I Shall Survive Using Potions!, Vol. 9

By FUNA and Sukima. Released in Japan as “Potion-danomi de Ikinobimasu!” by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hiroya Watanabe.

Again, I am trying to figure out the ideal audience for this series. First and foremost, it needs to be someone who is there for overpowered girls doing whatever the hell they want however the hell they want it, with money and powers being no problem. This is the core of all three FUNA light novel series. Secondly, you need to be really tolerant of underaged girls being cute. There’s no real fanservice in these books (which there has been in MMAA), mostly as the art style is so cartooney and abstract, but but it’s pretty clear we’re meant to go “aaaaaw, cute girls” for 200 pages. And, of course, the core audience has to enjoy seeing men get completely humiliated. This is especially true of Potions, where entire arcs consist of nothing but “completely destroy that guy who did me wrong until he cries and passes out”. If you are all three of these… well, you should also be reading Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, but yes, Potion Girl is right up your alley.

We pick up where we left off, with KKR trying to organize the downfall of that one scummy merchant guy. Which they proceed to do, and then they go after someone else who Kyoko hired to manage her store while she was away but who turned out to be sneaking a peek at her stock to try to replicate it. And then they go after the guy who hired the guy to do that. And then they go after the guy who employs THAT guy. It is a TAD ridiculous. More annoyingly, at least for the KR part of KKR, Kaoru disguises herself as the new girl she’s trying to make into a holy saint, does ludicrously impossible things while saying “I’m not suspicious”, and then assumes no one will say anything. This is said to be because of her soft nature, and fair (she was upset an innocent guard had his tendons cut), but overkill. Which, admittedly, is what the plot of this book is.

Pardon me if I get back onto a high horse I have gotten on before, but the orphans in this book drive me ding dong up the wall. It’s possible that they’re meant to be a parody of this trope – Potion Girl is so bonkers most of the time it’s hard to tell what it wants us to take vaguely seriously – But man, I hate the way this series, and FUNA’s other series, and, yes, Kuma Bear, treat orphans as “yay, child workforce!”. The implication is that with wages and benefits, they’re much better off than they were before. But the side story here shows the kids genuinely traumatized by the very idea of not working every hour of every day for their “savior”, and going so far as to frame work activities as “playtime” to slip through a loophole in Kaoru’s rules. This is meant to be amusing, but all I could think is: these kids need a therapist.

No FUNA series goes quite as hard as Potion Girl in terms of making you grab your head and shake back and forth. Recommended for those who know.

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