Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 4

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 Michelle Danner-Groves.

It has to be said, this book is not as funny as the first three books, and by definition is therefore not as strong, since I tend to read this series for the laughs. There’s still lots of amusing situations, Mile being ridiculous, people underestimating the Crimson Vow, etc. But the humor is also turning a little dark as well. We know that our four heroines are an unusual team, and have a certain tendency to be practical to the point of death, but the “let’s break all their legs and then break more legs because we need a complete set” gag verges a bit on sociopathy, which I’m pretty sure is not what the author intended. For the most part, this book is meant to show off how the Crimson Vow have sort of become too overpowered for the area they’re currently in. Fortunately, by the end of the book they’re moving on, touring other countries to see what trouble they can get in.

The main thrust of the plot involves our four girls going on a rescue mission, as several teams have gone to investigate in the woods and not come back. They find the teams captured in an archaeological dig that is being done by beastmen, who end up being mostly mooks for folks as powerful as Mile and company. Especially when Mile ends up coming up with the World’s Worst Stinkbomb, which is probably the funniest part of the book even if it’s also pretty gross. The most interesting part comes when we see who’s actually behind the beastmen digging for relics. It’s refreshing, after 150-odd pages of “this was going to be a dangerous fight–LOL, nope!”, to actually see Mile and company get their asses handed to them. (Honestly, when Mavis ended up overdosing on Mile’s “magical steroids” drug, I was wondering if we’d explore actual consequences, but apparently not.) That said, Mile ends up winning in the end, as she is Mile.

The discovery, once it is revealed, ends up being far more of a shock to Mile than it does the others, and it almost makes her decide she’s going to abandon the others and set out on her own – fortunately, Reina and Mavis are very good at reading Mile like a book. (Poor Pauline, though…) So now we get a world tour with the excuse of Mile trying to figure out what’s really happening with this world, and what it was like in the previous civilization. It’s implied we may run into Adele’s old companions in the next book, though we do get a short story devoted to Marcela, who is likely finding that “what would Adele do” is not alwayhs the best thought to have in any given situation, and is also a quintessential ojou-sama.

So I’m still reading this, but it wasn’t quite as fun as the previous books. I hope things tick upward next time.

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