Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
The Champions of Justice and the Supreme Ruler of Evil
Mia has been raised since birth to become the next Supreme Ruler of Evil, inheriting her family's long-standing plans for world domination. After her father's death, that means that it's up to the seventeen-year-old to make sure that this time, the Evil Organization will be triumphant. All that stands in her way? The Champions of Justice, a group of five young police officers known as the Crow Rangers who have also inherited their roles—that, and Mia's ideas of what it means to be evil may be a teensy bit off.
The Champions of Justice and the Supreme Ruler of Evil is part send-up of stories about, well, champions of justice and supervillains and part more serious romance tale. That works much better than you might imagine – Mia, the seventeen-year-old high school girl who is the most recent inheritor of the title Supreme Ruler of Evil has only recently come into her duties as the scion of an evil organization that has existed for centuries. Her father died very soon before the story begins, and she's pretty much the only member of the organization left in the world. That means that her ideas of what it means to be “evil” are entirely up to her whims, and let's just say that she may be a little off from the traditional definition. That's the first thing that strikes those who would stand against her vile plans, the so-called Champions of Justice. There's a new set of those each time there's a new Supreme Leader of Evil, and this time around they're all young cops chosen by one of the previous Champions. None of them are entirely keen on this whole “Crow Rangers” business he's pressed upon them, and when Ren, or Crow Ranger Green, shows up to see Mia using her magical powers to clean up after some delinquents in the park, he's definitely confused.
This begins a relationship that may well define how readers feel about the stand-alone novel. Ren, once he's done being confused, falls for Mia very quickly, and he spends a lot of the earlier parts of the book kissing her without her consent. This frightens Mia at first before morphing into annoying her, and while they do eventually actually fall for each other, it's not a flavor of romance that's looked upon with favor these days. What makes it more interesting (and possibly palatable?) is that author Kaede Kikyou seems fully aware of this. Ren's teammates and boss are quick to point out that a twenty-six-year-old man falling for a seventeen-year-old girl is all kinds of creepy, and his kissing Mia push that into an even ickier place. The ostensible defense for this sort of relationship in the romance genre is that he “just couldn't control himself because he loves her so much,” but even the author notes later on in the book that at first he was just infatuated with her and has basically zero idea of personal boundaries. This can make the beginning of their relationship difficult to read up until Shou, the Yellow Ranger, proves to be an even bigger creep, which in some ways feels thrown in in order to make Ren seem like a better guy.
That factor aside, Kikyou really does sell the relationship from about the middle of the book on, and the ending is very well done. It helps that each of the Rangers is being set up to fill a different need in Mia's life. Her mother died when she was a little girl, and her father raised her in essentially isolation, so she's woefully ignorant of many commonsense things. Subaru, the Blue Ranger, takes it upon himself to fill the parental role for her, watching her health and making sure that she has companionship and a healthy dinner each night. The Pink Ranger becomes her big sister-figure, and the Red Ranger the voice of reason and order in her life. (The less said about Shou, the better.) That does leave Ren as the romantic interest, but what's more important is the way all of these people take Mia under their collective wing, giving her the first sense of belonging that she's ever really had. Kikyou does a very good job of this, and of making sure that we realize how empty Mia's life was before, although we're never entirely sure why her father decided to raise her in such isolation. Possibly it was to make sure that she never developed a more traditional idea of “evil.”
Alongside the romance and family plots, the book can be very funny. In part this is because Mia's “evil” isn't quite up to snuff, but Kikyou has a gift for totally bizarre acts of cruelty that really work. Among them are Mia's efforts to stop the thugs at her school and “protecting her future workforce” by saving children, but the best moment has to be when she humiliates a flasher by discussing how inferior his penis is. (That she inadvertently causes Ren much concern in a few ways by her words is an added bonus.) Kikyou is a strong author with a good sense of the genres she's writing in, which makes this one of Cross Infinite World's most fun releases to date.
Despite some issues with the romance, which really will depend on your own suspension of disbelief within the genre, The Champions of Justice and the Supreme Ruler of Evil is a good read. Going from funny to touching between beginning and end, it's a good way to escape for a few hours. Readers looking for a female-aimed light novel that's not isekai should definitely check this out.
Overall : A-
Story : A-
Art : B+
+ Funny and emotional, self-aware about boundaries being crossed in the romance plot
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