Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 13

By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.

At last, after missing each other for a few volumes, the Wonder Trio and the Crimson Vow finally meet each other in the latter half of this volume, which leads to the fated battle of who gets to have Mile as their bestie. The outcome of this is very much up in the air… theoretically. In-universe, certainly. In the meta sense, the outcome is very much set in stone, as we’ve been traveling with the Crimson Vow for 12 books now, and the Wonder Trio are merely beloved supporting characters and backstory for our heroine. But it’s a good thing, really, as it reminds us of the Crimson Vow’s biggest flaw, which is that the other three have gotten so used to having Mile around that they’ve forgotten to think about basic things… like food or shelter. Reina gets this, being more used to the hunter life than the others, but when it comes to the fated battle… well, it appears to be a bit one-sided.

But wait, we also have the first half of the book. There are a few cute short stories, but mostly it has three main plotlines: the resolution of the battle with the Elder Dragons that formed last volume’s cliffhanger (turns out that controlling the nanos that control reality is super useful, who knew?); Kelvin, the guy who challenged Adele at school and got creamed growing up and leading a huge battle force (that would have lost without Mile, but hey, baby steps); and the Crimson Vow coming upon a small village, whereupon they save a young girl from being kidnapped by bandits. Said girl reminds Mile a lot of her little sister from her previous life… and it doesn’t help that she had an older sister in this world who died EXACTLY the way Misato did. I was actually waiting for this to go somewhere, but it really does seem to have been a coincidence… but it allows Mile to gush a lot, and the rest of the group to beat the crap out of bandits, their favorite thing.

The battle honestly feels like a bit of an apology to the wonder Trio. I’ve always felt it sort of baffling that the first volume in this series gave Adele a supporting cast of friends… and then dumped them and had Mile gain a NEW supporting cast of friends. As such, here we see that the trio are more intelligent and adept at magic, to the point where Mile is teaching them things that she would never teach the other members of the Crimson Vow. She also, like the Little Sister from earlier in the book, assigns some nanos to watch over them… not realizing that these nanos love to do anything in order to break their cycle of boredom. Combine that with the Wonder Trio figuring out uses for Mile’s storage magic that even she hasn’t dreamed of, and they start to look truly terrifying. That said, sorry to spoil but Mile remains with the Crimson Vow.

Aside from the usual flat/large breast remarks, there wasn’t even a lot of annoying fanservice in this book. The best part was the back half, but it was solid overall, and fans should be very pleased.

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 12

By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.

I’ve often felt that my reviews are read by the Japanese authors after I write them, and they subsequently go back in time to before the next volume was out in Japan to deal with what I was talking about. Now, I can’t confirm this is 100% true, but I will admit that after admitting to the author of this series that I had forgotten the ongoing plot and worldbuilding and only read it for the cute overpowered girls doing cute overpowered things part, the author now seems to have buckled down a bit and started to pay more attention to how the antics of Mile and company are affecting not just their own kingdom but also the world as a whole. Now, don’t worry, this is not remotely a serious-minded volume or anything, and Mile is still completely ridiculous in the best FUNA way. But… there’s thoughts going into other countries’ actions here, and also what happens when you bitchslap a dragon.

After a prologue that shows us what life is like in their default inn with Lenny when they aren’t around (spoiler: not great, but at least she’s building up strong muscles), we get the plot that makes up the bulk of this book, as the Crimson Vow are asked to escort four researchers disguised as merchants to Albarn’s Empire, as there are disquieting rumors going around about what they’re up to. Given the Vow were responsible for much of their downfall, they’re not wild about it, but they do go along, also pretending to be merchants and making a mint. After managing to find the one company picnic to end up getting attacked by bandits bent on murder and kidnapping, they manage to find out why Albarn is going to war, and it’s a reason that’s a lot closer to what they’ve been doing lately… those damn ruins. And to solve this… they may need to beat up a lot more dragons.

As always, the best part of these books are the bond between the four girls, who may occasionally get jealous of each other’s powers (Mile) or large bust (Pauline) but for the most part are so close than when asked by Mile, in one of her attempts to amuse herself late at night, what they would take with them to a desert island, the answer ends up being Mile… as she can provide anything else. Reina is a bit despairing of the fact that if they ever do split up,. the others will be totally unable to work as a team, but let’s face it, they’re never going to split up as long as this series is an ongoing concern. As for the Albarn Empire, the discussion of why they always go to war, and what’s driving them to do so again, is pretty well nuanced, with the family that the Crimson Vow protect on the company picnic essentially military suppliers. A lot of the reason things are like this now is related to either Mile or her prior self, Adele. Will she take responsibility? Well, sort of, as we see with the golems. But not a whole lot.

Still the most nuanced of the three FUNA series, but that’s a matter of degree – this is still toxic to anyone who hates OP characters.

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 11

By FUNA and Itsuki Akata. Released in Japan as “Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Diana Taylor. Adapted by Maggie Cooper.

There was a point in the second story here, when they came across a scavenger that is trying to repair the machines keeping the world alive, that I realized that this was actually a plot that we had seen several volumes ago, and was meant to be quite important. MMAA does have an ongoing plot thread, but it can take many volumes to get back to it, as we’ve seen, and then it will happily wander away from it again. The book is here for fun overpowered little girls, and not much else. And you know, that’s fine too, because – sorry, nanomachines – I’m not really that invested in saving this world as a long-term plotline. And neither is Mile, who points out – possibly incorrectly – that she’ll be dead before it happens so doesn’t care. (I get the sense, honestly, that Mile may end up living forever.) I want to read fluff and cute character moments. We get both of those here.

Pauline is on the cover, and is also the focus of the first story, where our heroes meet a mother and daughter who are in trouble with money lenders. I appreciated Pauline’s vigorous defense of them, but of course, this book being the type of series it is, it turns out the money lenders ARE assholes, so she turns on a dime and gleefully destroys them. We then go to a mountain village which has a few golems on the mountain, who are mysteriously… not really doing much. This ties in most with the main plot I mentioned above, and is also an excuse to watch Mile and company accidentally go crazy without realizing it to help a group of orphans who live up there. We then cut back to Adele’s friends from the noble school, who have graduated and set off, at the princess’ request, to find Adele by any means necessary. Naturally, they walk right past each other without knowing it. The best story in the book has the Crimson Vow meeting up again with the Servants of the Goddess, who have managed to temporarily escape Leatoria’s protective father, and the two have a friendly competition.

I really liked this last story a lot. It had some great action scenes, and, given the groups weren’t trying to kill each other, relied a lot more on tactics than the group usually does. This also leads to Reina’s biggest concern with the Vow, which is that they’re not a TEAM – they’re four overpowered girls who basically blast through anything. They’re not coordinating the way most hunter teams do. (There’s also Reina’s crush on the leader of the SotG, but that’s mostly played for laughs – indeed, one senses the author found out about the slight yuri fandom this series has and took offense, as there’s another extra story at the end with Mile wishing she had a boyfriend… but her sights are set way too high.) Honestly, I think Reina’s concern is not really needed – the Crimson Vow may not fight as a tactical team, but they are still the best of friends.

Despite the occasional carp, this was a strong volume in the series, which I think is almost caught up with the Japanese release. We’ll see if the nanomachines get Mile to care a bit more about the world in the next book.