By Hitsuji Gamei and Fushimi Saika. Released in Japan as “Shikkaku Kara Hajimeru Nariagari Madō Shidō! ~ Jumon Kaihatsu Tokidoki Senki ~” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Alexandra Owen-Burns.
I ended up enjoying this book quite a bit, despite the fact that it is absolutely filled to the brim with things that should annoy me. Our hero’s parents treat him like absolute dirt because his magic levels are low, and don’t change their opinion even when he proves to be a genius magician in front of multiple people. Despite “low magic aether”, our hero can basically do anything, mostly because of his isekai memories helping him envision spells better. There’s a lot of girls in peril in the book. There’s the standard smug evil bastard. And of course the plot is “I’ll show them! I’ll show them all!”. Fortunately, this last one is nipped in the bud almost immediately, and we get not one but TWO examples of why “I will dedicate my life to revenge” is a dumb thing to do. That said, the author’s other series is also filled with cliches. He gets past them by making the books entertaining anyway.
Our hero is Arcus, a six-year-old boy who one day wakes up from dreams of a different life. His Japanese life does not overwrite this one, though, and that’s fine, as Arcus has a lot to deal with. His parents hate him due to his low magic levels. And unfortunately “build up your levels by working out or using magic a lot” isn’t a thing here – levels don’t get higher. Fortunately, his sister still loves him. Also fortunately, his uncle, also shunned by the family a while ago, agrees to train him. Then we discover that Arcus has a unique way of thinking, and can achieve a lot of things that magicians can’t. He makes friends in town (who turn out to be far more mysterious than he knows), invents things that will take the magical world by storm, and gets a cool butler. Then his sister gets kidnapped…
Gonna be honest, I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second. Which is interesting given it’s things like “Arcus invents a magical thermometer”. But seeing him tinker is a lot more satisfying than seeing him as an action hero, which is what the second half of the book entails. He has to break out of a prison tower, kill bad guys, rescue his sister and his (ex-)fiancee, and still find time to murder the real man behind all of this. Oh yes, he’s eight when he does all this, by the way. I think the book is a bit too casual with killing, to be honest. Of the other kids in the cast, Sue comes off best, being the right combination of bright young girl and mysterious manipulator. She also makes one of the few fart jokes in a light novel I’ve actually laughed at. Arcus’ sister Lecia, sadly, is very wet, but I’m hoping future books show her kicking some ass.
In the end, I can’t really think of a good reason to read this novel beyond “I read it all the way through and found it mostly enjoyable despite everything about it”. And, honestly, if authors manage to do that, we should support them. Hopefully they won’t abandon THIS series the way they did The Magic in This Other World Is Too Far Behind!!.