By Hyougetsu and Nishi(E)da. Released in Japan by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.
For the most part, Der Werwolf has been one of those reincarnation isekai series that tends to ignore the reincarnation most of the time. Veight’s old life in Japan is still mostly a blank to us, and aside from bringing in a few modern ideas to medieval fantasy land, it hasn’t really impacted this story either. That may be changing soon, however, as the cliffhanger at the end of this book seems to show us another Japanese reincarnation, someone who’s looking for Veight specifically. Before that, though, Veight has to finally wrap up this long story arc, helping Eleora to ascend to the throne, fighting off even more plots to try to usurp it from various lords and family members, march through sewers and jump out of windows like a boss, deal with a rival group of werewolves and also a few vampires, and, most importantly, get back home in time like he promised before Airia kicks his ass. He accomplishes… most of these things.
After a number of books that have slowly been killing off the royal family one by one, the theme of this book is trying to solve problems with the least amount of bloodshed. Veight is called “soft” a few times for this, and it’s not inaccurate, but it’s also very politically savvy. The book starts with Ashley on the throne, but he’s a bad emperor for these warlike times. There’s a lord who is clearly plotting… something, and the great joke about him is that every single thing he says is so suspicious that it’s impossible to know how many plans he’s got in his pocket. (Answer: a lot of plans.) There’s also the eldest princess, Dillier, who has grown tired of waiting for a perfect political marriage to be arranged for her and has allied herself with Lord Shallier, thus making one of the most awkward pairing names in some time. (ShallDill?) She’s not evil so much as fed up, so is a lot less difficult to stop.
This book is rather light on its usual tropes. Veight only mentions being a humble vie-commander once or twice, and may even be getting used to people thinking well of him. It helps that he runs into a bishop who is essentially his religious equivalent. Speaking of religion, these books have not been kind to the devout, and that doesn’t really change here, even though the church are not the bad guys this time around. Editing scripture to guide people into doing what you want is a total villain move, but here it’s being used for good. the book is light on Veight being oblivious to everyone being in love with him, too. Eleora clearly is but duty comes before love, so she lets him go. Airia clearly is and I suspect is wondering if she can ask for a kiss or something given Veight promised he’d do a favor for her (as punishment for being late in returning).
And there’s also the shrine maiden we meet in the cliffhanger. Is she going to fall for Veight’s charms? And we we finally get more details about why Japanese folks keep popping up in this world? Not sure, but Der Werwolf remains very well-written and confident. It’s one of the best under-the-radar J-Novel Club series.