Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest, Vol. 11

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

It’s been over a year since I reviewed the 10th volume of Arifureta. In between that time we’ve had two volumes of Arifureta Zero, as well as a volume of short stories, and we also had the anime come to an end and remind us that some stories really work best when you can’t SEE all the fanservice. That said, all good things must come to an end, and while this is not the final volume of the series, it certainly feels like Vol. 12 is going to be. We get all the setup for the final battle here. Yes, that does mean a “darkest before the dawn” start to the book, and Yue fans will likely not be happy that she ends up possessed by the evil God and therefore not in most of the book, but after that it’s basically a curtain call for anyone who’s ever been relevant in this series and also several people who haven’t – like most of the rest of the students.

So yes, Hajime and company are told by the bad guys to come meet the evil God and his evil assistant, and they’ve taken the students hostage (which doesn’t work) as well as Remia and Myu (which does). After a brief “it’s OK, I’m really a good guy” shtick that fools almost no one, we get reminded why Ehit is so powerful, and they basically mops the floor with everyone, including Hajime, and takes Yue’s body for their own. They also say that in three days, they’ll destroy the world and then move on to destroy Earth. Fortunately, that means they have three days, so the rest of the book consists of preparing to fight back, heartwarming scenes with Hajime and his loved ones (Kaori and Tio get “I love you” scenes, and Aiko and Liliana are clearly upgraded to “will be added to the group in the near future”), and wacky fanservice and comedy, because likely there won’t be much time for that in the final book.

Despite bringing back almost everyone from previous books, the writing glides right through it, assuming (correctly) we won’t remember three-quarters of everyone here. There are also some students, who haven’t gotten anything to do in nearly six books, who get to briefly shine in the spotlight, which is nice to see. Certainly nicer than seeing Kouki – again – side with the villains. Now, much of this is Eri mind-controlling him, but I’m sorry, I just cannot work up any sympathy for him by now. I can’t see him dying, particularly given there’s three different people still trying to snap him out of it, but wow, I absolutely do not care if they succeed or not. And Tio gets another good character building book, with a side story of her own, and it shows off the super-powerful lonely princess equally with the anal pleasure-obsessed pervert.

The novels are still quite popular, and I suspect once the main series is finished the “After Story”, which is still being written to this day on the web, will be put out officially in Japan. That said, for the moment, this is the big lead up to the finale next book, and contains most of the good things about the series, as well as a few of the bad. Fans should enjoy it.

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