By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.
I’ve often felt that my reviews are read by the Japanese authors after I write them, and they subsequently go back in time to before the next volume was out in Japan to deal with what I was talking about. Now, I can’t confirm this is 100% true, but I will admit that after admitting to the author of this series that I had forgotten the ongoing plot and worldbuilding and only read it for the cute overpowered girls doing cute overpowered things part, the author now seems to have buckled down a bit and started to pay more attention to how the antics of Mile and company are affecting not just their own kingdom but also the world as a whole. Now, don’t worry, this is not remotely a serious-minded volume or anything, and Mile is still completely ridiculous in the best FUNA way. But… there’s thoughts going into other countries’ actions here, and also what happens when you bitchslap a dragon.
After a prologue that shows us what life is like in their default inn with Lenny when they aren’t around (spoiler: not great, but at least she’s building up strong muscles), we get the plot that makes up the bulk of this book, as the Crimson Vow are asked to escort four researchers disguised as merchants to Albarn’s Empire, as there are disquieting rumors going around about what they’re up to. Given the Vow were responsible for much of their downfall, they’re not wild about it, but they do go along, also pretending to be merchants and making a mint. After managing to find the one company picnic to end up getting attacked by bandits bent on murder and kidnapping, they manage to find out why Albarn is going to war, and it’s a reason that’s a lot closer to what they’ve been doing lately… those damn ruins. And to solve this… they may need to beat up a lot more dragons.
As always, the best part of these books are the bond between the four girls, who may occasionally get jealous of each other’s powers (Mile) or large bust (Pauline) but for the most part are so close than when asked by Mile, in one of her attempts to amuse herself late at night, what they would take with them to a desert island, the answer ends up being Mile… as she can provide anything else. Reina is a bit despairing of the fact that if they ever do split up,. the others will be totally unable to work as a team, but let’s face it, they’re never going to split up as long as this series is an ongoing concern. As for the Albarn Empire, the discussion of why they always go to war, and what’s driving them to do so again, is pretty well nuanced, with the family that the Crimson Vow protect on the company picnic essentially military suppliers. A lot of the reason things are like this now is related to either Mile or her prior self, Adele. Will she take responsibility? Well, sort of, as we see with the golems. But not a whole lot.
Still the most nuanced of the three FUNA series, but that’s a matter of degree – this is still toxic to anyone who hates OP characters.