Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 12

By Toshio Satou and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shonen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

This is a series that is a broad comedy, and is usually content to be just that. The characters are hilarious but also pretty much unrealistic, and the plot will always take a back seat to a joke. That said, there have been a few moments of drama in the books, usually involving Alka’s generation, and it’s the same here. In particular, it’s Eug. There was one scene in the book that had be basically recoiling and going “Jesus Christ”. Surprisingly, it was not the part where she dropped off weapons so horrifying that her soldiers are all appalled at the very though of using them, or her inevitable downfall after being manipulated by Eve. It’s where she gets so angry at the thought of Lloyd that she accidentally breaks her own fingers from clenching her fist too hard. That’s terrifying, and it gives the scenes afterwards a bit of pathos.

It’s time for military exercises, as everyone is posted to a different department. That said, our boy Lloyd is so over-powerful that he’s posted to handing out food to the soldiers, mostly as that also helps to avoid one department getting an advantage over the other. Unfortunately for the country, Eug’s nation has decided (with a little help from Big Bad Eve), that now is the perfect time to invade for real. They have traitors in Azami’s forces. They have really powerful tac nukes. They have soldiers who have recently been given delicious hot meals… by Lloyd? Wait, what the hell is Lloyd doing aiding and abetting the enemy? Unfortunately, Marie has an even bigger problem: some hussy in a hood is the new military advisor, and she’s taking the queen’s place in her father’s heart!

A series like this advances its plot bit by bit, so it’s no surprise that only three real things of consequence happen here. The first is that Rinko reveals herself to Marie, which is mostly played for comedy, but allows the joke to not get stale. The second is the revelation of what actually happened to all the Earth scientists, which turns out to be totally different from what we thought. And indeed what most of them thought as well, particularly Eug, whose repressed guilt over the population of Earth is what allows her to be so easily manipulated. And the third, of course, is the removal of Eug from the board, though I expect that will be temporary. Eve is now very definitely the main antagonist, and it will be interesting to see how things go. Oh yes, it was also nice to see Lloyd essentially lose here, and even get injured enough he had to be carried off. That’s a rarity in these books about Lloyd being basically invincible.

So yeah, a decent entry in the series, though I admit Marie’s patheticness is starting to wear on me. The author knows she’s #1 in the harem stakes, but is doing too good a job of knocking her back.

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 11

By Toshio Satou and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shonen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

While I would not say that the cast of Last Dungeon Kid are as bad as Seinfeld, a series where the creators had as one of their series rules “no hugging, no learning”, it is certainly true that any time one of the characters almost reaches a point where they will come to their senses and mature as a person, they immediately backslide horribly for comedic effect. Usually that person has been Marie, and it’s Marie here as well. She’s reaping what she’s sown, as Lloyd is now convinced that Marie is the LAST person that could possibly be the kingdom’s princess, mostly thanks to what a giant disaster she is. A sensible person might think that they should shape themselves up so that Lloyd might be able to see them as royalty. Marie, instead, realizes that her being a disaster means Lloyd is too attached to her to fall in love with anybody, so she doubles down on being terrible. It’s… well, they’re comedy types, Harold.

As the country prepares for possible war, our core military cast are going around to various guilds to make sure that they’ll be on the right side when the fighting starts. This includes the adventurer’s guild whose mysterious leader has been absent for years but who returns the moment Lloyd shows up. It also includes the maritime guild, whose head has been fighting with the King for years and years, apparently due to the disappearance of the Queen. The King is trying to move things forward by having a big party where he’ll reveal the return of Princess Maria, and Marie has even agreed to it, in a desperate effort to get Lloyd to believe her. Sadly, when informed that the princess loves Lloyd, he becomes desperate to find the REAL princess… so he can reject her!

I wasn’t kidding when I said that stuff happens immediately after Lloyd gets involved. When he walks in, the plot moves forward. And yes, there is still a plot. Indeed, we get an extended prologue that shows us Alka’s past from before this world’s transformation, and get closer to figuring out who was behind it and what they actually want. We also see the return of the mystery woman who Lloyd met in the “bathroom” he found several books ago. As it happens, she’s deeply tied to both the Kingdom and Alka’s past… but of course she’s also a bit of a disaster, because there really are no 100% serious characters in this book. It reminds me of reading Urusei Yatsura or Ranma 1/2. You keep wanting things to be taken more seriously, for drama, for a bit of romantic resolution. But you can get that in other series that are far less funny than this. This series is here to give us laughs, and though they may be rueful laughs most of the time, they’re still there.

That said, we have to wait another three months while this series’ narrator goes off to do his other job as narrator of Tearmoon Empire. Till then, this is always a fun read, especially if you’ve just read two awful books in a row (like I had).

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 10

By Toshio Satou and Nao Watanuki. Released in Japan as “Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shonen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Cunningham.

If this series were not as successful as it has been, I could easily see this being the final volume. It has a final volume sort of feel to it – no, it doesn’t wrap up anything romance wise, but if you think this series is going to end with him picking one of the girls I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. It does, however, wrap up almost all the plots that we’ve had bubbling under the last few books when the series hasn’t been trying to be wacky comedy (which is to say, rarely). Lloyd’s dark older brother figure Shouma finally is forced to realize that he’s projecting onto Lloyd heavily, and that sometimes people can in fact be nice. We get the backstory of Sou, which ties into the backstory we’ve seen before, with Alka and company in the past. And we get Lloyd being the equivalent of a high school student, unable to fill out that career survey.

The career survey is actually hitting cadets a little earlier than usual. mostly because the King is trying to figure out a way to get Lloyd and his daughter together – which might work better if Lloyd ever actually figured out that Marie is the princess. He does not. He’s also very unhappy with the survey, though, mostly as he’s not sure what he wants to do with his life. Cue a series of internships, each of which are basically an excuse for shenanigans from the entire cast. Unfortunately, while this is going on, Sou has bribed/blackmailed a noble into helping with what appears to be a curse on the military city, causing people to lose control of their emotions and lash out in a rage. Can our heroes figure out what’s behind this and stop it? And what job is Lloyd best suited for anyway?

I’m always a fan of times in broad comedies where the characters show a glimpse of self-awareness. This is hard to come by in this series, especially with everyone’s favorite yandere Selen. So it pleased me greatly when she got my favorite moment in the book, where she explains to Shouma (whose mental breakdown has been nudged along by Sou into “kill his friends before they betray him”) that the fact that she’s completely obsessed with Lloyd has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he was strong enough to undo the belt curse, or even that he saved her at all, but that he treated her like a normal person. Again, Lloyd is nice to a fault, and not in a standard light novel potato sort of way, but genuinely altruistic. Even Riho, who confesses she *was* planning to fleece Lloyd, admits that went out the window the more time she spent with him. He’s just a good kid.

So we’ve dealt with almost everything… maybe. We still have the queen who likes to dress in a rabbit costume, and I think she’s the next major arc. Till then, this book is always funny (particularly the narrative voice), but also has some slight narrative heft this time around.