Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside, Vol. 1

By Zappon and Yasumo. Released in Japan as “Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasaretanode, Henkyou de Slow Life Surukoto ni Shimashita” by Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Dale DeLucia.

I probably should not have read this only a few weeks after Roll Over and Die, as the first thought that came to mind is that when the woman is leaving the party she’s branded, sold into slavery, and left for dead, but when it’s the guy he just moves to the country, opens a shop, and gets a girlfriend almost instantaneously. That said, the whole “you are a disgrace to the party, go!” plot is apparently also a big thing in Japanese webnovels now, though so far it’s been less “the party” and more “that one asshole guy in the party”. In any case, our hero starting up his apothecary and hooking up with his former ally is only part of the story here, as we also flash back to the party in action, get a few glimpses of life as the hero, and, perhaps most importantly, talk endlessly about the magical systems in place in this world.

This is not a “game world” per se, but the plot hinges on a common game element: Gideon, the banished guy, was born at Level 30, and is the very definition of “the strong guy who joins your party early in the game to help you level up”. Unfortunately, when the party grows strong enough, this type of character usually leaves, and Gideon doesn’t do that – mostly as the Hero is his little sister. So when one of the party with a hate on for Gideon and a crush on the hero tells him he’s useless now, Gideon quietly accepts it, leaves the party, changes his name to Red, moves to a backwater sleepy town, and opens an apothecary. Luckily he’s helped in this by Rit, an adventurer and princess whose kingdom the hero’s party saved earlier. Rit has had a not-so-secret crush on Red since that time, and essentially invites herself into his shop, his home, and his bedroom. Together the two grow closer and have a nice quiet life. But what of the hero?

I’ll start off with the negatives: Red/Gideon is not the most magnetic hero. He fits the stock “boring adventurer guy” a little too well, and it feels ridiculous that he’s just quietly listen and leave the party without, y’know, asking anyone else in the party about it. There’s also a heaping helping of explanations about “blessings”, which are essentially the powers that people have, as well as the weak points that come with them. (Gideon, for example, cannot go past the Level 30 he was born with.) It’s interesting in regards to the ongoing story, but also tends to go on a bit too much. On the bright side, Rit is genuinely likeable. We get a large number of flashbacks showing her being a giant tsundere towards Gideon and everyone else, but now that she’s grown up and accepted her feelings, she’s quite fun and cheerful, and their romance is very sweet. Most importantly, though, are the last few pages. We learned very little about the little sister hero throughout the book except that she had something of a brother complex and was relatively emotionless. Towards the end we see the emotionlessness is a result of the many, many blessings she has, and that it has not been good for her mental health. I am definitely hoping to see more of her later on.

Overall, this does a good job trying to balance the “slow life” that its audience likely bought it for with actually having a plot and future character development. I do hope it has Red become a little less of the stock light novel hero in future books, though. But I’ll be reading more.

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