A Late-Start Tamer’s Laid-Back Life, Vol. 6

By Yuu Tanaka and Nardack. Released in Japan as “Deokure Tamer no Sono Higurashi” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Yuko C. Shimomoto.

This is, for the most part, another solid volume in the series, with one exception that I’ll get to later. For all that I’ve been talking about Yuto accidentally becoming overpowered and a celebrity, that’s mostly just due to his personality and the way that he reacts to things vs. how everyone else in the game reacts. Looked at objectively, he’s rather clever, tends to choose the right option, and his constant experimentation usually pays off, even if it can lead to disasters at the start. Heck, even those disasters can be monetized -I loved the idea of selling his experiments with carbonated beverages as a “mystery box” where you could get delicious or awful. I also enjoy his interactions with Alyssa, whose freakouts every time Yuto casually mentions something he’s done are always funny. As always, there’s limited to no plot or character development, though that may change in the next book in the series, which implies he’ll buy a house. But that’s next book.

Most of this volume consists of Yuto and his companions going through various dungeons, each one hidden in a different cardinal direction. Given that a lot of this involves battling rather than taming or crafting, it’s not a surprise that it takes him a while to plow through them, and both he and his tames monsters suffer a bit. (The image of Sakura constantly being set on fire is, thankfully, not illustrated.) The reward for each dungeon turns out to be a broken child’s toy, and the implication is that this will pay off once you get them all – which turns out to be true. More importantly, though, Amelia invites Yuto to a tea party that’s going to be livestreamed, and leads to hilarious consequences as, once again, Yuto fails to realize how iconic he’s become.

Right, let’s get around to the thing I didn’t like. There is some good in it – the book introduces a necromancer who is a boy dressed in feminine clothing, and Yuto and various people say, a few times, that there’s nothing wrong with that. And, when the same character is bullied and shamed by another player, a few people come to his defense, including, eventually, Yuto. It’s more realistic than I’d expect, with a lot of folks sitting there doing nothing till they realize the tide has turned and it’s safe to speak up. The problem is that the author can’t resist the old anime trope of having everyone, including Yuto, think of said feminine boy in a romantic light and then quickly doing a “no homo!” bit to show off that it’s OK, still safe to read this, any men who might enjoy this series. And unfortunately, the latter eventually outweighs the former. It’s aggravating.

Other than that, though, this is a perfectly good volume in this very mellow series. I think we’re in a “time to renegotiate the contracts” lull right now, so it may be a longer wait till Book 7, but I’m happy to read more.

A Late-Start Tamer’s Laid-Back Life, Vol. 5

By Yuu Tanaka and Nardack. Released in Japan as “Deokure Tamer no Sono Higurashi” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Yuko C. Shimomoto.

It can be very difficult to write a true ‘Slow Life” light novel title. Most of the books that say they’re slow life actually have our hero doing a hell of a lot of magic battles/sword fights/adventuring, with him bemoaning the fact that he’s supposed to have a slow life. On the other hand, genuine slow life books run the risk of being punishingly boring, with our hero describing his rows of tomato plants for 45 pages. A lot of books tend to resolve this with a pile of young women and sexual situations (hi there, Farming Life in Another World), but again, that doesn’t feel like it supports the premise of “a slow life, relaxed book”. Late Start Tamer comes close, though. It’s a game, not a fantasy world, and there’s no “death game” aspect to it. What’s more, despite the presence of filthy shippers on the forums, there’s no actual romance in this series at all. It’s basically Yuto getting a series of powerful pets. It’s fun.

The bulk of the first half of the book is taken up with a Cherry Blossom Viewing party, as he has to invite some NPCs to the party to get an achievement. He also asks some players he knows, who bring other folks they know, and pretty soon the ENTIRE cast we’ve seen to date is present at this one party, stretching Yuto’s farm to the limit. What’s more, his dragon egg is hatching!… admittedly, what’s inside is a mole, not a dragon, but hey, it wouldn’t be a Japanese light novel without untranslatable kanji wordplay. After this the entire party battles a yokai that has infiltrated the party as a special event… which proceeds to unlock yokai for EVERYONE to start interacting with. Once again, hanging out with Yuto pays off.

As always, you’ll pardon me for saying the same things again, because while I enjoy this series and find it fun, it has zero character development, due to its nature as a game. I suppose you could argue that Yuto has greatly expanded his circle of friends from the start of the series, but that’s almost by accident. The mole is a fun addition, even if he looks just like the villain Mole from the Pogo comic strip. We also get a tanuki yokai which Yuto unwittingly (of course) purchases at an auction, and then happens to figure out the sequence of events to unlock them. What’s standard common sense to Yuto is mind-boggling to everyone else, and means that fans of Boruri will also end up getting a kick out of this one, even if Yuto is not quite in Maple’s league. We also get a few battles as well, though I find this the least entertaining part of the series, as the combat is nothing special.

This is not a must read per se, but if you enjoy slow life, or “overpowered by accident” books, you’ll enjoy this.

A Late-Start Tamer’s Laid-Back Life, Vol. 4

By Yuu Tanaka and Nardack. Released in Japan as “Deokure Tamer no Sono Higurashi” by GC Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Yuko C. Shimomoto.

At long last, Yuto and his tamed monsters are finally starting to get good at the sort of combat that everyone else figured out three days into the game. Sure, later in the book he runs into two top-tier players who remind him that he’s still really weak by comparison, but there’s more here of him and the others actually defeating a lot of monsters. That said, fear not, because the main reason to read the book is still here, by which I mean Yuto telling Alyssa about everything he’s done recently and watching her reaction. I’m not kidding, this has become the highlight of the series, and I love it every time. He simply cannot accept that he is breaking the game in ways no one would ever think of before… but that also allows other players to do things the normal way, so everyone benefits. Indeed, another running gag, which has Yuto casually giving away powerful intel and items because he wants to, is all present and correct.

At long last, after three books hanging around the starter town like Lloyd Belladonna, our heroes finally move on to the next set of towns (though they maintain their farm back at the start as well). This allows Yuto to accidentally figure out how to access two powerful areas, where he can tame an undine (who is, of course, incredibly cute), gain odd new skills that will work out down the line, and have his monsters level up and evolve by the secret method of being nice to them and treating them like equals. We also meet the rest of Alyssa’s intel group, and they’re all as fired up about him as you’d imagine. And he runs into the game’s other top tamer, Amimin, and her summoner friend Mattsun, who both happen to fill the ‘shy girl and her aloof tomboy friend’ stereotype this series has desperately needed. Yuto’s circle of friends is opening up!

We do see the occasional sign that reminds us that Yuto is actually a middle-aged salaryman, and that it’s probably a good thing he’s unlocking so many things, as soon he will have to go back to the grind. For now, though, he’s essentially walking around this game like Maple from Bofuri, accomplishing things the development team had made ludicrously impossible by accident. The devs, at least, seem far more sanguine about it than Maple’s do – especially about Sakura’s evolution, which was supposed to be super incredibly rare and which (as we see in a battle near the end) proves to definitely be life saving. And… yeah, sorry. This is still a slow life book about a game, so I don’t really have much to analyse here. He makes lots of fish dishes. The treant from the last book evolves, but is a stay-at-home treant, so we don’t learn much about it. The undine seems nice, but the fact that none of the monsters speak makes character development more obscure.

Still, this is another volume of the series that does whatever the hell it wants, and does it in a way that I want to read more of it. For fans who would like to play this game themselves.