By Light Tuchihi and Saori Toyota. Released in Japan as “Kono Yuusha Ga Ore TUEEE Kuse Ni Shinchou Sugiru” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Matt Rutsohn.
And so the series that really should have ended after Book 2, and then had another perfectly good stopping place 3with Book 5, continues with a new arc. So we get the usual sense of the author taking stock and continuing with what works while throwing out what doesn’t. Somewhat vexingly, this means that the romance, such as it is, between Seiya and Ristarte is at an all-time low in this book – on both sides! Ristarte has one or two brief fantasies about Seiya here, but for the most part has simply grown used to his treatment of her, and he is (as its typical at the start of these arcs when we don’t have all the information we need) being rather rude to her. On the bright side, there’s less actual physical abuse, as we bring along a different God for that, but that does not mean that there are not moments that are literally designed to humiliate her. The book can be frustrating.
Last time I wondered if we’d have a Civil War in Heaven, and we come close, though it’s more of a one-sided battle. Yes, Mersais and their allies are back, and they’re here to destroy everything. Now Ristarte, along with Cerceus, is seemingly the only survivor and must try to salvage something from this and restore the spirit world… which means summoning Seiya again, of course. He’s got to train in the Underworld now, but that doesn’t make his training… or attitude… any less bananas. Then we find out what’s happened to the actual worlds they usually save – they’ve become dark, twisted versions of themselves. So we need to go back to the beginning, as Seiya and Rista return to Gaeabrande, the world of the first two books, which is now ruled by the Dragon Lord, as humans and demons alike forge an alliance to stop his dreadful reign of terror. Wait… isn’t the Dragon Lord a bit familiar?
As always with this series, what interests me most is Rista’s character development. The very fact that we have to being the God of Cakes… erm, Swords along with her and Seiya is a sign that she’s moved past the punching bag that she used to be, and for the most part has settled into realizing that when Seiya says he’s going to do something ludicrous, it’s usually necessary. That said, she and Seiya are still clashing. Because these are twisted, dark worlds that will theoretically be fixed and restored once they defeat the Big Bad, Seiya is seemingly of the opinion that it doesn’t really matter if they have to kill people to solve the problem, as they won’t really be dead. Rista, as she herself points out, can’t have that callous a viewpoint – seeing people suffer in front of her causes her pain and distress. I’m inclined to be on Rista’s side here, and thus am annoyed at Seiya right now. Still, he’s always had a good reason before, and this arc isn’t over, so I’m sure we’ll get another one soon.
We’re almost caught up with Japan, so I suspect these books will come out far slower soon. Still, if you’ve been enjoying the series for its goofy comedy and seeing Rista get humiliated, there’s plenty of that here, including her having to imitate a gorilla. I will cautiously read the next volume.