by Rebecca Silverman,

Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town

GN 1 & 2

Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town GN 1 & 2
Lloyd Belladonna is on his way to the big city from the little village of Kunlun with a dream: to become a soldier. But no one in Kunlun thinks that he can do it as the weakest member of his clan, something Lloyd has taken to heart. Of course, strength is relative, and what Lloyd doesn't know is that Kunlun is a myth to the rest of the world – a legendary town where all of the greatest heroes of the past settled down and had children. Lloyd may be weak to them, but to the outside world, he's ludicrously strong – so much so that people can't even recognize half of the things he knows how to do! Is there any hope for this country kid to make it in the big city when no one, not even Lloyd himself, knows what he's capable of?

“_____ is as _____does” is an old saying, usually filled in with whatever quality someone wanted to emphasize as not being as important as the listener believed it to be in a case of good old-fashioned vanity prevention (also known as “shaming”). In the case of Lloyd Belladonna, the protagonist of the manga and light novels of Toshio Satō's Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, that blank would be filled by the word “strength,” and Lloyd has no need to be shamed for it. That's because Lloyd doesn't believe that he is strong; he's spent his entire life being told that he's too weak to make it outside of his hometown of Kunlun, a remote mountain village. And in Kunlun, he is…but that's just because of who else lives there.

As the title says, the plot of this series follows Lloyd in his progression from being the absolute weakest of the Kunlun natives to the most ludicrously overpowered guy in the capital city, something possible because Kunlun is, to the rest of the world, a fictional town where the great heroes of old settled down until such time as they or their descendants are needed again to combat a great evil, like a demon lord or something. The fear is that they are simply too strong to risk allying themselves with regular people in their own squabbles and that the world – or possibly its population – would suffer as a result of their involvement. What that means is that Lloyd, who is in fact the weakest villager, has an understanding of the world that only makes sense in Kunlun.

Despite the title's framing of the story as a game narrative, it's important to note that the series is neither isekai nor set in a game world. It's a straight fantasy tale; the author is simply using game terminology to make his point to the readers more easily. That's a bit of a double-edged sword, because it does give rise to a few misapprehensions about the series, both light novels and manga, that might prevent readers who would enjoy them from picking it up. On the other hand, it is an accurate description of what's going on in a metaphorical sense.

It's also worth noting that the manga in some ways works better than the source material. (You can read our review of the original light novel in the Fall 2019 Light Novel Guide.) Mostly this is due to two specific factors: more focus on the jokes and less time spent on the expansion of the unaware Lloyd's harem. These aren't unrelated, but they are also not a condemnation of harem as a genre; rather, the original novel spends more time on Alka, the “loli grandma” leader of Kunlun's highly creepy and predatory crush on Lloyd, to the detriment of his interactions with other characters and the world. While Alka can be funny – the second volume of the manga does a good job with that – the focus on the more inappropriate aspects of her obsession with Lloyd undermine that, as we see in volume two of the manga when she tries to put chocolate on his “banana,” something he neither understands nor wants. (Lloyd's innocence in romantic and sexual matters makes Alka seem all the more unpleasantly predatory.) The same can be said of Selen, the Belt Princess, who falls in…something…with Lloyd after his ridiculous powers accidentally free her from the confines of the cursed belt that gave her her nickname. While the novel overwrites her a bit, the manga makes it very clear that she's a parody of yandere girlfriends, and the images of her face that accompany her delusions about her relationship with Lloyd make her much funnier.

And the manga is funny. Lloyd's innocent ignorance of the fact that he's been fighting monsters and is much more powerful than he ever suspected is presented very well, with his sweet face and demeanor juxtaposed with him punching giant insects into oblivion while fretting about those monsters that everyone says are running around but he can't seem to find. The desperate attempts of the army recruiters to find him after he was mistakenly rejected by other officers who didn't recognize Lloyd's talents because they'd never seen anything like it work well against the background plots of Selen's mad infatuation and the attempts of Marie to keep her actual identity a secret while Lloyd blithely uses powerful ancient runes to clean the house and do the shopping. It's absurdity at its best, supported by the use of actual mythology (Kunlun is a mythical mountain range in Chinese mythology) and an understanding of the tropes of both fantasy fiction and light novels in general. Again, the streamlining of the source material really works here to keep things from getting out of hand – an issue the first novel (which these two volumes adapt) suffers from in its second half.

Despite its somewhat misleading title,Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town is a delightful parody of fantasy tropes and light novel stock characters without a game status screen in sight. With well done sight gags and text-based jokes, this is, quite simply, a good laugh and a lot of fun to read.

Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : B+

+ Streamlines the jokes from the source material, genuinely funny in its parody of both fantasy and light novels.
Alka is offputtingly predatory, a tad too many characters to keep track of.

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Art: Hajime Fusemachi

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