Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 7

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.

The Piggy Duke series has always had a tendency, much like its title character, of avoiding difficult confrontations. We’ve seen in the last few books Slowe trying to work up the courage to confess to Charlotte and failing miserably, and the revelations about Charlotte’s past and how much everyone knows about it, while they have been coming out, are almost inevitably interrupted by some crisis needing attention, and by the time it’s over the moment has passed. Well, those who have been waiting seven books for Slowe to get off his ass and say something will be pleased to see that it finally happens here, as a stupid series of “high school drama” events manage to force his hand. The confession scene is excellent. As for the aftermath? Oh, sorry, it’s crisis time. The aftermath will have to wait. Sadly, Charlotte gets little to do in this volume, despite her heritage being one of the reasons for the crisis.

The title once again is a lie, as, in order to get rid of the stress he’s been dealing with recently, Slowe has taken to working out by lifting weights all over campus – something that the student body actually finds a bit terrifying. That said, he’s slimmed down again, so is attracting looks, and his “commoner” friend Tina tries to get him to branch out by actually interacting with other women besides her, Charlotte and Alicia – something that sadly proves disastrous for his reputation. Fortunately, a distraction comes along. The Witch, fresh off the last book, has gone to attack the Queen, and the fallout from that means that the Queen, her Guardian Knight, the Princess, and the Royal Knights are ALL now at the school, trying to bait the Witch. Unfortunately, this is also a family argument between mother and daughter… who do NOT get along.

We’d met the lazy princess before, but the narrative is a lot more sympathetic towards her this time, putting her behavior in much-needed context. Her behavior also ties into Charlotte’s past, which (of course) is not nearly as secret as Slowe would like, and I really enjoyed that this was part of the bargain made. That said, most of this book, as with the other books in the series, relies on you finding Slowe’s behavior amusingly annoying rather than just annoying. Again, I really wish we had more of Charlotte’s POV in this series, as she’s still technically Slowe’s retainer, and is having to deal with him being the talk of the school – again – and also some incredibly nasty rumors about him – again. If you add in his accidental confession to her, you can see why she spends the last quarter of the book unconscious. I’m sure we’ll find out what she thinks of Slowe’s confession of love in the next book… maybe.

I have been accused before of caring more about the romance in a book than the plot, and that’s probably true, but a lot of the plot in Piggy Duke is the romance, so I think I have the right to be a bit annoyed. Still, the Princess made this book worth reading, and I hope we see more of her in the future.

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 6

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’s a bit if a soft reset with this volume, if not in terms of plot than in terms of tropes, and I must admit that I found the first half of the book quite irritating because of it. Slowe is trying his best to stop the anime plot and to manage to confess his feelings to Charlotte, but he does NOT want to be a hero, and the world seems determined to put him in that slot. As does Charlotte, much to his chagrin. It’s frustrating and you sympathize with him… but going home and eating himself back to nearly his original weight is not a good response to that problem, and you feel even more for Charlotte and the others who have to deal with him running away from his problems. Even when he gets back to the academy, things are mostly “why does no one understand how I feel” for seventy-odd pages. Because you don’t tell them being the answer Slowe does not want to acknowledge.

Having asked to think about the Queen’s request for him to be a Guardian Knight, Slowe then returns back to the Denning domain… which proves to be a mistake, as everyone is assuming that he will naturally accept it. Including Charlotte. After trying to overeat his way out of the problem, he manages to strike a deal to return to the academy… but everyone else there (except maybe the headmaster) expects him to accept it as well. There’s also a new teacher (this school goes through teachers like Seven Spellblades) who has a chip on her shoulder and seems to despise Slowe. Meanwhile, to the shock of nearly everyone, Nanatrij has called off her war with the South after events in the previous two books. Unfortunately, some of her subordinates are not willing to accept this.

The main reason that Slowe is dragging his feet only comes out halfway through the book, which is the fact that Guardian Knights are meant to be celibate. (Presumably as they’re guarding the royal family, and you want to avoid “situations” with the Queen and princesses.) Indeed, the current Guardian Knight had a lover he had to abandon. So to Slowe, hearing Charlotte’s enthusiasm for his taking the position is like a knife to his heart. Of course, it’s his own damn fault, as he knows quite well. He’s too cowardly to confess his feelings, and he has not actually told Charlotte what being a Guardian Knight entails. He actually gets close to a confession this time around… but sadly the plot messes it up. As for the new teacher, well, I was also annoyed at her a lot of the time too, to be honest. She was far too much of a sucker.

So yeah, this wasn’t bad, but I had a sort of low-grade irritation while I was reading it. We’ll see what happens next with the Guardian Knight thing when the next book comes out.

Reincarnated as the Piggy Duke: This Time I’m Gonna Tell Her How I Feel!, Vol. 5

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.

If there’s one thing that these villainess stories make clear (and this is definitely a villainess story, even if our hero is the “piggy duke”), it’s that “you can’t fight fate” is not an option. You HAVE to fight fate, because fate has already written the otome game/webnovel/anime in question, and it has you being the villain and dying. Much of this book involves Slowe trying his best to stop the anime plot from happening and war from breaking out, and it’s very, very difficult. It does not help that Shuya, who has merely been a minor pain in Slowe’s side in the first few books, is an active antagonist here, being the ultimate in stubborn, wrongheaded anime “heroes”. Unfortunately, that will lead to disaster, so Slowe not only has to try to stop the city from being destroyed, but also has to try to stop Shuya from being possessed and massacring all his friends. Remember when this was just goofy classroom antics?

Slowe and Charlotte do NOT return to their home country, much to Charlotte’s annoyance, but instead are headed to the Dungeon City, Zenelaus, where Slowe hopes to stop war from breaking out. Unfortunately, he can’t exactly tell Charlotte that he knows how the anime went and that’s why they’re here. Alicia is here as well, mostly as Shuya has decided to help everyone in the city out as an adventurer, and is feeling like he’s really achieving something. Alicia just wants to go home, but she can’t convince Shuya to leave. Nor can Slowe. As for the event that kicks off the war, it involves a lich, a dullahan, and the Eye of the Crimson Lotus, who will stop this insidious plot even if it costs his life… in fact, he seems to regard the loss of his life as a fait accompli.

Most of this book is taken up with what is essentially a siege, but it also gives us a lot more insight into Shuya and how his mind works (even if it’s semi-possessed a lot of the time). As with a lot of anime antagonists, he wants to get strong and protect everyone he cares about. Also like a lot of anime antagonists, he mistakes “being the best” for “being strong” and every time he sees Slowe’s effortless OP powers he gets upset. Gotta be honest, Shuya is really goddamn annoying in this book, and I hope we get less of him in the next one. That said, another very interesting part of this book is the interlude we saw with Slowe seeing Shuya in school for the first time and taking an interest. It’s interesting because this is Slowe before he gets his memories of his past life, and, while passive and grumpy, we also see his insight that shows us why his downfall was such a tragedy.

This was not my favorite in the series, mostly as it relied a lot on a) big fights and b) Shuya being a dumbass. But it was still pretty good.