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 Seven Seas. Translated by Amy Osteraas. Adapted by Aysha U. Farah.
I’ve frequently made fun of the fact that many villainesses in these books, with Katarina Claes being the best example, keep constantly trying to “solve” all the problems facing them without realizing that the problems have solved themselves simply due to being empathic and kind. Because Katarina, and Rishe in this series, know the real truth: even if you are as sweet as pie, never assume that the narrative has gone away. Rishe knows that her recurring deaths, and the war that leads to them, are not something that can be solved by simply marrying the man behind it all and showing him how to be happy. There’s a lot more to it than that. This is especially true of this second volume, which brings back a number of characters from her life as an apothecary. Including one who is, for all intents and purposes, a terrorist.
Rishe remains dedicated to her efforts to live a happy, carefree life by overworking herself to death in order to get it. She takes sword training from Arnold, and when she realizes that she absolutely lacks the stamina she had in her knight life, not to mention the elite training Arnold’s knights have, she secretly disguises herself as a boy and enrolls in the knight course. As this is happening, a delegation from Coyolle, a country which has relied on its mining to help it not be taken over and destroyed by other countries, has arrived, including Prince Kyle, who Rishe knew in her apothecary life, and Michel, an alchemist who enjoys inventing things, and if they’re weapons of mass destruction, well, they need to be used. You can’t just NOT use poison once you’ve made it.
Michel was probably the best character in this volume. He’s given a tragic backstory, of course, but for the most part he is the genial mad scientist, willing to blow up the world as long as it shows that his theories are correct. He and Rishe get along surprisingly well. Then again, getting along with everyone is Rishe’s thing. And this includes Prince Kyle, who briefly makes Arnold jealous as in his country all women are meant to be venerated, meaning his attention to Rishe is, shall we say, too much for our grumpy Crown Prince. That said… war does appear to be the the first response for him, and Rishe has to work her ass off to show that diplomacy is the better answer in this case. The answer to “why do I keep dying?” is still not an easily solvable one, but at the very least Arnold finds her fascinating, and is unlikely to brutally murder her this time, unless some horrible misunderstanding happens. Which is unlikely, I mean, this is a light novel…
Fans of the genre, or just fans of shoujo romance, should find plenty to dig into here.