Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 13

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.

There have been quite a few antagonists over the course of this series, but, with the exception of a few, they’ve mostly been pathetic mooks whose job it is to get humiliated and destroyed by Lloyd. That said, this is not a series that is really interested in killing off its villains, for the most part, so something had to happen to them. Why not a high-security prison? Because, of course, Last Dungeon Kid also enjoys making fun of various types of cliched plotlines, and “prison break story” is certainly one of them. The only problem there is that imagining Lloyd breaking out of prison is… ridiculously easy. He wouldn’t even break a sweat. Especially if he’s not even aware that it’s a prison at all. Ah well, it’ll lead to some good comedy. Well, right until the end, of course, when Eve makes sure we have a dramatic twist.

Rinko and Alka are trying to research all the evil things Eve has been doing, and have noticed that she seems to be getting a lot of experimental corpses from somewhere. A likely place is Hell’s Lock, the prison for those who commit the worst crimes in the kingdom. Clearly they need to send in someone to investigate, and they do… but somehow, because this is that sort of series, Lloyd ends up taking their place. Unaware he’s investigating, or even in a prison, Lloyd thinks this is essentially a training camp for mental fortitude. The evil warden does not take kindly to his cavalier attitude, and decides to torture and kill him on the sly, because (of course) the warden is the one supplying Eve with bodies. Still, killing Lloyd may prove a challenge…

This took a while to get going, like a lot of books in this series. It tends to run on “farce” principles, and thus is always better when everything is fast and chaotic, rather than providing setup. It didn’t help that I had honestly forgotten a few of the recurring villains, though some of them came back to me more easily than others. (Phyllo’s continued rage at the man who destroyed her family is both in character and very funny. She also gets the best joke of the book.) That said, as I noted last time, there is still a vague serious component to this series that occasionally rears its head. The warden’s sudden realization of who he really is is somewhat chilling, but it’s Eve taking off the bunny suit to reveal her face that’s the payoff. Well, OK, it’s probably the payoff for next book, which I assume will be Selen-based. I also liked Lloyd’s rage and fury, which given his normal attitude was quite refreshing.

All in all, a pretty good volume. More madcap next time, maybe?

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).