Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 5

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.

There is something going on with this series that I absolutely love, that’s gotten stronger with each volume. We see Mile and the rest of the Crimson Vow, who have awesome strength and abilities and are a fantastic party. And throughout the book, we see everyone trying to find ways to use that to further their own agenda. And every time – Every Single Time – they are frustrated and anguished as our heroines shut everyone down and continue doing what they want to do. It’s fantastic, especially since so many of these folks eyeing the Crimson Vow are young guys thinking “ehehehe, cute young girls of marriageable age”. We even get it contrasted with a plotline about an inn being run by three young (very young – more on that later) girls who end up with husbands (mostly). The Crimson Vow, minus Mile, are all able to understand the romantic subtext, but just are not looking for that in their life right now. Mile, meanwhile, is Mile.

The start of the book features a moment we’ve been waiting for, as Mile’s main friends go back to her old kingdom and meet her emergency backup friends, which is to say Marcela and company. The main chapters give a fun and emotional reunion. An extra side story turns everything very ridiculous, as Reina and company have to battle against Marcela and company to see who gets custody of Mile. Once Mile realizes that’s what this is about she gets really angry, but till then it’s really quite funny, showing off the old cast vs. the new cast in very amusing ways. There’s two other big stories that take up the rest of the book. The first has the group hired to try to find spices for a gourmet restaurant, and Mile deciding to simply make her own capsaicin. PURE capsaicin. The other involves two warring inns…. well, one inn in trouble and another that wants to help but can’t because of stubbornness.

It is mentioned several times that the age of “I am an adult” is far younger here, i.e. it’s ten years old. Which makes sense in a fantasy sort of way, but I do mention it as we are seeing a lot of 15-16 year old girls discussing marriage, and some here who are about eight talking about getting engaged. In fact, time does seem to be passing and things actually happening here. In addition to trying to track down those excavating the past (which provides us with the cliffhanger), Mile finds out that her old kingdom has executed or exiled those responsible for her original fate, and they are in fact actually trying to find her… again, so that she can be elevated to a title and married off. Responsibilities for young women are never far away from everyone’s thoughts. But Mile, Reina, Mavis and Pauline want to carve out their own path before settling down, and that path does not involve marrying a lord and stopping. This is a series that moves.

I didn’t mention the humor this time, but there are tons of funny moments, mostly involving Pauline, who gets humiliated a lot but also seems to be a few steps away from becoming a supervillain, so it balances out. Anyone who likes seeing young women kick ass and gales of laughter should be seeking this series out.

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