Tuesday, November 3, 2020

REVIEW: Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, Vol. 2 (book) by FUNA, illustrated by Itsuki Akata, translated by Diana Taylor

Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is Japanese fantasy, specifically isekai. It's licensed by Seven Seas Entertainment. I bought my copy brand new.


The beginning of this book reminds readers that the princess Mile (who was then Adele) saved is still looking for her and thinks that she's the avatar of a goddess. The bulk of the story has nothing to do with that, however. Instead, the focus is on Mile's new life as a hunter, taking on jobs with her all-girl party, the Crimson Vow.

The girls decide to start taking on more difficult jobs in order to test their skills and gain more experience. Just figuring out which situations are difficult for them and which are easy is helpful. However, then Reina proposes that they gain experience fighting human opponents - fighting monsters is one thing, but what if they can't bring themselves to go all out against other humans when necessary? And so they find a promising looking merchant escort job.

Volume 1's underwear and chest size conversations irked me, so I was glad that those pretty much disappeared in this volume. It was nice to see the girls figure out how to deal with a client who attempted to cheat them, and I liked that they were focused on becoming better hunters, supporting each other, and working through things as a group. Another party of relatively young guys tried to convince them to join them, and it wasn't even vaguely tempting for any of them. The complete lack of romance (so far) is another way this series stands out from a lot of other recent light novel releases.

Unfortunately, everything in this volume was either bland or predictable (or both). I could see the revelations about Reina's past coming from a mile away. None of the battles were particularly interesting, and the escort job was downright boring and felt like it could have come from just about any light novel series featuring the adventures of an RPG-like party. 

This series seems to have achieved Mile's goal: it's truly average. The writing is relatively decent, and the third person POV is a blessing in the sea of first person POV light novels. None of the characters really stand out, but none of them are particularly annoying either. The premise feels like it's starting to take a back seat to the generic fantasy storyline and setting - no signs yet that the author plans to do anything interesting with the fact that this world's "magic" is actually the result of highly advanced nanotechnology.

I just scanned the descriptions and some of the reviews of the later volumes in the series, and I didn't see anything that intrigued or excited me. It's just a very average fantasy series, albeit with a super-powered heroine rather than a super-powered hero. I don't own any other volumes in this series and don't think I'll be buying any more.


A few pages of full-color illustrations, black-and-white illustrations throughout, an afterword by the author announcing that the series with being adapted as a manga, and a side story in which Mile takes on a solo job as a tutor.

The illustrations prompted me to nickname the girls the "Murder Marshmallows" - the style is very sparkly and cute, which was occasionally at odds with the way the girls acted, killing monsters left and right, advocating for bandit killing (Reina), and cheerfully leaving a merchant who tried to force them to work for free to potentially die (he didn't, but still).

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