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.

Dahlia in Bloom: Crafting a Fresh Start with Magical Tools, Vol. 5

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.

The fact that I still greatly enjoy this series despite it moving at a pace that would make a snail speed past it is testament to the good writing and strong characterization of the two leads. Last time I said that I didn’t feel Dahlia was quite mature enough to enter into a relationship, and that’s still true, but it has to be said that the exact same thing can be said about Volf. Plus, let’s face it, they’re essentially already married in how they act around each other every day. It just lacks the acknowledgement of attraction and desire. But boy, we’d really like to see that attraction and desire, huh? Volf is one slight step ahead of Dahlia in that he occasionally can admit his feelings (see his reaction when he hears Oswald has recommended Dahlia get a “large black-haired dog” to guard her at night. (Dahlia, of course, does not pick up on this at all, and starts asking about actual dogs.) Slow burn isn’t the word. Slow heating pad.

It’s a new volume, so we must be getting a new person who’s challenging Dahlia to verify that she’s not after Volf’s status or wealth and that she really is who she says she is. This time it’s Volf’s brother Guido, who tries to bribe Dahlia with a pile of cash, which works about as well as you’d expect. After this misunderstanding is cleared up (and Volf, who arrived late, expresses his displeasure at the whole thing), she bonds with Guido pretty quickly, as well as his bodyguard Jonas. She’s also becoming fast friends with her mentor Oswald, who is teaching her the proper, safe way to make tools (as opposed to the various not safe things she’s been doing to date), and giving her a protection bracelet made from precious materials. This triggers Volf’s jealousy… not that he’ll admit it. And she doesn’t notice it anyway.

Probably the most interesting part of the book is when Dahlia is convinced to actually outsource things so that she’ll have time to come up with new ideas. The problem with this is that the best company to outsource to is Orlando & Co., home of her ex. It is rather fitting how the company has fallen on hard times. At times you might think it’s a bit too much, and if you do I urge you to go back and read the first volume and see what Tobias did. Dahlia, of course, goes nowhere near the place, which is just as well, as she might be tempted to be too nice – indeed, she’s being too nice just subcontracting to them at all. Ivano’s scene with Ireneo is dark and chilling, both for his attitude towards the company and also for his ability to see that Tobias’ mother (who blames herself for everything that happens) is suicidal, and pauses things to make Ireneo stop her. This is a long way from “Dahlia and Volf drink and drink and drink some more”.

That said, rest assured we have that as well. (Also, have we even seen Tobias’ wife since she arrived to be the other woman? I will be 100% unsurprised if she did not bail as soon as the world turned against him.) Dahlia in Bloom remains a top-tier Heart title.