By Nagaharu Hibihana and Masakage Hagiya. Released in Japan as “Isekai Konyoku Monogatari” by Overlap. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sophie Guo.
The difficulty with coming up with a really wacky idea or gimmick in your otherwise fairly standard light novel is that you need to keep coming up with fresh new ways to use the gimmick. After all, that’s why some readers are there in the first place. So it is somewhat disappointing for me to say that in this second volume of a series where a hero is transported to another world with nothing but the ability to make a bathroom appear out of nowhere, there’s not nearly enough bathroom used here. We do see it “level up”, so to speak, as it’s now essentially a small hot tub with a changing room (and sleeping room by the end), and the villain is disposed of rather gruesomely via the bath, but really our hero ends up solving most problems through his newly learned earth magic. Which is fine, but makes him a bit more generic.
Having set up the premise in the first volume, much of this second is devoted to world building, as Touya and his companions set out to discover the truth about what happened five hundred years ago and the missing kingdom that is shrouded in myth and legend. Indeed, there may be a bit TOO much world building – the book could have used another good fight, and suffers occasionally from Touya feeling the need to tell us every action that’s being done as he does it – “We did this and this and this and this and this”. We see him in a different city which looks like it might be interesting in future books – the concept of semi-slavery used here is still uncomfortable – but it doesn’t really end up going anywhere.
I’m still enjoying the book, mind you. The hero is a nice guy, if obsessed with nude bodies the way a teenager would normally be. The girls are nice girls, sometimes to an unbelievable degree – Clena in particularly is like a tsundere that forgot to pack her tsun. We do check in with Haruno, the girl from Book One, and it’s nice to see that the two of them still really like each other – Touya is adding to his harem (sorry, party), but it’s clear that Haruno is Best Girl, and the others are having to come to terms with that. Again, the hero is very good about communicating whatever he’s about to do, searching for discomfort and consent. I still appreciate that. But the trouble with nice people traveling through a world nicely is there is a need for conflict. The Goldfish who is the villain of this book (no, really) is refreshingly duplicitous and evil, and it was nice to see.
So yes, the bloom is off the rose a bit. I wasn’t as taken with this as I was with Book 1. But it’s still a good series, and I really like everyone, despite that making them the teensiest bit dull. And now we appear to have added loli #2 in the form of the Goddess of Darkness. That should go well. Recommended to those who like harems but hate tsunderes.