By Kaede Kikyou and Tobari. Released in Japan as “Seigi no Mikata to Aku no Sōtō” by the author on the Syosetu website. Released in North America digitally by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Jekaterina Bält.
As with Obsessions of an Otome Gamer, the other Cross Infinite World title I’ve read, I went into this because the concept intrigued me. Honestly, it sounded like Excel Saga, and I am nothing if not a fan of anything possibly related to Excel Saga. We have a young girl who is trying to take over the world but is a bit of a flake. We have an organization that essentially fills the role of a sentai team trying to stop her. That said, that’s about where the similarities end. Instead of Il Palazzo, Mia has her late father, who drilled into her daily the rules on how to use magic but seems to have forgotten (on purpose, as we later find) to tell her what being “evil” actually means. As for the Champions of Justice, they’re cops, and while they have some flaws, for the most part they are all adults who see this Supreme Ruler of Evil they’ve been assigned to stop for what she is: a lonely young girl living alone with genuine magical powers.
Changing up my usual style, I’ll start with the good and move to the bad. It’s mostly good – I was quite entertained by this, which is a LOT deeper and more dramatic than I’d really been expecting. There’s lots of humor, sure, as Mia has a tendency to act like a stereotypical cackling villain at the drop of a hat. But I loved how her attempts to “do evil” are all rather pathetic, and that at heart she is obviously meant to be catching bad guys instead – there’s a bit of Ran from Super GALS! in her, only Ran’s just in denial, whereas Mia genuinely does not seem to know what good and evil are as concepts. The five officers are divided up fairly easily: the serious one who wants to make sure Mia eats properly, the blase one who has a secret I could have done without (more on that later), the angry guy who’s trying to date someone long-distance; the romantic lead who is constantly sexually harassing Mia as a way to distance himself from the fact that he’s fallen in love at first sight (more on that later as well), and the token woman, who is there essentially to be a big sister sort. Gradually they get Mia to open up and get closer, and honestly I think the book may have been better (if less marketable) if it removed the romance and stuck with “found family”.
There are some things I didn’t like. The book was noted as being somewhat racy, and I wasn’t quite sure why till we got to the chapter dealing with Shou, the cheerful yet sneaky blonde guy. At one point, when fighting with Mia, Mia’s magical attacks tear his jacket, which seems to cause him to go dark, and he takes her back to his apartment… which is set up like a bondage fetish room. With lots of toys, lovingly described in great detail. And a rape threat (which Shou clearly doesn’t mean but I don’t care). Honestly, this entire section could be removed with no damage to the story – sure, Shou would get no development, but Aya didn’t either. As for Ren, the love interest, he’s acknowledged in story as sexually harassing Mia, a high school student who is not yet 18, from day one. It’s done in that “this is a romance title” sort of way so I wasn’t as annoyed with it as I was with Shou, but it’s there. I did like Aya at the end admitting that she let him get away with it as she could see he was working through his issues and if he screws this up now she’ll kick his ass to hell and back.
This is another of those really long books, though at least it is complete in one volume. Overall, I’m glad I read it, as I loved the bonding between this group of rough yet gentle police officers and their wayward charge who is a “Supreme Ruler of Evil” who can’t help but do good to anyone she comes across. If you like shoujo romances, I’d definitely give it a try.