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.
This book takes its isekai and fantasy world tropes seriously. That is its best feature, but also one of its major flaws. It’s refreshing to read a straightforward military fantasy book – as I’ve noted, there’s a lot of Altina the Sword Princess in this, but it feels even more serious than that series did – and Hiro, now with his memories returned, makes a clever and overpowered protagonist who nevertheless does not need to worry about MP expense as he plans his next moves. The flaw is that this also does not really take into account the subversions that we English-speaking readers would really prefer that it did. There are slaves in this book, who are abused, conscripted, and massacred, and they are there to be mooks and nothing more. Only one of them has a name, and she turns out to be the daughter of a village chief. As for discussion of whether slavery is bad, it’s left to a “demon” character to free her. Not happy with that.
After the events of the previous book, Regis… erm, sorry, Hiro… is called to the capital, there to prove the rumors about his lineage and to get a reward. Of course, what this means in reality is that he’s now embroiled in royal politics, and all the nobles are looking at him as if he has a “50% off” sign around his neck. Fortunately, Hiro proves to be very good at judging people’s true intentions… though that doesn’t mean that he still can’t be dragged along as part of someone else’s plan, especially when they’re related to a certain red-haired princess. After this, there’s still a battle to be fought and won, and Hiro gets to prove that he’s just as able as a military tactician as he is at political maneuvering. All that said, the addition of a zlosta warrior to the enemy ranks will prove more difficult.
The cover art of the first three books very much shows this is going to be a “new girl every volume” sort of series, and indeed Liz sits out most of the first half of this book. Instead we get Hiro bonding with Aura, which I honestly preferred, mostly as they vibe with each other straight away – he even alludes to his actual identity in such a way that she can’t help but understand. We also get Rosa introduced to us, who I hope is there to show that, after the events of Book One, this will not have Hiro’s Sexual Adventures as part of the plotline – I was relieved that he rejected her incredibly forward advances. (Going to a noble party dressed in the gown we see Rosa wearing in the color pages raised both my eyebrows.) As for the rest of the book, it’s military strategy, so as usual, I have little to say.
This remains a very readable book, which is probably its best feature. If you enjoy military fantasy and royal succession drama, and don’t mind a new girl in every port, this is a series to enjoy.