Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 8.5: The Silver Princess and the Blue Knight, Part Two

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.

A lot of the things I said about Vol. 7.5 apply here as well, with the conclusion of Koutarou in the past. There’s a lot less humor in this book than in the regular series, as for the most part our heroes are in a desperate battle to save their lives and the kingdom, not in that order. Koutarou eventually comes clean with Alaia about who he is and where he’s from, which helps towards the end as they’re actually allowed to bring out Clan’s futuristic lightsabers and nuclear weapons without the rest of the heroic cast boggling too much. And Koutarou’s armor gets beaten to hell and back, which ties in nicely with Ruth discovering its condition in Book 8. It is, as always, a very enjoyable volume in a well-written series, but there are thankfully one or two other points I can expand on to fill up a review.

The first is the surprising reappearance of the ancient temple from Vol. 1, which I admit I had 100% forgotten about (as had Koutarou, but my memories haven’t been deliberately wiped). I’m not sure how it ended up as an ancient Earth ruin, but hey. The temple, of course, was the basis for the start of all the chaos in his life, as it’s only after falling into its ruins that he can see Sanae and we set off the mad dash to get control of the room. Here we see that it’s essentially home of a mythical sacred sword, which given it’s a myth in Alaia’s time makes it a super-old myth by the time we get to Theia’s present. The sword essentially is imbued with Alaia’s life force, which causes a few problems for her (I hope that she does not die too young, as the text hints – then again, Harumi is basically her reincarnation, so…) but also allows her and Koutarou to bring out its full potential. Rokujouma is not based on a webnovel, and it’s times like this you can tell – the series feels planned in advance in ways webnovel series do not.

The other interesting point is Koutarou’s acceptance of the fact that he, by himself, is not powerful at all, and that every awesome thing he does is through borrowed power – Sanae’s spiritual sense, Yurika’s magical protection, Theia and Ruth’s powered armor, etc. He accepts this, and keeps his humility. This contrasts him with the power-mad villain of the story, who is desperate to get power and will use any means necessary, and what’s more sees Alaia’s sword as a symbol of the power, to the degree that if he gets the sword he doesn’t actually need the princess or the kingdom. This is, of course, what makes him the villain. As for Koutarou, one could argue his natural charm, which allows the girls to fall for him and thus give him their strength, is his true power, but given the sort of series this is, I don’t expect him to realize that anytime soon. He never even realized he was the historical Blue Knight.

So another good Rokujouma, though I am definitely looking forward to returning to the present for the next few books. I do wonder if we’ll see the giant dragon that Koutarou and Clan befriended at the end of the book – it’s certainly set up that we will. In the meantime, Shizuka is on the cover of Book 9, meaning presumably that Book 10 will develop her, under the Rokujouma cover art rules. Despite its length, Rokujouma remains one of J-Novel Club’s best series to date.

Incaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 8

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.

Just as Volume 7 had a focus on Theia’s evil counterpart while also starting to make plans to soften her up and add her to the harem, so this 8th volume does the same for Yurika, with Maki’s determination to destroy Koutarou undone by his basic goodness and niceness. The book is well-written enough that I’m all right with the repetition, but I do hope that we aren’t adding too many more girls to the pile. This isn’t Little Apocalypse. Of course, one could argue that Yurika isn’t really a member of the harem group yet either, as she still hasn’t quite had the “oh, I’m in love with him” moment that several of the others have. As for Maki, she’s spent her entire life being unable to trust anyone and constantly betrayed, so it’s no wonder that she’s going to fall for a guy who doesn’t actually do that. Whether that sticks, we shall have to see.

I found the first half of the book stronger than the second, mostly due to its focus on Yurika. She is absolutely the butt monkey of this series, and as a normal girl may be almost too whining and pathetic to bear. We see, over and over again, how she fails at some of the most basic things. And yet give her a chance to actually do her magical girl job and she becomes amazing. I’d suggest that it’s like Sailor Moon, but Usagi was never this competent when powered up. She gains a second staff from Koutarou’s trip to the past (we haven’t gotten Vol. 8.5 yet, but it’s hinted it’s from Yurika’s past counterpart) which is essentially a spell wikipedia, and combining it with her own magic staff she’s suddenly far more dangerous, much to Maki’s surprise. Of course, Koutarou gives her the staff saying “look, now you can do REAL magic”, which hurts, but you can’t have everything.

After a badass fight showing Yurika at her best, alas, she has to be frozen in ice for the second half so that Koutarou can bond with Maki as they battle a sort of demonic Abominable Snowman. Koutarou is in many ways your typical harem protagonist, but he lacks many of the traits that set many fans’ teeth on edge – there is little to no falling into boobs or walking in on girls changing, he doesn’t realize that the girls like him but not in a “you lost me” Shirou Emiya sort of way. And he’s a good strategist, but needs a hand when it comes to the physical stuff most of the time, which is why Theia’s powered armor is so useful. Basically, while you know he’s going to get all the girls as the’s the protagonist of a harem series, there’s no real sense he hasn’t earned it. I do sometimes wish he’d be a bit more quirky, as he can fall into the generic trap, but for the most part I just like him.

So we’ve resolved the dark magical girls for now, though I’ve no doubt that plot will return. Next time we go back in time with Vol. 8.5 and finish Koutarou and Clan’s Excellent Adventure. Till then, a very good Rokujouma for fans of the series, and an excellent one for Yurika fans.

Invaders of the Rokujouma!?, Vol. 7.5: The Silver Princess and the Blue Knight, Part One

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 first of a two-part side story devoted to Koutarou and Clan’s adventures during the climax of Book Seven, Rokujouma 7.5 is solid but does suffer from the fact that throughout the book, the reader knows far more about what’s going on than the main characters. From the moment that Koutarou, dressed in his Blue Knight armor, rescued the princess it was clear that he was going to be making history rather than changing it, adnd that he was the Blue Knight. But Clan doesn’t see it that way (understandably, perhaps, as this is such a touchstone) and they spend a frustrating amount of time searching for the “real” Blue Knight. Of course, another major goal of this book is to get us to like Clan, who I suspect may end up part of the harem; she’s still not as likeable as the rest of the cast, but she’s getting there.

There’s a bit less humor in this volume than prior ones, mostly due to the main plotline, but there are moments that made me smile. The princess’ female companions on her journey all seem to remind Koutarou of his companions from the future… and they tend to act like said companions as well, with Charl, Alaia’s younger sister, behaving exactly as you’d expect a younger Theia to do. As for the Yurika analogue… I don’t want to spoil, but it may be the best joke in the book (unless it’s the food torture, which also involves the Yurika analogue). Koutarou and Clan discuss how much of this is just coincidence. The Rokujouma reader knows that not all of it is, and that Harumi certainly seems to be Alaia’s reincarnation, but it’s not clear how much this applies to the others.

The main plot is more serious, with the Kingdom already being ruled by the enemy Grand Viziers (so to speak) and Alaia fleeing for her life through the countryside. This serves to show off what a good Princess she is, as well as show the brutality of those currently in power – she actually debates just giving in and letting them rule if it means the people are safe and happy, but it rapidly becomes clear that no, the people are sacrifices they will use to destroy Alaia. And of course you see Koutarou and Alaia growing closer, but as the play says (Koutarou is trying to do things as the play laid out, but it didn’t cover everything). Their flirting is top notch, and while time and distance are likely going to ensure they can’t be together, I suspect Harumi will get more and more of Alaia’s memories as time goes on.

So this isn’t the best Rokujouma out there, but it’s decent, and reads very quickly. Fans who haven’t already read all 20-odd volumes should pick it up. Next time we’ll be back in the present for Book 8, but after that 8.5 should conclude this side story.