Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 8

By Hisaya Amagishi and Kei. Released in Japan as “Madougushi Dahlia wa Utsumukanai” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Osman Wong.

It’s bad enough when Dahlia deliberately invents something that will revolutionize the world (no, not like that), but it’s even worse when Dahlia does it accidentally. The theme to this book is “Dahlia invents ______ but doesn’t immediately see the commercial application for it”, and while we’ve seen that plot before it’s never been hammered home quite as much as it is here. Dahlia invents memory foam. Dahlia invents beanbag chairs. Dahlia invents better breast pads. Dahlia invents… well, no one is quite sure what it’s good for, but we’ll think of something later. It’s that last one that gets her in trouble, as “what it’s good for” is magical fodder for magical horses, meaning that expeditions need far less room for hay/etc. Dahlia and Volf both think this is really cool. Guido thinks this is really terrifying, as the nation next door who hates them has a LOT of magical horses, and would kill to have this new invention. Or, more accurately, kidnap. Dahlia needs better protection.

I pretty much summed up the bulk of the plot above, though we do get one other major arc. Dahlia goes on an expedition with Volf and company to watch them take down Giant Monster Crabs (they hit its weak point for massive damage, trust me), and while there she meets the old vice-captain of the group, now retired. Bernigi is rather grumpy at first, as he’s unsatisfied with how “soft” the unit is with all Dahlia’s new inventions. As we learn more about him we see that he’s also still grieving for his son, who had the standard “I will get into a fight with my dad and then go fight monsters and get killed and so leave everything unresolved” plot. He also has a wooden prosthesis as he lost a leg in battle, and it’s not a great one. Fortunately, it breaks in front of Dahlia, and she (for once) deliberately invents something fantastic. Oh yes, and it turns out Bernigi’s got a grandson who’s very familiar to the readers.

Fans of the Dahlia/Volf relationship will once again be pleased but also frustrated. Dahlia is told that loved ones frequently embroider designs onto a man’s undershirt to give some blessing and protection. She decides to do this for Volf, and ends up embroidering a design that is a flower (dahlia) and a wolf (Volf) intertwined. It’s so good she ends up using it as the Emblem of her company. But she remains 100% oblivious to the meaning of this, even when told point blank. They’re pals! As for Volf, Guido tells him point blank to marry Dahlia in order to protect her from foreign infiltrators kidnapping her and forcing her to invent, and his first thought is “what else could we do?”. They’re buddies! Volf remains SLIGHTLY ahead of Dahlia in terms of self-awareness, as when Guido suggests adopting Dahlia instead, making her and Volf siblings, he feels vaguely uncomfortable but is not sure why. They’re so cute. I want to strangle them.

The 9th volume just came out in Japan (with a new artist), so we should see that soon. I’m 100% sure it won’t end with Dahlia and Volf hooking up, though,. The slowest of slow burns.

Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 7

By Hisaya Amagishi and Kei. Released in Japan as “Madougushi Dahlia wa Utsumukanai” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Osman Wong.

One thing I haven’t really talked about with Dahlia in Bloom is a fact that it shares with a lot of more male-oriented isekai/reincarnation titles, which is polygamy. It’s made clear here that a lot of nobles have multiple wives (it does not go the other way round, btw), and that commoners can also do this, but most don’t. And this is important because Dahlia and Volf are still denying that they have anything but friendship between each other, which makes Dahlia very vulnerable, not only to single men, but to married men who see her as a hot commodity and can afford a second wife. The trouble is that Dahlia is a one-man woman, and she wants her partner to be a one-woman man. Plus, y’know, Dahlia’s usual self-deprecation. Things are going to have to come to a head soon, because as this volume shows, Dahlia’s inventions are revolutionizing everything, be it military-grade weaponry or a kotatsu.

There are basically two subplots in this book. The first involves Dahlia and Volf’s quest for the perfect magic sword, which in this case ends up being two swords connected by a wire. When showing them off to his fellow knights, Volf doesn’t want to make Dahlia more popular than she is, so says it came from a weapons company started by his brother. Sadly, the weapon proves SO popular that everyone then goes to his brother to talk about it. The other subplot is Dahlia making a kotatsu, which immediately becomes the biggest thing since sliced bread. Everyone wants one, they’re (relatively) easy to make, and the lead to “degeneracy” as no one wants to come out from under them after they first try it. Even the royal family are buying it. Which, again, reminds you that Dahlia has come up with at least 7-8 history-changing inventions during this series, and is still single. Please be careful, Dahlia.

This volume has a much larger role for Dahlia’s friend Lucia, probably because Lucia’s spinoff series, Lucia and the Loom (also licensed by J-Novel Club recently) debuted between books 6 and 7. Lucia is basically what Dahlia would be if she had confidence, and she’s a lot of fun. She too is single, and she too is vulnerable to getting marriage proposals, this time from Forto, whose wife shows up asking if Lucia will become Forto’s second wife. The first wife is basically pure nobility, which does not help, but also, like Dahlia, Lucia wants to marry for love, to one man, who will also only have one partner. That last one is the definite sticking point in this series, as there’s a lot of guys who are “not exclusive”. Dahlia’s solution is obvious – just hit her and Volf in the head over and over till they get it – but I’m not sure what will be happening with Lucia down the road, especially if her star is hitched to Dahlia’s.

There’s only one more volume to go till we’re caught up with Japan, so folks waiting for the payoff may have to wait even longer. Till then, this is fine.

Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 6

By Hisaya Amagishi and Kei. Released in Japan as “Madougushi Dahlia wa Utsumukanai” by MF Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Osman Wong.

There’s a lot going on in this volume of Dahlia in Bloom, but the most important part involves a conversation that really should have happened ages ago. This series began with Dahlia’s fiance, Tobias, being SUCH trash that he gained an almost memetic reputation as a trash man, and several volumes in we’re still piling on the humiliation for him, his family, and his company. But there’s also a backstory here. One of Tobias and Dahlia growing up together and knowing exactly how the other works. One of their marriage being one of convenience rather than romance, something that even Dahlia’s father is aware of. And it also helps show exactly why Tobias did what he did, and so rapidly: he’s never remotely felt romantic love before, and certainly not with Dahlia. It was a bolt from the blue. As such, when a crisis unfolds that requires Dahlia and Tobias to work together again, they’re finally able to sit down and have a conversation about what happened, and begin to move past it.

The crisis takes up the first half of the book. What was thought to be an illness turns out to be that her friend Irma is pregnant. Unfortunately, this is one of those worlds where magic is biased against the lower classes, and Irma’s husband turns out to be a noble’s illegitimate child, so he has far more magic than she does. As such, the pregnancy might kill her. To solve this, there’s a complex enchantment of a bracelet that needs to be done, and when Oswald and Dahlia find their magic is not compatible enough, they’re forced to turn to Tobias. Who, to be fair, helps immediately, and is quite chastened the entire time. We also see Dahlia’s influence and creativity inspiring others, either to expand on her inventions or expanding into their own companies. And, rest assured, food is eaten and alcohol is consumed.

I will admit, one thing in this book really surprised me, and that was the presence of Emilia in it. Emilia was not really a character so much as a macguffin, there to jump start the plot, and I have to admit that I was expecting, after Tobias was disgraced and everyone in town started to shun him, that she’d have simply vanished. But it actually works better for the book that she and Tobias really ARE in love, and that she’s still with him even after all that’s happened. And even though the two are very bad at talking with each other – she’s mostly convinced herself that if Dahlia tried to win Tobias back from her, it wouldn’t take much. I still don’t like either character, but I respect their poor choices. I also want to note that I hate the “nobles have stronger magic” system. We also see it in Bookworm, and I hate it there too. It’s an excuse to keep the common folk where they are. Dahlia’s inventions help a bit, but she has a ways to go before she’s Princess Anisphia.

Dahlia in Bloom continues to be one of the best J-Novel Heart titles, even if those waiting for the romance to happen must be groaning at another volume where neither party get any closer to admitting their feelings.