By Toshio Satou and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shonen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.
While I would not say that the cast of Last Dungeon Kid are as bad as Seinfeld, a series where the creators had as one of their series rules “no hugging, no learning”, it is certainly true that any time one of the characters almost reaches a point where they will come to their senses and mature as a person, they immediately backslide horribly for comedic effect. Usually that person has been Marie, and it’s Marie here as well. She’s reaping what she’s sown, as Lloyd is now convinced that Marie is the LAST person that could possibly be the kingdom’s princess, mostly thanks to what a giant disaster she is. A sensible person might think that they should shape themselves up so that Lloyd might be able to see them as royalty. Marie, instead, realizes that her being a disaster means Lloyd is too attached to her to fall in love with anybody, so she doubles down on being terrible. It’s… well, they’re comedy types, Harold.
As the country prepares for possible war, our core military cast are going around to various guilds to make sure that they’ll be on the right side when the fighting starts. This includes the adventurer’s guild whose mysterious leader has been absent for years but who returns the moment Lloyd shows up. It also includes the maritime guild, whose head has been fighting with the King for years and years, apparently due to the disappearance of the Queen. The King is trying to move things forward by having a big party where he’ll reveal the return of Princess Maria, and Marie has even agreed to it, in a desperate effort to get Lloyd to believe her. Sadly, when informed that the princess loves Lloyd, he becomes desperate to find the REAL princess… so he can reject her!
I wasn’t kidding when I said that stuff happens immediately after Lloyd gets involved. When he walks in, the plot moves forward. And yes, there is still a plot. Indeed, we get an extended prologue that shows us Alka’s past from before this world’s transformation, and get closer to figuring out who was behind it and what they actually want. We also see the return of the mystery woman who Lloyd met in the “bathroom” he found several books ago. As it happens, she’s deeply tied to both the Kingdom and Alka’s past… but of course she’s also a bit of a disaster, because there really are no 100% serious characters in this book. It reminds me of reading Urusei Yatsura or Ranma 1/2. You keep wanting things to be taken more seriously, for drama, for a bit of romantic resolution. But you can get that in other series that are far less funny than this. This series is here to give us laughs, and though they may be rueful laughs most of the time, they’re still there.
That said, we have to wait another three months while this series’ narrator goes off to do his other job as narrator of Tearmoon Empire. Till then, this is always a fun read, especially if you’ve just read two awful books in a row (like I had).