From Old Country Bumpkin to Master Swordsman: My Hotshot Disciples Are All Grown Up Now, and They Won’t Leave Me Alone, Vol. 3

By Shigeru Sagazaki and Tetsuhiro Nabeshima. Released in Japan as “Katainaka no Ossan, Kensei ni Naru: Tada no Inaka no Kenjutsu Shihan Datta noni, Taisei Shita Deshitachi ga Ore o Hōttekurenai Ken” by SQEX Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

This series leans a little lighter on it than some others I can think of, but it has to be said that this is a harem series that adds new girls every volume. As such, sometimes it feels like the new character acts the way she does not because of their backstory or because of how they’ll fit into the overall story, but because of which “anime girl stereotype” boxes they tick. We have the blond, quick-to-jealousy but cool knight commander, the “I am Yotsuba Nakano with the serial numbers filed off” strong knight, the fiery redhead adventurer, the cool magic users, the adopted daughter, and the “I look ten but I’m really a hundred years old” character, who in this particular case is not a vampire but a mage. And now we have the “ara ara” girl, and I admit I like that type, but I feel she really doesn’t fit her character arc.

Beryl is recovering from the events of the second book, doing things like having a duel with Allusia (which he wins, though he has to cheat) and enrolling Mui in the local magic academy (and meeting her teacher, who, like most other women in this series, seems to fall for Beryl at first sight). That said, there’s trouble on the horizon. The prince of Sphenedyardvania is visiting, a yearly tradition, and will be touring the city with Liberis’ third princess, and Allusia – and, of course, Beryl – are being asked to guard them. And it’s a good thing, too, as assassins are out to ruin things. Fortunately, they have help in the form of guards from Sphenedyardvania, including Rose, who is – you guessed it – another old student of Beryl’s with a crush on him.

A bit of a spoiler for the end of this book, but only a bit, as the identity of the “traitor” is pretty obvious from the get go. Given the sheer number of former students meeting up with Beryl in this series, it was inevitable that one of them would turn out to be an antagonist. That said, we’re not reading the sort of series that would genuinely have a woman Beryl taught using her talents for evil, so of course we get a backstory to show that this is being forced on her and it’s really desperate idealism rather than a desire for power or chaos. I suppose the fact that Rose is an “ara ara” personality ties in with her attachment to children, as they tend to be the motherly sort – she has a long side braid, and does nearly die, so the stereotype fits, I guess. It just feels odd to me. That said, the main draw of this harem series is that I couldn’t care less about the harem, and I think the author agrees with me. The politics is proving more interesting, along with “will Beryl ever accept praise?”.

This continues to be “mid”, but it’s a very pleasant mid, and I think fans of harems who don’t mind an “old dude” as the lead will enjoy it, even with its cliches.

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