My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer, Vol. 11

By MOJIKAKIYA and toi8. Released in Japan as “Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S-Rank ni Natteta” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

Last time I said that Book 10 felt like an epilogue, and technically this one should as well. The first 3/4 of it or so is basically everyone being chill. Ange and the others in her party are in the city, but they’re coming to visit in the fall at last, after trying several times. Meanwhile, Belgrieve has settled down with Satie and is busy trying to learn how to start a new dungeon and become a guildmaster, leaving the caring of his many adopted children to Charlotte and Byaku, the oldest of said children. There’s lots of loving descriptions of the seasons, or people watching, or reflecting on the passing of time, which we’re used to. There is one slight issue. Ishmael shows up again to greet Angeline, and unfortunately the reader is the only one who knows who he really is. So really this entire volume is being a little frustrated at all the chill and wanting to shout “hey, he’s the bad guy!” at the characters.

So yeah, Angeline is fine until she meets Ishmael, who is carrying around, for some reason, a small part of a branch from an apple tree. Touching this starts to give Ange terrible nightmares which she can’t remember afterward, but which we see some of: they’re showing how awful life was for Percival, Kasim and Satie after their party broke up, and also the occasional flashback to the same scene we’ve seen since the start of the series, a demon eating Belgrieve’s leg and destroying his adventuring career. All these nightmares are causing Ange to be exhausted when awake, and her skills are suffering. So, at the suggestion of not-at-all-secretly-evil Ishmael, they all pile in and head off to Turnera for the fall festival. Unfortunately, when there, Ishmael throws off his (very good) Scooby Doo disguise to reveal he’s Schwartz, and that all this is part of his master plan, which requires Ange to be completely, 100% broken.

Despite begging from some folks, I’m not going to reveal the big twist in this book which made me swear on Twitter. I will note that it’s not Bunny Drop, it’s a normal twist that fits in well with the book as a whole, and Ange and Bel remain daddy-daughter in the good way. But I like how it made sense. We know Ange is a demonic creation, as does she and the rest of her party, but since she’s human presenting and also a really good kid, no one really stops to think when she begins to be sick, get depressed or have nightmares “hhhrrrm, I wonder if this is due to our missing bad guy?”. And why should they? Last volume was an epilogue with a wedding! But it makes the surprise hit harder, and gives Ange and Bel an even stronger connection – for good and ill, obviously. As for the actual end of the series, it’s pretty open-ended, and we could see more if sales permit, but finally ALL the main plot points are wrapped up, so ending here is just fine.

In the end, this is a very enjoyable, fun series with a bit of dark drama in the middle and end to keep things interesting, and I also appreciate that it gives us a series with an adopted daughter being raised by her father figure that STAYS that way. Fantasy fans, or anyone who liked the anime, should read this.

My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer, Vol. 10

By MOJIKAKIYA and toi8. Released in Japan as “Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S-Rank ni Natteta” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

As I write this, we’re a little under halfway through the anime version of this series, which is quite enjoyable provided you don’t mid that it has the animation budget of one peanut. It’s clearly an advertisement for the books, which just wrapped up in Japan. Unfortunately, despite my saying in my review of 9 that 10 is the last, it turns out that I am wrong, and there’s another book on the way. That said, this definitely has the feeling of an epilogue, and I think that’s fine. Yes, one of the bad guys got away, but honestly I’m OK with ignoring him for now and concentrating entirely on everyone going back to Bel’s hometown and settling into in their new huge mansion to match all the daughters that Bel has accumulated throughout this series. And, of course, his new wife. As for Ange, well, she’s had a lot of dad lately, and believe it or not does love being an adventurer more, so she’s headed back to Orphen, with one extra team member.

We’re back in Turnera! There are lots of kids to play around with and train to hunt and fish. There’s Belgrieve and Satie, who are now married but honestly seem far too comfortable and passionless for others in their group, so a secret second wedding is decided on so we get a real love confession. And then there’s Mit. His mana is still an issue, and the best way to deal with it is to build a dungeon that uses the excess mana to spawn fiends that can then be killed by adventurers. Of course, the question is where to put a freshly built dungeon? Should it be Orphen, which has the guild and is used to this sort of thing? Or Bordeaux, which has been growing rapidly but could use a dungeon to become a city unto its own. Or… should it be Turnera? Can we really turn Bel’s sleepy village into a dungeon tourism industry?

There were some moments in this I really liked. I appreciated that it took Helvetica’s crush on Belgrieve seriously, and also that it was not something that she could just give up on when seeing Bel and Satie being all mild and sedate at each other. (Satie spends a lot of this book acting like a standard housewife, but given the last twenty years of her life before this, I’d say she’s due.) They needed to overtly love each other to make it easier for her to back off. I also liked Angelica telling Maria about her own demonic heritage. She’s not only come to terms with it, but is OK with being used as a guinea pig if it will mean helping to solve the problem. Though Maria doesn’t really believe her. There’s also a great short story at the end showing us how Angeline, Anessa and Miriam first teamed up, and how incredibly awkwardly things started off. It was sweet.

This series runs on good vibes, and if we get more of those in the finale, I’m find with it.

My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer, Vol. 9

By MOJIKAKIYA and toi8. Released in Japan as “Boukensha ni Naritai to Miyako ni Deteitta Musume ga S-Rank ni Natteta” by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

For a while I thought that this was going to wrap up all the plots, and that the 10th volume would just be an epilogue/victory lap. Alas, one of the villains got away, so we’re going to have a final confrontation back in Belgrieve’s village. Which makes sense, as that will allow us to bring in the rest of the cast who have been absent for this arc. This arc definitely wraps up here, though, solving most of the problems by hard work and sword/magical battles. We get to see Ange using the smarts she was taught by her father, and we also get to see her and her father fighting back to back, something that fills both of them with glee even though it’s a life-or-death situation. That sort of sums up the book, really – even though there’s a lot of gore and death, you end up feeling good. Everyone’s back together.

When we left off, everyone was headed to where Ange and company is, there to try to rescue Satie. This involves splitting up, of course. Touya and Maureen handle their own subplot, taking on Hector and revealing the true reason behind Touya’s revenge. More importantly, Ange is captured by the fake Prince, getting thrown in a time space prison where escaping her cell is quite easy but escaping the prison itself proves much harder. As for Satie… well, she’s captured, because this is the sort of book where the message is “you can’t do it alone, rely on others to help you”, so her philosophy of “I have to do this all on my own” is not going to work. Will Bell be able to save Satie? And is Satie finally the woman that Ange has been looking for… someone to be Belgrieve’s wife?

There is a plot twist near the end that is so stunningly schmaltzey that I would be annoyed if it weren’t so sweet. It also helps tie in to Ange’s own birth – we’ve known for a while that she’s part demon, but it’s never really been clear just how that is going to tie into the overall story. The earlier books implied that it would slowly turn her evil, but honestly, apart from being a bit jealous of her dad’s easy way of making friends with everyone, Ange simply is not going to go that route. As for Belgrieve and Satie, their plot resolution is “blink and you’ll miss it”, but that fits the two of them. These are two people who have wanted to reunite and admit repressed feelings for years, so while it’s frustrating that we don’t get a more explicit confession, hey, at least they’re definitely married now.

That said, we have one final book to go. This one will be coming out after the anime starts, so it will be interesting to see what people who are new to the series think of it all. Honestly, I suspect we’ll be back to where we were at the start of this series: reassuring fans that this one ISN’T going to turn into incest.