Mixed Bathing in Another Dimension: The Chaotic Stone Sauna

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.

Despite the threat of death from a giant dragon/dinosaur thing that secretes poison gas, this is actually another relatively low-impact volume of Mixed Bathing, and I think I’m coming to terms with that a bit more. In fact, it turns out to be an inversion of the last book. Last time Touya and company were doing all the plot-relate4d work, and we only briefly touched on Haruno back at Athenapolis. This time around Haruno gets far more of the focus – over a third of the book. Touya, meanwhile, mostly dithers around in the Fire Nation, which does not seem to be attacking anytime soon, taking advantage of the blessings of his various goddesses to get things like a really awesome kitchen (although not, oddly, a toilet, something that is relevant enough to be a plot point later – I assume it’s because toilets and baths in Japan are so separate, but still, was this trip really necessary?). Mostly, though, Mixed Bathing continues to develop its plot and backstory, and gives us more likeable characters who respect each other. Which I still can’t get enough of.

Of course, there’s a naked loli on the cover, so the book has likely already lost a chunk of audience that might otherwise have tried it out. Said loli is Rakti, the Goddess of Darkness who due to the events we heard about in the previous volume, is now freed and with our heroes, although given she has to hide her powers to avoid world war, she mostly functions as a moeblob this book. As noted, Touya leaves Hadesopolis and heads to the Fire Nation, Hephaestusopolis (bet you can’t guess how the author came up with these city names) to gain the blessing of the Fire Goddess, something that is relatively simple and painless. (The Light Goddess is not amused, though, and honestly the goddesses seem to be functioning as the cliched harem that Touya’s actual real-world harem isn’t.) The action comes in the last third of the book, with a nasty fight and some clever use of both his bath powers and Clena’s own magic – Touya is still using more spells and less bath, but he’s starting to combine the two, and I liked how he’s now working together in battle with the others more.

As for Haruno and her group, she’s actually the one picking up more new girls this time around, although whether Daisy and Prae will end up being part of Touya’s harem is not really clear – Touya and Haruno still have not met back up. Prae did make me a little uncomfortable – she seems to have a mental disability of some sort, and while Haruno and the others treat her normally and with respect, I’m not exactly sure why the author went in this direction beyond “the giant woman acts like a child”. More impressive is Haruno’s political intrigue, where she shows off her smarts and her strength of will, taking out a corrupt slave regime and the senators behind it in literally one day, and then skedaddling after the revelation of what really happened in the past has led to a schism in the Light Goddess’ followers.)

In the end, this is simply a good series, showing depth of thought into the backstory of the world, and respect for all the characters, which given how much naked bathing there is in this story remains a major feat. It’s become one of my most anticipated light novel titles.

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