Arifureta Zero, Vol. 6

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

My biggest fear with this 422-page final volume was that it would be one long fight scene, and thankfully that is not the case, though the first third of the book is one long fight scene. My second fear was that it would be unrelentingly grim, and while it is grim, with lots and lots of deaths of people we care about, it’s not unrelenting, and there are moments of silliness and humor in the middle of the book. Heck, even some of the main characters survive, because I’d forgotten the main series talks about their descendants. But for the most part this book is “Miledi tries her hardest but fails”, as we knew it would be – it’s a prequel, after all. It also helps to set up the final volume of the main series, coming soon I hope, which will likely feature her showing up to save the day. At least I hope she does, because the day is certainly not saved here.

The first chunk of the book, as I said, is one big fight, and goes fairly well for our heroes right up until the very end, when they’re forced to retreat. They then take the time to try and gather a few more allies – the dragons are now ready to help them, and even the vampires are willing to pitch in… that is, after we discover their long-lost royal daughter (who is closer than you’d think) and resolve the issue of the missing heir to the throne. We also discover that you can access the most powerful magic ever if you get really, really drunk. Unfortunately, Ehit has finally had enough, and decides to force the hand of Miledi by brainwashing everyone who is not a Liberator to kill all their allies. This takes up most of the rest of the book.

As always with Arifureta, this book had a lot of things I enjoyed and some things I could really do without. The main issue with the last third of the book is that this cast is simply too damn large, especially with the books coming out every year or so, and it’s hard to get sad when a character who you can’t really remember well dies. I needed a guide at the start. Also, Naiz marrying one of his emotional support 8-year-olds once she came of age is not something I wanted at all. On the bright side, Miledi and Oscar are handled perfectly, and her execution and subsequent golemification are also done well. There’s even some good horror here, as one of the few bad guys who’s likeable has her soul destroyed so that the big bad can take over her body.

So yeah, not everyone dies, but the majority of the cast die, and Ehit still rules. It’s gonna be up to Hajime and company to fix things. In the meantime, this was a fun yet annoying prequel, just like its heroine.

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