By Touko Amekawa and Wan*Hachipisu. Released in Japan as “Loop 7-kaime no Akuyaku Reijou wa, Moto Tekikoku de Jiyuukimama na Hanayome (Hitojichi) Seikatsu wo Mankitsusuru” by Overlap Novels f. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Amy Osteraas. Adapted by Vida Cruz-Borja.
The 4th volume in the series decides to lean a little less on “why is Prince Arnold so determined to go to war with everyone in the future” and focus more on “why are Prince Arnold and Rishe not admitting they’ve both completely fallen for one another? Well, they have, sort of. In their own way. The trouble with agendas is that it can be very difficult to admit explicit feelings of love when you know that eventually you’re going to destroy several countries. Or, in Rishe’s case, when you’re trying to juggle six prior lifetimes and solve each issue with them one by one to get a golden ending. That said, this book is far more explicitly romantic than the previous three, even if it does throw in the cliched “heroine is scared of ghosts” subplot. To be fair to Rishe, though, she has looped over and over. Given that’s possible, anything is.
While the romance at the start of the book is still theoretical, the wedding plans are trucking along anyway. In particular, they’re starting to get foreign visitors who will be there for the wedding, including the prince of Siguel, Curtis, and the princess, Harriet. Harriet is currently preparing for a political marriage in the neighboring kingdom of Fabrannia, a fact that Rishe knows all too well. She was a hunter in Siguel in her 5th life, and remembers Queen Harriet as an evil spendthrift who was executed and led to Siguel being forced to go to war against (who else?) Prince Arnold. As with previous books, Rishe has to fix things so that events don’t turn out that way. This time, though, there’s an added twist: Harriet is a fluffy hamster of a woman, and is highly unlikely to have been remotely evil.
There are several points in this book where Rishe is thrown off her game, but frankly they all involve Prince Arnold. Around him she gets flustered and stammering. Away from him she is, as the antagonist of the book Raul notes, “a monster”. Hell, even Raul isn’t a real antagonist, because here she actually can use all the info from her past life to save him. Harriet is trickier, but Rishe still manages to act as a sword-wielding guardsman, show Harriet that proper skincare is a great way to gain confidence, and fake being poisoned to let everyone think that she won’t be riding to the rescue with Prince Arnold, shooting down enemies with a bow and arrow and dramatically crashing through a stained glass window. Frankly, I think it’s Arnold who should be terrified of her. But this isn’t really that sort of genre.
I can’t wait for the next book. Alas, I may have to. This is the last to date, and a 5th is on Amazon Japan with a release date of “2100”. Let’s hope we can get the end of Rishe’s story.