By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.
One of the strengths of the Rokujouma series has been the attention paid to its major antagonists. Even from the start, the villains got opportunities to show us their point of view, be sympathetic in some way, shape or form, or at least show why people trust them despite their being Obviously Evil. That stays true to the present books, as Ralgwin, despite being one of the main bad guys, is a Good Boss, cares about his underlings, and even fires one of his strongest supporters just so that she’ll be away from the bad stuff when it happens. Unfortunately, the bad stuff is absolutely going to happen, mostly as evil scientist (boo) has refined his living corpse makers so that he can resurrect the dead better (and thus use Ralgwin as a spare body for his ancestor), and the Grey Knight, who is “Koutarou but evil”, is still trying to kill Sanae, and presumably will get his inevitable redemption saved for near the end of the series. Assuming this series ever ends.
The format is the same as the last book: half a book of cute stories and buildup, and half a book of battles and payoff. Kenji ad Koutarou brought baseball equipment along, and now Koutarou and Shizuka can flirt… erm, I mean, practice to see if they can use the equipment with their powers. Koutarou then tries to figure out how to spend the giant pile of money he has without being too influential towards one side or another. Everyone then goes to inspect the new Blue Knight ship, which of course looks exactly like a giant robot, complete with detachable parts, because this series is still very teenage boy even as its readers age into their 40s. And then Ralgwin makes one last, desperate attempt to kill Koutarou once and for all, but has reckoned without a defector in his ranks.
The Yurika watch will be brief this review, as she’s barely in the book, except for one scene where she starts to think out loud that Koutarou looks like an Emperor/King until a terrifying glare from Elfaria shuts her up. Clearly Elfaria’s agenda involves much greater things for Koutarou than just “go back to Earth and live in my 6-tatami room”. The big deal here, though, is Fasta’s defection. The sniper has been a major thorn in our heroes’ side for a while now, but after being sent away by Ralgwin so that she’s not quietly killed while trying to save him, she decides to up her game by betraying him in order to save him later, after he’s arrested and imprisoned. It’s a bold move, and I was surprised that it actually worked, but I guess Ralgwin also saw the writing on the wall, putting everything into one last ‘kill Koutarou” attempt – which fails. I also liked that the girls were content to let her escape and try to rescue Ralgwin after his capture – everything they’ve done since about Book 9 or so has basically been “all for love”, so they can understand the feeling.
Good fights, amusing jokes, some incremental plot development. Everything you’d want in a Rokujouma book.