On Rokka no Yuusha v6

rokka6
The cover.

Hi there. The time has come to read the sixth, and last (?), volume of Rokka no Yuusha. A book I started with plenty of trepidation, since I spent a large percentage of my adventure with the fifth volume shaking my head and going all “no no no no” in thought… The previous book in the series ended at Hans and Chamo escaping from the rest of the Braves after a falling-out over differing opinions on what to do with Fremy and Adlet. Hans had figured out the truth: Fremy contains the Black Barrenbloom, a magical thingy which will kill all the heroes soon just by being nearby. And Adlet, though he’s unaware of it, is Tgurneu’s pawn intended to keep her around. Most of the party rejects Hans and his proposal of killing the two, forcing the catlike Brave into banishment. The clock is ticking…

Finally, it seems like the ultimate showdown with Tgurneu, the sociopathic commander of the fiends is at hand. There are two ways of neutralizing the Black Barrenbloom: either kill Fremy or kill Tgurneu, as the caster of the curse. To Adlet, the former isn’t even an option – he wants to eat a cake and still have a cake. And so, the leader of the Braves formulates a plan on how to outwit the fiend, who surely has his own destructive chessmaster routine in mind, and kill him. Whose brains will prove superior in this battle of minds? The heroes will have to discover the enemy boss’s place of hiding first. To do that, they have no other choice but to execute a meticulous plan with very low chances of success. And the two heroes with most combat potential, Hans and Chamo can now be seen as enemies who could strike at any moment. Everything could go wrong at pretty much every stage, that’s how risky it is. So, we’re in for yet another typical Rokka no Yuusha volume. Except longer and even more tangled. Especially since about halfway down the road to the operation’s successful finale, it turns out Tgurneu planted a special parasite in Fremy – what it means is that if the fiend dies, Fremy will die as well. Adlet is absolutely screwed then. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Or is he? As you can probably guess, it’s not the last big twist in the story, too.

The plan will inevitably go off the rails and the Braves will have to play it by the ear. Adlet, who assumes the role of the cornered underdog protag (and the detective in this mystery-like) yet again, will even give up at a point and succumb to Tgurneu’s ultimate power, even more deadly than his signature body-snatching gimmick – the ability to manipulate humans’ love. Fortunately, things will be alright in the end, as always. Thanks to a large helping of bullshit. New gamechanging items will be introduced far into the novel. Not to mention tricks like the novel stating something is impossible, and then having Adlet do the impossible, given strength by the power of love. Call me a loveless husk, but that is some bullhockey. Even if you could claim it’s justified storytelling-wise. As is the Rokka tradition, the novel serves a powerful ending to the reader, although this time it’s a bittersweet one, a pyrrhic victory of sorts. Adlet had been in love with Fremy because of Tgurneu’s manipulation powers, so now that the fiend’s gone, so is Adlet’s love. The same one which made him perform superhuman feats moments before. Without his affection for Fremy, the cowardly hero is now a husk of his previous self, a ball of hate and resentment…

So, ultimately, how was Rokka v6? Compared to volume five – way better. A surprisingly solid story and a huge milestone in the epic of the Braves of the Six Flowers… Or at least that’s what I’d say if volume six wasn’t the last one! It was originally published in 2015 – quite a while ago. Yamagata-sensei has been maintaining silence since this book came out, so I guess the current status of the Rokka no Yuusha series is “indefinite hiatus”. Is the author too busy with his day job or did he just decide he wrote himself into a corner and won’t continue? One can only speculate. Whatever is the case, it seems like a good moment to do some summarizing. Even if no more volumes of Rokka ever come out, Yamagata Ishio has left us an impressive series of hyper-rationally written deductive stories and a rich, detailed world, created as a side effect of constructing this chain of not-quite mystery novels. I’m not abandoning hope, though. I’m still looking out for Rokka v7. As the afterword to this volume proves, Yamagata Ishio is an erudite of bottomless greed for reading. And writing, hopefully. The epilogue to this volume suggests Evil God and the Saint of the Single Flower have been cahootsing. So, maybe someday…

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