The Invincible Shovel, Vol. 3

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.

Gotta admit, starting to get a bit annoyed with this title at times. Not all the time, mind you. When it’s at its best it’s doing what it’s done the last two volumes: have Alan solve problems immediately by using his shovel in ways that make no sense, have Catria get upset about this, and have Lithisia be silly and also somewhat scary. There is plenty of that in this book. It also uses the word ‘shovel’ 900 times, more than the previous two, and that’s not even counting the fact that the translator gave in and started using ‘scoop’ as well, which is there 120 times. But there is another element of the book, which is the ‘using shovel in a sexual way’ part, and it is, frankly, getting rather irritating, as it’s less subtle and more creepy throughout, especially in any scene involving Lithisia abusing Alice. It’s one of those times when the brain just refuses to make something funny. The phrase “Alice-juices” really does not help.

Our heroes continue to try to track down orbs from the four corners of the world. They rescue the mermaid population from an evil Hydra, go up to the sky world and meet two angels, one of whom briefly joins Catria as the sole voice of reason in the party, and try to stop demons corrupting more angels; they go to the Kingdom of Darkness and help free its people from demonic enslavement (and forced rape, something else I was not happy with), and finally they descend to hell and take on various minions, some familiar to Alice and some familiar to Alan. Throughout this Alan uses shovels to do damn near anything, but more surprisingly, so does Catria, though she’s not quite ready to admit that just yet.

Catria is probably the best part of the book, as it’s actually funny seeing her being the “voice of common sense” while, at the same time, firing off wave motion shovel blasts with her sword, which over the course of the book is slowly starting to turn into a shovel. She’s still the person with the most ethical sense here, though. That said, Lithisia may not be quite as far gone as the previous book… and, if I’m being honest, most of this one… has portrayed her. Seeing the hydra, who essentially turned evil when their love was spurned, makes her worry that if Alan leaves her she’ll to the exact same thing. There’s also the ending, where she gets in over her head when battling a God trying to possess Alice, and is forced to admit that perhaps she is NOT ready to solve every problem with a shovel like Alan can.

Honestly, I don’t see the sexual humor going away anytime soon, but I wish it would stick to ‘misunderstanding uses of the word ‘shovel’ in salacious ways’ rather than ‘Lithisia molests Alice with a shovel repeatedly’. The book is showing signs of depth – about 5% of the book, perhaps – which is enough given it’s meant to be a broad comedy. I will keep reading, though I expect I will remain a bit irritated. (Also, given the use of the shovel is frequently only implied by the text, how on Earth will they ever animate this?)

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