Last time on No Game No Life, Sora and Shiro- through a series of events so complicated that even the author had trouble describing it well- manage to bring their impossible game against Jibril to a draw, and defeat the Old Deus. The Old Deus is christened by Sora as Holou, and she joins his harem. However, the volume ends with some very robot-y dialogue… Hm, I wonder who that could be? *cough* Ex Machina *cough*
This volume starts with Sora struggling to exploi- I mean- turn Holou into a pop idol that’ll make the people love them. Holou’s medieval dialogue combined with her third-person perspective and philosophical-speak make her a fun and adorable new character. She’s no Izuna or Jibril, but I still love her.
However, she doesn’t get the spotlight in this volume. As previously foreshadowed, a surviving unit of Ex Machina show up, and Sora is pushed to his limits as he must defend his most prized possession: HIS VIRGINITY. That’s right. These robots show up to straight up have sex with Sora. He doesn’t want that, so he must fight for his own sexual rights! (Thank goodness he isn’t female, or else this would make a lot of people absolutely LIVID)
This group of Ex Machina is technically one person, but two of the twelve are given individual names: a homosexual butler robot named Einzig, and a cute maid robot named Emir-Eins. Both are hilarious and make this volume just as fun as the previous ones.
But of course, as per usual, the game they play is absurdly convoluted and the multi-layered mind games once again go beyond suspension of disbelief. In Layman’s Terms: The events in this volume’s battle make no sense. While not as grandiose, or as long, as Holou’s fight, it’s still absurd. I love absurd, but the message boards of Dr. Stone and basically any battle shounen series show that absurd is not for everyone.
This volume is perfectly good, however I am concerned with the future of this series. Wikipedia only lists one volume after this, published last year, while MAL lists the series as still ongoing. I know that series getting delayed isn’t uncommon, but I haven’t really heard any news about NGNL in particular. This is currently my favorite LN series of all time, but if I can’t actually finish it, that title will go to something else. Also, the mean cliffhanger ending of this volume, which seems to explicitly imply an endgame development, might never get resolved. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!
Last time on Cautious Hero, a goddess named Rista, is tasked with saving the S-Ranked world, Gaeabrande, from a Demon Lord McGee. She summons Seiya Ryuuguuin from the real world. He’s got great stats, but he’s too damn cautious. He immediately causes problems as he uses top-tier attacks on slimes (causing collateral damage in the process), crafting equipment out of Rista’s hair (without her permission), and pouring holy water on everyone (in case they’re undead enemies). And after every accomplishment, he goes back to the gods’ realm to train (and push other gods to the brink of exhaustion). But hey, he’s already defeated TWO of the Final Boss’ direct subordinates. Afterwards, two dragon kids, named Mash and Elulu, join his party. Naturally, they’re useless. But when the dragon people try to sacrifice Elulu to form some Super-Holy-Dragon-Sword, Seiya puts a stop to it, not because he wants Elulu as a waifu, but because he needs her to carry his massive inventory of stuff that he might need. However, doing this supposedly costs him the ability to defeat the Final Boss, but I got a feeling that he’ll get by as is.
This volume introduces a number of new faces, including Rosalie, the daughter of an allegedly-super-powerful warrior who is also the emperor. She is the exact opposite of Seiya, i.e. a dumb, reckless brat. This creates some interesting interactions between her and Seiya.
Speaking of Seiya, he gets even more training in this volume, this time from the archery goddess, Mitis. While that goes in… a direction, Mash and Elulu end up training, and obtain more abilities that might actually allow them to contribute to battle. However, I still find their personalities to be pretty boring. Valkyrie also gets some screentime, and further cements herself as the Best Girl of the series, but alas, her time spent is pretty short despite her presence on the volume’s cover. Cerceus and Adenela, the gods Seiya trained under last time, have changed a LOT in this volume; with the former being reduced to making cakes for a living and the latter becoming a crazy yandere.
But man oh man… that climax. We get to see Seiya’s backstory here, and I honestly feel kind of mixed about it. It makes him very reminiscent of generic isekai protagonists… but like I said in my previous review, Cautious Hero isn’t about subverting isekai tropes, but following them exrtra-stupid-hardcore. Although the volume ends on a good note, establishing the premise of the second arc, this development will greatly affect your outlook on the entire series as a whole.
Although I didn’t enjoy this volume of Cautious Hero as much as the previous one due to the more serious tone, the series is still proving to be a helluva lot better than most isekai on the market. But seriously, if you didn’t like Seiya in the first volume, then just give up, because he only gets more paranoid from here.