By Tôwa and Huuka Kazabana. Released in Japan as “Sekai Saikyou no Kouei: Meikyuukoku no Shinjin Tansakusha” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alexandra McCullough-Garcia.
Last time I suggested that things might get a lot more interesting now that bad things have happened to our heroes. Sadly, I was overoptimistic there, and I forgot how, no matter how bad things may get, the general tone of this series remains “cozy”. Yes, Theresia was cursed by the Shinimg Simian Lord, but she’s not immediately turned evil, it’s a slow-acting evil curse, so she spends most of this book merely being herself and occasionally shuddering as it corrupts her. And Elitia is of course devastated that she got everyone into this in the first place, but after a suitable period of angst and wallowing she’s allowed to be reborn as a far better person and swordswoman. And, of course, nothing can ever take away from the true purpose of this series: watching everyone ask Arihito what new skills they should buy. Even the author says that this is more a video game than a book at this point. That said… I’m still reading it, so something must be going right.
On the cover are two new characters, Ivril and Viola, who introduce themselves but not much else. But they look cool, right? As for Arihito’s party, after the disastrous battle in the Blazing Mansion they have a new problem; they not only have to rescue Elitia’s comrade but also cure Theresia from her curse. This requires research, as well as battling some undead horrors, in order to reach a curse-breaker who reminds everyone of Ceres (they’re not related, apparently, but have a past history). They also join another battle to help out two wayward seekers who got separated from their party during a retreat, and they take on yet another sentient weapon at the end of the book, which pops up when trying to open a black treasure chest. Do they go back and fight the simian lord? Not yet. See you in Book 8.
Again, these books meander. Chapter 2 goes from Page 54 to 122 in my copy, and it’s nothing but looking at Expedition Results, Level Ups, and choosing new skills. I also left out the delicious meals they eat (including a chef who wants to cook food with the rare fruits they got recently) and of course all the sexual innuendo, as this remains the filthiest G-rated book in light novels. (Kyouka has a dream she’s married to Arihito and is wearing a naked apron for him.) That said, as noted above, it was nice to see Elitia finally figure out how to master her blade, which essentially turns out to be “trust that I won’t use it to murder allies”. We get a bit more of her backstory here, and see that her brother has been manipulating it – after the Simian Lord his group may be the next fight.
No one is reading this for depth, and if you’re reading it to see when anyone will have sex, despite all the innuendo, you should also find some other series. But if you’ve enjoyed rearguard so far, you’ll enjoy this.