fortunately, while she certainly admires him, Princess Nefi does not seem to fall in love with Koutarou, which is good. A harem of nine or ten girls is already quite a lot even by light novel standards, and adding more would seem to be overegging the pudding a bit.

Side stories continue to take a break, as the next book continues the main Ralgwin plot. Till then, this is a decent volume in a very long running series.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 34

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.

This is a plot-heavy volume of Rokujouma!?, so no ‘what if this girl won?’ side stories, and apparently 35 won’t have one either. Instead we are reminded that the series did not end with the 29th volume after all, and that there’s a lot still going on. In particular, this series is very good about avoiding “bwahaha!” cartoon evil villains, and when it does have them it shows them to be easily manipulated by other, better villains. There’s actually a lot of double crossing going on at the moment, both between the Forthorthe villains and the People of the Earth radicals, and between their forces and our heroes, as both end up winning in some ways but losing in others. With Earth still dealing with the revelations of Theia’s planet, and everyone and their brother trying to get their hands on new technology to make them rich and powerful, it’s going to be a while till Koutarou can settle down, though the other girls are certainly taking every chance they can to be around him anyway.

For once the cover doesn’t lie, as Ruth actually does have a significant role in this book. She and Koutarou are waylaid on a shopping trip and she’s almost killed, then the former bad guy of the Radical Faction of the People of the Earth, now captured, reveals that the remains of his faction are allied with Ralgwin, the nephew of Vandarion who plans to keep on carrying out his legacy. They’re also being set up to be patsies for Ralgwin’s faction, which is why Raiga tells our heroes about them. Now it’s time for infiltration something that, for once, is not done by Koutarou but instead Ruth and Harumi, who are led to a suspicious sake brewery that turns out… well, to be a trap, and the real attack is happening elsewhere. Fortunately, the rest of our merry band are there, and each of them gets a chance to show off their stuff as the last quarter of the book descends into a firefight.

Much of this volume is taken up with the fact that Koutarou, while a wonderful man that they all love, cannot protect everyone all the time. He needs to accept this, which is why he backs down after suggesting he go with Ruth and Harumi on their espionage. They’re both powerful enough now that they don’t need him to protect their fragile selves. The same goes for Theia and company in the final battle, where Koutarou gives “fight at your discretion” as the basic order, allowing the others to prioritize what needs doing rather than just following orders. He’s trusting everyone to save themselves, in other words. This definitely works out well for Yurika, who is touched by Koutarou giving her agency, and proceeds to lay waste to a good deal of the enemy forces by a combination of poison gas and turning the area into a murky swamp. (This also leads to the standard making fun of Yurika, as Koutarou calls her a “dirty girl”, much to her displeasure.)

If you’re still reading Rokujouma, you know what to expect, and this won’t disappoint. Still one of the better harem series out there.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 33

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 most annoying thing about this volume, of course, is what ISN’T here. We had been expecting that each girl would get their own “what if?” arc detailing their lives if Koutarou fell for them, with Harumi being the first. Now here we are with the next one, Clan… only we find that Maki already had hers, as an exclusive 75-minute CD bonus track. I gotta hope this is part of the Kickstarter in some way, because if that’s how it’s going down in the future, I suspect half of English-speaking fans are going to be left without satisfaction. Maki’s looks cute, seems to involve rescuing some stray cats (who continue to hang around her), and… well, sorry. As for the book itself, it’s fine. As with previous “short story” volumes, it contains three stories written previously for the “Hercules” website, and Clan’s “what if”, which is empty of surprises but is as sweet and cute as you’d expect. And you learn far more about vacuum tubes than you ever thought you would.

The first short story has Koutarou getting a cold while skiing (blame Yurika, who ends up going down the hill like a cartoon, as a rolling snowball) and getting nursed back to health by Elfaria and Kiriha. They both want to get closer to Koutarou, but are also nice and mature, so they end up having a “gambling match”, loser has to take care of him, and then both trying to throw the match, sort of. It shows off how Elfaria may not be quite as far out of the harem as she thinks, despite not being one of the “core girls”. Next we see just how Yurika got to be a magical girl, and her early days with Nana. If nothing else, this tells us that Yurika was indeed born on Earth and not in Magical Girl World. Other than that it’s slight, emphasizing how she’s still basically Usagi Tsukino in a Yurika skin. The third short has Kiriha and Maki, on separate outings with their friends, meeting at an amusement park and talking. It’s sweet, but again, two of the sensible characters having a conversation makes things a bit dull.

As with Harumi’s “what if”, Clan’s stems from one slight issue going worse than canon; while in the past searching for the Blue Knight, she gets a bad cold, and has to be taken care of by Koutarou. This allows the two of them to be far closer and less guarded than they are in canon, and that extends to when they return to the present day. Clan is not Harumi, so as you’d expect there’s a lot more tsundere action going on in this story, but the beats are the same – Koutarou’s defenses are brought down, he ends up hanging out with Clan more than the others, and they gradually fall in love, though being who they are said love is mostly exchanged via unspoken handholding and hugs. There’s also a nice examinatio9n of Clan’s tendency to think of herself as a “villain”, and the regrets she has from her past. She’s always going to be snarky, but Clan has soft4ened up a lot.

So overall, not an essential volume unless Clan is your best girl, but it’s readable. Next time we should get back to the main storyline… in fact, I think we get two books of main storyline in a row, so no what-ifs for a bit.