Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, Vol. 8

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.

Because this series is such a broad comedy, I sometimes forget that it is actually trying to have a plot too. There’s more plot in this book than in any of the previous others, as we get a lot more information… well, OK, a little more information… about the Japanese research group that apparently kickstarted whatever this world is, and where they are now. Unsurprisingly, there’s mostly a bunch of loud awkward guys, even if here they’re powerful demon lords. On a more disturbing note, Alka continues to be the gift that keeps on giving even when we don’t want her to. The revelation of her past with the hero was fine. Even hearing that Lloyd is essentially a replacement for the man she once loved, I mean, at least that explains the obsession. But in a series filled with thirsty women, Alka remains the thirstiest, with a line here that made my jaw drop. It’s not welcome.

Despite the cliffhanger from the last book, this volume has the least amount of Lloyd to date, as until the very end he’s reduced to simply standing around and reacting to others. The volume essentially consists of two things: 1) Allan muddling his way through life despite everyone misunderstanding him, and 2) the actual competition to see which clan gets to be the leader. The first part is amusing inasmuch as Allan is a schlub – if you like schlubs trying to blurt something out but failing, you’ll enjoy it. He does gain a demon lord. And a wife. Meanwhile, the competition is where most of the volume’s broad comedy comes out, as we manage to work in swimsuits, cavalry battles, loincloths and farming. The final battle is Allan vs. Lloyd, which Allan is pretty sure he will not survive, but it’s OK, as it’s interrupted by – I’m not making this up – a GIANT CRAB BATTLE where you must hit its weak point for massive damage.

Most of the forward movement in this book happens away from our main cast, who pretty much all act as you would expect them to. The supporting cast, though, are more interesting. Half of them are still recovering their memories, or simply getting used to being impossibly powerful. Alka and Eug are still on opposite sides, though it’s now being made clear that there’s someone trying to play both sides against each other. And we also meet a new player in the game at the very end, who (as with damn near everyone in the cast) is accidentally awoken by Lloyd, who just wants to use the bathroom. Despite all this, there’s a lot going on but the book feels fairly light. The setup comes out in odd bits and bobs, and the main plot is so “wacky” that a lot of it bounced off me.

Oh well, at least this arc is over, though given Allan is married now I suspect we’ll be seeing the newly introduced cast stick around for the next arc. In the meantime, this works best if you don’t think about it.

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.