By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.
The majority of this volume concerns itself with the ins and outs of ground forces combat, as the rebels, under Elfaria and Theia, are growing more popular as people are seeing more of their end strategy (“try not to kill people”), and contrasting this with the military under Vandarion, who has a goal that’s pretty much the opposite (“make casualties as high as possible”). We don’t really learn anything we didn’t already know here, but there are lots of cool battle moments, and I liked the stalemate that ensues when it turns out that the main commanders have their families taken captive, so that they literally cannot surrender without seeing those families killed. That said, we do have subtler villains as well – Elexis, Maya, and Darkness Rainbow, who continue to sit around and wait for Vandarion to go too far. Indeed, for those who enjoy BL tease that’s going absolutely nowhere, there are worse ships that Koutarou/Elelix (which sadly does not QUITE work out to ‘Kotex’ as a ship name).
We’re also seeing the past catching up to the present, in many ways. Much of Vandarion’s “kill a lot of people” attitude seems to be due to his past incarnation taking control of him at times (not that he minds). Meanwhile, past incarnations taking over is how Harumi fights, and she gets several really awesome moments here, possibly as she’s not going to be able to do much in the near future – her collapse is the cliffhanger of this volume. The reader has pretty much figured out that her lifelong illness and her reincarnation as the powerful Alaia are connected, and throwing around that much power in this book will no doubt have consequences. And then there’s Koutarou, who at some point is just going to have to come clean and admit he’s the Blue Knight both past and present, but I think is holding off just to have a “normal” life for a little longer.
With a cast this large it’s inevitable that some folks are going to get more attention than others. Yurika is mainly absent here, and Sanae just shows up near the end to save the day with spiritual power. Shizuka gets the bulk of the last battle, as she and her “uncle” face off against their obvious enemy, a giant robot dragon powered with magic. (You can tell that the author is still having a lot of fun pulling stuff out of his hat.) Theia also gets some battles, which she excels in, and press conferences, where she does less well. Reporters have, I suspect, figured out that she has a crush on her “Blue Knight” at the very least, and she can’t dodge the question forever. But mostly what we get here is the fact that not only is Koutarou’s “harem” all in love with him, but they also manage to function well as battle-hardened soldiers. Which is very convenient given what needs to be achieved.
Will Harumi die? (Probably not, though she may be MIA for a bit.) Will Vandarion finally destroy himself so we can move on to more nuanced villains? (God, I hope so.) And when the heck is the next volume out? (It’s out already.)