Defeating the Demon Lord’s a Cinch (If You’ve Got a Ringer), Vol. 1

By Tsukikage and bob. Released in Japan as “Darenidemo Dekiru Kage kara Tasukeru Maou Toubatsu” by Famitsu Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alex Kerwin.

I write a column for Manga Bookshelf called Manga the Week of, where I point out the manga and light novels coming out next week, and briefly try to hype the debuts. Sometimes, though, this can lead to me being embarrassingly wrong about a title, because the cover art and blurb were vague, or even actively misleading. It’s especially true when there really isn’t much known about the new series. So, let me say up front: I was expecting Demon Lord Ringer (as I will call it for brevity’s sake) To be far more comedic in tone, something like Konosuba only with more of a straight man as the lead. Now, to be fair, Ares is definitely a straight man. But the book is not going for funny, instead being a crash course in how much we can take of its intensely serious, brimming with suppressed rage narrator until we beg for the demon lord to win after all. Make no mistake about it: the Ringer is a bit of a jerk.

As you can see by the cover image, as well as the blurb, this is not merely a case of me being too thick (which has also happened before): the premise is actively trying to mislead you. It is accurate, as far as it goes. A hero has been summoned to defeat the demon lord, but the hero’s level is far too low, and as for companions, we have a third princess as a mage who can only use fire magic (the entire book takes place in a forest, so she can’t do anything), a swordswoman who has recently changed her sword style away from her family specialty (so is learning a whole different skill set on the fly), and Ares, who is a priest who clearly is far more powerful than the Level 3 he suggests he is. (Yes, the usual fantasy RPG tropes apply here, as the characters discuss buffs and leveling as if they are real life fantasy terms.) The hero’s party, however, wants to get rid of Ares. And you can’t blame then, really.

There’s a reveal at the end of the book I was very impressed by, one that makes the entire party’s behavior around Ares make a lot more sense. It’s such a good reveal I won’t get into it. It actually made me want to read the second book, which I was on the edge about, to be honest. The book’s prose is good, and Ares is certainly a memorable character. But god, you want to throttle him. He’s given an assistant, Amelia, who seems to have some lingering affection for him (he doesn’t recall their ever meeting in person, which irritates her), and she keeps desperately trying to get him to slow down and not do absolutely everything on his own. And she fails. I was honestly wondering if the big reveal was going to be that he’s the villain after all, but it would seem that’s not the case. But so far, my interest in what happens next has won out over “my god, do I really need to listen to this guy’s simmering fury for another three+ volumes?”.

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  1. Gent. Gamer says

    My word, thanks for this review; I kid you not if it wasn’t for this, I would’ve given up halfway through and returned the e-book. Tendou and crew’s naivety, and at times stupidity, seriously bugged me; more than that, I was finding Ares utterly unlikable and frustrating.

    Still not the biggest Ares fan, but that last minute twist and that awesome fight kinda makes me wanna move onto the second volume. Which annoys me given how much how much of a single-minded, jerkwad blockhead Ares is at times, but darn it all; it’s captured my interest.

    So yeah, thanks :)

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