AsoIku book 14, halfway point

This book returns to the main plotline, with the good guys working to advance diplomatic relations between Earth and Catia, the bad guys trying to sabotage them, and the author frantically trying to remember all the stuff he threw into earlier books as well as the things he forgot to mention in them.

In other words, it’s a mess of PoV changes, as-you-know-Bob, and whoops-forgot-about-this-bit, with the honest-to-gosh Pope in the middle of it all. When his interest in meeting the Catians was mentioned at the end of the previous book, I confess I was worried. The handling of Christianity in anime and light novels isn’t known for being particularly… “faithful”.

So far he’s only had one brief appearance in the book, since the whole point is for the bad guys to plot to prevent the meeting, but he was handled surprisingly well, coming across as a gentle, kind, sincerely devout religious leader. Also, when Antonia lectures the others about him and his potential to influence world opinion, it works; in this area, at least, the author has done a bit of homework.

Our Villain is of course Nirumea, evil-angel alien with a sweet tooth, whose failure in book 10 has left her with nothing but a burning desire for revenge and the remnants of former assistant Ryunnu’s super-special operational support and prediction computer. And junk food; the hikikomori lifestyle has turned her into a slobby little blimp, but nothing matters to her except wiping out Cats and Dogs. Some angels just want to watch the world burn.

Officially, both Nirumea and Ryunnu are MIA, with Ryunnu at least presumed dead since Dogs prefer death to captivity. In what will apparently be their last official meeting, the head Dog and Angel warily discuss the recent departure of the Lizards from their little alliance, and on hearing that the Orsonians are waking up, the top Dog starts making plans to abandon Earth as well, remembering what happened the last time the Orsonians caught them being naughty. (short version: their civilization was set back 300+ years in an instant, with ships destroyed and minds scrubbed of advanced knowledge, and “do it again and we’ll wipe your minds completely”)

Nirumea is using her computer to stir up all sorts of violent extremist groups, as well as manipulating at least one “christian” CEO into building a private army that will do her bidding. The good guys have noticed the uptick in anti-alien sentiment, but haven’t identified a specific cause. Ryunnu, however, has spent the last few months attempting to resurrect the core of her special system using primitive Earth technology bought in Akihabara, and has finally gotten it working well enough to spot the clues, and after a late night at their coffee shop, shares her suspicions with big sister Jens.

But none of that is important. If you go by page count, the single most significant thing that’s going on is that Manami is thinking about how much Kio has grown up into a smart cool guy, and how she feels like a fifth wheel, and how the presence of real pros supporting the embassy has her feeling unqualified, has started moping so much that everyone is noticing and wondering about it, and has now confessed to Aoi that as soon as this operation is over, she’s going to quit.