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.
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with our Rokujouma family, and it’s a relief to see that everyone is much the same. It’s actually quite impressive that this series that should have ended with Vol. 29 is taking a relaxing victory lap and also springboarding a whole new plot that will take many books to resolve at the same time. It doesn’t actually feel dissonant – what’s resolved is Koutarou and the other girls, and though he’s still too “teenage” to actually say I Love You out loud or anything, it’s only a matter of time. This is pointed out to him by MacKenzie, after Koutarou worries about Yurika above and beyond the call of duty – he cannot simply choose one girl at this point. Indeed, the author agrees, which is why we’re getting the side stories that imagine life if he DID fall for only one girl. But that’s next time: this volume is back in the present-day, and showing that the aftermath of the war is still coming to Earth… literally.
There are three main plot threads here, all of which tie into each other. First of all, it’s time for the sports festival again, which is very important to the original core cast as it’s the first time they really bonded as a group way back in the single digit volumes. Unfortunately, dreams of winning the big prize may have to be put on hold. The spaceship that blew up at the end of the last volume was deliberately blown up – now its alien tech is scattered all over Japan, and is being picked up by unscrupulous companies to examine. Even worse, they’ve kidnapped an American scientist and are holding his family hostage in order to force him to work on the alien tech. Now our heroes have to rescue the scientist, his wife and daughter, and retrieve or destroy the technology, all while trying not to get in trouble at school. Oh, and Yurika’s working for the bad guys again, though this time it really is an accident.
It needs to be said, there’s a whole lot of sap here, and if you dislike that, you may want to stop reading. That said, this is the 34th book in the series (counting the two .5 volumes), and I suspect new readers are not going to be anywhere near this. Old readers will find plenty to smile about – every girl gets a chance to be sweet with the man they love, except MacKenzie’s little sister, who’s still trying to come to terms with the fact that the brother she idolized is a playboy. This actually gets weaponized towards the end of the book, as part of the plan. The plan itself makes the latter half of the book feel like a heist movie, as we see everything coming together, everyone gets to show off their cool powers, and only a few girls have emotional crises. (Yurika is a given, but Shizuka is really starting to get worried about everyone thinking of her as basically “the big guy”.)
Summing up, this is exactly what Rokujouma fans want in a book. Next time we get another three short stories/alternate universe book, with Clan winning the “what if Koutarou chose only me?” sweepstakes. So expect bickering galore.