Fake Saint of the Year: You Wanted the Perfect Saint? Too Bad!, Vol. 4

By kabedondaikou and Yunohito. Released in Japan as “Risō no Seijo? Zannen, Nise Seijo Deshita! Kuso of the Year to Yobareta Akuyaku ni Tensei Shitanda ga” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Rymane Tsouria.

It has gotten to the point where it’s rare that we get a modern light novel that is NOT based on a pre-existing web novel in some way, shape or form. Which makes sense – the light novel is still booming in Japan, and it’s much easier to take an author who’s gotten to the top of the rankings on Narou and edit their work into something for the mainstream than to rely on things like competitions and the like. And there’s nothing wrong with the end of this series. Fake Saint of the Year ends with this volume, and it’s a perfectly decent ending that makes thematic sense, gives a hint of romance for those who want to snatch at it while heavily implying it’s not happening, etc. It ticks the boxes. It’s just… the book ends at page 115, but the Afterword is not until page 278. That’s right. Get ready for Side Story Hell.

After dying at the end of the last volume, Ellize had expected that everyone would move on with their lives and enjoy the happily ever after. There are just two problems with that. First of all, everyone is so utterly devastated by her death that they’re in abject misery, and one or two have tried to kill themselves to “join” her. Meanwhile, guess what’s not quite as dead as expected? Well, all right, Ellize did foresee this, but she also thought that everyone would be able to take care of the remnants of the witch as they’d be on the top of their game. Instead, an entity that feels on negative feelings is facing off against grieving shells of what they used to be. Ellize sees this because, rather than going to the afterlife, she ended up back in the apartment of a dying Fudou Nito, who has to help Ellize come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a game, and that she is, in fact loved.

As said, the end of the book itself is fine. I thought it wrapped everything up nicely, had a couple sacrifices that made sense, and didn’t make Ellize wander too far out of her “I am a piece of shit” characterization beyond real character development. Unfortunately, we then get two lengthy side stories. The first has Ellize, post-ending, traveling to an alternate world… the one of the actual game, the one where Eterna dies. It’s the ending she always wished she could fix, which is why she made all those changes in her own timeline. Now she gets the chance to fix it. It’s like reading someone tagging AO3, only in real life. In the second story, Ellize discovers a rift that leads to modern-day Japan, and does eventually close it as it’s dangerous… but not before she goes back there, eats delicious food, buys modern bread so she can make French Toast back home, and meets up once more with Yamoto Tamaki… while also creating complete chaos, as she’s walking around looking like the most gorgeous woman in the world, and also a very recognizable video game icon. This was even more pointless than the previous story.

So yeah, I get that you can’t just release a book that’s Slayers-length these days, but sometimes side stories aren’t really needed, right? Overall, despite my issues with Ellize’s narrative voice and self-loathing (which ends up saving the day, to be fair), this was an OK villainess series.

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