The Mythical Hero’s Otherworld Chronicles, Vol. 3

By Tatematsuri and Ruria Miyuki. Released in Japan as “Shinwa Densetsu no Eiyū Isekai Tan” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by James Whittaker.

This is likely my final review of this series, but I want to assure everyone that it’s not for the usual reasons of “oh hey, this just became intolerably bad”. It’s more that this has simply not become a story I personally wish to read. I can see why others would want to read it, though. It’s very teenage boy. There’s a kickass guy with an eyepatch, taking out swathes of enemies by himself, with multiple girls as love interests, a couple of whom actively try to seduce him whenever they get the chance. It is, in other words, a light novel. The one drawback, and the reason I’m moving on, is that it’s so goddamn serious 90% of the time, I had picked this up as it had a lot of similarities to Altina the Sword Princess, which is on indefinite hiatus forever, but even Altina, which had some dark moments, was fairly lighthearted. This is just too straightforward. There’s no subversion, no meta, no in jokes. It’s a cool guy being cool.

After the events of the last book, Hiro and Liz are asked to come back to the palace to get even more accolades. For Liz this means command of an army, which goes out to quell someone or other. For Hiro is means a new job… a somewhat suspicious job. He’s asked to head north to Lebering, the kingdom to the north of the Empire. Hiro almost immediately finds himself caught up in a throne war while there, and needs to try to escape, save the crown princess who appears to be the one member of the royal family who is not dead or bloodthirsty, and try to quell a rebellion WITHOUT asking for help from the Empire – who would likely simply annex the kingdom and make it part of its own. Can Hiro pull all this off and still find time to pose dramatically?

There’s not a total lack of humor. Liz is by her very nature a fun character, even if she’s written as a bit too naive, and Rosa toes the line of being “the annoying sexy one” without ever actually going over it. The battle scenes are well-written, even if sometimes they go a bit too far into “we’ll write a lot of rape scenes offscreen to show that these are the EVIL soldiers”. The main issue is Hiro, who remains steadfastly uncompelling, despite being isekai’d from Japan *and* the old warrior Mars now come back to life. There are hints that he might get more interesting in future books, but the hints are that he might go down a darker, more amoral path, which are not hints I like. Even the big reveal at the end, which should have been more surprising, suffered because it was filtered through Hiro’s “of course, I knew all along” boringness.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys those fanfics that rewrite Naruto or My Hero Academia with the hero being “darker and more badass”, this is a great book for you. But I just want something a bit *less* straightforward these days.

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