In the last volume, Nephy and Zagan finally confessed their feelings to each other, but neither have any idea of where to go from here. As we enter into the fifth volume of An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How To Love Your Elf Bride, Zagan is informed of the mysterious concept of a ‘date’ and investigates what it means to be in a relationship. Will he and Nephy ever have a normal relationship? Let’s check in!
Having been told about the fact that couples usually go on dates, Zagan decides to go into town on a research trip. While there he stumbles across a young therianthrope called Kuroka, who has lost their way. Kuroka is looking for the church, having been dispatched as a new priest to help Chastille. Guided by Zagan, she arrives to find the church in chaos! A chimera is on the loose and Chastille has her hands full trying to find it before it can bring harm to the town.
Unbeknownst to Zagan, the chimera belongs to Bifrons who has sent it to hunt down Nephteros. On the brink of death after a week of running from the chimera, Nephteros is sure she’s about to meet her end. That is until she’s saved by Chastille. Not wanting to become a bother to Zagan, Nephteros pleads with Chastille to keep quiet about her situation, to which Chastille readily agrees. Together the two vow to bring down the powerful enemy without Zagan’s help, but can they really win?
When I reviewed the previous volume of An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride I complained about how large the cast of the series has become. Thankfully, Volume 5 has the good sense to focus on a much smaller selection and that works well for it. While the start of the book is about Zagan, as we get further in, he is pushed aside to give Nephteros and Chastille the spotlight, something that hasn’t happened before. We barely even see Nephy this time around!
The nice thing about Chastille taking the lead role is that we get to see a new side to her. When she’s with Nephy or Zagan she’s nervous, tearful and frankly a bit of a wreck. On official church duty, however; she’s strong, determined and somehow heroic (yes, I just called crybaby Chastille heroic, I surprised myself too). Likewise, taking Nephteros away from Zagan and Nephy has her open up and show a more vulnerable and stubborn side to her personality.
If nothing else,, these developments prove to me that author Fuminori Teshima is capable of writing strong female characters. It’s not that the girls were particularly poorly written before, but they were always being saved by Zagan and it’s refreshing to find they don’t need that. They can look after themselves perfectly well should the situation call for it.
This volume acts as a strong foundation for future instalments and I’m really glad Teshima took the time to shift focus to Chastille now. It makes for a refreshing read in a series that I thought only two volumes ago was beginning to lose its way.
An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride Volume 5 comes to the West once more thanks to J-Novel Club and continues to be translated by Hikoki. The translation for this volume was notably less problematic in the pre-pub releases than usual, which made for a smoother read for me. The final eBook, as always, is problem-free and includes some wonderful colour illustrations at the beginning. Speaking of illustrations, this volume is the first not to depict Zagan and Nephy on the cover – instead swapping them out for Chastille and Nephteros in a striking image of them back-to-back.
Overall An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride Volume 5 is a compelling entry in the romantic fantasy series. Offering a fresh perspective on some of our favourite characters, thanks to a shift in focus, means this volume delivers a unique story the likes of which I hope we see more of in future.