After the ending in volume 2, where it was clear that the initial arc for Tearmoon Empire had wrapped up, I was a bit hesitant about continuing on with the series since I’ve certainly read far too many stories that continued far too long after they should have ended.
But, volume 3 was fine and now that I’m done with volume 4 I feel confident in saying that Nozomu Mochitsuki and Tearmoon Empire are on a good path where the story continues to be highly entertaining but without feeling like a cash grab! Not that I know how much money this series is making on either side of the Pacific but I continue to maintain that fans of series like My Next Life As A Villainess would get a huge kick out of Princess Mia, branded a traitor to the common people in her past life but quickly becoming one of the most beloved members of history in this one!
Much like how volume 3 covered two different “arcs,” (although they are a bit short to be called such, with both the student council election and the founding of Mia’s new school), volume four also covers two arcs. Or parts of them at least, it seems as if Mochitsuki’s diabolical plan to keep readers hooked is to start an arc but then leave it unresolved until this volume, like how the past volume ended with Mia setting out to discover what’s behind the sudden troubles in establishing her new school. She does resolve that issue in this volume, or at least the many surface-level issues preventing her school from getting off the ground (she’s pretty sure it’s fueled in part by a political move by some of the other nobles in Tearmoon) and she unknowingly gets more converts to the cult of Mia-ism along the way. With the ever-growing fear of famine, specifically the one that set Tearmoon on its dark path in her original timeline, growing closer by the day, Mia can certainly use all the supporters she can gather!
Truth be told, the lemony narrator of this series still has plenty of fodder when it comes to mocking side characters for seeing what they want to see in Mia but Mia herself has begun to grow and consider her own actions, and their far-reaching consequences, much more thoughtfully now. She is still just a teenager (even if she claims that chronically she’s a young adult mentally) but Mia does genuinely care about making and keeping Tearmoon into a good kingdom for her people and she’s certainly willing to get dirty (in the physical sense, not the political sense) if that’s what’s needed to happen!
After the matter of her new school is resolved, for the moment anyway, Mia accepts an invitation from one of the other Tearmoon nobles her age for a summer vacation yacht trip which makes for a light-hearted change of pace (at first at least, I’ve seen that blurb for volume 5!). Mia is starting to make so many friends and allies (the series now has a two page character sheet and honestly I wish it was even bigger to include even more re-occuring side characters!) that it’s a bit hard to give them all page time. For instance, here in volume four her “younger sister” (actually granddaughter from another timeline) Bel is metaphorically put on a bus while Sion and Able actually get to appear for more than a few lines for a change during this summer vacation arc. But both of them are upstaged by the yacht’s host Esmeralda, who is something like a pre-redemption/revolutionary arc Mia but with far more ham. She is a fun character and I certainly wouldn’t object if she was incorporated more into the side cast in the future. I’m sure Mia would like to keep her close regardless; based on what Bel remembers of her own timeline, the future instability in Tearmoon seems to escalate by rival noble families attacking each other and if Mia manages to win Esmeralda over to her side then she’s “conquered” two of the four families already.
It seems like that will be the direction Tearmoon continues in for the near future: rooting out other potential bad futures, knowing that they’re mostly being instigated by the Chaos Serpents behind the scenes, which is certainly a broad topic. Actually, while Mia is vacationing her aide Ludwig is investigating some strange, foreign dealings (and on Mia’s orders! She’s thinking ahead about acquiring new allies and keeping her enemies close!) and it certainly seems like there’s already at least one plot in the works to take down the empire. But I’m confident in all of their abilities to deal with whatever issues gets thrown at them, Ludwig, Dion, Anne, and Mia too! The future isn’t set in stone and, while it might require sacrifices to reach a good future, as Mia well knows: hard work is worth it if you get to keep your head!