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.

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 9

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.

Last time I mentioned that the series had an actual plot in among all the comedy, and we still see some of that here as well. But its never going to get in the way of the comedy itself, and honestly is likely never going to be the main part of the book unless the series finally comes to an end. As for the actual plot of this book… why, it’s a school festival with a maid cafe, of course. Honestly, I feel that a lot of these books can be summed up by the author flicking through TV channels, landing on some random anime, going “A ha, that’s it!” and moving back to the computer. The fact that the book even tries to justify it only makes it funnier. Add to this a master thief who has reckoned without our dumbass heroes and a king who can’t convince anyone he’s been kidnapped, and there’s no worries on the laugh front.

So yes, a maid cafe. Well, theoretically a maid/butler cafe, but the butler uniforms are stolen for no real reason other than to stick Lloyd and Allan in maid outfits. The idea is mostly Riho’s, thinking she can get some cash for once (which is true, but don’t expect it to stick). The king, meanwhile, wants to put out a huge statue that supposedly grants good fortune to couples who stand next to it. There’s just one problem: the statue’s creator really really does not want it to be shown off, and will happily steal the whole thing to prevent that happening. Oh yes, and there’s a master thief around, though whether he is connected to the missing statue is neither here nor there. What this all amounts to is a lot of school festival schtick and a lot of Lloyd going on not-dates with his two most aggressive girls.

In the two volumes before this, we saw Lloyd get actual character development that stuck, as he has started to realize, if not that he is stronger than everyone else in the world, art least that he IS strong. What’s more, he’s finally showing off that strength in front of people who are NOT the main cast, which means that credit for saving the day, for once, does not go to Allan. Who, frankly, has enough to deal with, given his wife ends up returning and working for the military. Lloyd, meanwhile, is starting to think about his future, not realizing that everyone else already has it planned out for him: military PR, military intelligence, military security, or hell, just marry into royalty. (Marie’s not in the book much at all, but still tends to be top girl by default whenever she’s around, and at least the King now knows who she’s crushing on.)

This is deeply sill, but in a good way, and I look forward to the plot of the next book, which will no doubt be inspired by a refrigerator magnet the author saw the other day.