By Taro Hitsuji and Kiyotaka Haimura. Released in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jan Cash.
I’m not sure why it took almost a year between the first and second volumes of this series to come out, but fortunately it doesn’t really matter much. Even if you’ve forgotten what happened in the first book, the protagonists quickly steamroller over your doubts and get around to what Last Round Arthurs wants to be: Fate/Stay Night with Haruhi Suzumiya as Saber. I know I said this last time, but it bears repeating: this series is so unoriginal that it beggars belief. In the first volume, the author basically admitted that he was asked to make a Fate ripoff, and getting the guy who does the art for Index and DanMachi Sword Oratoria to draw it just means that half the characters remind you of those two series. I joked on Twitter that it was the Black Clover of light novels, meaning that it is a series that will unashamedly steal any hot new trend, but somehow manages to work anyway. There’s nothing really annoying or boring about its unoriginality. It’s fun. Provided you can stand Luna.
On the cover are the newest competition in the battle to be King: Emma, a girl who has been brainwashed/tortured by a bunch of French religious folks to be the perfect candidate (with a little help from Rintarou, who had no idea what was actually going on but knew they were abusing a girl) for King, and Sir Lamorak, who may be one of the more obscure Knights to casual readers but is well known to Arthurian fans as one of the strongest knights of all. This being a Fate ripoff, she looks like a 10-year-old girl. Emma wants to be King for supposedly noble reasons; Lamorak is super strong and tough. What can stop them? Rintarou, who seems perfectly content to switch sides? Luna, who is busy buying a mansion with all their funds and continuing to insist that she wants to be King for the fame and the money? Certainly not Sir Kay, who had better be the final Last Boss of this series or I’m going to be cross. We’re in for an epic battle.
This volume has a bit of a point it’s trying to make, which is “you don’t have to do what your abusive family tells you to do if it doesn’t fit you, find another path”. Sadly, this ends up being “you are a weak little girl who is not fit to be king, perhaps an attempted rape and being made literally into a maid by the final pages will make things better”, which left a very bad taste in my mouth. Other than that, this book is Big Dumb Fun, much like its heroine. As with the first volume, Luna is obnoxious and awful until things get serious, and is shown once more to be a better king deep down, even if on the surface everything about her is terrible. She’s hardly the sort to be a tsundere, so we get two other options for that here with Felecia (the standard example) and our hero, Rintarou (the distaff example). And the action scenes, attempted rape aside, are very well handled.
So this won’t change your life or make you want to write fanfiction. But if you’re sad Fate/Zero’s novels aren’t licensed and want something with as much fun but 80% less tragedy, Last Round Arthurs is just the right sort of book. And I think the third volume is due out in the fall, so there will be less of a wait.