I Shall Survive Using Potions!, Vol. 2

By FUNA and Sukima. Released in Japan by Kodansha. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Garrison Denim.

There are currently three different series by FUNA coming out here, and having read some of each of them, I’m inclined to categorize them as Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. Beginning is Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World, which even has an easy mode for its protagonist, who can still interact with the past world. She’s having fun, but there isn’t really all THAT much monstrous ridiculousness (though I admit this is the series I’ve read the least of). Intermediate would be Make My Abilities Average!, where Mile is absolutely stupidly overpowered and shows it, and helps her friend to get that way as well, but those seriously hurt of killed by her and her friends tend to be evil bandits, kidnappers and the like. The tone is very much happy, jolly adventures. Finally, there is I Shall Survive Using Potions!, the Advanced Course. You really, really need to not care about overpowered heroes at ALL, or you will hate this. What’s more, Kaoru is A LOT, and sometimes her emotions get the best of her in ways that veer beyond ridiculous and into horrifying.

Roughly the first half of this book takes place right after the previous one. Kaoru’s hitting this world like a tac nuke has had repercussions, and the kingdom she’s currently staying in is now under attack by two different nations. Fortunately, she has the knight that she was able to de-age in the last book at her side, the brother of the king, and her cadre of Baker Street Irregulars at her side, as well as her usual item boxes/potions/literally anything. Unfortunately, this is a war, which means things turn serious fast, and Kaoru quickly finds she really hates it when people are injured or killed in front of her. It’s pretty horrifying being reminded that when she loses it emotionally, she could decimate anyone around her. The second half of the book takes place after a time skip, and shows Kaoru and her hangers on heading to a new kingdom so that she can try to find herself a man to marry and have kids with. This is as much of a flaming disaster as you can imagine, because of Kaoru’s basic personality, but is far more amusing.

Moral ambiguities aside, and I’m not entirely certain how much of this is intentional, this is still a lot of fun. There are in-jokes that are based on the publisher (a cameo from a certain goddess whose adventures also ran in a Kodansha magazine), and some where you wonder if it was the original or the J-Novel Club adaptation (the use of a certain popular anime meme). Kaoru’s personality is so straightforward that it tends towards snark, and she IS ridiculously overpowered, but there are a number of moments here where she’s allowed to slip up – indeed, the gag right at the end of the main story may be the best in the book. She’s still doing whatever the hell she wants, even if that means adopting a daughter (she’s an orphan), creating vibroblades for her knight (see, it’s really a potion that happens to look AND act like a vibroblade), etc. Disbelief is hung by the neck until it’s dead here. What’s more, Kaoru’s two friends from her original world have lived their full lives and died, and now they’re in this world as well… and also apparently have ridiculous powers.

Like most of FUNA’s series, I want to read more of this. Unlike the other two, though, I do wonder if Kaoru will actually turn down a darker path one day. I mean, she’s already pretty morally grey. Definitely worth picking up, though. Also, don’t insult the goddess or you’ll get a wooden washtub to the head.

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