Reincarnated As the Last of My Kind, Vol. 5

By Kiri Komori and Yamigo. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shitara Zetsumetsu Sunzen no Kishou Shuzokudeshita” on the Shōsetsuka ni Narō website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Roman Lempert.

The danger of being a good-hearted, pure, perfect heroine is that apparently you are contractually obligated to walk into obvious traps. Tina, halfway through this book, is safely ensconced at the fort whose entire job is to stop her being kidnapped. Then, mysteriously, all of her important family and allies happen to be away from the fort at that moment. Then, mysteriously, a group of soldiers she’s never met before show up and beg her to help to save their grievously wounded colleagues, who they have not brought with them. The lead soldier is also holding a big sign that says ‘I AM NOT A TRAP HONEST”. (OK, not really.) What’s a Saint to do? Naturally, she selflessly goes off by herself with no guards to help the soldiers… you’ll never guess what happens next. If that paragraph fills you with rage, you may want to skip this one. If it merely makes you sigh, read on.

The start of the book is original to the light novel, not part of the webnovel, and is a nice return to the antics of the earlier volumes, as Tina is goaded into making a truth potion so that Shida and his father will open up to each other. She’s also really into creating fish sauce. Sadly, we then have to move on to the actual plot, which involves the aforementioned kidnapping. Tina then ends up meeting the ruler of Edesa Kura, who has grand twisted plans for the world that they’re both in. And, what’s more, the massive planetary disaster that has slowly been coming their way the last couple of books is finally here, and Tina and Renge still need to solve that problem with a minimum of lost lives. But the humans haven’t listened to any of their warnings at all!

The parts of this volume I enjoyed the most were the smaller, more character-driven bits. Tina and the court alchemist, Reiden, geeking out and bonding over the concept of magical vending machines is absolutely hilarious and wonderful, especially as it briefly stops the kidnapping plot dead for a few pages. I was also amused by Nakona, who all of a sudden has finally realized that she has at least four people in love with her, and is somewhat poleaxed by the idea. (Since she’s engaged, and later married, to Shida, she solves the problem in the best Nakona way – by beating the shit out of her other suitors.) Unfortunately, when the book broadens out to take on larger, more devastating problems, I was less interested. The revelation of the enemy ruler and what their deal is was interesting, but Renge remains a flat, boring boyfriend, and the resolution of this book pretty much hinges on him being even more powerful than everyone thought.

The author says there will be a 6th volume, but it sounds more like n epilogue than anything else, as the main plot is resolved here. In the end, this series was OK, but I liked it a lot more when Tina was back at the inn than when she was the Saint of the World.

Reincarnated As the Last of My Kind, Vol. 4

By Kiri Komori and Yamigo. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shitara Zetsumetsu Sunzen no Kishou Shuzokudeshita” on the Shōsetsuka ni Narō website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Roman Lempert.

It’s two years after the previous book, and there’s a lot of bad, heavy things going on. Tina is now living at the captured fort, being flown around to various dangerous places to purify monsters. She’s referred to as “the holy woman” by basically everyone, and has almost come to accept it. She’s also coming to accept the fact that she’s in love with Renge, and debates confessing to him, though world events kind of put a kibosh on that. But the Sugula keeps coming closer and closer to them, and it needs to be destroyed soon. We’re getting into “this is the passing of an era” style fantasy, where one mentor close dying and another mentor actually dying off screen (how rude!). And, of course, there’s still the occasional enemy attack, and those are getting more and more dangerous. What on earth can Tina do to help things? If your answer was “have a fashion show”, then congratulations, you too may be able to write web novels.

To be fair, the fashion show *is* a side story, where Tina tries to solve the problem of newly freed slaves who still have tons of issues working them out by bullying each other. There’s also two side stories, which focus on the non-Tina romances in this book, and show off that just because a character SEEMS dense and oblivious it doesn’t necessarily mean they actually are. Unfortunately, the two side stories and the extra story run to just over half the book, leaving only the first half left for the actual plot to bubble up. This is also a problem with web novels, which are rarely written with the author thinking “now, I’m at about Page 220 if this were a Kadokawa book, time to have a cliffhanger”. But it can be very frustrating if you’re invested in how the world is going to be saved.

Tina doesn’t really have a fun book. We don’t even SEE the inn that she and her father used to tend here, and she’s pretty much resigned herself to being the savior of many (though her sister and others also yearn for a day when she can just lie around and make incredible healing potions, something she doesn’t have time to do anymore). She gets more information on her parents’ background, but this comes at the cost of losing a new found family member just when she realized she was a family member. And of course there’s the revelation that falling in love with Renge may actually produce a stone that could lead to a war that lasts centuries – again. As plot macguffins to stop a confession go, it’s certainly a strong one. That said, I think that the 5th book is the last? So we may not have more to go before an actual confession.

This is the second book in a row that felt like it was just marking time, and as always YMMV on the romance between a 15-year-old with the mind of a 30-year-old inside her and an immortal who rescued her as a baby. Still, I’ll soldier on. This was OK.

Reincarnated As the Last of My Kind, Vol. 3

By Kiri Komori and Yamigo. Released in Japan as “Tensei Shitara Zetsumetsu Sunzen no Kishou Shuzokudeshita” on the Shōsetsuka ni Narō website. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Roman Lempert.

(Some spoilers in here for important events in the book, so be warned, in case anyone doesn’t know how much I normally spoil everything anyway.)

This is a fairly straightforward volume in the series, which unfortunately makes it a bit hard to write about. It’s the third of a supposed five, which means it’s the very definition of a transitional volume. Tina wants to be able to live the slow life with her family and friends, but now that we know that she is the chosen one (and indeed is called the Saint many times in this book, much to her annoyance) we know that the scope of things is only going to get larger. And of course she’s far too nice to blow off saving the world because she doesn’t want to, especially when she thinks about everyone she’s grown so close to. Fortunately, her ability to cleanse the zombie monsters is proving to be a big help. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to deal with one of Western fandom’s least favorite things before we go: the book is setting up romance between Tina and Renge, the nigh-immortal who rescued her.

Tina is thirteen, as the chapter titles don’t hesitate to remind us. Of course, she isn’t really – the word ‘reincarnated’ is in the title, and we are occasionally reminded of the Japanese woman who ended up becoming Tina in this world. But she’s still about, say, her mid-40s in terms of actual age. And Renge, of course, is well-nigh immortal. He’s also well-nigh all-powerful as well, as we see towards the end of the book when he gets mildly annoyed and proceeds to destroy an entire army by himself in about ten seconds. And so the fact that the book appears to be shipping them discomfits me in a “Tale of Genji is not my jam” sort of way. To be fair, the book went out of its way to NOT have Renge be the parental figure in Tina’s life, but there’s still a power imbalance here that is going to have to be dealt with in the next two books. Hopefully Tina will continue to be awesome.

This book was good, and I’m not dropping the series or anything, but there were one or two things in it that just rubbed me the wrong way. In addition to Tina’s mild crush on Renge, we also get her meeting her predecessor, the previous savior of the world Akari – also implied to be a reincarnation – and I was hoping they’d have a cute and sweet scene. It’s sweet enough on Akari’s end, but Tina’s jealousy just made me grump. Also, given how much attention was paid to Marcus’ loss of his arm and how he’s managed to life his best life still without it, Tina’s healing of it here also sat wrong with me. It also sat wrong with Marcus, who spends most of the book, like me, wishing he could still be running an inn with his cute, non-savior daughter and, like me, finding that he can’t really stop the progress. Ah well.

There is still the occasional cute scene of recipe/potion making, and a very funny “this is why I hate elves” gag, but for the most part this is the book you read between the second and fourth books. It’s necessary, but it won’t be your favorite.