Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 10

By Rhythm Aida and nauribon. Released in Japan as “Buta Koushaku ni Tensei shita kara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to Iitai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Zihan Gao.

There can sometimes be a disconnect between when a title is finished and when a title is “cancelled”. Generally speaking, some light novel titles indeed were cancelled for low sales, with no ending ever being published except on the web. Deathbound Duke’s Daughter is a good example, or Roll Over and Die. On the other hand, if a series does have a definitive ending, and yet there’s more content on the webnovel that comes after it, is a publisher obligated to release all of it just to satisfy completists? Arifureta came to an end recently, but fans know there’s about 10+ volumes of “After Story” on the web, which Overlap has shown no signs of releasing. And then there’s Piggy Duke. Yes, there’s more content on the webnovel site that has events after this volume. But this volume comes to a satisfying conclusion, mostly. It doesn’t leave you hanging. As such, I think it’s perfectly fine.

It’s finally time for Slowe to confront his family. First his sister Sansa, a general in the military, who meets up with Slowe after his dungeon adventures to announce that he’s now important enough that he needs a better retainer than Charlotte, so they got him a new one. Needless to say, this does not please Slowe. The new retainer, Mint, seems at first to be a clumsy dojikko type, but it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that this goes out the window pretty quickly. Meanwhile, Slowe’s father is also coming to see him, but for a far more serious reason. There’s a mercenary group, Rust, that has worked with Slowe’s family in the past to do the “dirty work” the government can’t do. Now the queen wants them wiped out, and their leader killed. And the setting for that confrontation… will be Kirsch Mage Institute.

We do finally meet the family here, and it’s no surprise why Slowe has done everything in his power to avoid them all this time – they’re just like him. Especially his father, who made me wonder if Slowe was a clone rather than a son. Slowe is also feeling a little guilty, as this entire “let’s get rid of the guys who do our dirty work” plotline is likely happening because Slowe averted the war, and thus derailed the anime’s story. That said, peace is a good thing, so he doesn’t regret it, but it does lead to the second half of the book being one final battle. Sadly, most of the cast that we’ve come to know is quietly shuffled offstage for that – Alicia is absent dealing with fallout from the last book, and Shuya just helps to give exposition. But they are very good fights, something the author has always handled well.

I will admit the ending, particularly the ending picture, did feel very Shonen Jump “we hope you enjoy the author’s next work”. And yes, Slowe and Charlotte do have more ongoing adventures that will remain a mystery. But this ending was decent enough. I’ll take it.

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 9

By Rhythm Aida and nauribon. Released in Japan as “Buta Koushaku ni Tensei shita kara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to Iitai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Zihan Gao.

For today’s reading we have Exhibit A in “the suspension bridge effect is bullshit”. Slowe and Alicia are put into a situation where they’re supposed to band together to survive and slowly realize their feelings for each other. There are, however, a few minor problems with this scenario. 1) Slowe is in love with Charlotte. 2) Alicia is MUCH more stubborn than even those who knew her imagined. And, most importantly, 3) They’re just not that into each other. This book starts with the cliffhanger of the last volume, which has the rumor about Slowe and Alicia being engaged again, and both are determined to break it off – Slowe for obvious reasons, and Alicia because, even if she does think Slowe is not as bad as he used to be now, an arranged marriage is anathema to her. I really like Slowe and Alicia’s dynamic, but as “put upon heirs”, not as a couple.

So yes, the campus is abuzz with the rumor about Slowe and Alicia, to the point that neither of them can even have a moment’s peace without the gossip reaching their ears. And a lot of the gossip is nasty, on both sides. Plus Slowe is now having nightmares where he’s married to Alicia and Charlotte is crying. Theoretically, they should team up, but Alicia is not that sort of person. Instead, Slowe and Charlotte have to sneak off after her when she flees the campus. She’s going to one of the most dangerous dungeons in the world to get back a priceless royal heirloom that was taken by a slime monster. If she can return it to the royal family, she’ll have enough clout to get the engagement called off. To help she’ll have Slowe, Charlotte, Charlotte’s “pet cat”, and the world’s most suspicious guide.

The weak point in this book is Blau. She’s a good character, but a lot of her felt underdeveloped. Given what she’s got planned for Alicia in the dungeon, I expected her to be a lot more morally grey than she ended up being, but she was more of a dumbass than anything else. Also, her character really needed a cathartic last meeting with the one she’s been searching for, and just did not get it. Honestly, both of those problems seem like poor editing – I wonder if she was meant to be a villain but that was rejected? Charlotte is also much stronger here than in previous books, which is good, because given the cliffhanger to THIS book she’ll need that strength. And I also appreciated the repetition of Slowe never quite realizing what his reputation is with the kingdom now that he’s saved the day multiple times. He’s still trapped in that damn anime.

The next book promises a confrontation we’ve wanted to see since the start – Slowe vs. his family. Till then, this was a strong volume of Piggy Duke, and had a bunch of cool fights as well. Plus, skeleton warriors. Always terrific.

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 8

By Rhythm Aida and nauribon. Released in Japan as “Buta Koushaku ni Tensei shita kara, Kondo wa Kimi ni Suki to Iitai” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Zihan Gao.

I’m starting to give up on Charlotte doing anything, and I think the author is as well. Her function here is to a) have a comedy side plot where she tries to fatten Slowe up again because she’s worried other girls will thrown themselves at him now, and b) be a mirror to the new girl who’s on the cover, who actually is important. And then there’s the cliffhanger, which implies that Book 9 is going to be all about Slowe and Alicia rather than Slowe and Charlotte. It is annoying because, after 7 books of waiting to see these two idiots finally confess to each other, it feels like Charlotte no longer has a function in the story. They’re still keeping her status secret, and the main “plot” of the anime has wrapped itself up, so… guess she’s just there. Instead, we get a one-shot plot that feels like a placeholder.

The first half of the book, frankly, drags. The main plot is that Prince Neon is at the school in order to, supposedly, make friends – something so obviously false that it makes everyone uncomfortable, especially as the Prince is trying to act all buddy-buddy and getting too handsy with other girls. He also has a retainer, of course, named Suz, who is stoic but also seems to be incredibly obsessed with her charge. She’s also ridiculously strong, to the point that Slowe is beginning to wonder if something is up. Something *is* up, of course, but we’ll have to wait till after the world’s most annoying dungeon crawl to find out why, as for some reason the one person Prince Neon is really interested in is Shuya, who he seems to be trying to drive insane… or trying to stop it, we can’t be sure.

Fortunately, the second half of this volume is much better than the first once we actually start getting answers. Prince Neon is meant to be a very close analogue to Slowe himself, which of course makes Suz Charlotte, as she is also a retainer in love with her master and possessed of a secret no one must know. This is handled quite well, and I also liked the final fight, which sees Slowe kick ass, but not in a way that makes him seem OP. He still contrasts very well with Shuya, who is the protagonist of the anime and cannot stop acting like an anime protagonist, even as everyone around him says he’s too soft. Shuya actually gets a leg up on Slowe here, who is so busy trying to avoid whatever is going on with Prince Neon that he misses a lot of the danger signs. And while I want to leave the villains of the piece a spoiler, they’re very good “you know they’re not a recurring thing” villains.

So a middling volume of Piggy Duke this time… which I think I’ve said a few too many times before. We’ll see if focusing on Alicia rather than Charlotte helps things any next time.