Arifureta Zero, Vol. 4

By Ryo Shirakome and Takaya-ki. Released in Japan as “Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou Rei” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.

I do sometimes worry that the author of the Arifureta series has forgotten why we’re reading it in the first place. In regards to the original series, it’s to see Hajime’s ludicrous overpowered antics and the wacky banter between him and his companions, and with Zero it’s the exact same thing only it’s Miledi. The main series has more harem romance to it than Zero, which seems content to tease only Oscar and Miledi and not have it go further, but, well, romance isn’t why I read it, at least. And, in regards to this volume of Zero, while I can appreciate the author writing some really cool battle scenes because he enjoys it, with lots of the bad guys and good guys bringing out increasingly ludicrous powers, fight scenes are not why I read Arifureta either. Sadly, that makes this volume a big ol’ slog, as a good eighty percent of it is battles.

We head into the forest that we’ve seen in Arifureta’s 2nd volume, home of the Beastmen, and here (at least at the start) at the height of its powers. Well, half the group are here. Things have gotten dangerous enough that Miledi’s Angels split up at this point, with Oscar and Vandre helping to settle everyone from the last book, while Miledi and the others head to the forest, there to meet their next potential Liberator, and also try to stop the battle, as the Church has gotten there first. Speaking of the Church, Laus is continuing to have doubts over what they’re actually doing, and things are not helped by the Church’s religious fervor taking on more and more aspects of brainwashing. Can he continue to fight for something he doesn’t believe in any more? Or should be change sides and joining the Liberators.

I will admit, which I said that I wanted more wacky antics and less fights, when we DO get wacky antics, I’m not sure they’re the ones I wanted. Lyutillus is the Elven Queen of the forest… and also a masochist. The author admits she’s meant to be a mirror to Tio in the main series, and given Tio is my least favorite of the girls in that, I wasn’t really going to be enjoying this. Better was Miledi’s usual stuff – when she’s deliberately trying to be annoying to distract the mood, it’s fantastic, and her confrontation with Laus towards the start of the book was absolutely hilarious. Laus, in fact, is the best thing about this book, as his loss of faith is very well handled. I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that the gods are villains in this world, therefore the fact that everyone in the Church tends towards being a monster is hardly a surprise. I am quite interested in seeing how this switching sides works out going forward.

…I say that, but we know how this is going to end – the main cast all dead (bar Miledi’s soul) and branded as heretics. The bad guys win is the premise of this. But we’ve still no idea how long it’s going to be, and I’m happy to see it play out. As long as it’s not just fights. Or creepy sexual gags. Sigh. Not gonna have much luck there, am I?

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