By Toru Taba and Falmaro. Released in Japan as “Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu ~Sou da, Baikoku Shiyou~” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jessica Lange.
This volumes shares many of the same things that I criticized the last volume for – it’s very rushed, Falanya doesn’t really appear, etc. – but I found it a much better read than Book 5. Possibly that’s because this is the first book to really feature Wein as a side character in his own series. We’ve seen Wein being an “influencer” before, and in fact it’s probably what he excels at more than anything else. But in this book we see Wein caught up in a power struggle that has nothing to do with his country – or so we think – and choosing to pick a side and help one of the contenders for the throne. This volume is Felite’s as much as Wein’s. The book shows off his own similarity to Wein in a few ways – notably their kickass bodyguard/confidante who seems to be in love with them – but thankfully is not creating a Wein clone, as he feels like his own person.
Wein now has a seaport, but unfortunately no one trusts him enough to trade with him. Fortunately, his hostage/enemy is there with an answer: she knows of a nation to the South that is amenable to trade, and she can help negotiate. So we’re off on a sea voyage… which Wein quickly regrets. And yes, part of it is that he gets seasick, but there’s also the fact that the ruler who he’s supposed to be negotiating with has been assassinated, and Wein is captured and stuffed in a jail cell. Fortunately, not only does he manage to bluff his way into having a far nicer jail cell than everyone else, but he’s also kept directly next to the OTHER big name prisoner… Felite, the second son of the former ruler. The first son is the one doing the assassinating. The winner will be the one who can claim the famed Rainbow Crown, an icon of the country.
The author said last time that this volume would be a slice-of-life, which it isn’t, and he apologizes for being totally unable to write such a thing. Still, we do get some of the cast in swimsuits… though really, Wein only has eyes for Ninym. Despite another girl telling him that they’re engaged (he never has any choice in the matter), Ninym is simply too high a bar to clear, and the first thing Tolchiela says after this is “It’s OK, I’ll allow mistresses”. That said, we also see some Flahm here who are also not roundly hated by everyone, and it’s apparent that they worship Natra for being the first country to actually not oppress then. If this series ever does end, I suspect it’s with Ninym recognized more officially. As for the rest of the book… it’s a fun little adventure, and Wein is mostly in smart bastard mode rather than whiny freakout mode. Plus, sea battles.
The next book promises to bring us back to the Empire, so I expect we’ll see more of Lowellmina than the running gag we got here. That said, we also saw that the series’ Big Bads are also still around, and determined to have everything end in chaos. Wein is their kryptonite, so dealing with him is getting more and more important. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.