The Magic in This Other World Is Too Far Behind!, Vol. 8

By Gamei Hitsuji and Ao Nekonabe. Released in Japan by Overlap. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

I feel this is a decent improvement on the last book, which I felt was overbalanced towards the back half. You could argue the same thing here, but honestly the front half was so amusing that I think its strengths outweigh the fact that it’s per fanservice and comedy. The start of the book has Felmenia, deciding that Suimei’s party needs a break, creating a pool in the middle of their backyard. Naturally we get swimsuit illustrations, but more importantly the girls all take this as an opportunity to have a giant water battle with each other using their powers. Suimei’s reactions are what make this, as he was expecting a nice quiet swim session and instead gets Armageddon. If you guessed someone’s top comes off, you’d be right. If you guessed everyone teams up to beat up Suimei, you’d also be right. But the whole thing is handled so well that I genuinely found it extremely funny rather than cliched.

Most of the rest of the volume involves our heroes storming Duke Hadorious’ castle in order to rescue Elliot from his infernal clutches… no, wait, that’s a massive fakeout. That said, it does allow the group to get into the castle and do battle with the Duke himself, who proves that actual sword training trumps Goddess Sword powers, for the most part. Hatsumi gets to face off against Liliana’s adoptive father, though he’s hiding his identity from her at the moment (likely so that Hatsumi does not tell Liliana about this), and they have a decent sword battle. And Reiji gets the standard “time stops and I enter a dream world to talk with a past hero who gives me power up suggestions”, plot, which may have repercussions down the road, but does also allow him to defeat the monster. That said, Hadorious succeeds in sowing doubt in his mind, which might be trouble later.

The best scene in the book, hands down, is the fight with the golem. For some reason or other Io Kuzami decides to stop possessing Mizuki in the middle of the battle, leaving a very confused but excited teenager behind. Suimei’s frustrated reactions and Mizuki’s overenthusiastic bubbling are a beautiful counterpoint, especially when joined by Reiji’s blithe asides. As they face off against the golem (which involves a lot of discussion of Nietzsche, Christianity, and Leibniz as one of the biggest magicians of our age, but honestly that’s beside the point) we finally see what the three teens must have been like all the time back on Earth, and it’s glorious fun. They bump off each other well, come up with ideas that are shot down just as fast, and we finally get the sense they are best friends. Though Mizuki, as you can imagine, reacts poorly when she finally hears Suimei is a magician and hid it from her.

The book ends with Suimei succeeding in creating a magic circle to get them back to Earth… but of course he’s just going back to briefly check on things with his main party. They’re not cutting and running. This sets things up for what promises to be a great “reverse isekai” volume with Book 9. Sadly, Book 8 came out 18 months ago, and there’s no word on future volumes. So… maybe someday? At least it’s going out on a high note.

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