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’s been over two years since the last volume of this series came out in English, but honestly this one doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of things. There’s rarely a lot you have to remember with Combatants Will Be Dispatched! except for the one maxim “everyone is horrible”. If you remember that, you’re good. So we have Six saying that he needs to sexually harass a woman just in case doesn’t know what sexual harassment is when bad men do it, Alice and Six gleefully sending their “colleagues” all around the world and not bothering to bring them back, and a new nation where a new princess competes to see if she can have as black a heart as Tillis seems to. Oh yes, and as the cover might tell you, we also have Belial, one of Six’s three bosses, whose idea of how to solve a problem is “punch it”, but whose backstory comes as a big surprise to both Alice and the reader.
After the events of the last book, Six and company are enjoying a bit of downtime while they work on building their new city. This downtime is occasionally interrupted by Little Bashin, who is a native tribe girl who can’t speak the language… supposedly (we may have another chuuni here) and a large dragon which is too much for everyone to handle, except maybe Belial, who is asked to to come over to help out Six. She then proceeds to make her way across all the nations, cowing them into submission with sheer firepower and blackmail, and unites most everyone under the Kisaragi banner. Which… makes you wonder about the competency of Six and Alice. Was brute force the answer all along? That said, they have one problem that can’t quite be solved by punching it: Tiger Man has kidnapped a nation’s princess. Who is a little girl. And it’s Tiger Man. Uh oh.
So yes, the usual word of warning for this series, pedophilia is used as a joke for “hilarious” laughs, though the little princess is not in any danger herself and in fact asked to be kidnapped. That said, everyone being a terrible person is the vibe here, and if you enjoy that there’s a lot to like. Six is a terrible person, but he’s smarter than Kazuma, and Alice is smarter than both of them. The Belial focus is appreciated, as is her backstory, where it reveals she was a yamato nadesico sort who Lilith’s enhancements “accidentally” brainwashed/mindwiped, though it’s fairly clear by the end of the book that she remembers who she was but is not particularly inclined to return to that. The main question is what happens now, as Belial has pretty much finished 95% of their “to do” list.
Expect another long wait before we find out, as the eighth book is not out in Japan yet. If you like KonoSuba but wish everyone was scuzzier, this is still your go-to series.