By FUNA and Touzai. Released in Japan as “Rōgo ni Sonaete Isekai de 8-Man-Mai no Kinka o Tamemasu” by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by Kodansha Books. Translated by Luke Hutton.
Sigh. There was no good way to do this. Kodansha Books re-released the first two volumes of this light novel series as an omnibus, which is good! It meant folks didn’t have to re-buy two books that they already had from the late, unlamented Sol Press and we could get to new content faster! But it also means that this second volume is the third in Japan. And that will be the case going forward. That’s why this is another review of the 2nd volume – it’s really a review of Volume 3. Got it? Good. That said, the first volume of this series originally came out here in 2019, the second 19 months after that, and here’s the third, about 30 months after that one. You might be forgiven for completely forgetting what’s been going on. Fortunately, there was an anime! It covered Books 1 and 2, so go watch it, then come back here. Because this is more of the same, and it’s fun and mind-boggling and a little disturbing. See: this author.
Things are getting busier for Mitsuha – so busy that she seriously considers, near the end of the book, stopping the “go back and forth between here and Japan” thing and permanently settling. She has a new territory to run. She’s being asked to attend all sorts of society balls. She’s trying to get board games to be a thing in this country, specifically shogi and reversi. She’s trying to create popcorn, with the help of some adorable… if somewhat mercenary… orphans. And of course she’s looking to make that money so that she can retire, though several times in this book she admits to herself that she needs to stop inventing new things and let this world relax and catch up a bit. That said, the biggest problem may be when three huge ships show up in her domain. Maybe they’re friendly!… OK, probably not.
Fans of FUNA will be happy to know there is quite a bit of what I call “the heroine goes completely batshit” in this book, the biggest being how she deals with the invading foreign army. As with I Shall Survive Making Potions!, the heroine’s morality is firmly in the grey area, and her solutions do sometimes involve “there’s no way I can do this without killing a few people, sorry”. Much of the “fun” in this series is seeing her do something along these lines, then act surprised that everyone is staring in disbelief at her. She actually has another crying breakdown here, after the Count who has become her surrogate father has to remind her that people actually love and care about her here, and she should not treat her life as disposable. Which, let’s be honest, she is. Almost all her decisions in this volume have a form of “what if I die, how will they deal with this then?” Which is great in a worldbuilding way, but not so good in a psychological one.
If you hated Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average and I Shall Survive Using Potions!, you’ll hate this too. If you loved them, you’ll love this too. It’s as simple as that. See you next time for the third (fourth) book.