By Hayaken and Nagu. Released in Japan as “Eiyu-oh, Bu wo Kiwameru tame Tensei su. Soshite, Sekai Saikyou no Minarai Kisi ♀” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mike Langwiser.
Sometimes I tend to dramatically overthink things. This even applies when I’m reading a series like Reborn to Master the Blade, where I know that the main motivation behind the author writing it is “have fun and cool fights”. So when Inglis had her body aged down that of a six-year-old early in the book, I started to theorize about what would necessitate this change in the book. Was it related to the engagements that Inglis and Rafinha are apparently going to face at the start of this volume? No, that’s not it. Is it to make Inglis less powerful so that she actually loses a fight and ends up learning an important lesson? Hardly, though there is one fight here where the records a draw. Then, by the end of the book, I began to realize the real reason: it’s because the author thinks that a 6-year-old Inglis is cute as a button, and wants more art of her than the first volume could provide. Fair enough.
Inglis and Rafinha return home to find that they have a bevy of suitors now, both being hot commodities. They both write to the royal palace to ask them to stop this; Rafinha because she only wants Inglis to marry Rafael, and Inglis because she doesn’t want Rafinha to marry ANYBODY. Before any suitors arrive, though, an experiment Inglis is trying goes wrong and now she and Rafinha are back in their six-year-old bodies! And bad timing there, as there is a Highlander who has heard about Inglis and is there to have a really good fight. He’s basically Inglis as a man, and the fight the two have is indeed epic, and takes up a big chunk of the book. Unfortunately, Inglis was using Eris as a weapon during the fight, and Eris got a little broken, so to fix her, they’re going to need to… well, need to wait till the next book, but the back half of this sets us up for that.
Not gonna lie, for all that he is a walking cliche, Jildegrieva was easily the best part of the book, finally giving Inglis the fight that she’s wanted since the series began – a fight that, admittedly, ends in a draw, but she is in a much smaller body now. Other than that, though, the other main plot of this book is basically introducing zombies to the story, and showing that someone is making it so dead assassins become zombies. This leads to mental trauma in some cases (Leone) and showing off to family in others (Lieselotte). But, as with Inglis becoming a child or Eris getting damaged/injured, it’s a plot point that is not going to be resolved this book. As a result, like a lot of books in this series, how much you enjoy it depends how much you like straight up fighting.
We’ve also caught up with Japan, so that next volume that explains everything may be a while. Ah well. Inglis is pretty cute as a kid (and there is thankfully a minimal amount of lolicon shtick that comes with it).