If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord, Vol. 1

By CHIROLU and Truffle. Released in Japan as “Uchi no Musume no Tame Naraba, Ore Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoserukamo Shirenai” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Matthew Warner.

The most popular light novel genre at the moment, both here and in Japan, is “generic RPG fantasy world”. In this genre, however, you can do all sorts of things. There are isekai variations, and novels where it really is a game. There are harem romances, and dark gritty tragedies. These days it seems like a popular editorial request is “do fantasy but with __________”. And with this particular title, we’re getting another type of popular Japanese genre, the “single dad raises his daughter/adopted daughter (it’s always a daughter) and she’s really really goddamn cute” genre. The dad can be bumbling or competent, but the adorableness of the girl is never in question. (The light novel genre being male-oriented, the single mom raising her adorable son has not to my knowledge had any series, but hope springs eternal.) And now we have this series, where the adopted girl is a devil abandoned by her people for mystery reasons, and she’s just cute as the dickens.

The first 2/3 of this book is basically running on that premise. Our hero is a seasoned young adventurer who looks like the standard ‘generic guy’ you see in these sorts of fantasy book (Smartphone guy looks exactly the same). He runs into Latina in the woods, starving and unable to speak human languages, and decides to bring her home on the basis of being unable to let her starve to death or be eaten by monsters. Then he and the couple who run the inn he lives in slowly watch her grow up, learn to speak and read human, show she can use magic, wait tables, and wrap absolutely everyone around her finger. Part of the fun in this book is seeing Dale (the dad) turning into a complete over the top loon about his new daughter. Actually, one drawback is that I wish we’d had a bit more of Dale as he was before he met Latina – we see flashes of it, but it loses a bit of impact as we barely know him before he’s a doting dad.

The last third is far more serious, and at first I thought it might be dealing with Latina being bullied by her peers, but no, she’s being emotionally and mentally abused by her new teacher, who lost her family to devils and has gone half-insane to rage and prejudice as a result. Latina’s attempts to hide what’s being done to her with “everything is fine” even as she looks more and more worn and exhausted will ring a bell with anyone who ever dealt with a bullied child “staying strong”. The whole section is brutal, and it wouldn’t have nearly half the impact it does without most of the book being variations on “look at the daily life of this cutie”. It is nice to see the entire town seemingly standing up to protect her, including Dale, whose cold rage is absolutely terrifying to the temple who employed the teacher.

There are 5 volumes in this series, and each one shows Latina slightly older, so I suspect we won’t have cute antics for the whole series. But if you enjoy series like Yotsuba&!, Sweetness and Lightning, or Bunny Drop (the first half – I hope) and wish it had more swords and sorcery, I think you’d greatly enjoy this series.

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