By Toshio Satou and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shonen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.
There have been quite a few antagonists over the course of this series, but, with the exception of a few, they’ve mostly been pathetic mooks whose job it is to get humiliated and destroyed by Lloyd. That said, this is not a series that is really interested in killing off its villains, for the most part, so something had to happen to them. Why not a high-security prison? Because, of course, Last Dungeon Kid also enjoys making fun of various types of cliched plotlines, and “prison break story” is certainly one of them. The only problem there is that imagining Lloyd breaking out of prison is… ridiculously easy. He wouldn’t even break a sweat. Especially if he’s not even aware that it’s a prison at all. Ah well, it’ll lead to some good comedy. Well, right until the end, of course, when Eve makes sure we have a dramatic twist.
Rinko and Alka are trying to research all the evil things Eve has been doing, and have noticed that she seems to be getting a lot of experimental corpses from somewhere. A likely place is Hell’s Lock, the prison for those who commit the worst crimes in the kingdom. Clearly they need to send in someone to investigate, and they do… but somehow, because this is that sort of series, Lloyd ends up taking their place. Unaware he’s investigating, or even in a prison, Lloyd thinks this is essentially a training camp for mental fortitude. The evil warden does not take kindly to his cavalier attitude, and decides to torture and kill him on the sly, because (of course) the warden is the one supplying Eve with bodies. Still, killing Lloyd may prove a challenge…
This took a while to get going, like a lot of books in this series. It tends to run on “farce” principles, and thus is always better when everything is fast and chaotic, rather than providing setup. It didn’t help that I had honestly forgotten a few of the recurring villains, though some of them came back to me more easily than others. (Phyllo’s continued rage at the man who destroyed her family is both in character and very funny. She also gets the best joke of the book.) That said, as I noted last time, there is still a vague serious component to this series that occasionally rears its head. The warden’s sudden realization of who he really is is somewhat chilling, but it’s Eve taking off the bunny suit to reveal her face that’s the payoff. Well, OK, it’s probably the payoff for next book, which I assume will be Selen-based. I also liked Lloyd’s rage and fury, which given his normal attitude was quite refreshing.
All in all, a pretty good volume. More madcap next time, maybe?