On Rokka no Yuusha v5

rokka5
The cover.

Hi, it’s time for the penultimate, fifth volume of Rokka no Yuusha. The fourth book ended on a firework of a cliffhanger: the Black Barrenbloom, the tool which Tgurneu wants to use to eliminate all Braves at once turned out to be Fremy. Is she the Seventh as well? Adlet, after hearing the news, decides to keep it a secret at least for a little while for Fremy’s sake. The party of heroes moves on to the Temple of Fate. Inside, at the bottom of a maze, they make a certain unbelievable discovery…

At the beginning of the novel, the reader gets a glimpse of Tgurneu’s honest feelings: he doesn’t care about The Evil God. It’s his biggest secret, kept hidden from his subordinates – he’s taking on the Braves for his own personal enjoyment. That would suggest Tgurneu is the true last boss of this story, but who knows?

As you can guess from the cover, this volume’s central character is Fremy. She was on the cover of the first book as well, but it’s probably because of the “only girls belong on the cover” policy, commonly applied by light novel labels. We get to know the half-fiend gunwoman and her past in more detail. Book 1 and 5 prove to share more similarities than just the cover, though. The hints given to you turn out to be more useful for solving the other mystery, the one overarching the entire series. By which I mean the question of “Who’s the Seventh?”. This volume’s definitely delves into this question deeper than ever before .

After the cat is out of the bag and all of the Braves learn that Fremy is the Black Barrenbloom, Hans suggests that the Seventh’s task has not been to sabotage the other heroes, but to safely escort and protect the Barrenbloom. Fremy will need to die. Adlet gets accused of being the agent of evil – having fallen in love with Fremy, he’s been guarding her from the very beginning.

This volume’s central goal becomes then apparent. Volume 3 was about Goldof taking the risk of protecting Nashetania from everybody else as the only person around who knows what the hell he’s doing. In volume 4, Rolonia acts upon a nebulous hunch and takes up the role of the last just person around, to find a single zombie in a whole horde and relay its valuable dying message to the other heroes. This time, Adlet becomes everybody else’s target yet again to save Fremy. The Cowardly Warrior’s task is extra hard this time, since the grim gunslinger girl doesn’t feel a shred of attachment to life. Just like last time, this book cannot be called a mystery, only an inductive story with mystery elements. Would killing Fremy help the Braves or backfire horribly? Adlet doesn’t care. He does this because he loves her and it might be that his choice is wrong and he’s been playing into the enemy’s hand for the entire volume…

And then all hell breaks loose. A rift dividing the Braves into two mutually hostile teams finally becomes reality. Hans, the wisest Brave, has convincing arguments against Adlet. Adlet, on the other hand, proves to be a magnificent detective. Unsure of what’s true and what’s a lie, the Braves sometimes even switch sides. Adlet needs to prevent Fremy’s death and find proof that he’s innocent. And do it before he’s killed by his comrades or the fiends lurking in the maze and targeting the heroes with their special abilities. He might even resort to fabricating evidence and lying… What if the point-of-view character is the villain? Sadly, I need to say this stretch of the novel was the worst part of Rokka no Yuusha as of yet. In the end, Adlet wins, but the way he reaches victory is contrived, not believable in the least, and relies on convenient coincidences more than anything before. And then Adlet survives because of *this* bullshit. And then he avoids death because of *that* bullshit. It’s tedious and winding as hell. Instead of impressing and making me root for Adlet, like it did in volume 1, the story only made my eyes roll. All the previous volumes would serve you a giant cathartic moment at the end. “Against overwhelming odds, the good guy prevailed”. Volume 5 not only doesn’t do that, it does the opposite. Adlet convinces most of the party to his arguments with true-sounding deceptions and forces Hans, the most competent Brave to run for his life. I get it, Adlet’s the protag, but uh…

Thankfully, that’s not where the volume concludes. Volume 5 ends on a high note: a converstation between Tgurneu and another fiend finally lets the reader know who the Seventh is. Beyond any doubt. The truth is as convoluted as you’d expect it to be in a multi-volume mystery series. I wonder how the hell could the Seventh not be aware of who he is. The Seventh has good intentions and plans to power through the monstrous hordes regardless of their commander’s plans, believing he’ll win anyway. Well then. Rokka v5 was undisputedly the worst book in the series until now. It’s done some outrageous shit, of the “the author’s writing himself into a corner, hard” sort. Still, I’m not giving up hope and am looking forward to the last, sixth volume, to be released in English in December…

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2 Responses to On Rokka no Yuusha v5

  1. Karandi says:

    From reading this, I’m kind of glad I decided not to continue with the series after the first book. While there were some elements I liked, I just wasn’t hugely swept up by the story or characters and this just sounds like an irritating read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

    Like

  2. mbednorz says:

    I’m reading so you don’t have to 😉

    Like

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