By Riku Misora and Sacraneco. Released in Japan as “Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nathaniel Hiroshi Thrasher.
While there are no long-term disasters here, it’s safe to say that this might be the first volume to actually belie its title, as the High School Prodigies don’t really have that good a time here. Trying to get their kingdom to stand on its own so that they can make preparations to go home turns out to be easier said than done. The actual way to go home seems to be offered up to them on a plate… but what’s the catch? Aoi finds that it’s not enough having a really strong sword, she needs a really strong CURSED sword or she’s screwed. And worst of all, economics happens. All of this barely leaves time for the love triangle that still inhabits the heart of this book, but rest assured there’s still time to deal with that. And, thankfully, there’s a minimum of Keine here, so we don’t need to worry about any questionable medical practices.
The book is divided into three, with two medium chunks and one long one. In the first, the prodigies go to negotiate with the Empire, currently being ruled by a proxy, and finds things go… suspiciously well. What’s more, said proxy is also from a different world. In the second story, Lyrule and Winona try to teach Jeanne how to cook, which is interesting more for Lyrule’s own tortured love life than anything else. The final story features the new nation of Elm, with Elch as its new Finance Minister, trying to introduce a new currency to the other nations. Masato is there as well, but he’s trying to be hands off so that the natives can attempt to handle things themselves. m Unfortunately, he underestimates Roo, and thus everything turns out both better and much worse than it could have gone.
Changing a world is not particularly an easy task, and the Prodigies have limited themselves to merely one part of it. When visiting the empire, they get a glimpse of the slave trade there, and we see a maid of the main villain of this book who is horribly abused. But she’s not there to be rescued later on, and indeed isn’t; she’s there to show us that you have to fix what you can for now. Which here mostly means the currency, as there’s a lot of back and forth, deals, secret deals, and endless piles of backstabbing. We get to learn firsthand the difference between politics and economics, and also see what I feel may be the first of many attempts to lure one of the prodigies to the enemy side. (It doesn’t work.. yet.) We also get to see how Roo has been soaking up information and tactics like a sponge from Masato, and though she still ends up getting tricked and almost killed, her resolve is impressive. (I do sort of wish we’d seen more of her after this scene.)
Overall I was pretty happy with this book, and the cliffhanger clearly introduces what’s likely to be the Big Bad of the series. It’s never going to be what one might call a good light novel, but it’s perfectly serviceable popcorn.