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.
It can be hard reviewing these books because, much as I’m still finding them funny, there’s not as much to say about them that I haven’t said in my previous two reviews. The characters were reused and combined into the characters we love from KonoSuba – Snow is the most obvious, but in this book it really becomes apparent that if Wiz was a lot more pathetic she’d be Grimm from this series. The author is making a slight effort to try to give the characters depth – mostly with Grimm here, but a bit with Six as well. But it can be hard when you also have to fulfill a certain quota of over the top humor. Combatants is slave to its joke plot and characters, in a way that the author hasn’t quite figured out how to escape. They will in KonoSuba, but this isn’t that. So we’re left with the jokes. Which are excellent… provided you have sympathy for no one and don’t mind things getting quite crass.
Our heroes… sorry, our villains are busy trying to build an enemy base from which they can fulfill their plans to take over this world. Sadly, the bases keep blowing up. Not only that, the very world itself seems out to get them, as they’re attacked by monsters, sandstorms, and can’t even burn down the forest without it coming back to take revenge. In amongst this chaos, the kingdom is having its annual Undead Festival, where the souls of those departed are… put into stuffed animals via Grimm, and wander around helping loved ones to move on. Trust me when I say this is played for laughs, not heartstrings. Unfortunately, some of the undead don’t seem to be peacefully mingling. And a former enemy, killed by Six, may be taking advantage of the Festival to stage a comeback. Can our heroes be horrible enough to win this time? Oh, no sweat.
Grimm is the heroine of this volume, though as with Alice before her, that doesn’t mean she gets all the focus. She does get an attempt at actual depth, though, as we see how dedicated she is to her archbishop job, and she truly does want to help the undead to move on (sadly, this usually also involves sending HERSELF to the next life as well). Six even notes if she were the nice helpful archbishop rather than the desperate man-hungry woman, she’d have a husband by now. As for Six, well, he’s terrible as always, but he manages to be topped by another agent here, Ten, whose own tendencies towards gross and petty evil are far worse than what Six has been doing, and lead to the biggest “oh my God” moment in the book, involving doing something in the Princess’ room. Snow is also entertaining, though as the series goes on she’s shifted from “mostly Darkness with a bit of Aqua” to “Mostly Aqua with a bit of Darkness”. And Rose deciding “Screw it, I’m gonna be a pet dog for this book” is fantastic.
So again, this book is not recommended to anyone who wants warm fuzzies. But if you like your humor along the Beavis and Butthead end of the spectrum, Six and friends are here to entertain you.