Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, Vol. 11

By Dachima Inaka and Iida Pochi. Released in Japan as “Tsujo Kogeki ga Zentai Kogeki de Ni-kai Kogeki no Okasan wa Suki desu ka?” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

Sometimes you need to be careful not to read too much into “this character is overpowered an perfect”, even in a light novel. We’ve spent ten volumes so far watching Mamako and Masato, and honestly it has felt like most of the growth has been on his end. He’s a teenager, after all. That said, the game that we’ve been watching has not been entirely for children to mature and learn to get along better with their mothers, it’s also been showing us some pretty awful mothers. From Wise’s selfish mom to Mehdi’s education mom to Porta’s workaholic mom, each of these mothers has shown us that equal work needs to be done on both ends to repair the relationship. As such, it should not be too much of a surprise that we get to the final volume, which is supposedly about Masato facing off against his father the Demon Lord, only to realize that Mamako has been the real final boss all along.

The reason for the appearance of Masato’s dad (who works for the government) is that the beta is over, and it’s time to stop playing the game and go back to the real world. But first, there are a few hurdles to be overcome. The game ‘resets’ itself somewhat, first by having to get everyone to re-register their roles (fortunately for Masato, no one else really wants to be the Hero); then by erasing the memories of most of the supporting cast, in order to make Masato’s task harder. But he’s matured, something he shows off quite well in the first half of this book. A little too well – not only are Wise and Mehdi disturbed that a Masato who’s not pathetic might actually be… attractive to them, but Mamako is realizing that she’ll soon be unable to be a mom for him 24-7… and she hates that, however much she might pretend otherwise.

So yes, Mamako *is* one of the mom stereotypes we mentioned before. She’s the smothering mom. We’ve seen this throughout the series – the gag is that the game revolves around her and that he’s unable to do anything himself. But slowly, as the books have gone on, he’s managed to take more of a role in deciding what to do and how to solve things. He’s growing up. High school and college are around the corner. And then he’ll move out, marry Wise/Mehdi/whoever (Porta, thankfully, is left in the little sister role), and Mamako won’t have her baby boy around. The finale makes sense in a conceptual way – given the entire game has revolved around Mamako to date, she ends up literally becoming the game writ large… very large. But finally they are able to get through to her, and we end up with an epilogue that has everyone in reality dealing with the Mom game going into wide release.

Ignoring the joke ending that is basically “and the adventure continues…”, this was far more solid than it had any right to be. The series should have ended several volumes ago, but at least it mostly stuck the landing.

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, Vol. 10

By Dachima Inaka and Iida Pochi. Released in Japan as “Tsujo Kogeki ga Zentai Kogeki de Ni-kai Kogeki no Okasan wa Suki desu ka?” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

For some reason, I had it in my head that most of the last five books were short-story volumes. This isn’t actually the case, it just seems like it, but even the other short story volumes added a plot that coheres more than this one, a volume that is the very definition of “we need you to end with Vol 11 instead of 10, so can you just busk for 200 pages?”. There is a plotline introduced here, one that seems to promise that the final volume will at least not consist of stories from Dragon Magazine, but unfortunately we only see that plot in a brief prologue and in the final story. For most of this, it’s generic adventures. And, because they’re meant to slot in anywhere for readers as they’re magazine stories, that means Masato is more annoying than usual, and also more put-upon than usual, a dangerous double combination. Basically, this was hard to push through.

We open with a prologue where Shirase (in the real world, so without extra letters) is explaining to the government that they’re ready to actually launch the game – but the identity of the beta testers comes as a surprise to one of the people in the room. After this, our heroes try to stop a restaurant feud between mother and daughter, which mostly involves paying high bills and a lot of curry; the appearance of a MOD that allows a body modification leads to one of the few cliches the series had not done yet, a bodyswap between mother and son; the monsters are all getting a holiday, leaving our heroes at loose ends… well, just Masato really; our heroes team up with an overly florid grocer to try to stop a shoplifter; and our heroes film a commercial for the game, and all try to show their best sides. We know how that works out.

The final story is the best… OK, let’s be honest, the only one that did not make me want to skim the book, though the shoplifting story has its clever moments. A new beta tester, named “Hawk” arrives, led by Shiraaase. He looks 15, but his real identity is obvious to… well, Mamako and the reader, and even Masato is coming up with a good guess. Yes, it’s his dad, and he seems to be just as much of a dad stereotype as Mamako is the mom stereotype. Despite the cliffhanger, he does not actually seem to be evil or misguided here, and clearly loves his family. He’s also impressed with the growth Masato has shown, which I’d likely have appreciated more if I hadn’t just plowed through those short stories where he was more generic dipshit guy. It does serve to remind you that the game it meant to serve a purpose beyond “make Mamako an OP goddess”.

So yes, the next volume is the final one, and I’m hoping that it will not have more short stories. It will also probably bring back the rest of the cast like Hahako and the 3 evil minion kids, etc. Heck, we might even see Wise and Mehdi’s mothers again. Till then, though, the best part of the book was seeing that dad is just as big of a dork as his wife and child.

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?, Vol. 9

By Dachima Inaka and Iida Pochi. Released in Japan as “Tsujo Kogeki ga Zentai Kogeki de Ni-kai Kogeki no Okasan wa Suki desu ka?” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

I can see what this volume was trying to do – well, aside from make an entire volume about Christmas and how it applies to moms and children. Because the main cast are all in their teens (even Porta), we haven’t really had much excuse to delve into the way that moms have to deal with infants and small children, and this volume gives us an excuse to do that. In addition, because Mamako is that sort of mother, we haven’t really gone into what it means to be spoiled or not spoiled in great detail since the (rather comedic) story of Mone and her mother, and combining Masato’s inherent issues, Mone’s unresolved plot and the ongoing travails of Hahako and the Kings is thematically sound. Unfortunately, the need for comedy and fanservice actually serves to turn me a bit against the book this time. I can appreciate the thought behind the plot, but didn’t enjoy reading it.

The main problem with Hahako and the Three Kings is that they’re NPCs literally written to be anti-mom, so changing their minds and accepting Hahako as their parent is well-nigh impossible. Towards that end, Shiraaase and Mamako come up with a Christmas-themed event that will hopefully help things along… especially since a mischievous Shiraaase has made it so Masato and the three Kings are infants. As the events go on, they become toddlers, then young kinds, but unfortunately there’s still a wall that can’t really be broken down between the Kings and Hahako. Unfortunately, the whole situation has to be put on hold when Mone, who’s been quiet and withdrawn through this whole event, suddenly gains a massive hole in her chest that sucks up half the cast. There’s gonna be a whole lotta spoiling going on unless Masato and company can stop it.

There are, I think, two big problems I had with this book. The first is that I’d honestly forgotten about Mone and her “spoil me” tendencies, and so having her as the mini-boss of this volume came somewhat out of left field. The other is that, for once, the parody and humor aspects of Do You Love Your Mom? work against it. There’s a few exceptions – mind-controlled Wise, Mehdi and Porta were amusing, I grant you, as was Shiraaase’s verbal disparaging of Porta’s mother throughout – but everything about Masato as a baby made me want to simply stop reading the series right there and fly to Japan to berate the writer. It’s a small part of the book, only a few pages, but I kept simmering about it through to the end. The books have nudged their way closer to a vaguely serious ending over the ppast few, and this felt like backsliding.

We have two volumes to go, and there’s a hint that the final volumes may be a two-parter, as a “demon lord” who is the final boss is mentioned. (I can guess who this is, but we’ll see.) Those who’ve been reading the series will still want to pick this up, but I was tired reading it.