The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious, Vol. 7

By Light Tuchihi and Saori Toyota. Released in Japan as “Kono Yuusha Ga Ore TUEEE Kuse Ni Shinchou Sugiru” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Matt Rutsohn.

And so, after a series that should have ended with the second volume keeps going, and manages to do a three-book arc that mostly justified its continuation, we get the conclusion of this two-book arc where it all falls apart. I’m not sure if I blame the author as much as the publisher. You may have an anime coming out, and a cameo in Isekai Quartet, but that doesn’t mean that a series should continue when it’s run out of things to do with the premise. When that sort of thing happens, you only have two choices: 1) completely break the premise and create a new one with our character, which this series absolutely doesn’t do, or b) snap everything back to the way it was and throw out all your character development. Cautious Hero doesn’t do this either, but it feels like it does. The author tried to write an arc where Seiya is even more verbally and emotionally abusive towards Ristarte, and justifies it towards the end. The trouble is, she’s too well written now for it to be funny anymore.

We pick up right where we left off last time. Seiya takes a somewhat broken Rosalie with him and heads back to the Underworld to train, train, train. He takes her as he thinks she’ll be a good distraction ad meat shield. Naturally, Rista is appalled, and she and Seiya spend most of the book disagreeing about the way he’s going about things. There are “amusing” training motifs. The beings Seiya learns skills with want to see Rista humiliated so they can indulge their fetishes, and as a result she is both molested and also given a tasty potato… that causes her to belch and fart uncontrollably. Ha. More seriously, Rista has noticed that Mash is seemingly possessed by Elulu’s dead spirit, which is telling him to destroy everything… which contrasts with the dead spirit of Elulu *Rista* is seeing, which is begging her to stop Seiya carrying out his plan. Will anyone bother to believe Rista?

There’s one big problem with this comedy right now – and no, it’s not that it’s no longer funny, though that *is* a problem. It’s that the jokes depended on Ristarte being as one-dimensional and annoying as Seiya is. Over the course of the last few books, we’ve seen her discover who her past self was, rekindle a romance that is then immediately lost, rediscover her child and have to watch as they die again, and learn to trust Seiya and not react like a cliched tsukkomi character whenever he does literally anything. She’s a real person now. Seiya isn’t, at least not 90% of the time. And that means when the books are humiliating Rista, it’s not funny, it’s just abusive. The ending shows us Seiya, briefly, expressing remorse at what he did and apologizing to Rista – but it’s a sign of where the two of them are that THIS is what gets the most over the top reaction face of the book from her.

It’s pretty clear that the author did not go further with Seiya here as they plan to do more with it in the next arc. Two problems with that. First, I’m about ready to drop the books here, they’re no longer fun. Second… there are no new volumes. The author started writing the Full Dive series (which also has a recent anime) and has not come back to this one in the last two year. So yeah. If you’ve read the previous six, you may as well read this. But boy, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious, Vol. 6

By Light Tuchihi and Saori Toyota. Released in Japan as “Kono Yuusha Ga Ore TUEEE Kuse Ni Shinchou Sugiru” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Matt Rutsohn.

And so the series that really should have ended after Book 2, and then had another perfectly good stopping place with Book 5, continues with a new arc. So we get the usual sense of the author taking stock and continuing with what works while throwing out what doesn’t. Somewhat vexingly, this means that the romance, such as it is, between Seiya and Ristarte is at an all-time low in this book – on both sides! Ristarte has one or two brief fantasies about Seiya here, but for the most part has simply grown used to his treatment of her, and he is (as its typical at the start of these arcs when we don’t have all the information we need) being rather rude to her. On the bright side, there’s less actual physical abuse, as we bring along a different God for that, but that does not mean that there are not moments that are literally designed to humiliate her. The book can be frustrating.

Last time I wondered if we’d have a Civil War in Heaven, and we come close, though it’s more of a one-sided battle. Yes, Mersais and their allies are back, and they’re here to destroy everything. Now Ristarte, along with Cerceus, is seemingly the only survivor and must try to salvage something from this and restore the spirit world… which means summoning Seiya again, of course. He’s got to train in the Underworld now, but that doesn’t make his training… or attitude… any less bananas. Then we find out what’s happened to the actual worlds they usually save – they’ve become dark, twisted versions of themselves. So we need to go back to the beginning, as Seiya and Rista return to Gaeabrande, the world of the first two books, which is now ruled by the Dragon Lord, as humans and demons alike forge an alliance to stop his dreadful reign of terror. Wait… isn’t the Dragon Lord a bit familiar?

As always with this series, what interests me most is Rista’s character development. The very fact that we have to being the God of Cakes… erm, Swords along with her and Seiya is a sign that she’s moved past the punching bag that she used to be, and for the most part has settled into realizing that when Seiya says he’s going to do something ludicrous, it’s usually necessary. That said, she and Seiya are still clashing. Because these are twisted, dark worlds that will theoretically be fixed and restored once they defeat the Big Bad, Seiya is seemingly of the opinion that it doesn’t really matter if they have to kill people to solve the problem, as they won’t really be dead. Rista, as she herself points out, can’t have that callous a viewpoint – seeing people suffer in front of her causes her pain and distress. I’m inclined to be on Rista’s side here, and thus am annoyed at Seiya right now. Still, he’s always had a good reason before, and this arc isn’t over, so I’m sure we’ll get another one soon.

We’re almost caught up with Japan, so I suspect these books will come out far slower soon. Still, if you’ve been enjoying the series for its goofy comedy and seeing Rista get humiliated, there’s plenty of that here, including her having to imitate a gorilla. I will cautiously read the next volume.

The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious, Vol. 5

By Light Tuchihi and Saori Toyota. Released in Japan as “Kono Yuusha Ga Ore TUEEE Kuse Ni Shinchou Sugiru” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Matt Rutsohn.

This is the end of an arc, and given the way the LAST arc ended, I think that fans of the series were going to be a little suspicious. The element of surprise is gone. Likewise, it’s hard to top “I was responsible for the end of the world and also my wife and unborn child were eaten in front of me before I died” for tragedy. That said, this is a relatively serious volume by Cautious Hero standards. There’s still a lot of the usual silly comedy we’ve come to expect, of course. Rista overreacts to things, helped along here by Jonde as tsukkomi #2. Seiya’s actions always seem, at first, to be completely ludicrous (at least until later in the book, when you see he was absolutely right to be crazy prepared). But the book actually has two depressing and tragic parts, one midway and one near the end, and both are handled pretty well. The author is learning to balance.

The cover shows off the first half of the book. Seiya, Rista, Jonde and Kiriko arrive at a desert wasteland that is the home of End Boss #4… only to find there’s a thriving village there, everyone knows who Seiya is, and he defeated the Demon Lord a year before. Its clearly a trap, and even Rista knows it’s a trap, but it’s hard not to find a happy, monster-free village likeable, especially when the OTHER Seiya shows up. You know, the reckless one. This version had ONE moment of caution when, after his wife begged him, they go see an oracle who pointed out the Demon Lord’s ability to resurrect himself. After this trap is sprung, Seiya and company go back to the God’s world to train. And train. And train. Why does Seiya seem to be avoiding the final battle? And why is he telling Rista to play with literal toys?

I will try not to get too into spoil territory here, but both tragedies that I mentioned before are pulled off very well, especially the second, which leaves Rista once again devastated and also explains how Seiya’s seemingly annoying and callous actions were once again him trying to be thoughtful and nice without actually being so. It’s notable that this volume has the least amount of abuse towards Rista of the five, though I’m not sure if Seiya is laying off or if it’s just due to the book’s more serious tone. There’s also a suggestion of where things are going to go from here, and it’s not a pretty one, as we’re led to question everything about the current world that the deities have for themselves. Are we headed for Cautious Hero: Civil War? And is the relationship between Seiya and Rista going to go anywhere?

I suspect the answer to the last is “no”, at least not till the final book. But as for next time, we’re starting a new plot, so I expect a lot more wacky gags. Till then, enjoy a series that manages to pull off “why am I crying about a slapstick comedy character – AGAIN?”.