By MOJIKAKIYA and toi8. Released in Japan as “Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S-Rank ni Natteta” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.
It’s been a long time coming, getting to this part of the plot. This is the seventh book of 10, but they’re pretty chunky books. And we’ve had a few flashbacks before to Belgrieve’s time as an adventurer in the past, but now at last we actually get to see the scene where he’s lost his leg, and really see how it affected everyone else. Including him, of course. He’s finally away from the comparative safety of his hometown or the big city where his daughter is based, and it shows almost immediately, in that he’s out of his depth. This is not to say that he falls behind or ends up being a liability – the opposite, in fact. But this is a series that has, as its main plot point, a daughter talking about how awesome her daddy is, so it’s nice to end up in what is essentially a Hellmouth so that we can see what he left behind.
Having finally left the village, the first three-quarters of the book is the journey, as Belgrieve and company set off to find Percival, who is rumored to be at the Earth Navel. Fortunately, the rumor turns out to be true, as Percival is there, but he’s a far cry from the happy-go-lucky lunkhead we’ve heard Belgrieve talk about before. As the group get clover and closer to the Earth Navel, the area gets hotter and more dangerous. In addition, Belgrieve is not the only one who has to confront his past, as Kasim runs into the guild master of a city they pass through, who not only has a clear crush on him still but is very bitter about this “:Bel” Kasim was always obsessed with. As they get closer to the Earth Navel, will things really resolve so easily?
There are times when I can feel the hand of the author on the plot a bit too much, such as when, just before arriving at the Earth Navel, Belgrieve is struck by a bad illness, so that he can look at death’s door when he finally meets Percival and cause even more angsty trauma. That said, I did laugh at the way that their past is resolved – Bel hits Percival till he feels better. I also really liked seeing Yakumo and Lucille again, especially Lucille, who still tends to slip old song lyrics into her speech (Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Thing Twice, It’s Alright” is the most obvious here). I also enjoyed Percival and Angeline bonding over killing monsters, even as Angeline is starting to slowly realize something she has been ignoring – spending years traveling around adventuring with her dad is probably not in the cards.
We’ve only got one more “past” character to reunite with, which I suspect will happen in the next book. Till then, of all the “Daddy and Daughter who really loves her daddy” series from Japan, this is probably my favorite.