Loner Life in Another World, Vol. 9

By Shoji Goji and Saku Enomaru. Released in Japan as “Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Eric Margolis. Adapted by Lorin Christie.

Good news, we’re back to a normal page count for Loner Life. Which is still over 400 pages, but at least it doesn’t break the 500-page barrier like last time. As for the content, honestly, a lot of this is set up for a battle we haven’t gotten to yet. It’s clear that we will eventually be fighting the Evil Church, and the way that Haruka is stressing about it, in his own bananas way, suggests that he’s sure they have a secret weapon similar to Nefertiri. As such, everyone in the cast takes turns attempting to go and fight the battle, while keeping the others safe. Haruka wants to go alone. The girls all want to go. Angelica and Nefertiri want to protect Haruka. It’s a vicious circle of self-loathing and love. I appreciated Merielle lecturing Haruka towards the end of this book, telling him that women are stronger than he thinks, and eventually they are going to have to (as Marielle has) kill people. Stubborn Haruka still wants to avoid this.

On the cover is Arianna, the cleric who arrived at the end of the last book. She’s from an offshoot of the Church that isn’t evil, and has come to the group to ask for help. If you look at the “inner cover” all these volumes have, you’ll see her looking crazed and holding a sword, but I think that’s a deliberate deception – she’s not secretly a bad guy, she’s just being put through Haruka’s Training from Hell (the funniest part of the book, as he grabs her and the other folks in her party and literally swings them like swords (they are also holding swords) until they level up enough). And then the Church holds the royal family hostage, so something has to be done. And that something is… MORE leveling up, as Haruka is still trying to learn how to fight normally, and the girls are all still one step behind when it comes to being strong enough to go fight a major enemy on their own.

As with previous volumes in this series, it requires the reader to have a lot of recall about all the books books and who all the characters are, even when you haven’t seen them in a while. I appreciated the plot twist with the merchants (and it helps to set up future arcs), but I could have used a quick reminder about where we were with the elves, as I forgot they came back with Haruka and everyone else. I did really enjoy one moment near the end as Haruka struggles because his body is moving faster than his brain, where he appreciates how, unlike himself (who has to level up the weird way) or the nerds (who are gamers and think like gamers) and meatheads (who are strong enough to simply punch things till they win), the girls are having to deal every day with leveling up and their body being slightly different, having to learn how to move slightly differently, not being able to trust footwork… he really does see how they’re struggling and improving vastly. Even if he won’t say it to their face.

I left out all the sex stuff, but be assured it’s still there, and this book drips with horniness. As always, though, the interest lies in the other stuff. Next time, the church battle? Nope, judging by the cover, Beastmen are next.

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