By FUNA and Sukima. Released in Japan as “Potion-danomi de Ikinobimasu!” by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hiroya Watanabe.
Been a while, hasn’t it? There was about an 18-month gap between books 7 and 8 in Japan, and that’s about what we got here as well. The reason for that, of course, is that the author does about eight different things at once. There are still new volumes of Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average coming out every 3-4 months, and Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement has also reached its 8th book. Plus there’s been the saving 80K Gold anime, which is currently running and seems to have offended fans of the books far less than the MMAA anime did. In fact, the one thing that we haven’t seen yet is a big crossover between the three series. We are, sadly, unlikely to see it either, as Mile and friends are Square Enix people, while Mitsuha and Kaoru are Kodansha. Still, there’s a way around this. If you can’t have the three series cross over directly, just have the Potion cast cosplay as the other two series!
Now that all three of the KKR team are reincarnated and together again, it’s time to advance Kaoru’s very vague plan, which mostly involves expanding her business while also having the three of them makes names for themselves (in disguise). Reiko will go to an adventurer’s guild and show off her amazing coin cutting skills (or at least cheat her way through), which may sound very similar to Mavis in Make My Abilities Average!. Kyoko will go to a nearby city and start her own business, selling useful items and having everyone think she’s a noble’s daughter in a way that is clearly nothing like the protagonist of Saving 80K Gold at all. As for Kaoru, she’s trying to get her alter ego to be thought of as a saint, which mostly involves going around healing people and being very humble about it. That said, she’s trying to do a better job about this than she did the first time around.
This book can get very meta – Kaoru explicitly calls the first six volumes (before she was “killed”) Season One here, though I’d argue that Potion Girl 7-8 are more a soft reboot than anything else. The joke throughout the book is that each of the three girls sees themselves as the sensible one trying to hold back the impetuous madness of the others, but they’re all exactly the same deep down. This shows itself best with Kaoru, who, after setting Kyoko up with a nice quiet business and telling her NOT to go on a rampage, goes on her own rampage when she discovers that one business she was working with is using a family power struggle to replace everyone and take over Kaoru’s business. Naturally, this calls for revenge. But not the sort of revenge that the other girls would do. Different, more genteel revenge. (That said, having seen Kaoru go off in previous books, this is very mild by her standards.)
The ninth volume is due out in Japan this month, so we should not have as long a wait till the next book. Till then, enjoy the most hardcore FUNA series, where anything can happen.