Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 15

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.

As many have noticed by now, this author really, really loves playing around in isekai tropes and cliches, and the more cliched the better – in fact, it comes as a surprise in this series when it ISN’T the cliche. When they’re investigating a local noble, you can guarantee that he is going to be a scummy noble who treats those he’s responsible for like crap, because scummy nobles are just what isekais do. (This is not unique to FUNA – Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear has similar ideas, though subverts them more often.) It doesn’t help that isekai’d Mile tends to regard this world as a giant bucket list full of things she wants to do, and most of this volume happens because she’s desperate to find a village of beastmen… mostly so that she can pet the little beastgirls. Let’s face it, FUNA is also not afraid to show that Mile can be creepy a lot of the time.

Mile and company start off by having a meeting with the Elder Dragons, which ends up being short on information but long on nail art. We then get the bulk of the book, as Mile really, really wants to find a beastman village, despite the fact that most beastmen are NOT like Lenny but are actually very wary of humans… and we see why when they get to the village, only to find that some of the village’s children have been kidnapped! Unfortunately, this is not a mission the Crimson Vow an take on officially… fortunately, Mile can get in touch with the Crimson Blood, who coincidentally look, act, and are the same as the Crimson Vow! But they’re not on the clock. Now it’s up to our heroines to investigate the kidnappings, which are genuinely happening, but also where each kidnapped girl ended up, which… does not go quite as expected.

So word of warning here, if you’re the sort who avoids slavery in your isekai books… well, first of all, you must read very few isekai books, but secondly, this book delves deeply into the nitty gritty of slavery in this world. It’s illegal officially, except in the “I am broke and enslave myself to pay off my debts” way, but unofficially it’s definitely around. Two of the three kidnapped girls are indeed either being worked to death for no money or imprisoned and in the process of being sold abroad. Mile and the others have no issues destroying the ones responsible. Sometimes, though, kidnapping can actually be a way out. When you’re a girl in a backwater village expected to marry a guy from the same village, which is a very misogynist one… honestly, getting taken in by the local evil noble ends up sounding like a pretty good deal. Especially if the noble, like Mile, has a taste for the fluff. Make My Abilities Average has always had an undercurrent of “sexism is everywhere, and it’s terrible”, and we even see it in a slavery plotline here.

The book ends with the Crimson Vow off to check the last item on Mile’s list… visiting a demon village. Will this advance the plot? Are we getting towards the end of the series? Who knows? But pretty good stuff.

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