Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 7

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 volume attempts to answer that dangerous question: what happens when the new person’s goal is to break the premise of the series? We met Anzu in the last volume, and here she makes good on her threat to get Lloyd to her kingdom. Unfortunately, well, Lloyd is Lloyd, as the main cast points out. So she decides to train him in such a way that he gains confidence ANYWAY, even though he’s already ludicrously strong. Unfortunately, as Maria breaks the fourth wall to point out, Anzu ends up being yet another comedy character whose goal is to scream loudly whenever Lloyd does something beyond all human ken again. What’s more, he keeps accidentally breaking her country. And even more amusingly, he keeps accidentally breaking the villain’s plans. Over and over again. It’s Lloyd’s gimmick, and thus you can’t really train him out of it. If he realized what he’s really like, the series ends… at least till the last few pages.

We begin with Anzu, in disguise, heading to the Azami Kingdom… and accidentally running into the entire cast and all of their bad character traits, including mistaking Allan for a hero, Merthopan’s dangerously flappy loincloth, Selen and Micone competing to see who can be the creepiest, and Riho trying to disguise her tragic flaw: donuts. Once we actually get the main cast (minus Micona, thank God, and also minus Alka – again, thank God) to the Ascorbic Domain, various plot-related things happen. There are two other factions trying to overthrow Anzu, each of whom is, of course, a different anime cliche; it turns out that this is where Eug is now, and she’s got a new Very Clever Scheme to cause war between all the countries; Lloyd proves impossible to train; and, most importantly, Phyllo is at a loose end after the events of the previous volume, and it’s making her fighting weak.

Aside from the last few pages mentioned above, Phyllo was the best part of this book. She’s depressed and angry with herself through most of the volume, as everyone and their brother is pointing out how she no longer has a purpose and it’s showing in her now very readable moves. The problem is that the events of the last book were good, right? Her mother isn’t dead, her family is whole again… why does this leave a big hole inside her? The resolution of this is very organic and feels very much like Phyllo, who is not really a character given over to long tormented inner monologues. Seeing her snap out of it is great – and, of course, only adds to the love polycule. As for those last few pages, let’s just say that someone actually manages to find the right way to train Lloyd and give him advice that works. It not only makes him even stronger, but he gets told the right way to build confidence. It’s honestly fantastic, I cheered.

That said, do I think it will last? No. No, I do not. But we will get at least one more volume before we have to go back to the default settings. In the meantime, this book is definitely recommended for Phyllo fans, and fans of the other characters should enjoy it as well. Well, unless you’re a Micona fan. In which case, WHY?

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 6

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.

The previous volume showed us that there really is a long-running plot arc to this book, and gave us hints that it might actually be headed in that direction. The trouble is that even the people who are trying to manipulate the plot the way they want are big goofy flakes. Our two villains are mostly big Lloyd stans, especially in this book, where you get the sense that they came up with the entire plot not to force Lloyd into his hero role but to get Lloyd’s autograph. As for Alka, we do here a BIT more about her past here, but again it takes a back seat to shanigans… as does Alka, who is thankfully absent for most of this book, though I give her credit for showing up at the end and getting the best part of the book to herself. As for the main cast… there’s here to make movies.

Despite the fact that normally technology would not be nearly advanced enough to do this, there is a burgeoning film industry in the next country over. Sending the army to investigate by disguising them as extras and crew, Lloyd is also looking a bit older. After several comments on his cuteness have him depressed about his manly status, Alka gives him a rune that makes him look in his mid-20s… and SMOKING HOT, to the pleasure of everyone in the room. As for the movie itself, the director is the King, who has a few secrets, and the lead actor… has quite a few more. Then there’s the fact that the lead actress seems very familiar to some of the cast, and also the assassin who seems to want to kill Lloyd, though clearly against her will. Can all this converge and make sense?

Well, yes, it can. It makes sense in a wacky comedy plot sense, but it all does come together. The best thing about Last Dungeon Kid is it will not ever back down from being silly. Even titles like Bakarina have the occasional dramatic moment slipped into the book to make the reader tear up, but this book subverts al that with the finest comedy timing. Fortunately, the comedy is pretty good. Alka and Maria are absent most of the book, so there’s less humiliating fanservice this time around, and Selen is honestly behaving herself as much as she ever will. The exception to this is Micona, who I almost wish was still possessed by evil, as her one-note attacks on anyone who gets near Maria are the most tiresome part of the book. I did also enjoy the serious subplot in the book all the way through, including when it had its seriousness yanked out from under it and mocked.

At the start of the book we also met a lot of kings and nation leaders, and next time around we’ll see mo0re of them. For the moment, though, this is quite good comedy, especially if you don’t expect anything more from it, like romantic resolution. That’s not happening.

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 5

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 not the final volume of this series – not even remotely, as Vol. 12 just came out in Japan last month – but you might be forgiven for thinking this after reading the volume itself, which has the feel of an “and the adventure continues” sort of ending. Our heroes go to visit the Last Dungeon Boonies themselves, Lloyd’s hometown, and find it’s just as ridiculous as you’d expect. We not only get the return of the minor villain of the 4th book, still brainwashed, but also the return of the minor villain of the second book, who is recovering nicely from being evil. Our two major villains show up, joined by a third, and we get all their backstories and reasons for what they’re doing. And we get hints of the real background of Alka, and it’s… surprising. There’s also a big ol’ melee battle at the end, with Lloyd arriving in the Nick of Time. But again, not the last volume.

As noted above, the main cast all decide to go back to Kunlun, mostly to do something about fixing Vritra, still in cursed belt form. Of course, some folks may have alternate reasons to go there, be it to get valuable materials and sell them for cash (Riho), meet Lloyd’s family, get their blessing, marry him, have children, and have more children (Selen), or finding new and exciting ways to GET STRONGER! (Phyllo). After making their way there via the magic portal of Alka’s friend Eug, a dwarf who’s been around as long as Alka has. Once there, they find their old military instructor and the minor villain of the FIRST book, who was exiled there as punishment and is now very strong and also very weird. It’s all pretty muuch fun and games, with lots of laughs. Then we get to the second half of the book…

I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of Lloyd’s “at home, I’m the weakest” claim, and despite the townsfolk showing off such things as being shot out of a cannon to go to the nearby mountaintop, I’m even more suspicious after this book. Both the good guys and the bad guys see Lloyd has a destiny, though how they want to shape that destiny is another story. Fortunately, Lloyd is as innocent as a lamb, and thus unlikely to really be seriously manipulated by bad guys. I’m also impressed with Riho, who honestly should get a spinoff series where she’s the detective, and Selen, who shows that when she drops her yandere act she too can be quite clever and courageous. Phyllo doesn’t get quite as much, mostly as she’s the stoic type, but I was amused at her finding out exactly how much she needs to train… and then discovering that the Kunlun folks use that training for morning calisthenics. Oh yes, and Allan gets to be the butt monkey of the series AND also get everyone thinking – again – that he’s the real hero here. Honestly, he sort of is. We can’t all be Lloyd.

This was probably the strongest volume in the series to date, tying together a bunch of storylines and also leaving room for more to be developed. That said, there’s still one main reason to follow this series – everyone is a wacky parody. For those who love laffs, spelled exactly that way.