By Tatematsuri and Ruria Miyuki. Released in Japan as “Shinwa Densetsu no Eiyū Isekai Tan” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by James Whittaker.
“Well, well, well, look who’s come crawling back.” Yeah, I know. My last review of this title said I was dropping it for being too dark, but here I am. This is what happens when you forget to cancel the preorder. But I mean, I felt like a military book, so I thought fine, why not? And I mean, it is still dark. The young woman on the cover has a collection of the heads of all of her family in her tent, just so that she remembers who killed them as she goes after her quest for vengeance. The “heroine” (always a dangerous word to use in this series which enjoys making its heroines badass but also damsels them a lot) pends the entire book being abused despite her status as a prisoner of war. And, of course, our hero proves that he is one dead friend away from losing it entirely, to the point where even the cool semi-sentient weapons of this world are sending prophetic dreams saying “could you all talk this goombah down PLEASE?”.
Hiro gets back to the capital to find bad news and worse news. Liz has somehow been taken prisoner by the enemy, and the guy in charge of her is delighting to see how far her blessing goes before he can destroy it and assault her. Aura is holed up in a fortress, surrounded by enemies, and with no real way to rescue her. He has to choose who to save and who to sacrifice. Hiro being Hiro, he chooses to save both of them. This he does by being as arrogant and powerful as possible – he’s got the power to back up his words, to the horror of everyone who tries to take him on. He manipulates, he lies, and he coerces, and his army are also super powerful, so it works even though they’re severely outnumbered. Unfortunately, there’s a new enemy yet to be accounted for, and she bears a weapon called Gae Bolg and is named Scáthach. Yes, that’s right, we’re finally crossing over with the Fate universe.
OK, not really. Scáthach is merely a former royal who had to watch as her entire enemy was butchered by the Empire – the Empire, that is, that Hiro and Liz are part of. She recognizes that Liz, at least, is not a monster like those who killed her family, but this does not stop her from using Liz as a giant popsicle to try to discourage those on the Empire’s side. It will not surprise you to find she’s pledged herself to Hiro by the end of the book. As for Hiro, thank God he’s not a real isekai hero. I mean, yes, he is, this book began with him in Japan and he got transported to another world, but you know what I mean. Hiro’s thoughts and attitude are informed by his past life here, and Japan basically never comes up, meaning he lacks the bland potato-ness of many of those heroes. One might argue this makes him something of a monster, but that’s why Liz is being told by her sword to calm him down.
That said, the Emperor and some of his family are definitely not the good guys here, so I feel we’re going to get pretty throne war-ish soon. Will I keep reading? I dunno, if I’m in the mood for more military battles, which take up the bulk of this book.