How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 8

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

After a book that was mostly politics last time, we spend much of this book with warfare, as the tiny kingdom of Lastania is under attack by a horde of monsters from the demon territories. This is relevant to Souma and company because Roroa’s brother Julius, who has been wandering around ever since he got his ass handed to him in the early books, has settled down in this kingdom due to falling for the kingdom’s insufferably cute and plucky princess, Tia, who is on the cover despite not getting nearly as much focus in the book as I expected. Julius is a bit desperate here, as the Kingdom is falling to the monsters, so asks Souma for aid even though it may mean his own death. That said, readers of this series know that Souma is (usually) not one to carry grudges, especially not against members of his fiancee’s family. He also has the ability to show up and lead a charge to wipe everything out, which he does.

Given the nature of this series, there’s not really much of an actual threat here. We do see a few of the regulars get to show off their skills, including Hal, Kaede and Ruby, now pretty much working as a well-oiled OT3; Kuu and Leporina, who remain the perfect overenthusiastic royal and harried bodyguard; and Komain and Jirukoma, who are reunited here as Jirukoma is part of Julius’ forces. Honestly, despite all the battles, you get the feeling that the author is more interested in the romance. Leporina clearly has feelings for Kuu, but is waiting for him to mature enough to see them. Poncha, Serina and Komain appear to be forming an OT3 of their own, but Komain may be the only one who actually realizes this. Jirukoma hooks up with one of the Captain’s of Lastania’s forces, Lauren, in a classic “I am too dim to recognize obvious signals” sort of way. Oh yes, and on Souma’s end, Maria is still hinting she would not mind hooking up with him, Excel is hitting on him to the displeasure of ALL the fiancees, and we also hear about a beautiful young warrior from not-China as a tease for the next book. (Hopefully Realist Hero’s not-China holds up better than Smartphone’s not-China.)

There are a few drawbacks to this volume. I’ve talked before about the “Native American” stereotype for the refugees, and we get more art showing it off here. Still don’t like it. Given we’re focusing on how Julius has been reformed, partly due to the power of love, I wish we’d had a bit more time spent with him and Tia, who pretty much exists as a thing to protect. That said, I approve of villains who can reform, and Julius’ guarded conversations with Souma were excellent. I also liked an exhausted Souma confessing his fears of becoming too jaded and uncaring when he becomes king, and Roroa and Naden’s reassurances. I would like to see Liscia again – we do get a scene with her, revealing she’s pregnant with twins, but the nature of the universe, and the “realist” part of it, means she’s still being treated like fine china.

So a mostly solid Realist Hero here, and we’re edging closer to the actual coronation and wedding(s). That said, it appears we have another detour coming up next. Does Souma need an artist?

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 7

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

This is a strong volume of Realist Hero, getting back to what most people reading the series are here for. No, not harems, though there’s a lot of that going around. No, not sex, there’s none of that here. But diplomacy gets to be front and center again, as Souma and his entourage end up traveling to not-Turkey to see what that nation is all about. There they find themselves designing syringes and scalpels, dealing with a boisterous yet forward-thinking young prince, heading off the discovery of quite a nasty dungeon (and seeing what it does to the poor villagers who lived next to it), and negotiating a three-way trade agreement involving doctors, drugs, medical tools, and the power of HOVERCRAFTS! And all this is only in the first two-thirds of the book, so there’s plenty of time for short stories involving things like dragon meteorologists and Juno (from the group of adventurers) finally learning the truth about her mysterious adventuring companion.

Sadly, our main heroine, Liscia, is totally absent from the story. She’s pregnant, you see, and so has gone off to live away from all society in case something should happen to the child. In reality, I do sort of wonder if she’s been exiled due to her Saberface. Probably not, though, given that this volume sees the introduction of Yuki and Mikuru from the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Well, OK, not really, but close enough. They’re childhood friend and bodyguard, respectively, of the Turgis prince, who is filled with fresh new ideas and also a head full of teenage stupid, which is what leads him to doing things like proposing to 12-year-old fox girls. You’re meant to get the sense that when he matures he’ll be an excellent leader, and there’s hints of that here, though you can also see why not-Yuki calls him dumb all the time. You also get the sense his polyamorous relationships are shaping up nicely. Speaking of which, Hal has recovered nicely from accidentally getting a dragon bride last book, only for us to find that he’s adding an elf soon as well. the book does not have to pair off Souma with EVERYONE.

The worldbuilding is the highlight of the book, once more. There’s a real feel that the author remembers what he wrote before and is building on and adding to it constantly, which is not only the case in books adapted from webnovels, where often you get the sense the author is just thinking “what is the next cool thing?”. Admittedly, sometimes I could do without the worldbuilding – Komain’s refugees are meant to echo the plight of Native Americans, but having her literally look like a Native American stereotype, complete with war paint and feathers, is a bit much. Still, for the most part I am happy and content to see where the book leads me next. Will we finally deal with the demons? Will Souma be reaching out to yet another country? Will he ever work up the nerve to go to bed with another one of his fiancees? This is apparently a big seller for J-Novel Club, and it’s easy to see why. Go get it.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Vol. 6

By Dojyomaru and Fuyuyuki. Released in Japan by Overlap, Inc. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Sean McCann.

This volume of Realist Hero sees our heroes go off to meet the dragon people of this world. Most of them are as you’d imagine dragon people to be in an isekai light novel series written for guys – Western dragons types who can fly and breathe fire, carry men on their back, and can also turn into beautiful women. Indeed, the carrying men on their back thing is explicitly stated to be the same as losing your virginity for a dragon – with heavy consequences for the dragon if the guy doesn’t end up partnering with her. That said, none of these dragons are the star. The star is Naden, who is a dragon who doesn’t have wings and can’t breathe fire, and thus is mocked by the other dragons around her. Fortunately the star of this series is Souma, and so you know he’s going to find value in her (she can create electricity!), see what she’s really based on (Eastern dragons – which means yes, she can fly), and end up partnering with her in order to save the dragon nation from a disaster – and also because they’ve fallen for each other.

The plot of this book is very straightforward, to the point where it even seems a little rushed. Naden falls for Souma almost immediately, and there are several scenes to reassure us that he’s not going to be marrying her simply because of her powers or status, but because he likes her as well. I also appreciated the development given to Ruby, one of three “Mean Girls” style dragons who bully Naden for being different. It’s framed more as “each wants what the other can’t have”, and as Ruby points out, at least she’s being a jerk to Naden in person, rather than behind her back. Ruby, during the crisis, also has to be ridden by Hal, which of course means that he has to marry her, which is possibly poor timing given that he and Kaede finally got engaged before this book. Fortunately, everyone’s super fine with polygamy here, so it works out.

There are a few seeds for future books sown here, the biggest of which is the nature of the world that Souma was summoned to as a hero, which may not be as “alternate fantasy world” as first expected. I expect this may have something to do with the demons, which we’ve already heard are not quite as “they’re just evil, OK?’ as previously thought. The other implication of the book’s ending is far less surprising – Liscia is pregnant. This may be why the author had her go with Souma for the final battle even though she didn’t do much – it’s possibly the last time she’ll get to be involved. The next book looks to feature Juna and Roroa, so we may simply get revolving fiancee development for a while. And there is also a nice helping of humor here, ranging from Aisha destroying everything around her because Souma disappeared to Empress Maria’s new career as a pop idol. Souma’s influence is felt far and wide, clearly.

There may not be quite as much kingdom developing as previous volumes, so some fans may be disappointed. But for the most part this is a decent Realist Hero, introducing a new fiancee quickly and economically. She’s cute, too.