By Piero Karasu and Yuri Kisaragi. Released in Japan as “Tensei Oujo to Tensai Reijou no Mahou Kakumei” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Haydn Trowell.
In my review of the 2nd volume I mentioned that it wrapped up the first arc in the series, to which I can only say: oops. That said, I am absolutely not complaining. This may not be the final book in the series (there’s at least two more out in Japan), but it’s definitely The Payoff. Following directly on from events in the last book, it has tons of conflict, but it’s all character-based and 100% understandable. It gets into worries about isekai/reincarnation journeys that I always love to see in those books, and also delves into the past of this kingdom and why trying to change it in the future is something that’s going to be very hard and yet absolutely necessary. Basically, this book is everything you wanted to see in this series wrapped up. Anisphia has come a long way from the Chaos Gremlin of the first book. (Not to worry, the anime starts next week, and from what I’ve seen, they’re hammering on that aspect.)
After the events of the last book, Algard has been sent off into exile, meaning that there’s only one really obvious candidate in line for the throne: Anisphia. She proceeds to put on a brave face, buckle down, and accept her fate in a way that devastates everyone around her, because they all know her far too well. This includes Euphyllia, who knows her better than anyone and refuses to accept Anisphia giving up her happiness and becoming a shell of her former self. To that end, she goes searching for a way to bypass Anisphia and find another heir to the throne… and finds there is another way, but it would involve a ton of sacrifice of her own. With both Anisphia and Euphyllia playing a weird game of chicken in trying to sacrifice their own love and joy for the sake of each other, who’s going to blink first?
As I mentioned above, my favorite part of the book was the look at Anisphia’s interiority, particularly something that she’s been half in denial about this entire time. She may have abdicated early in her life, but being a Princess is a very important part of her, and a reason that she’s constantly working herself to death. She also finally confesses to Euphyllia that she’s a reincarnation, and talks about her life back in her other world… as well as what that means to her current self. We’ve seen reincarnation isekai (particularly “villainess” titles) have our reincarnated heroine “overwrite” the original personality when they regain their memories, but here we see Anisphia’s horror at the very idea of doing that. And there’s also the fact that she was reincarnated as a royal that needs to use magic to rule but one who can’t use magic. That unfairness drives her, and also nearly breaks her. Spoiler: there’s a lot of crying in this.
But there’s kissing as well, and I was amused at the book dancing around the fact that the obvious solution is joint rule, but that would involve the country acknowledging their relationship, and I don’t think we’re quite there yet. That said, this was the best in the series by far. I don’t know if I want to see it adapted in the anime – if it is, the anime will have been quite rushed – but it’s a must-read for yuri fans.