By Takehaya and Poco. Released in Japan as “Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Warnis.
A lot of the things I said about Vol. 7.5 apply here as well, with the conclusion of Koutarou in the past. There’s a lot less humor in this book than in the regular series, as for the most part our heroes are in a desperate battle to save their lives and the kingdom, not in that order. Koutarou eventually comes clean with Alaia about who he is and where he’s from, which helps towards the end as they’re actually allowed to bring out Clan’s futuristic lightsabers and nuclear weapons without the rest of the heroic cast boggling too much. And Koutarou’s armor gets beaten to hell and back, which ties in nicely with Ruth discovering its condition in Book 8. It is, as always, a very enjoyable volume in a well-written series, but there are thankfully one or two other points I can expand on to fill up a review.
The first is the surprising reappearance of the ancient temple from Vol. 1, which I admit I had 100% forgotten about (as had Koutarou, but my memories haven’t been deliberately wiped). I’m not sure how it ended up as an ancient Earth ruin, but hey. The temple, of course, was the basis for the start of all the chaos in his life, as it’s only after falling into its ruins that he can see Sanae and we set off the mad dash to get control of the room. Here we see that it’s essentially home of a mythical sacred sword, which given it’s a myth in Alaia’s time makes it a super-old myth by the time we get to Theia’s present. The sword essentially is imbued with Alaia’s life force, which causes a few problems for her (I hope that she does not die too young, as the text hints – then again, Harumi is basically her reincarnation, so…) but also allows her and Koutarou to bring out its full potential. Rokujouma is not based on a webnovel, and it’s times like this you can tell – the series feels planned in advance in ways webnovel series do not.
The other interesting point is Koutarou’s acceptance of the fact that he, by himself, is not powerful at all, and that every awesome thing he does is through borrowed power – Sanae’s spiritual sense, Yurika’s magical protection, Theia and Ruth’s powered armor, etc. He accepts this, and keeps his humility. This contrasts him with the power-mad villain of the story, who is desperate to get power and will use any means necessary, and what’s more sees Alaia’s sword as a symbol of the power, to the degree that if he gets the sword he doesn’t actually need the princess or the kingdom. This is, of course, what makes him the villain. As for Koutarou, one could argue his natural charm, which allows the girls to fall for him and thus give him their strength, is his true power, but given the sort of series this is, I don’t expect him to realize that anytime soon. He never even realized he was the historical Blue Knight.
So another good Rokujouma, though I am definitely looking forward to returning to the present for the next few books. I do wonder if we’ll see the giant dragon that Koutarou and Clan befriended at the end of the book – it’s certainly set up that we will. In the meantime, Shizuka is on the cover of Book 9, meaning presumably that Book 10 will develop her, under the Rokujouma cover art rules. Despite its length, Rokujouma remains one of J-Novel Club’s best series to date.