Another volume and another girl and if I thought Shea the Bunny Girl was annoying, wait until we meet this one.
You know, I’m going to take back every mean thing I said about Shea in volume 2. Yes, she felt like an unnecessary additional character who existed just to create a harem, but at least she had a clear goal of her own and while she might sulk a bit she mostly worked hard. All of those traits are clearly on display in volume 3 and despite the clear harem established with Yue, Shea and Hajime, they’ve actually managed to make the dynamic between the trio work. And yet, in the process of making me actually accept the previous additional member to the harem, volume 3 throws yet another girl into the mix. This time its a dragon.
But backing off that point a bit, because criticising a harem fantasy for having a harem in it is kind of on the pointless side, volume 3 is a really exciting read. Hajime racing to rescue someone from a mountain that has rumours of monsters and in the process running across his teacher and a handful of his classmates. This is the first reunion since Hajime fell and his incredibly different appearance and mannerism become a key plot point for really the first time since volume 1.
In volume 2, despite encountering many characters, none of them knew Hajime or had any frame of reference. So his hostile, Yue and me against the world, attitude was just seen as his default. But running into the teacher who knew the Hajime before his life was pushed to the breaking point brings a new and fairly exciting character development that I really hope gets followed up on.
We’ve got some great action sequences in this book with Hajime’s ability to make weapons and vehicles based off his memory of one’s on earth adding a bit of a different flavour to battles in what would otherwise be fairly traditional fantasy settings. Pulling a Gatling gun on a dragon is certainly a novelty. Throw in some solid magical efforts and the team work between Hajime, Shea and Yue and all and all it makes for a very satisfying read that continues the story, injects some excitement, and sets up future plot developments.
I’d continue to sing the book’s praises except for Tio. And I’d love to detail just why Tio is so horrible but unfortunately that would step majorly into spoilers so I’ll keep in general.
You know, I get that sometimes characters are annoying on purpose and when even the other characters in the story can’t stand them I assume it is supposed to be on purpose. However, there are almost no words to explain how annoying she is. Fortunately you only have to really put up with her in the latter stages of the book, but literally everything she says made me want to stop reading. She’s like the most intrusive fan-service character ever invented.
I walked away from this volume thinking how one character managed to sour the entire experience. Because outside of her, I really had fun with this story, but I had to think really hard about that because her presence becomes such an issue. If I hadn’t had the next volume already I may have thought twice about continuing on.
I will admit though, that your tolerance of her antics may vary and if a girl asking to have her butt violated doesn’t completely turn your stomach then you might have a great deal more fun here in general.
So on that note, while I still really see a lot of potential in this overall narrative and I really like the majority of the characters, there’s definitely a sticking point at volume 3 so I can’t completely recommend it.
If you’re interested in reading Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Volume 3 it is available on the Book Depository.