By Yu Shimizu and Asagi Tosaka. Released in Japan as “Seiken Gakuin no Maken Tsukai” by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Roman Lampert.
I am, as readers of this site well know, easy to please. This can sometimes be a bit frustrating when I have series that don’t do anything particularly wrong, but are also not particularly stellar. The Demon King Master of Excalibur Academy falls under that. I will admit that I find the fact that the Demon King is in a 10-year-old body irritating, but it is mostly avoiding fanservice and groping, so that’s not a big enough reason to move on. The books are short, the prose is readable, the girls get things to do, and the battles are pretty cool, so boxes checked off there. That said, this really isn’t going to be making anyone’s top 10 light novels list anytime soon. There was an argument recently about whether using the word ‘generic’ is pejorative, and yes, it probably is, but there’s no word that better fits the series than this. It’s like eating a slice of bread. No butter, no jam. Just the bread.
The Academy is put on the back burner for this volume, with the biggest class-related event happening being that Leonis skips class. There’s a good reason for this, though – a huge ship is arriving carrying the Fourth Princess, who is paying a visit. Unfortunately, a horde of void creatures break out as she arrives, causing those who have gathered to see her to have to be evacuated onto the ship. Also unfortunately, this turns out to be a plot by terrorists, who are there to kidnap the princess and gain more equality for beastmen. Also also unfortunately, the terrorists have a mole in their ranks who has her own agenda, which is “kill everyone by having the ship slam into a reef, so that she can get her hands on a bunch of demon swords. Fortunately, Leonis and the girls from the first volume are there to stop them.
One of the interesting things in the series is the fact that it’s post-apocalyptic, and not very far away from it either. This allows Leonis to be thoroughly confused at how much has changed since he was alive, and also allows the book to constantly be interrupted by monster attacks, which are well-written but also mean that there’s not much actually happening here, even with the short page count. We do get a few revelations about Regina, Reselia’s maid, comrade in arms, and Girl With A Secret (TM). The secret is not hard to guess, and I will admit that I was frustrated that a meeting we were building up to did not happen, but that’s the trouble with long-running series like these. (Also, sadly, the princess was very underwritten, and I wish we’d seen more of her.)
That’s one interesting thing about these books – they read like they’re cancellation proof. The author has been told “your name is big enough, so we’ll guarantee that you won’t be cut after two novels”, and it shows, as there’s a lot of long-term things going on here. Unfortunately, that means we don’t really get satisfying answers in THIS book. It’s a series that is “good enough for now” to a T.