The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, Vol. 7

By Yuka Tachibana and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Julie Goniwich.

Let’s face it, as much as we love the slow burn romance between Sei and Albert as a fictional couple, in real life things are not that simple. Sei is a hot commodity, and her age does not seem to be holding people back. As such, we are starting to see her have to deal with the world outside of her little research and monster hunting bubble, and make contacts with important families while fending off families who might merely want to use her fame and power to advance their own position. This is a problem with Sei, who has a certain amount of social anxiety, something that we may have forgotten about given how good the kingdom is about keeping her surrounded by people she trusts. That said, if you DO like Sei and Albert, the last quarter of the book has some tasty romance for you. And if you’re reading this book but hate the romance (???), I feel I should inform you that there is a giant zombie dragon.

The ball starts rolling with Liz telling us something that I’ve been expecting to happen since Volume 1: her engagement to Prince Kyle has been called off. Because this was due to his own issues (he’s being exiled to China), she does not suffer the reputation hit that you might expect from a villainess novel, and in fact will soon have suitors beating down her door. And so will Sei, who doesn’t have to get married but does actually have to poke her head out and wave on occasion. She manages to get past the first tea party, with Liz’s mother and other “safe” noble women, and from that comes up with the idea of showing off the regional foods of all the noble territories by having what amounts to a food festival. Which ends up being a much bigger deal than she was expecting…

First of all, in case you are wondering about Ten’yuu from the previous volume, there is an extended interstitial story here giving his backstory and also reassuring us that Sei’s medicine saved the day. The bulk of the book is dedicated to Sei having to try hard to be outgoing and friendly despite the fact that public events exhaust her, and she ends up doing a pretty good job of it. She also goes on an expedition with the First Corps of Royal Knights, the only ones not to go monster hunting with her, though this ends up being an excuse for them to fawn over her. Honestly, the best reward in the book (which hasn’t happened yet) is the discovery that in the domain of Albert’s family, which is Switzerland in all but name, they have… hot springs! Which can even have healing properties, something that startles the family when she mentions this. And, of course, there is Sei and Albert. Who get their cutest moment when Sei pulls a Katarina and falls through the wall of a cave.

This is never going to be exciting and heart-pounding, but it’s always going to be relaxing and nice. I enjoy it.

The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, Vol. 6

By Yuka Tachibana and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Julie Goniwich.

One of the better things about this new volume of The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, aside from waiting till near the end of the book to justify that title, is that it’s committed to trying to figure out how the magic in this world works, rather than just seeing it as a stat. Of course, it IS a stat here, and we get lots of talk of HP and MP, But Sei realizes here that potions and medicine are not the same thing, and that in fact the use of potions may mean that diseases and maladies that might otherwise have been researched and analyzed are completely glossed over. That said, medicine takes years of testing and watching for side effects, and may not be all that potent, whereas potions are a magic cure-all that you just need to drink down. I don’t see one supplanting the other, especially given that Sei manages to invent the bestest potion of them all. The secret? Apples.

The bulk of this book concerns itself with the arrival of a visiting dignitary from the nation where Sei got her Asian food last volume, which continues to be very much not-China. One of the many princes in this country, he is here to study herbs and medicine, and despite the best efforts of the kingdom to hide Sei whenever he’s around, it’s pretty inevitable that they eventually run into each other. While she’s able to conceal her identity as the Saint to a certain degree, she can’t help but find a kindred spirit in the Prince, who really seems to know his herbs… and is also searching for a specific kind of cure. Can Sei manage to figure out what it is that the Prince’s mother has wrong with her? And if not, is there a way that she can weaponize her OPness to save the day?

The cover art shows off Prince Ten’yuu as a handsome bespectacled young man, but what I noticed more was the internal illustration, which showed him with the “spiral coke-bottle glasses” common to Chinese stereotypes in Japan (see Ranma 1/2 for the most famous instance). Fortunately the stereotypes seem to end there, with the main plot instead revolving around him as a sort of villain (everyone’s trying to stop him seeing Sei and figuring out who she is) who eventually becomes sympathetic (when we find the reason he’s there in the first place). It also reminds us that keeping Sei under wraps just is not going to fly as a long-term plan for much longer. Marrying her off to keep her in the Kingdom seems like the obvious answer, but again, she’s still in the ‘blushing maiden’ stage, and Albert is not inclined to push the matter. The politics remain boiling quietly in the background.

This is apparently one of the top ten light novel franchises in Japan right now, and I can see why. It’s solid and has likeable characters, and Sei is overpowered without being boring about it. She puts in the work.

The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent, Vol. 5

By Yuka Tachibana and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Julie Goniwich.

The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent may be an atypical light novel in some ways, but it is still an isekai when you get right down to it, and that means that the isekai cliches are still there to be walked into. Our heroine has ended up in the fantasy equivalent of medieval Europe, as is typical for these sorts of books. She really misses the taste of home, with good old fashioned rice and miso, as is also typical. Generally these sorts of books fall into two types: either our isekai’d Japanese person tries to make rice and miso and the like themselves in the kingdom or they hear about a country far across the ocean that just happens to have the exact foods they’ve been looking for (and sometimes samurai, but hopefully the Saint series isn’t going there). We get the latter here, as Sei happens upon a slow boat from China – or its fantasy version – that gives her the meals she’s been craving for so long.

After discovering not only that her cooking can deliver magical power ups to those who consume it, but also that Turkish Coffee is being imported nearby, Sei is on a cooking tip. She also has to do something about her cosmetics company, which has become so popular that the nobles are taking *too* much interest in it. As a result, she has a new umbrella company founded for future Saint developments. Disguising herself as the daughter of said company’s head (which is, in reality, her) she travels with Johan to a nearby port town to track down the rice she’s wanted to find for so long. Getting a hold of this proves to be an adventure in itself, and features Sei almost giving away who she really is multiple times. Then, back at the capital, she has an even more dangerous event lying in wait… her debutante ball.

After waiting nine months between books 3 and 4, the wait between books 4 and 5 hasn’t even been one month. Which means I have a bit less to say than I normally do, as I just talked about all this. I will note that Sei’s aversion to romance is starting to not only get on people’s nerves, but to be a genuine problem. Albert is trying to be aware of her feelings and courting her at the speed of a glacier, but she’s the Saint, and is also very much of marriageable age. She can’t simply stay in the back of the research lab and make potions for the next ten years. She manages to get through the ball designed to introduce her to society, but is terrified of dancing with any men she doesn’t know. Fortunately, the palace agrees with her – they certainly don’t want other nobles getting a chance to woo her. Given the author does not really seem to care much about the romance in this series, I’m not sure where this plot will go, but it’s what is interesting me most at the moment.

All this plus Sei teaches Aira how to make a magical Coleman Stove. Thankfully, Vol. 6 of The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent is not coming out in December. That said, I’m still interested.