Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 28

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 author admits that this was supposed to be the last book but it got too big, so it’s split into a two-parter with a cliffhanger ending. It also gives some extra attention to Clan and Maki, two of the last to join in the Koutarou sweepstakes, and therefore the ones with the least development with him. That said, Clan going with Koutarou to the past gave her a leg up on the others, and Maki got a book of her own as well. The plot machinations involved mean we get a “greatest hits” compilation with those two, which is sweet and reminds you of why you like them, and also writes them out… at least for now. Because the girls are disappearing, starting with those two, and no doubt that feeds into the final book of the “main” series. Fortunately for the reader, they seem to know what’s going on, even if Koutarou doesn’t. It’s probably connected to the ancient ruins he fell into in the first book.

The main thrust of the book is not the disappearances, though, but Forthothe going public. After spending so much time trying to cover up the existence of alien worlds, and parallel magical worlds, and underground dwellers, they’re all coming out at once, and Earth is trying to deal with the fallout. And I do mean all of Earth – the fact that all this cool stuff is centered on Japan means that other countries are upset, and are not going to simply smile and not. As a result, we have spies following our heroes around trying to prove their connections to everyone. Mostly this happens because, well, Theia used Forthothe’s own past as part of her drama club show, so it has everything written down. Koutarou, Maki and Clan’s job is to make the spies thing the girls – particularly Kiriha and Yurika – are normal. They do a good job.

Though the book has not explicitly made this a “everybody wins” sort of series, that’s clearly the way that it’s heading, and the books have set this up very well, emphasizing the close bond everyone has with each other. That said, I do also appreciate that everyone is not magically OK with everything – when, in the classroom, Koutarou and Maki have a telepathic conversation, we see the other girls jealous of their closeness. One of the running themes of the series is that each of the girls desires what the other one has – Harumi wants to be roughhoused with, Clan wants to be cared for, everyone wants the closeness that Koutarou and Yurika or Theia have… they’re not a hive mind. Or at least not yet… if the disappearances and the “globes” that we see at the very end are anything to go by, Koutarou may have to handle this final crisis by himself.

The 29th volume (31st in the series – remember the .5s!) has the original “main” cast on the cover, as befits an ending volume. Of course, it’s not ending. But this is a good setup for a sort of finale. Fans of the series should enjoy it. Also, it’s quite short.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 27

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.

Another “short-story” volume of Rokujouma, although honestly it’s more three short stories and a half-novel, as the story written especially for the book is a continuation of the previous book and not really skippable. The three short stories are all essentially character pieces. The first focuses on Nana, who has been slowly drawn into the secondary orbit of the main cast, although she’s not in the Koutarou sweepstakes. It involves making changes to her mostly cyborg body to have her look more of her actual age… as well as various other members of the cast envying how Koutarou interacts with each of them. The slightest of the three stories has Shizuka and her “dragon” uncle going to a hot springs. The third involves an eating contest that all the cast enters, but it’s mostly about Sanae and Theia, along with making Yurika the butt monkey again, because, well, we’re back on Earth. All three stories are the same as we’ve seen in previous volumes – nice character pieces, but slight.

The final story is more significant, and starts with an obvious problem: Koutarou being on Forthorthe is ruining the economy, as anywhere he goes is automatically where everyone else wants to go, and everything he buys, everyone else does… meaning all the competitors are being ruined. This is a tad ridiculous, but serves to give him an excuse to quietly go back home with everyone except the main Forthorthe cast. That said, they’ve been away from Earth a LONG time. Various people on the magical girl side have been pretending to be them in class, but that’s not helping their actual studies, so they have to take a test to prove that they’re up to date… and failure means repeating a year. You can imagine who panics most about this, but Sanae and Koutarou are also not great students.

Now, I will partly hand it to Yurika, despite whining and moaning the entire time, she really did seem to earnestly study. That said, I do like how this book shows that all the studying effort in the world can’t help you when you start from so far behind. I also liked how Maki kept Yurika motivated – yes, Koutarou would still let her stay there if she had to repeat a year, but he’s be so disappointed… as you can imagine, the thought horrifies Yurika. The other main plot here involves the cast being followed around by various guys in suits and sunglasses who look straight out of Urusei Yatsura. This was amusing, but feels more like a setup for next book, where I expect Forthorthe is going to have to go public. In fact, the author said there’s a lot of setup for the next book in this story.

So overall not bad, and sets us up nicely for the next two books, which are the final ones in the “main” storyline, though the series continues after that. Rokujouma fans should be happy.

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.