By Sai Sumimori and Ichijirushi. Released in Japan as “Around 40 Eigyou-man, Isekai ni Tatsu!” by Kodansha. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Taishi.
The trouble with a series starring an overpowered family is there’s very few ways that it can be taken forward. We already have a guy who’s brilliant at sales and marketing, hella strong, charismatic, etc. His goddess wife is busty, gorgeous, can stop her rambunctious kids with magic spells, and, it is mentioned a few times, loves sex with her husband. Their kids are 1) so smart they’re past university level, and now joining Dad at his job; 2) ridiculously strong and powerful, and 3) good at magic and can talk to magical beasts despite being five. It’s a great family to read about… for about a book. But this is book two, and I think right about the time that Shouzou ran across the ocean to talk to a water dragon without, y’know, falling into the water that the author realized there needed to be a new cast to focus on. As a result, we pull back to examine the local kingdoms, and meet a slothful young prince and a calculating young princess.
Sharlo is shown to be a very familiar type to Japanese readers: thought to be mediocre compared to his genius younger sister, he took things hard, holed up in his room, gained about 120 pounds, and sits there eating potato chips. He is not, needless to say, prince material, but needs to be leveled up due to political dealings. As such, Shouzou has him become an adventurer and start off with the job that absolutely no one wants: sewage cleaning. As a result, we gradually see there’s a decent person under this who acn also be fairly savvy when he wants to be. He was just abandoned by his minders for not being perfect. In another kingdom, Yuliana is 11th in line for the throne, but is good enough for her father, King Evil IV, to arrange a marrage for. The princess, despite her maid’s protests and fat-shaming of the prince she’s supposed to marry, decides to investigate… by disguising herself as her maid’s bodyguard and going to Sharlo’s kingdom. Romantic comedy bits ensue.
The protagonists are nice enough, and I liked their story, but it has to be said it’s not the story I signed up for. Shouzou flits in and out of the book, stopping a bad guy here and there, nudging our couple in the right direction, doing various political dealings, etc., but the book doesn’t know how to make him the main character again, so doesn’t bother. The book also has one of the most hiarious “cut short” endings I’ve ever seen, seemingly setting up events for the next book in the series… then saying “but Shouzou had to leave that for the denizens of this world, as he would be leaving soon. The end!”. It reads like the editor put it in after the book was submitted to show the series was over. I did enjoy the side story, showing Sharlo’s genius sister, who has a bit of a brother complex but not, thankfully, in a “I want to marry my brother” sort of way, trying to find her own fiancee and being gently reminded she’s 8 and should grow up first.
If you enjoyed the first book, definitely read this one. Sharlo and Yuliana are likeable enough, and reminded me a bit of some Realist Hero characters. But the series seems to end here, possibly as if it continued our OP family would go back to Japan and leave it as a normal fantasy book. And who wants that? We isekai or die here.