Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 2

By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by Earth Star Entertainment. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.

Last time I complimented this series on its use of humor and its focus on a heroine who wanted desperately to be normal but lacked all common sense as to what that meant. It’s not really the sort of premise that can sustain a long series, and so I wasn’t surprised that this second volume, while still amusing, did not reach the laugh heights of the first book. Fortunately, even though it’s settling into more of a typical fantasy light novel, it still has strengths, which it leans on. The main heroines are all heroines, with most male characters being relegated to support. There’s also still no sign of a love interest for anyone, though one or two of the guys put out feelers that are shot down immediately. This is because the narrative treats these young teenage girls as young teenage girls, which is nice to see. And Reina, the girl on the cover, gets some tragic depth.

Mile still gets enough face time to be the heroine, of course, but I liked the balance between her and the rest of the party here. Reina is clearly impatient for their group to get powerful as soon as possible, and keeps insisting that they have to be able to kill people if necessary. I really enjoyed the way that the other three disagree with this but still don’t condemn Reina for it, as everyone has their own circumstances – for Reina it’s the death of both her birth family AND adopted family. It’s treated seriously, but because this is at heart a lighthearted series it’s not dwelt upon, and Reina’s obsession doesn’t drive her to the dark side as a more cynical light novel reader might expect. Likewise, the bandits – as well as “bandits” – that are dealt with here are a true threat that would easily have taken out anyone else… but Mile is Mile, so they’re stomped.

As I said in my review of the first volume, though irritated by overpowered heroes should absolutely look elsewhere. Despite Mile desperately trying to hide her amazing amazingness, everyone and their brother can see she’s on – if you’ll pardon the expression – a completely different level. There is actually an amusing came at the start of the book by the three girls that Mile went to Princess School with before the series rebooted itself, and they figure out exactly what she did by simulating how her mind works – which is to say, what situation uses the least amount of common sense? But as I said, Mile’s ludicrousness is more baked into the plot and characters this time, so it’s not as over the top as it was. She’s still a great heroine, though, and as I said, the bond of her party is a highlight.

The drawback with a series like this is that we’ve not really seen any signs of a plot that goes beyond “watch Mile be amazing”, and it would be nice if a recurring villain or something like that showed up. Still, at the moment I’m perfectly content to watch her be “perfectly normal” in the worst way. The third volume looks like it will focus on Mavis and Pauline judging by the cover, and I’d love to see that too. This is a series that puts a smile on my face.

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