By Natsume Akimoto and Kakao Lanthanum. Released in Japan as “Sentouin, Hakenshimasu!” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Noboru Akimoto.
Sometimes you can have an isekai without all of that pesky dying and being reincarnated, or being transported to another world by a magic spell. It’s as easy as making the “fantasy world” on another planet, and having our heroes sent to it to see if it can be taken over… erm, colonized. That’s the basic premise of this series, which features the nameless Combat Agent Six and his android partner Alice Kisaragi sent via a teleport (that is totally tested and functional, honest) to a planet that is apparently dealing with a demon lord invasion. On the one side we have the kingdom of Grace, with knights, princesses, castles, etc. and the demon lords, who have golems and are your standard demonic types. On the other side we have Six, Alice, and their newly befriended band of misfits… erm, crack squad, and modern weaponry. Oh, yes, and one other thing that should be noted: Six and Alice work for an evil organization, and can only get weapons and equipment by doing evil acts.
Actually, one other thing should be noted: this is by the author of KonoSuba. Actually, it was written online before Konosuba, and picked up by Kadokawa after the latter’s success as a light novel/manga/anime franchise. This means, needless to say, that the best reason to get this is the comedy. It’s not a full-on parody like KonoSuba, but the humor tends to be along the same lines. (Actually, the humor can sometimes, like KonoSuba, cross a line or two – I was not all that pleased with the “take photos of the evil sorceress in a certain pose” moment, even if it’s a PG-rated version of same.) The cast may also ring a bell as well – Six is not that far from Kazuma, and Snow is basically what would happen if Aqua and Darkness had a kid. There’s a lot of great humor, provided you don’t mind the cast all being horrible people to one degree or another.
The best reason to get the book is the bantering relationship between Six and Alice. Like Kazuma and Aqua, there’s no real romantic tension between these two. Instead, they function as snark factories, ready and willing to tear down anything for the sake of evil and/or their own amusement. The other good reason to get this is the few moments when the protagonists are allowed to be cool. Because it’s not a parody like KonoSuba, the cool moments are allowed to exist without getting undercut, and actually impressed me a bit, even when they were also hilarious (Rose and Grimm’s “you shall not pass!” moment, the land mine trap, the chainsaw ending). There’s also some nice character development for Snow, who is arrogant and sword-obsessed but also has something of a righteousness to her, which contrasts well with Six, who is supposedly working for an evil organization but relies on petty, assholish acts to cover up the fact that he can’t be REALLY evil when it counts.
The color pages note that Snow is “this volume’s heroine”, so I expect the next book will focus on either Rose, a chimera girl who’s trying to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, or Grimm, an archbishop of death who actually uses a wheelchair most of the book – something rarely seen in a light novel. (Yes, she can on occasion get out of it, but for the most part really does need it.) A must-read for KonoSuba fans, and those who enjoy comedy light novels and don’t mind characters whose default is “jerK” will also be happy.