Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement, Vol. 2

By FUNA and Touzai. Released in Japan by K Lanove Books. Released in North America by Sol Press. Translated by Lukas Ruplys.

When I reviewed the first volume of this light novel… 19 months ago… I remarked that it was relatively mild in terms of the eccentricities of its author, FUNA, and their other works, I Shall Survive Using Potions! and Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average!. I regret that now. This, the second novel in the 80,000 Gold books, is absolutely bananas. Mile and Kaoru wish they were this overpowered. Our heroine stops a war using modern artillery, gains a domain of her own to rule, and sets about ruling it, all the while flitting back and forth between this fantasy world and modern-day Japan. Can she keep it a secret? LOL. Not at all, and by the end of the book dragons are now “real” and Mitsuha is telling readers about the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine. The good news is that the book remains a lot of fun provided you don’t believe in gritty realism, and Mitsuha has toned down her fourth-wall breaking tendencies… somewhat… so is a far more tolerable narrator.

When we last saw Mitsuha she was running her little shop that sells shampoo and other luxury items. But that’s more a job for the heroine of her other book; Mitsuha has bigger things to do, even if she really doesn’t want to. She befriends the princess, who is a cutie and also loves to escape her guards, and from there the king. This means that she’s also called in when the country goes to war, and after an assassination attempt wounds her and mortally wounds Alexis, Mitsuha decides to stop holding back and calls out her friendly mercenary friends to destroy the enemy army (with has orcs, ogres, and teenage dragons) with modern-day tanks and rocket launchers. Her reward for all this is becoming a viscountess and gaining her own territory, which she spends most of the rest of the book sprucing up. And if that means bringing in experts from Japan to help her with the harder stuff… and indeed just selling the rights to the world in auction… well, that’s how Mitsuha rolls.

In the first book there was a great scene where Mitsuha, talking with her “newly adopted” family, suddenly remembers her dead parents and starts to cry without realizing it. There’s a similar scene here, after Mitsuha is shot with a crossbow and Alexis ends up taking several other crossbow bolts to defend her, where she just has a complete freakout. The author is good at this sort of scene (Potions has also used them), and it helps to un-smug Mitsuha, which is occasionally needed because most of the time she is pretty smug. I was rather startled at how fast her “I can travel to a fantasy world and back” thing became public, though at least she’s managed to hide that it’s “Mitsuha Yamano” who is doing thing. (This also leads to the funniest joke in the book, where the merc squad nicknames her Nanoha, because there’s no kill like overkill.) In between these parts there’s a lot of ‘building my little fiefdom’ sections, which are not as exciting but are fun for those who like Realist Hero and its ilk.

The other good news is between the first volume and this one, Sol Press learned to format digital books properly. As a result, there are no issues with the interstitial art and everything looks fine. As for the book itself, again, if overpowered – LUDICROUSLY overpowered – heroines annoy you, stay well away. But I found it relaxing, goofy fun, despite the very high body count. Mitsuha may be nicknamed Nanoha, but she’s not “befriending” her enemies.

Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement, Vol. 1

By FUNA and Touzai. Released in Japan by Kodansha. Released in North America by Sol Press. Translated by Lukas Ruplys.

This is the third of FUNA’s series to be brought over to the West, but it was apparently the first one serialized (though they do say this and Potions debuted almost at the same time). Having now read all three, there’s no question why Make My Abilities Average! got the attention and the forthcoming anime adaptation: it’s the best of then. Potions gets by on Kaoru being somewhat terrifying rather than cute and plucky, and both it and MMAA have the heroines having to deal with situations where they’re dealing with permanently being in another world, even if they’re loaded up with ridiculous cheats. Mitsuha, though she appears to “die” and be reborn in a fantasy world, in fact has it the best of all of them. As a result, the danger level in this first book is fairly low, and it’s not as interesting as a result. That said, if you enjoy FUNA’s ridiculously OP heroines, there’s a lot to like here.

Mitsuha starts off the book pretty badly, to be honest. She’s not dead like Mile or Kaoru, but her parents and older brother are, leaving her alone and dealing with the fallout. One day at a lookout point, she’s attacked by some young creeps (she’s 18 but looks 12, in the best anime cliche tradition) and they accidentally push her off the edge onto the rocky cliffs below. She wakes up in a forest, and after walking herself to collapse finds herself in a rustic cabin… indeed, in a rustic world. Eventually she discovers that she can transport herself between this world and Japan, and, thanks to some friendly deus ex machinas who explain why she isn’t dead, she also can speak any language and has a healing factor. So what’s a young, recently orphaned young woman to do? Why, earn a pile of gold coins in the fantasy world, convert it over in Japan, and live a life of ease! Except she’s a FUNA heroine, so adventure and ridiculousness is bound to follow.

As with Mile, and especially Kaoru, there is a risk of Mitsuha coming off as uber-smug, especially when she’s doing things like bribing mercenaries to teach her how to use knives and guns, or showing off her general store with amazing inventions such as store-bought shampoo. (There’s also FAR more intrustive fourth-wall breaking in this book.) This being the case, I thought the best scene in the book is when she’s ingratiating herself with the local noble family, all of whom are taken in by her sob story (adapted for the fantasy world), and she gets carried away and calls the patriach “Father”… then starts to unconsciously cry. It’s a reminder that the author really does remember the character backstories, and this is a young woman who recently lost her entire family, who appeared to be pretty loving from what we hear (though the brother was a bit of an otaku). It’s a nice bit of grounding that helps you smile and nod when you see Mitsuha use dry ice and the power of FISH to wow everyone at a debutante ball.

This is my first Sol Press purchase. The translation was good, but the digital formatting was merely eh. They need to figure out how to make the interstitial pictures be one page on their own, rather than having text on the same page. That said, if you’re looking for silly heroines, and have run out of Make My Abilities Average!, this is a pretty good purchase.