The Ideal Sponger Life, Vol. 3

By Tsunehiko Watanabe and Jyuu Ayakura. Released in Japan as “Risou no Himo Seikatsu” by Hero Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by MPT.

Ideal Sponger Life continues to do what it does best: spend most of its time making that title a lie. Indeed, Zenjirou straight up admits it here. While he wanted to have a lazy, indolent life to recover from his Japanese work burnout, after a few months the mental turmoil is fixed and… he wants to do things! Fortunately, there are things to do. He can install air conditioners, he can help to better the water wheel, and he can continue to fend off attempts to try to bride, seduce, or flat out trick him into bad ideas. That said, one thing he can’t do is talk to his son – the way languages and magic intertwine in this world, we want to make sure the baby grows up knowing the native tongue, not a mishmash of that and Japanese. This is, believe it or not, more interesting than it sounds. (It would have to be.) And for those of you who are still bored, I have good news: RAPTOR ATTACKS.

As you can see, much like Strike the Blood, the cover art is here to remind you who the heroine is and to ensure there are no other contenders. That said, for once the concubine thing is not a focus, as they have bigger things to worry about. They’re not getting salt from their major supplier, and a battalion is sent to figure out why. They quickly find it’s raptors. A ridiculous amount, with apparently a larger, more intelligent leader at the helm. Meanwhile, Aura is getting back into the swing of things after her pregnancy, seeing about getting her blacksmiths to make glass, her engineers to build the aforementioned water wheels, and lots of political dealings, including deciding who should lead the battalion to investigate the missing salt. And then there’s the neighboring country’s royal family coming to visit… something that is almost unheard of.

The royal family (however remote their succession is) will have to wait till next time, but that still gives us a lot to do. Aura’s chief general is still really hungry for power, and therefore the excuse of fighting off a bunch of raptors is welcome (though THAT may also have to wait till next time… this is not a book to read if you love action sequences, brief raptor attacks aside). No, it’s just deal making and world building, as far as the eye can see. Even those who were reading for the horny parts will be disappointed (again): Aura has given birth and recovered, but Zenjirou didn’t bring condoms with him from Japan, and she doesn’t want to get pregnant immediately after her first, so lovemaking is off the menu for now. Oh yes, and as with the previous book, there is an extended epilogue featuring Zenjirou’s wacky maid trio, and unfortunately, as with previous volumes, the author thinks it’s a lot funner than it really is.

So sponging is off the menu, but we do have lots of other things going on, and the next book should introduce some new supporting cast. In the meantime, this is a good read if you enjoy titles like Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter or other series that promise you a gimmick and then give you sensible good writing instead.

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