By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.
No short stories this time around, we’re heading to Forthorthe and things are about to get serious. The start of this series, forty-odd books ago, was very much a slice-of-life comedy, with the aliens, magical girls, and underground girls essentially acting as wacky neighbors in a high school romcom. Clan’s arrival, and Koutarou’s subsequent trip back in time, started to kick that in the head. And now here we are, with the back half of this volume featuring a thoughtless disaster on the part of the villains turned into an even more nightmarish disaster by the most unhinged villain, and you get things like living corpses (I’d call them zombies, but they run very fast, so that might give you the wrong idea) in the remains of a burning factory being weaponized and turned on a nearby city and you realize that this has actually gotten pretty dark, hasn’t it? Fortunately, the first half, which involves introducing cool new tech to the masses, is more relaxing.
Our heroes are now back in Forthorthe, and the big question on everyone’s mind is: who is the Blue Knight going to marry? Sadly, for reporters, the Blue Knight is still running away from that question, so there’s no real progress there. There is much more success in introducing a personal force field that can, among many other things, act as replacement limbs for disabled people as demonstrated by Nana doing various gymnastic maneuvers with just a force field for support. Koutarou thought that would be it, however, many other companies, including the military, quickly realize the other uses this sort of tech could provide, and now he’s even richer, to his quiet despair. There’s no time to enjoy it, though: they’ve found one of Ralgwin’s bases, and it’s time to play catch that villain!
As hinted in the first paragraph, catch that villain does not go very well. Rokujouma!? has gotten more serious as the books have gone on, even including a war, but I don’t think we’ve really taken as much time to appreciate the loss of lives as we did here. Now, these are all factory workers we’ve never met before, so it’s not like the author is killing one of the main characters, but the fury at how this came to be from our heroes is very well done. Meanwhile, on Yurika Watch, she gets to do cool things, and her running gag of “magical girl uses evil powers” is still funny, but this is Ruth’s book to shine,. as the author admits that if he’s going to have a balanced harem series he has to work hard to maintain that balance, and Ruth, mostly, rarely gets to fight at the front line. That gets fixed here, and shows off her awesome analytical skills (and love for Koutarou) in a fantastic manner.
Sadly, the villains get away, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them. Till then, enjoy a more serious volume than usual.