By Myojin Katou and Sao Mizuno. Released in Japan as “Shijou Saikyou no Daimaou, Murabito A ni Tensei Suru” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jessica Lange.
Sometimes I read light novels and feel that, despite the annoying main character, the ludicrous power levels, and the ongoing “horny teenager” vibes, that it’s worth it in the end because the author has something interesting to say behind all that. Sadly, sometimes I do not. Here we have a case of the latter, a series that wants to be “merely entertaining” and succeeds in the sense that I made it to the end of the book, but I was dragging my feet towards the end. Our hero is either frustratingly dense or frustratingly blase, the entire female cast is sorted by the size of their breasts, and the main joke, which is that he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s a reincarnation of the ancient demon lord, is not really something that can be stretched out over an entire series – though apparently we’re going to try. The author says they’ve only been a writer for a year, and I feel that this could be an example of publishers moving to the webnovel well too fast.
Varvatos is a demon lord who has saved the world countless times over but is alone and friendless. He decides to die and reincarnate himself as a normal human being, Ard, several hundred years later, so that he can make friends and have a happy life. There are several problems with this. The first is that he retains his demon lord memories, and he’s just as socially inept as he was before, so making friends is hard. The second is that he’s the son of two of the three great heroes, and what he’s been thinking of as “relatively weak magic” is actually “I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!” powers. So any attempt at living a normal life is out of the question. With the help of Ireena, a shy and busty elf girl who’s his neighbor and first actual friend, and Ginny, a busty succubus with self-esteem issues and a liking for harems, he will start life at his magical academy and be… not a typical nobody.
You’ll notice I wrote ‘busty’ twice in that last paragraph, but that’s simply as Ard tells us about the size of his friends’ breasts over and over again throughout the book. This is at least excusable with Ginny, a succubus who is actually trying to seduce him, but Ireena is his “childhood friend” who he feels a “fatherly affection” for, so it just gets annoying. And yes, the fatherly affection bit is him in denial. Given that he’s already one of the most powerful people in the world at the start of his school life, there’s also a distinct lack of conflict that makes you wonder who will prevail. The sole threat comes towards the end, when Ireena is kidnapped by the villain, stripped naked, and threatened with a tentacle monster. Sigh.
There are one or two plot points that actually surprised me, mostly involving the circumstances of Ard and Ireena’s births, but on the whole this was a bit of a slog. Recommended if you like describing all your friends based on their breast size and also if you like super strong protagonists who constantly get to show it off.