I’ve seen a lot of unconventional ideas when it comes to subverting modern fantasy’s tired tropes, but… a shovel? Not at all inspired by a popular retro side-scrolling indie game *sarcasm*, The Invincible Shovel (published in English by Seven Seas), is even more absurd than it sounds. Let’s see if it’s enough to make it stand out.
The legendary miner, Alan, becomes incredibly powerful- and immortal- thanks to his handy shovel. When leaving to sell his latest haul, he encounters a girl who needs saving. She turns out to be Princess Lithisia of Rostir, a kingdom that’s been taken over by a demon. Since he has nothing better to do, he wields his shovel and sets forth to help her.
If you wanted any form of stakes or emotional tension, then click out of this review now, because Invincible Shovel won’t give you any of that. But it doesn’t need that crap, because Invincible Shovel is a comedy at its core, and this shows in its writing style. Everything is timed out very well when it comes to comic relief, and it’s very tongue-in-cheek about how BS the shovel’s power is. Most notably, Seven Seas tends to format light novels by left aligning all paragraphs, and inserting more space between paragraphs than individual lines. It’s actually made it difficult for me to enjoy other publications, like Reincarnated as a Sword, and Mushoku Tensei, as a result. But Invincible Shovel gets the okay because it’s just plain better than both of those aforementioned titles.
With a pretty simplistic plot, the bread and butter of Invincible Shovel ends up being it’s cast. While Alan is a pretty generic hero-guy, Lithisia ends up being Best Girl. She comes off as a typical girl who “falls for the hero guy,” but she does it in a funny way. She doesn’t fall in love with Alan; she deifies him. This results in her becoming a shovelophile, and turning her dialect and life choices into all things shovel… including, you know. Someone just created a new sexual innuendo.
Unfortunately, all the eggs seem to be in her basket. The other characters, like the Holy Knight Catria, and the elf girl Fioriel, basically exist to be astonished by Alan’s shoveling prowess, and to fall victim to Lithisia’s Shovelism.
Lastly, the art is pretty average as far as most LNs go. The cover art is the umpteenth instance of “character on white background”, and if it weren’t for the premise, this series would definitely not stand out.
Invincible Shovel has made a more than sufficient first impression. However, it shows signs of getting old fast. But hey, that hasn’t happened yet. So, for the time being, I’d recommend it for fans of Konosuba or Cautious Hero.