Dragon Daddy Diaries: A Girl Grows to Greatness, Vol. 4

By Ameko Kaeruda and Sencha. Released in Japan as “Totsuzen Papa ni Natta Saikyou Dragon no Kosodate Nikki: Kawaii Musume, Honobono to Ningenkai Saikyou ni Sodatsu ” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Nathan Macklem.

This is the final volume of the series, and it has the strengths and weaknesses of previous volumes. The Elder Dragon is immensely powerful and also a pretty good guy, so any character development and angst comes from outside of that. Olivia is the same, only she doesn’t even get the character development. They’re meant to be “aw, look at the cute daddy and daughter” with an OP twist, and that works well, but they’re nothing more than that. They work best contrasting with whatever fractured familial unit we see in this particular volume, and we get that here as well. This is the final volume of the series, and it does have an ending of sorts, but the ending is very much “more of the same only Olivia is older now”. She’s rescuing other kids like her, who had bad home lives. Which is great, but the solution seems to be “:leave them all with daddy, it worked for me”.

Having obtained five of the seven Supreme Hallows, they’ve decided that that’s enough to do the ritual that will drain the built-up magic within the hallows. Unfortunately, the ritual is invaded by Vandilsen, a seemingly immortal wizard who proceeds to steal the five Hallows with the help of what he carries, the 6th. Fortunately, as it turns out, the Elder Dragon has had the 7th all this time without realizing it, and that can help them locate the other six. And so it’s time for Dragon and Daughter to go on a camping holiday, clearly… mostly as it turns out that Vandilsen is quite a long ways away, across the sea and in a foreign country that is now lifeless and arid due to having all the magic sucked out of it. Why does Vandilsen want the Hallows? And who’s the young boy they find on the beach unconscious?

A great number of the plots to Dragon Daddy Diaries have been about how to find the right level of protectiveness when being a parent. Don’t smother, don’t be too hands-off. Here we also get the added lesson of “listen to what they’re actually telling you, not what you want to hear”, as Vandilsen is literally killing himself in order to save the life of his adopted son, even if that’s not remotely what the son wants. This does, admittedly, help the Elder Dragon to have a brief crisis of conscience, as he becomes more aware of the fact that Olivia is going to get older and die while he remains the same. That said, Olivia is having none of this “let’s stay immortal forever” business, even though she’s spent her entire life in a family consisting of people over a thousand years old. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, even if that’s dramatically lacking.

This was a cute series and an easy read. That said, I’m almost positive it would never have been licensed if it had not been for the huge buzz around Sexiled, the author’s other work. Family-oriented fluff.

Dragon Daddy Diaries: A Girl Grows to Greatness, Vol. 3

By Ameko Kaeruda and Sencha. Released in Japan as “Totsuzen Papa ni Natta Saikyou Dragon no Kosodate Nikki: Kawaii Musume, Honobono to Ningenkai Saikyou ni Sodatsu ” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Nathan Macklem.

This series, and really all series that star protagonists who start out as the strongest in the land and stay that way, has a basic problem: there’s really not a lot of places for their growth to occur. The titular dragon daddy has an advantage here over his daughter as he’s still learning about how humans (and indeed demons) react to things and what their value systems are. But Olivia… sigh. I love this series, but if it has a weak point it’s Olivia, who is the best kid and the most powerful kid and not much else. She can’t really start the drama. She can’t make mistakes. The most she can do here is to suggest that their quest for magical items amount to a summer visit to her friend’s houses, because no one has any idea where these items are. Fortunately, we do have a character in this book who screws up all the time and it a bit of a mess. She shines here.

School’s out for summer, but the Queen has a project for Olivia and her father. There are several magic artifacts that need to be drained every 30 years or so, with the added bonus of granting a wish. Unfortunately, almost all of them have been missing for about a thousand years. They need to be found, despite no one knowing anything about them. So Olivia visits all her friends, and one by one she and her father see different sorts of miscommunication between parents and their children and teaching them a valuable lesson. It’s actually pretty heartwarming. Meanwhile, our resident Dark Queen is… sulking in her castle, wanting to hang out with everyone but also wanting to be a lazy shut-in. That said, she also has an idea where one of the magical googaws is… but it would involve returning to the demon realm and facing her comeuppance.

I’ve said before that I enjoy the wacky antics of Maredia and Clowria, but I enjoyed them even more here when things got more serious. OK, only a tiny bit more serious – we meet the rest of Maredia’s family, and it turns out they’re all chuuni NEET shut-ins just like her. But a lot of the behavior that she’s been trapped in a vicious cycle for was brought on by crushing expectations from the demon world, and she blames herself for failing them all. The trial that the ruler of the demon world must pass is in two stages, and the first is easy, as she elects to take it with her friends, two of whom are well-nigh indestructible. But the final test is her on her own, facing her worst fears. It can drive a person mad. Fortunately, Maredia is an old hand at screaming at herself in her own head.

As with the previous books, there’s no explicit yuri here, but I mean, Maredia and Clowria give each other rings, with Maredia even going down on one knee to do it. That’s near as dammit. I’m not sure when the next book in the series is coming out, but it’s likely the final one. I liked this a lot.

Dragon Daddy Diaries: A Girl Grows to Greatness, Vol. 2

By Ameko Kaeruda and Sencha. Released in Japan as “Totsuzen Papa ni Natta Saikyou Dragon no Kosodate Nikki: Kawaii Musume, Honobono to Ningenkai Saikyou ni Sodatsu ” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Giuseppe di Martino.

If the first volume of Dragon Daddy Diaries primarily revolved around the castle that is our heroes’ home base, then this volume is definitely set in the school. Indeed, we have to figure out excuses to get the rest of the cast to the school, and so our dragon daddy ends up being a security officer for the grounds, while Maredia and Clowria… well, sort of mooch around, but I suppose we can call them security as well. Basically what all this means is that the plot beats this volume all come from the school, and we don’t want to divide up the cast. It’s because we have a new main cast member, and she’s a welcome addition, even if she does, as Maredia notes, share a few character points with the Dark Queen herself. Luca is a new first year student, and she has a complicated backstory, a chip on her shoulder, and a desperate need for validation.

As for Olivia, she has managed to become a second year student, despite a huge amount of property damage to the school caused by her trying to learn beginner level spell and firing off advanced-level bursts. This means she’s now a sempai, and she tries to befriend her new roommate Luca, something that does not go very well for most of the book. Luca was supposed to be the King’s Student, a spot that Olivia has now taken, and thus Luca spends most of her school days challenging Olivia to various duels… and losing, because Olivia has been trained by a dragon and it shows. (That also comes out in this book, by the way, so everyone at last knows that he’s a dragon.) The other plotline going on is that they are searching for the Seven Supreme Hallows, powerful magical artifacts lost in the mists of time. In order to find them… a beach episode may be necessary.

As with the first volume, this series runs on tropes and sugar, and if you don’t like too much of either of them you may want to give this a miss. What character development there is comes mostly from Luca, though it is worth seeing Maredia manage to slowly emerge from her shut-in persona and begin to once again embrace her chuuni persona. Luca’s growth mostly stems from… parental neglect is the wrong term, but it’s a good lesson in why being too strict can sometimes have negative effects. When you’re never praised no matter how well you do, that bar can seem farther and father away. That said, I was a bit disappointed that the dragon having a chat with Luca’s mother was a speech done offscreen. Possibly as it would have interfered with the syrupy sweet mood. Even when battling an undersea turtle monster, the series doesn’t go much further than “he has a thorn in his paw”. Or in this case an ancient relic in his forehead.

This won’t make you count the days until the next volume comes out, but it’s a great read for a sunny day at the beach.