Loner Life in Another World, Vol. 3

By Shoji Goji and Saku Enomaru. Released in Japan as “Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Eric Margolis. Adapted by Veles Svitlychny.

Increasingly reading Haruka’s narration in Loner Life is sort of like trying to solve a puzzle. Class Rep actually lays it out for us midway through the book: Haruka simply is incapable of seeing anyone’s actions except in the absolute worst way – and that includes his own. It’s especially true of him, in fact, because – with the exception of Angelica, who he has a very different kind of relationship with – he does not want to have anyone get too close to him or even like him all that much. For all that he complains about constantly getting lectured or having no money, it’s a situation he deliberately engineers himself. And I hate to break it to him, but the ship has definitely sailed with some of the girls – Class Rep, if no one else, certainly has feelings for him. But it gets to the point where even a spy sent to see what Haruka is like gets the absolute worst impression of him… at least till everything blows up.

After getting back from the Ultimate Dungeon, Angelica in tow, Haruka and his friends now have to go around trying to clear out all the other, lesser dungeons that lie around their town. Haruka’s casual, vicious approach to this makes everyone feel incredibly sorry for the monsters who just happened to be in his way. That said, he’s also casually doing things like saving the livelihoods of a dying hamlet by getting rid of the dungeon (and also giving them medicine and food, something he fails to mention in his tortured narration) or converting the general store in town into a 5-story department store with the latest fashions (also created by him, which prompts the girls to wonder when exactly he read so much about fashion). But when the “Stalker Girl”, aka spy, arrives from the noble city that financially cripples their town, it’s Haruka who sees the larger picture as to what’s going on.

It’s not quite as jaw-dropping as the speech from When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace, but Haruka’s breakdown near the end of this book is startling in how (seemingly) out of character it is, as for once he briefly breaks his facade to try to convince the girls that they’re all in serious trouble here. The corrupt lord ruling the area is not above sending soldiers to wipe them out, and he’s also certainly going to kill the spy once she gets back and delivers her report. He spent the entire time he was dungeon crawling with the spy at his absolute trashiest and worst in order that she could go back and say that he’s not worth caring about, but when this didn’t work he finally snaps and has to fix things. Class Rep and the others get it, even if Haruka doesn’t want them to – she says he and Angelica “destroy tragedies”, and that’s as good a description as any.

One last thing: yes, this is the one with the vibration magic. Between that and Haruka’s “nighttime activities” with Angelica, the light novels are 200% hornier than the manga equivalent. The manga is still probably a safer bet, but the light novels remain a fascinating but flawed experience.

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