How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 7

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

This is a strong volume of Realist Hero, getting back to what most people reading the series are here for. No, not harems, though there’s a lot of that going around. No, not sex, there’s none of that here. But diplomacy gets to be front and center again, as Souma and his entourage end up traveling to not-Turkey to see what that nation is all about. There they find themselves designing syringes and scalpels, dealing with a boisterous yet forward-thinking young prince, heading off the discovery of quite a nasty dungeon (and seeing what it does to the poor villagers who lived next to it), and negotiating a three-way trade agreement involving doctors, drugs, medical tools, and the power of HOVERCRAFTS! And all this is only in the first two-thirds of the book, so there’s plenty of time for short stories involving things like dragon meteorologists and Juno (from the group of adventurers) finally learning the truth about her mysterious adventuring companion.

Sadly, our main heroine, Liscia, is totally absent from the story. She’s pregnant, you see, and so has gone off to live away from all society in case something should happen to the child. In reality, I do sort of wonder if she’s been exiled due to her Saberface. Probably not, though, given that this volume sees the introduction of Yuki and Mikuru from the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Well, OK, not really, but close enough. They’re childhood friend and bodyguard, respectively, of the Turgis prince, who is filled with fresh new ideas and also a head full of teenage stupid, which is what leads him to doing things like proposing to 12-year-old fox girls. You’re meant to get the sense that when he matures he’ll be an excellent leader, and there’s hints of that here, though you can also see why not-Yuki calls him dumb all the time. You also get the sense his polyamorous relationships are shaping up nicely. Speaking of which, Hal has recovered nicely from accidentally getting a dragon bride last book, only for us to find that he’s adding an elf soon as well. the book does not have to pair off Souma with EVERYONE.

The worldbuilding is the highlight of the book, once more. There’s a real feel that the author remembers what he wrote before and is building on and adding to it constantly, which is not only the case in books adapted from webnovels, where often you get the sense the author is just thinking “what is the next cool thing?”. Admittedly, sometimes I could do without the worldbuilding – Komain’s refugees are meant to echo the plight of Native Americans, but having her literally look like a Native American stereotype, complete with war paint and feathers, is a bit much. Still, for the most part I am happy and content to see where the book leads me next. Will we finally deal with the demons? Will Souma be reaching out to yet another country? Will he ever work up the nerve to go to bed with another one of his fiancees? This is apparently a big seller for J-Novel Club, and it’s easy to see why. Go get it.

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