Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 14

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.

I was somewhat surprised when I read the afterword to find that the 15th volume of this series is supposed to be the last. Honestly, this felt like the sort of series that could go forever, even if it did feel like it was wrapping up all the plot points. But here we are, with the penultimate volume, and the focus this time is definitely on our main Big Bad, Eve. She’s always been a fairly dislikable figure, even in the bunny suit, and the prologue we get here hammers home why she’s far more loathsome than anyone else in the cast could ever hope to be. That said, we get the next best thing: to see the narrative treat her almost as badly as the other characters in this series. (I say almost. Marie is still the worst. Sorry, Marie.) Almost every single woman in this cast has humiliated themselves because they’re in love with Lloyd, after all…

A prologue gives us the full story of what we already know: Eve has possessed the body of Vritra’s daughter Asako, who has the same incurable disease Eve has, and has been running amuck in said body since the very start of this. Now she’s blackmailing Vritra to finish her new, adult body… though when it’s finally revealed, everyone notes it’s a bit too bling for anyone to really appreciate. In the meantime, a summit is being held to accuse Eve of her crimes, held in Eve’s own country… except the king and queen are sending Lloyd and Maria as their representatives, knowing that Lloyd is a secret weapon that can defeat almost any evil plan. That said, I don’t think anyone expected this evil plan to go off the rails in QUITE this way…

So yeah, this is one of those books that’s eclipsed by its best scene, which overwhelms the rest. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some funny stuff here, and even a bit of drama, but the interrogation of Eve, and her responses to same, is pitch-perfect. Eve, of course, is baffled that she’s behaving this way, possession or no, but it makes sense: inside her rests a 17-year-old girl whose dream it is to be rescued by a prince on a white horse, and Lloyd ticks every single box imaginable. Of course love was going to come into the equation. And I appreciate that it’s the possession talking, because that’s what makes it funny rather than creepy – Eve herself may be influenced by this, but when push comes to shove, she literally concusses herself to stop it and move on with her evil plan.

So yeah, now Eve has a new superpowerful body, looks like she stepped out of a Donki, and is headed off to take out Alka and her village of oveerpowered superpeople with her anti-superperson serum. I’d be worried, except, well, Lloyd. Also, who (snicker) will Lloyd end up with (guffaw) in the end? (Come on, we know this is not resolving jack.)

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.