By Zappon and Yasumo. Released in Japan as “Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasaretanode, Henkyou de Slow Life Surukoto ni Shimashita” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Dale DeLucia.
A lot of people, particularly since the anime debuted, have discussed the way that this series handles its Divine Blessings. Indeed, one might say that how to handle them is the point of the entire series. It comes down to how much is pre-determined and how much is free will, so is naturally going to be a bit contested by readers. That said, I think the series is trying to navigate an interesting middle ground, showing that in this world you have a role but you can manipulate that role how you like. Admittedly that’s easier for some than for others – see Ruti’s entire plot for the first four books. But even then, once she was able to free herself from the blessing’s stranglehold on her, she’s been saving people in the way she wants to, rather than the way she’s destined to. Leonor, though… oof. There’s trying to fight fate and then there’s ignoring fate.
We pick up where we left off last time. There’s pirates and princes in Zoltan, and its reputation as a backwater town where nothing happens is in jeopardy by an impending war. Red and company manage to work things out with the pirates, though admittedly the tragic backstory that is revealed helps an awful lot there. Leonor, though, is a very different matter. She will not stop until she destroys everything. And what’s worse, we discover that she and Red met back when he was a young knight, and she really, really, really took a liking to him. So she’s now determined to have him as well as destroy her sister and also make sure that her kingdom is taken over by demons. As for the demons themselves… they’re just doing what demons do, really. They may not have blessings, but they enjoy being jerks.
The outcome of the battle is not really in doubt. Zoltan has Ruti, who is basically this series’ equivalent of “we have a Hulk”. But it hits the right beats anyway, showing how well Rit can command a force even though, as she repeatedly says, all she wants to do now is live her lovey-dovey apothecary life with Red. Red shows off how well actual practice and skill can trump “Oooh, I’ve got a cool blessing”. And we also see that people do not HAVE to be beholden to what their urges tell them to. Tisse is an assassin. She’s really good at killing people. But here we see her take the Cooking skill, just so that she can join Red in making really good food. Heck, Mister Crawly Wawly also takes the Cooking skill! I am hoping that “Tisse and Mister Crawly Wawly write a spider cookbook” is a genuine subplot in this series, as that would be awesome.
Unfortunately, Slow Life may have to wait – again – as there’s a new hero in town, and I get the sense that the Church wants to make his first mission “destroy the old hero who dared defy us”. Still, for now peace reigns again, which is all we can ask. And hey, Season 2 of the anime coming soon.