Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 5

By Hisaya Amagishi and Kei. Released in Japan as “Madougushi Dahlia wa Utsumukanai” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Osman Wong.

The fact that I still greatly enjoy this series despite it moving at a pace that would make a snail speed past it is testament to the good writing and strong characterization of the two leads. Last time I said that I didn’t feel Dahlia was quite mature enough to enter into a relationship, and that’s still true, but it has to be said that the exact same thing can be said about Volf. Plus, let’s face it, they’re essentially already married in how they act around each other every day. It just lacks the acknowledgement of attraction and desire. But boy, we’d really like to see that attraction and desire, huh? Volf is one slight step ahead of Dahlia in that he occasionally can admit his feelings (see his reaction when he hears Oswald has recommended Dahlia get a “large black-haired dog” to guard her at night. (Dahlia, of course, does not pick up on this at all, and starts asking about actual dogs.) Slow burn isn’t the word. Slow heating pad.

It’s a new volume, so we must be getting a new person who’s challenging Dahlia to verify that she’s not after Volf’s status or wealth and that she really is who she says she is. This time it’s Volf’s brother Guido, who tries to bribe Dahlia with a pile of cash, which works about as well as you’d expect. After this misunderstanding is cleared up (and Volf, who arrived late, expresses his displeasure at the whole thing), she bonds with Guido pretty quickly, as well as his bodyguard Jonas. She’s also becoming fast friends with her mentor Oswald, who is teaching her the proper, safe way to make tools (as opposed to the various not safe things she’s been doing to date), and giving her a protection bracelet made from precious materials. This triggers Volf’s jealousy… not that he’ll admit it. And she doesn’t notice it anyway.

Probably the most interesting part of the book is when Dahlia is convinced to actually outsource things so that she’ll have time to come up with new ideas. The problem with this is that the best company to outsource to is Orlando & Co., home of her ex. It is rather fitting how the company has fallen on hard times. At times you might think it’s a bit too much, and if you do I urge you to go back and read the first volume and see what Tobias did. Dahlia, of course, goes nowhere near the place, which is just as well, as she might be tempted to be too nice – indeed, she’s being too nice just subcontracting to them at all. Ivano’s scene with Ireneo is dark and chilling, both for his attitude towards the company and also for his ability to see that Tobias’ mother (who blames herself for everything that happens) is suicidal, and pauses things to make Ireneo stop her. This is a long way from “Dahlia and Volf drink and drink and drink some more”.

That said, rest assured we have that as well. (Also, have we even seen Tobias’ wife since she arrived to be the other woman? I will be 100% unsurprised if she did not bail as soon as the world turned against him.) Dahlia in Bloom remains a top-tier Heart title.

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