The Reincarnated Princess Spends Another Day Skipping Story Routes, Vol. 8

By Bisu and Yukiko. Released in Japan as “Tensei Oujo wa Kyou mo Hata o Tatakioru” by Arian Rose. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Esther Sun.

Last time I wondered if this final volume in the series would be a victory lap, or if we would have one last plot twist for Rosemary to deal with in order to save her life. As it turns out, there’s nothing to worry about, this is pure fluff, an absolute victory lap that consists entirely of everyone praising Rosemary to the skies while she herself acts like a lovestruck teenager and frets that she’s about to screw everything up at any moment. Spoiler: she doesn’t. There’s always been an element of “everyone thinks of the best possible reasoning for our heroine’s behavior” to this series, but it’s tended to be balanced by action sequences or suspense. Here there’s none of that, and even the romance is handled fairly early, so it really is just wedding prep, wedding, and having all the other love interests get a narrative bit about how sad they are but how happy they are for Rosemary. The word “schmoopy” was invented for books like this.

After the events of the last book (and reassuring herself that her cat is not in fact dead), Rosemary spends the bulk of the first half of this book recuperating. Of course, that does not mean that she’s not doing things. First of all, she and Leonhart finally confess to each other with words and everything, and get across that, rather than merely tolerating the other’s presence, they are in fact giant dorks in love. This means there’s a wedding coming!… in two years time. While we wait for that, she says a final farewell to Kanon (who goes back to Japan, though she’ll return for the wedding itself) and concentrates of learning how to become a duchess, because the status gap between princess and count is too large, so they’re giving her a duchy to solve the problem. And, of course, there’s the hospital and medical schools. Plus, y’know, the rest of her harem.

As with prior volumes, the books alternate between Rosemary and various other characters. Most of this is what you’d expect, but we do meet Leonhart’s family, the most interesting part of the book. They’re husband, wife, and three sons, Leonhart being the eldest, and the men in the family all have the quirk of being uninterested in romance till they meet the one woman who they will love the rest of their days. As such, they’re a bit worried about Leonhart, as the princess might be trying to selfishly coerce him. Then they meet Rosemary, who is practically perfect in every way, and are quickly adoring her like everyone else. If you are the sort of person who is bothered by this, I assume you dropped the series long ago, but with no serious plotline to balance out the praise, it gets to be a bit too much even for me.

In the end, they get married and the book ends. I was wondering if we’d get a flash forward to the future, which we don’t in terms of Rosemary, but I did like the epilogue, which shows what her real legacy will be. So yes, I enjoyed this series, a good one for a combination of “avoid my fate” reincarnation and suspense thriller.

The Reincarnated Princess Spends Another Day Skipping Story Routes, Vol. 7

By Bisu and Yukiko. Released in Japan as “Tensei Oujo wa Kyou mo Hata o Tatakioru” by Arian Rose. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Esther Sun.

This is not the final volume in the series – the eighth book is currently streaming on the J-Novel Club site, and has the standard romance novel final volume cover (heroine in wedding dress), but this does pretty much resolve all the remaining plot points that we had. This includes the love story, which takes up most of the first half of this book, and the demon lord story, which takes up most of the second half. I actually quite like the way that one shifted to the other. After the traditional Misunderstanding (TM), Rosemary has locked herself in her room and refuses to see anyone. Now, in reality this is because she’s a lovesick teenager who thinks the guy she loves is confessing to another woman, but to the rest of the palace it looks like she’s trying to protect everyone because she knows she’s possessed by the demon lord. Which is… not QUITE true, but honestly, events happen in the same way they would if it were.

After the events of the last book, everyone is basically terrified that the demon lord has possessed Rosemary, and her father is in fact coming up with a plan just in case they’re unable to save her. Kanon, our Japanese import, is of course devastated that all this has happened because Rosemary took the attack meant for her. And Leonhart is upset that he wasn’t able to protect her, upset that he cannot convey his love to her, upset that he’s unworthy of her because he’s too old/too common/whatever. That said, no one is sitting around waiting for things to get worse. The sorcerers are busy trying to design a demon lord-catching trap, and Rosemary, despite being a devastated teenager, really is researching possible ways out of this. That said, the actual power behind the demon lord turns out to be far closer to her than anyone could have guessed…

There’s some interesting isekai physics here, which Kanon and Rosemary discuss. Basically, she’s been summoned but they can send her back fairly easily at the moment… but the longer they wait, the more the “hole” that she went through to go from Japan to this world will deform, and eventually she won’t be able to return. Hell, I’m not even sure whether she will be returning – there’s no way she can miss the wedding next book, right? As for Rosemary and Leonhart, yeah, sorry to spoil the obvious, but they’re not destroyed by the demon lord, and they do eventually manage to confess to each other, after not one but TWO false starts where they do it while the other is sleeping. As for her other potential boyfriends, well, they’re sad, but I think in the end it’s very much a case of “as long as Rosemary is alive, that’s fine”. Which, given the entire premise of this book has been “trying to stop Rosemary getting killed”, thematically fits.

So we’ve almost wrapped everything up, and I for one am quite happy to have a victory lap if that’s what we get… unless, of course, there’s one final assassination attempt that Rosemary has missed. Either way, this has been a good romantic thriller.

The Reincarnated Princess Spends Another Day Skipping Story Routes, Vol. 6

By Bisu and Yukiko. Released in Japan as “Tensei Oujo wa Kyou mo Hata o Tatakioru” by Arian Rose. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Esther Sun.

As I got near the end of this volume, with the appearance of one of the characters I least expected to see, I began to realize that everything about this series makes complete sense if you just remember one fact: everyone in the book hates themselves. Now, sometimes this is obvious. Rosemary has humility as deep as the oceans, as high as the sky, to the point where it’s her biggest flaw. But everyone else, when you dig down into their psyche, also seems to suffer from crippling self-loathing and self-doubt. Even Kanon, the otome game heroine who finally gets summoned in this volume, arrives with a heaping helping of “why me?” that does not go away, though events help to reinforce her worries. Hell, even the CAT probably hates himself. The only, bright, sunny confident person in this volume dies only a little ways into it. That said… this is not a giant depressing. bleak read. Though it’s a downer to an extent.

We pick up right where we left off last time, and unfortunately events do not play out with a last-minute reprieve or God being kind. Now back home again, Rosemary has to deal with trying to live up to her father’s theoretical expectations (which are very different in her head from his ACTUAL expectations), the puzzling fact that everyone seems to lose their composure when she’s around them (especially the men), and of course the small problem of the game’s story starting up early, which means that they’re using ancient untested magic to summon a girl from Japan, who can hopefully be the one to contain the demon lord. All this plus mooning over Sir Leonhart. That said, things actually end up going pretty well… until an assassination attempt manages to screw everything up.

First off, I seem to have lost track of how much time all of this is taking, and somewhere along these six books Rosemary has aged 5 years. Since she’s now 15, and will be “an adult” in this book’s world in 6 months, I will try to complain a bit less about every single man in the cast except her father being in love with her. I do think that it’s laid on a bit thick, frankly, but that is kind of the genre of these sorts of romance books, and so I mostly have to sigh and let the flowery prose wash over me. The most interesting part of the book was near the end, where Rosemary’s near-death experience manages to get her mother, who has spent the entire series avoiding her, to her side. Fans of Endo and Kobayashi Live! might find some similarities here, as it turns out that her mother is merely very awkward and bad at love and emotions – a habit she shares with her husband, who admittedly is nicer to his daughter in this book than in the previous five books combined.

There’s two more volumes in this series to go, so I suspect next time we’ll get the darkness before the dawn. Till then, I am enjoying this book about all these sad little royals who have absolutely no idea how to un-sad themselves.