By Mako and Maro. Released in Japan as “Mahousekai no Uketsukejou ni Naritaidesu” by ArianRose. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roko Mobius.
There is an expression, “go big or go home”, that gets used a lot, and frequently it’s warranted, but sometimes? Sometimes you want to stay small, and are rather nonplussed that everything is suddenly so big. I feel that way about this third and final volume of The Sorcerer’s Receptionist, which has had two volumes of daily life stuff with the occasional hint of dark backstory, but crams all that backstory into the third ad makes our tsundere heroine the Chosen One in about three or four different ways. It almost feels like too much, and I feel bad that we didn’t get another volume mostly filled with Nanalie sitting behind a desk. That said, the plot we do get here is certainly well-handled, the fights are exciting, and the backstory does make sense and ties in with everything else, so this is mostly me complaining that the story does not match the one I was expecting. For most folks, this is a pure shoujo fantasy ending, complete with The End of the World.
The book is for the most part divided into three chunks. The first has Nanalie and her friends going on a vacation to Hawaii… or its fantasy equivalent. Sadly, the vacation goes south when Nanalie is immediately kidnapped by a fish monster who brings her back to the Sea People Kingdom… where one of them wants her to be his bride! After this, Nanalie disguises herself as a barmaid in order to help her friend Benjamine determine if the guy she’s not quite dating yet is cheating on her. Finally, we get Wizard Olympics, as various groups from all over the world come to see who are the best in the land. Nanalie, naturally, is… not participating, she’s working reception. That said, you just know she’ll somehow be pulled in eventually. More to the point, what is draining the Ice Magic users of their energy? And just who IS Nanalie anyway?
As I said above, this book is doing a LOT. Its predecessors were long books, but this is the longest, and other publishers would probably have made it a two-parter. Throughout it all, Nanalie remains much the same. The selling point of the book is her attitude towards Rockmann, and that does not change until the VERY end of this book, when she has a chance to recontextualize everything she’s known about him and go “oh wait, no, that’s love”. It helps that there is a weird time-travel sort of event midway through the book, which is probably the most egregious plot device we get here. Better handled is her background and that of her parents, as we’d seen for the entire series that her mom remained tight-lipped about her own magic, and honestly the hair should have tipped us off. The best part of the book is the ending, where Nanalie, having saved the world, discovered her origins, and fallen in love, is offered any reward she could possibly want… and chooses to stay at her job. I could have done without the “I don’t want anything to change” part, but otherwise it is pure Nanalie to say “No, I do not want all this, I want to keep doing my dream work, thanks.
There is a sequel being written by the author on their website, but it doesn’t look complete yet, and it’s uncertain if the publisher would pick it up. Still, this is a perfectly good ending, and I’m pretty sure that even if she DOES now realize her own feelings, Nanalie will still spend the rest of her life going “aw man, it’s that guy again. Why is he always around me?”.