Loner Life in Another World, Vol. 7

By Shoji Goji and Saku Enomaru. Released in Japan as “Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Eric Margolis. Adapted by Lorin Christie.

One of the reasons why this is such a difficult series to get anyone into (and trust me, there are so many reasons) is that it is trying to be so many different things. It is a military combat novel in this volume… or at least the start of this volume, as it turns out that Haruka, in fact, manages to take care of everything far more than anyone expected him to. It’s a raunchy sex comedy, with Haruka’s stats leveling him up to Sex God (no, really, it says that in his stats) and featuring a number of explicit sex scenes that nevertheless will likely get overlooked by the Powers That Be merely as they’re narrated by Haruka, which means they’re completely incoherent. That said, there is one thing that this series tends to put first, before anything else, and I 100% approve: the nobility sucks. Class warfare forever. Eat the rich. Because trust me, almost all the nobles we meet here are scum.

Haruka rushes back to the frontier in order to stop the army that’s headed that way, an army backed by the theocracy’s soldiers (who are quite content to let the regular army folks be killed off while they hang back) and the theocracy’s secret weapon, another Dungeon Emperor on the same level as Angelica. Oh, and they’re also unleashing monster rushes from nine dungeons around the kingdom, guaranteed to have the populace horribly murdered, which means none of Haruka’s allies can come to his side because they all have to stop this. Needless to say, Haruka… wins almost embarrassingly easily. And now he has a new Dungeon Emperor on his side, the gorgeous Nerfertiri (any resemblance to an ancient Egyptian queen is purely intentional) as his second “concubine”, and has saved the day. Time for a grand ball!

The lack of suspense in the first third of the volume is almost laughable, at least on Haruka’s end. I worried far more about Stalker Girl and her father, who are trying to defeat a mass rush of monsters despite essentially being a ninja spy force. The second third of this novel is basically comic relief and porn, though again, it’s porn written in the style of Haruka’s narration, so it’s not in the least bit arousing. He’s just banging two girls now rather than one. (Again, it’s hinted he refuses to do anything to the Japanese girls for past trauma reasons.) The last third, though, it easily the best part, as the grand ball turns out to be a trap to ensnare all the other evil nobles, baited by a play that gives all the credit to the war to the Princess and Duke, and none to Haruka – meaning they underestimate him. The girls at first asked why in hell he was making their ballgowns with so many defensive armor traits – it turns out they need every single one of them. It’s glorious.

So this long arc is over, and I assume we start something new next time. Might be a few months till the next book, so go back and try to translate Haruka to English, that’s my advice.

Loner Life in Another World, Vol. 6

By Shoji Goji and Saku Enomaru. Released in Japan as “Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Eric Margolis. Adapted by Lorin Christie.

It occurred to me as I was reading this volume, this lacks one of the main parts of “summoned to another world” books, which is the summoning. I was thrown off by the god at the start of the series, who actually does summon the class to a different world, presumably to save it, but the world itself is not involved with the summoning, and (while we see some small evidence that past heroes may have also been summoned), there’s no sense that anyone is used to new people suddenly showing up all at once. As a result, try to imagine what the people in the capital city must be thinking when they see Haruka and twenty gorgeous young women, all with black hair and black eyes, show up and save the day almost instantaneously. Seriously, this 413-page book only takes up one week of real time in the book. They’re all absolute monsters. It is, frankly, amazing that more people just give in and go along with it… though given their situation, maybe it’s not so surprising.

Despite various attempts to try to negotiate, war is becoming inevitable. The king’s brother is there to try to work out a compromise: the first prince has said he will spare the frontier if they give up Haruka. Literally everyone except the king’s brother knows this is a trap, but Haruka goes along with it anyway, because it’s just easier to trigger the trap and then massacre everyone. Yeah, there’s a lot of death in this book, this isn’t the manga. Having fixed that problem (and killed one prince), everyone then arrives at the capital, where the king is dying, the second prince is allied with evil merchants, and there’s an orphanage filled with kids who would make Oliver Twist look like a plump spoiled brat. This lights a righteous fire under all the main cast, who proceed to turn into villains in order to save the civilians who are being ground down by the real enemy… capitalism.

These books are starting to struggle a bit with the “wacky” side of things. Don’t get me wrong, Haruka is still damn near incomprehensible and incredibly annoying. And there are still an incredibly large number of pages devoted to Haruka making underwear for all his female classmates, which involves using his “magic hands” to grope them into unconsciousness (with their consent – the underwear is JUST THAT GOOD). But there’s no sugarcoating how awful everything is this arc. The majority of the nobility are cartoon villains, the merchants are greedy scum, and while we haven’t met the church yet (next book), they’re implied to be worse than all of the others. The orphanage is played for maximum mawkishness, except when you see things like the girls all finding the nobles most responsible for it and using status effects like “Pure Pain” on them. And even saving the capital doesn’t fix things, as in the meantime the church’s forces have gone to destroy Omui.

The series, for once, ends with a genuine cliffhanger, as we wonder if Haruka vs. 30,000 troops will finally be what gets him killed. The girls all worry this as well, which is why they’re racing there as well. As always, once you dig past the nonsense, Maria-sama Ga Miteru and Mary Poppins references, and endless descriptions of tits, there’s a whole lot to sink your teeth into. And not in the mean girls way.

Loner Life in Another World, Vol. 5

By Shoji Goji and Saku Enomaru. Released in Japan as “Hitoribocchi no Isekai Kouryaku” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by Airship. Translated by Eric Margolis. Adapted by Veles Svitlychny and Lorin Christie.

I’ve talked before about how I enjoy the Loner Life light novels a bit more than the manga because the manga makes things lighter and fluffier, but trust me, I 100% get why nearly everyone says “skip the books, read the manga” when it comes to this series. Leaving aside the writing style, which is still so rambling and broken that at times I wasn’t sure if I had spotted an editorial mistake on Airship’s part of just Haruka repeating himself for no real effect, there’s the fact that the plot meanders and wanders all over the place. At the start of the book we learn that war has been declared on Omui, and it’s not until 350 pages later (these books are loooooong) that we finally start the process of taking care of that war. What replaces it? Mostly Haruka making bras. Lots and lots of bras. Because this series is also still deeply, deeply horny, another aspect mostly lost in the manga adaptation.

Class Rep is back on the cover art again, which means Haruka is on the “alternate cover”, just like the first volume. He’s crying and hiding his face, though, which reminds you that there’s a core of real pain and anguish behind all this nonsense. Most of the book involves the girls all trying to get past Level 100, and also defeat a dungeon boss all by themselves with no help from Haruka, Angelica, or Slimey. They succeed in the former, but not quite in the latter, partly as they’re too wedded to the “fantasy” aspect of this world to realize, as Haruka does, that he can use normal science-based solutions. Elsewhere, an assassin, who turns out to be the Princess’ maid and childhood friend, comes to kill Haruka, which goes about as well as you’d expect. And then there’s that pesky war…

Everyone is familiar with the meme “I know writers who use subtext, and they’re all cowards!”. If you take that and add “no” before the word subtext, you’ve got Loner Life, a series which requires you to read between the lines to have any hope of enjoying it. So much of this series is a meditation on grief and mourning, about trying to improve daily lives so that people don’t have to live in fear and can think of the future. Haruka remembers everyone he couldn’t save, and all those deaths haunt him almost to breaking point. Class Rep talks about the girls going nuts over food and clothing mostly so that they don’t end up crying in despair over never being able to see home again. The owners of the inn where they’ve been staying just cry silently as they watch Haruka rebuild it into an eight-story inn/bunker that will be a safe haven for innocents during the upcoming war. As for the bra scenes… yeah, OK, sometimes it’s not subtext but text. The bra scenes are there to titillate. Still, it’s nice that the girls all have well-made underwear now.

The volume has no real ending, and you get the sense we got to page 420 and the editors said “just stop here and we’ll begin Book 6 where you left off”, which is the danger of webnovels. If you enjoy overanalysis and ridiculousness, Loner Life continues to provide. But prepare for incoherence as well.