The Invincible Shovel, Vol. 2

By Yasohachi Tsuchise and Hagure Yuuki. Released in Japan as “Scoop Musou: “Scoop Hadouhou!” (`・ω・´)♂〓〓〓〓★(゜Д゜ ;;) .:∴DOGOoo” by MF Bunko J. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Elliot Ryoga.

It should not come as too much of a surprise to find that this second volume is not quite as funny as the first. The Invincible Shovel has a few choice gags that it hammers on with the subtlety of a truck hitting an isekai protagonist, And so the element of surprise is gone here. That said, this ended up being funnier than I expected, particularly as it went along. We meet a couple more heroines who add themselves to the uninterested Alan’s not-quite-harem, including a ditzy sage and a sheltered princess, everyone misunderstands things in a sexual way due to the use of ‘shovel’ to mean absolutely everything, and we get somewhat incrementally closer to finishing the quest, as there’s a mid-range boss to defeat and we get a glimpse of the big bad. And then there’s Lithisia, who definitely levels up in this book… in both good and bad ways. Alan may be the OP hero, but in the end Lithisia is the most terrifying.

I’d mentioned in my review of the first volume that the word ‘shovel’ was used 703 times, and in this second book it’s 880. Note that we don’t really get variations – at one point an illustration shows Lithisia is clearly holding a trowel, but it’s referred to as a shovel, and we don’t see spade or other types either. This is deliberate, both for the comedy – the overuse of the word, especially from Lithisia inventing new words including it, is ridiculous – but it’s also meant to be exhausting, to leave the reader so drowning in shovels that they just learn to let it roll over them. We feel much like Catria, the sole voice of reason in this title, who wants things to make sense but is constantly cursed by Alan using his shovel to make instant tunnels through gigantic mountains, remove a memory block to help someone recall their past, and force the villain to confess his evil deeds by literally digging his own grave.

As for Lithisia, I will admit that I did get very tired of her constant horniness, which ends up carrying over to the other characters. The idea of ‘shovel’ meaning sex… or, frequently in this book, masturbation, as Alan says that they can learn to shovel better by themselves, is the sort of thing that’s mostly interesting to 15-year-old boys. Fortunately, there’s more to her than that… in a somewhat scary way. Lithisia devoting herself to the Way of the Shovel is funny, but Lithisia being able to brainwash others to the same vision is alarming. The shovel is gaining more and more followers, though as a worried Alan notes, they don’t actually have the shovel superpowers that she assumes come with the job. This actually has a serious core at its deluded center: she’s afraid that when the quest is over, Alan will leave her, and so vows to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! to ensure she remains by his side. It’s… sweet? In a way?

As I said earlier, your enjoyment of this title may end up being how tolerant you are of the word ‘shovel’ and the female cast being horny on main most of the time. But it’s still gloriously silly enough that I’ll be shoveling the next book. Um, reading. I meant reading. Shovel.

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