It’s Been a While…

So I think I’ll talk about a LN for a little bit. I’m still following the Baka-Tsuki translation of Ichiban Ushiro no Daimou (Demon King at the Back of the Classroom). The twelve-episode anime series covered the first five novels — except for the last few paragraphs. Viewers may remember that Akuto and Peterhausen defeated the god Suhara (who was really just a computer), and Bouichiro, the time-traveling agent who wanted to kidnap the Law of Identity, Keena’s alter ego. In the last few omitted sentences, a second Keena shows up – a blonde who has, and remembers receiving the same hairpiece from Akuto as a child.

In the sixth novel, hijinks ensue, and thanks to the usual suspects, new Keena and Akuto have a howlingly funny lunch date, complete with mass hysteria. Eventually, the second Keena is resolved through a strange storyline involving an “alternate dimension.” (I’ll omit spoiling the exact resolution, except to say that blonde Keena is no longer a factor.) From this point on, the stories start getting gradually darker and more serious. The next multi-novel arc involves sucking most of the students into another “alternate dimension” in which a ‘storyline’ forces Akuto into being The Evil Demon Lord (which he is) and various of the girls into being either his Evil Henchwomen or opposing Noble Heroines. Of course there’s a certain amount of role reversal for the humor value. There is a real danger though; the original Demon Lord is imprisoned in the area with them, and CIM 08, Bouichiro’s cabinet-level intelligence agency, is still up to its nefarious meddling. Oh, and another secondary haremette is introduced (If we assume Lily is #1 in the second tier, New Keena was temporarily #2, this Yoshie becomes #3. She doesn’t seem to be particularly important to the plot.)

The puppet master, 2V, who controlled various automatons (including the pilot of the airship that rammed Akuto and Peterhausen) is manipulating events. Eventually, through his machinations and a strange talking dog allied CIM 08, the original is released into the real world, and Akuto is killed. Dead. But he gets better, more powerful than you can imagine, etc. The Empire gets treated to a battle between two Demon Lords and Brave. The original is driven off, but escapes to the moon with 2V’s help, and holes up in an abandoned station there. Akuto and company are provided with a shuttle to the moon where the final resolution is that they hit each other a lot and then decide that maybe each other is a swell guy after all. (Ubu Roi’s Rule of Power: “No matter how powerful you and your opponent become, you can still resolve your differences by pounding each other over the head.”)

Original Demon Lord decides to sleep it off on the moon, while the others return to Earth and hunt down 2V, whom it has been revealed is actually, uh, a young girl. Actually, the Empress’s twin sister — a “spare” with no name or identity of her own, who rebelled and became rather Axe Crazy. Based on Akuto and company screwing her plans, she is now out to kill them all, including Lily, Brave, and the school council. And the Empress for good measure — who, by the way, is also Axe Crazy, and out to kill the group for knowing her dark secret.
Things get bloody. One part of the fallout is that Fujiko realizes that the Black Mages are actually hiding information about their origins and goals that impacts the creation of the Empire and how magic works. She rebels against the head mage and terrorizes him into submission; she’s in a position to dictate terms to the entire organization–which plays a part in books 10 through 12. The eventual resolution of all this mess is that 2V and the Empress are killed, and Keena ends up as the new Empress, chosen by the Imperial Regalia. Akuto is publicly known as the Demon Lord, but it’s also known that the Empress has control of his powers, so he’s largely “tamed.” And Brave is even more the hero. This brings us to the beginning of the 10th novel. (I’m currently in the middle of the 12th; the translations are mid-13th.) It’s the point where the novels really start going downhill, in my opinion. A new girl is introduced, who is a total airhead/idiot, but not a haremette, thank god. Instead she thinks she should be the Empress (for family history reasons), and keeps coming up with hairbrained plots to capture Keena and talk her out of being empress. Her character is entirely annoying, pointless and a failed attempt to lighten the mood before diving back into the darkness.

It turns out the airhead isn’t the rightful Empress, but her family has further regalia that might select a True Empress (or Emperor) Two more claimants show up; one from an undersea Republic, and another from a southern jungle civilization. The latter seems to be secondary haremette #4, mostly because she’s got a ridiculously innocent attitude about sex, and tends to suggest it at the drop of a hat. Or other article of clothing. Meanwhile the new leader of CIM 08 (who had been helping 2V) is betrayed by, first, the strange talking dog, who claims to be an alien, and then his foster son, who is a hyper-powerful (and insane) magician. Thanks to one of CIM 08’s agents, he’s been empowered with some of Akuto’s cells to become a third Demon King. Akuto, Keena, and the new girl head to the jungle on the Imperial Airship, but it’s sabotaged and crashes; they’re trying to reach “The Formless Power” which frankly, confuses the hell out of me because the author is either changing his mind about what it is from book to book, or deliberately misled everyone.

And now it’s really getting dark. The new Demon Lord sees to it that the Republic has control of the Formless Power, which the Empire can’t contest, and then starts a war between them. Brave is too late to stop them, but rescues the Republic’s “king”. Now led by his sister, the Republic destroys several Imperial cities, including killing Junko Hattori, who is leading the defense of one. Keena’s jealous of the new girl, and The Law of Identity manifests to tell Akuto he’s screwing up, but leaves him more confused than ever. Fujiko is using information from the Black Mages to investigate the origins of the Empire, and makes several shocking discoveries that I’ll cover below. Meanwhile, the strange dog/alien steals part of the Imperial Regalia that was key to stopping the Republic; he attempts to steal another, killing Fujiko in the process. Akuto runs around fighting lots of folks, inconclusively, until a stupid battle pitting Brave and Akuto vs. CIM08’s leader and the third Demon King. It ends in the latter’s defeat. Brave negotiates a truce with the Republic, but in the meantime a giant asteroid is now aimed at the Earth thanks to the alien dog. It’s bad news all the way around.

And this is where it really lost me. You see, Fujiko revealed her discoveries before she got killed; the entire world is a fake. The universe ends just outside the orbit of Pluto. The Formless Power? It’s the trapped souls of another race, another false universe that was destroyed and trapped in this one; the alien/dog is trying to destroy the current universe to free them and allow them to “move on” instead of being trapped as a source of power for this universe. In the middle of the tenth novel, Akuto and co. were speculating that there were actually two Formless Powers, one native to their universe. They are the collective unconscious, and powered by mankind’s hate/fear of “others”, such as strangers, other tribes, the asshole who cut you off in traffic, etc.

This marks the point where I stopped caring. The serial catastrophes are beginning to read like a disaster movie parody, killing off haremettes is a low way to resolve the love pentacon, and I can’t help but feel all of this is just a computer simulation from which everyone’s going to wake up and go, “Wow, that sucked! I thought the bug that allowed data from prior games to ‘bleed over’ was fixed in this version!” Then the girls start arguing over who gets to play Fujiko in the next game…

However, some of the speculation and the book/chapter titles seem to indicate that the world ends and they’re all in some sort of afterlife. I think the anime stopped at a good point.

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7 Responses to It’s Been a While…

  1. I’m disappointed in one way: I thought Peterhausen was coming back. The whole point of that tooth, I thought, was to permit Akuto to reincarnate Peterhausen eventually.

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    Likewise. Instead it becomes a sort of adviser to Keena, but essentially, it vanishes from the story. The problem with Peterhausen is the same as why all these other Demon Kings are showing up; by himself, Akuto is too powerful, and the writer has to keep going through hoops to keep him from just resolving things by main force (instead of letting him just do that, and then have Akuto deal with the breakage afterwards). Peterhausen being around would make that even worse.

  3. topmaker says:

    That’s too bad. I was going to pick this one up and start reading it from the end of the Anime. If it gets that silly it won’t be worth the read.

    I have kind of given up on Infinite Stratos for the same reason. I’ve skipped the untranslated chapter of Mahouka and got as far as the partial chapter in the Steeplechase Volume.

    I think I have gone as far as I should so far with Legendary Heroes. Rogue Hero looks to be somewhat disjointed in the translations, so I don’t see anything there.

    I’m thinking of going with the Draggonar Academy novels, since they seem to have been translated well past the series so far.

    Any other ideas?

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    Not really. Legendary Heroes lost me after the first novel. 35th Test Platoon isn’t particularly interesting, and IS hasn’t had a new translation since the 8th volume, although pictures have been posted. Gakusen Toshi Asterisk has been mildly interesting. Index has a few more books translated (and the first few will be removed soon), so I might see where it’s at. Black Bullet, well, I was going to make a separate post about the anime, but here’s the gist of it: Dead girls, and lots of them. Also, the primary adult female is revealed to be a [spoiler]cross between Ax Crazy and a Broken Cutie.[/spoiler]

  5. topmaker says:

    Black Bullet touched on your spoiler at the very end of the anime series. Kind of a shock.

    I’m reading the Index Sargasso arc, but it bugs me that (so far) there is no mention of Railgun’s history with Lessar. Eh, I shouldn’t let it bug me too much, I guess.

    Why would they remove some of the books?

  6. topmaker says:

    Okay, That makes sense. Thanks!

    Talk about a future guilt buy.

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