By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.
I’ve been saying for a while now that the “harem total” in this series is not going to get larger or smaller, and in this volume I am proved wrong. That said, if you’re going to add someone to a pile of girls who are as much a found family as romantic rivals, go big or go home. God joins the party here, in the presence of the being who greeted Koutarou in Volume 1. For a while it was thought to be Harumi/Alaia in some way, but now we know that that wasn’t thinking quite grandiose enough. Before we get to that point, though, we continue the theme of the previous books, as one by one the cast vanish from Koutarou’s life, essentially his worst fear, and he has to deal with it. He doesn’t deal with it very well. Fortunately, the dwindling group of women in his life are able to figure out what is going on long enough for him to go back to the place it all began… and also set up some intriguing alternate universes.
The cover art… and the plot… and every single thing about the book, really… might make you assume this is the last book in the series. It’s certainly the final part of the “main” plot that the author originally came up with – this is where he envisioned it ending, no matter how many books it turned out to be. But the cast are becoming third-years (except for the graduated Harumi), and we’re going to be seeing what happens next starting with Vol. 30. As for this book, there’s not much to it aside from emotional beats. They’re very good emotional beats, don’t get me wrong, but I do wish Koutarou had sort of figured out that when he is standing next to a girl and reminiscing about all the good times they’ve had since book 1, she’s going to be the next to go. There is a bit of a “memory reset” at the end, but it’s entirely voluntary, and you understand why they did it.
The interesting thing, to me, was the concept of the alternate universes brought up by Nalfalaren. The one we’ve been reading is the only one in like 5 billion or so where Koutarou revives her with all nine girls who are “part of her” at his side. In other words, this is the only harem end universe. We see one of the alternate universes towards the end of this book, as Koutarou has to deal with a world where none of the cast ever showed up in Room 106 and he ended up dating Shiori Kashiwagi, who readers may recall as having a crush on him a few books back, and is entirely a normal girl. It’s good to know someone is there to help Koutarou get over the tragedies in his life regardless, but it’s still nice to see the ending I think readers wanted, which is ambiguous but also feels right.
Next time we’re getting a continuation, but we’re also going to start to see some of those “alternate universes” where Koutarou was able to settle on one of the girls. Either way, you don’t have to worry about the cast vanishing from your lives anytime soon.