Original Story: Kisetsu Morita
Illustrations By: Benio
Translation: Jasmine Bernhardt
What They Say:
And if this world couldn’t get any weirder, now we have UFOs – er, well, UFCs? Honestly, stuff like this should barely faze us by now, but my daughters are determined to get to the bottom of this mystery! What will it turn out to be …? In the meantime, I spread the joy of rice-bases cuisine, go ghostbusting with some of our phantasmal friends (terrifying!), and set off across the sparkling seas to find a legendary sage!
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
They had come to the southern part of the kingdom to gather herbs, however instead of the normally energetic Flatorte which they had come to know, it was within this warmer region where the blue dragon had become uncharacteristically lethargic, her tail drooping considerably and the girl herself moving rather slowly. Laika was showing no mercy in her critical annoyance for this bothersome girl, with all remembering the conversation they had before leaving, the warning the red dragon had given to her fellow reptilian that she would not like the area since it will make her tired, and yet this foolish one had nothing better to do, so she volunteered to come with them. And yet her pride would not allow admitting defeat to the sun and humidity, even if Azusa was also feeling the effects, the weather reminiscent of Japanese summers, but there was no shade so they had nowhere to run, even as Laika did not hold back in berating her suffering and not having any patience. It was then when Flatorte commented she would feel better if she could get something to eat, with her ravenous competitor finally agreeing with this common subject by implying they could fortify their bodies against the heat with some food, allowing all to escape to the nearby town in order to find a cheap restaurant.
While none of them knew the cuisines of the region, it did not matter to either of these gluttonous rivals when they looked over the menu, with Laika calmly remarking she will order everything on one page, and the ever-competitive Flatorte boldly stating she would take all from the opposing, with neither worried about calories, and yet the server, as usual, was shocked by the amount of food the two people would be outrageously consuming. Although they were told about an eating contest the establishment held on a regular basis, neither one was concerned since all they wanted was to eat, and when told each dish would be served with rice and soup, that only made the blue dragon boldly declare all she wanted was a lot. When their food finally arrived along with an extra table to hold all of the plates, Laika of course ate with impeccable manners while Flatorte made violent and unusual noises during each mouthful, but both were unaccustomed to eating the foreign grain, with the blue dragon commenting about the stickiness and the red dragon observing bread was normally their staple in the colder north. As Azusa recalled her own history with rice, she could not but think these girls would also be better suited with this more filling carbohydrate than ordinary bread, but in her three hundred years in this world, she would still probably pick the risen food, as would the rest of the family, so if she wanted to make a change in their diet, the Witch of the Highlands had to make something which needed rice. So after the monumental meal was done, the ever-resourceful woman made the announcement they would go to a store that sold rice, and after stocking up various varieties and a specialized cooking pot, it was decided the family would be able to switch out between either side, even if the greedy Flatorte thought they would be eating both in the very near future.
Since I first started reading about the slice-of-life excursions of Azusa and her family in I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, it is the randomness of Morita-sensei’s stories which have made the series so enjoyable in watching these three-hundred-year-old witch and former office worker adjust to her new isekai life, and yet at the same time, it is the unpredictably of these adventures which make their continuing daily life an odd addiction which is still pleasurable after all this time. And yet at the same time, it is this erratic behavior by which the narrative is crafted around which creates anticipated tales that are uncomfortably stale when compared to earlier volumes of the same series, molding disappointment when the amusement we once cherished becomes formulaic in its creation, such as trying to introduce Japanese tastes to a foreign world. Morita-sensei’s early tales had a rough foundation from which future stories were launched from, namely allowing the Witch of the Highland’s family to indulge in activities that involved most of them in some capacity, but as of late, it seems the chapters are more focused around certain characters and only naming others in passing or ignoring them completely. While we can understand this is supposed to be a slice-of-life comedic melodrama, it is a shame to neglect those same people who made the series successful, particularly when your favorite characters are neglected in lieu of new people who seem added every few books and allowed to shine while others are relegated to the surrounding shadows.
This is the case for this volume, with each chapter concentrating on select members of the family from the House in the Highlands to play with Azusa, then ignoring them so that others from outside may have a chance to participate, all due to the obscure reasoning of the trip being too dangerous for children like Falfa, Shalsha or Sandra, and yet the excursion becomes too silly to take itself seriously, making the reader wonder why a certain character was needed aside from becoming a comedic foil for the current misadventures. While the dragons and twins may have their own silly stories to entertain faithful readers, it is the crazy menagerie of auxiliary actors which make long time fans wonder why so many people were added to the opening role call, essentially watering down the core values of the familial bond between the starting cast, now leading to specialized roles that only serve as points of curious and questionable amusement.
I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level may have been humorous when the series first began, but as too new characters were added to the cast, the focus on reader favorites has taken a step back in order to create predictable tales that lack the warmth between a mother, her children, and their immediate family, now substituted for meaningless laughs with people who are only passing through Azusa’s life. The chapters themselves are beginning to lack originality, relying too much on bringing familiar foods or ideas into this strange world in order to make the stories relatable to long-time readers, but at the same time those same people can feel the frustration grow as they almost emit an almost audible groan when a tiresome concept is introduced to these surprised characters. While the spin-off story Red Dragon Academy for Girls may only be used as a closing for this unsuccessful volume, it is this type of rewarding tale concentrating on our ever-reliable and honest Laika that allows the book to conclude on a cheery note, making us wonder if more such enjoyable adventures may be on the near horizon or will we be forced to endure more lackluster adventures with hollow characters, all in order to find the shining treasure buried deep within.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 24, 2022