I Shall Survive Using Potions!, Vol. 5

By FUNA and Sukima. Released in Japan as “Potion-danomi de Ikinobimasu!” by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hiroya Watanabe.

The series that makes me eat my words on a regular basis is back, and it continues to be the most FUNA series out there. Make My Abilities Average! may be more popular and have the anime, but this is straight no chaser stuff, with Kaoru, perhaps hearing me say last time that she was getting more normal, breaking out the personality traits that caused the 2nd volume to scare me so much. As with other works by the author, the attitude extends to every other woman she’s met (men are immune, with Emile being an exception), as Francette is eager to use her sword to remove limbs at the slightest excuse, Emile and Belle are perfectly trained freedom fighters, and even Mariel, the victim in the last book whose family were all killed off by an evil guy, we now find has the combination of being the head of the family, a friend of the Goddess, and the ability to talk to animals still being around has making her terrifying. Kaoru is not alone.

Theoretically Kaoru is still looking for a husband, though again the fact that she perpetually looks like a twelve-year-old is pretty much a nail in the coffin that she chooses to ignore. In reality, she’s settled in at this coastal city, happily selling her knick-knacks. Sadly, the world has caught up to her, as folks from her previous countries are investigating her shop to see if she is the Angel o the Goddess after all, and disguises and denial can only confuse them for so long. Then Layette decides, and not without cause, that she’s become too spoiled, and wants to go out without Kaoru sometimes. While this starts out as an amusing story showing off the overprotectiveness of everyone around her, it goes south fast when more goons arrive to kidnap Layette, and they’re not above nearly killing her orphan friends to do so. Honestly, after this, helping Mariel avoid getting married is a relaxing jaunt by comparison.

As with the second book, the 5th book revolves around a scene that makes you rear back a bit, layette’s attempted kidnapping. She had befriended several orphan kids earlier when exerting her independence (which I suspect is now gone, sadly) unleashes the fury of both Francette and Kaoru, Francette in particular as she was briefly away from guard duty using the necessary when this happened and curses her bodily functions. Kaoru is perfectly happy to torture bandits and hired goons to get the answers she needs, to the point where Francette cuts their arms off and Kaoru says she can reattach them… if they cough up info. It’s seriously terrifying, and reminds you what a loose cannon she is compared to Mile or Mitsuha. The latter half of the book ties all these plots together, as Kaoru discovers that those behind the kidnapping are the priests from the religious country she helped destroy. So she and her gang are headed back to the place where she began, this time hopefully with fewer cure-all medicines.

Make no mistake about it, this is still primarily funny. Indeed, it’s the humor that makes the rage and fury all the more jarring. It’s also hinted that Mariel, who regards Kaoru more as a god than as an angel, is perfectly happy to solve Kaoru’s relationship issues in yuri ways, though I doubt the book is going that way – FUNA tends to avoid romance in general. If you can stomach a lot of torture of bad guys, Potion Girl is still your go to source for the darker side of the overpowered little girl story.

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