The Ideal Sponger Life, Vol. 9

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.

For the most part, one of the big reasons that Zenjirou has been so successful in the political nightmare that is his new world is that he doesn’t have the ingrained reactions that anyone brought up there would. He tends to react like a Japanese person from Earth would. (I’d say “normal”, but honestly, Zenjirou’s not all that normal even to begin with.) This serves him well for a lot of this book, as attempting to negotiate with him is like hitting a brick wall much of the time because his body language and verbal questioning are so far off the range from everyone else. Unfortunately this can also be a negative, as Aura quickly points out at the end of the book,. Threatening Zenjirou’s son, even mildly as a political feint, earns his enmity, and a canny person will realize that this is a very valuable button to press. Fortunately, there’s more good than bad here, as Zenjirou accidentally on purpose gets involved in a throne war in the Twin Kingdoms.

Zenjirou is in the Twin Kingdoms to try to negotiate for a healer to be present during the birth of his second child. Unfortunately for him, while greeting him, King Bruno drops the bomb that he’s planning to abdicate in favor of his successor. The obvious choice is the eldest son, who is 49 years old but has basically trained for this. The dark horse is his youngest son, who is in his thirties and seems to be very upset about the abdication. But is that really what’s going on? And how on Earth does this tie in with Prince Francesco, who just wants to sit around and dabble in magic tools his entire life but who ends up being seen as the second coming by some groups? And, perhaps most important of all, how can Zenjirou get the latest in his succession of love interests off the cover art?

As always, the title and premise are a lie. There’s no harem seeking, and certainly no sponging here. Indeed, Lucretia strikes out with Zenjirou over and over until the middle of the book, when it becomes clear he’s not looking for a lover but a political helpmate – something that, frankly, she’s much better at doing. As for the Twin Kingdoms themselves, the plotline we get here is well thought out and handled, although I thought that Zenjirou hearing about a certain monster and immediately making a logical leap to a breathtaking new magical tool was perhaps one OP move too many, in a series when all the OP moves are intellect-based rather than fighting-based. Oh well, I should probably consider myself lucky he doesn’t sample any of the young hot single women who all essentially proposition him in this book, though they all have their own agendas.

So yes, no sex in this book, but as noted before, in this book the politics IS sex. And we still haven’t left the twin kingdoms, as there’s the other half to negotiate with. We’ll see that next time.

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