Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 14

By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by SQEX Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.

It’s been a while since we last had the adventures of Mile and company in front of us. Most of the reason for this is that the series got a new publisher in Japan, Square Enix, which necessitated renegotiating the license for the series, which takes time. But now, a mere 16 months after the last book, we have a new volume of the series. Perhaps sensing that this was a chance to show off why the series was picked up by a larger publisher, the author has decided to get slightly more serious than usual this time around. Oh, not to worry, there’s still plenty of “Mile does OP stuff” and fourth wall breaking, it’s just that the volume as a whole seems to want to go back to the main plot of the series, the one it usually ignores for books on end. It’s going to get harder to ignore from now on, though, as there are portals opening from another world.

That said, we have another plot to get through first. The Crimson Vow are hired as escorts/bodyguards… supposedly… to take Clairia and her fellow elves back to their village. The reason turns out to be trickier than that, as they wanted the Vow to distract from what turns out to be a “get married already” meeting set up by the village. This involves a lot of inbred misogyny, and the Vow quickly take matters into their own hands. The Guild then hires them to investigate a nearby kingdom, where things are just going… slightly worse than usual. For no stated reason. Mile is the perfect person to figure out what’s really going on… robots are making portals to their world from another world and sending in stronger, smarter monsters to take out the adventurers!

The elf stuff was not as good as the rest of the book, mostly depending on “ha ha, it’s funny because elf men are lolicons” and a heaping helping of “women should stay in the village and breed more elves”. The latter, to be fair, the narrative rips apart with its bare hands, and indeed one of the main themes of the entire series has been “you don’t have to get married immediately”. The second part is more setup for the next few books, made more amusing by Mile literally sacrificing some of her nanos to a portal to another world just to get information, and their irritated response. We also see that the Crimson Vow are a mature, powerful, respected team… but only in their own lands, and when they go elsewhere, or when their intelligence is disseminated by the Crown, it still has an air of “these are stupid kids, why should we care?” to it. Mike needs to become more famous, and not just as an author.

This is a good, not great book, with the series’ usual flaws. But it also has the series’ usual strengths as well, and fans should be pleased.

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