Last year publisher Yen Press released the first volume of Natsume Akatsuki’s light novel series Combatants Will Be Dispatched! The series got off to a fantastic start by offering something similar but notably different to Akatsuki’s hit franchise Konosuba. Today I’m here to find out if Volume 2 also offers a satisfying read.
In this volume of Combatants Will Be Dispatched! our heroes are facing a crisis. The Kingdom of Grace is suffering a water shortage, which would normally be solved by using the weather machine operated by the kingdom’s royals. However, Six and Alice ‘fixed’ the machine in Volume 1 and made it so it only works when activated with the phrase ‘Dick Festival’.
Unable to bring herself to utter the phrase, Princess Tillis sends Six and his team off to the nearby Kingdom of Toris to obtain water crystals. The prince of Toris is known for doing or offering anything when presented with a pretty face, so Tillis hopes that sending Captain Snow along with Six will be enough to help bargain for the much-needed items.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Natsume Akatsuki series without our cast screwing up in some major way and that certainly rings true for this volume! While Six does his best to keep his team in check, ultimately they end up offending the prince – who declares war on the Kingdom of Grace. Worse still, it seems that the prince has entered into an agreement with the Demon Lord’s army, who are keen to take revenge on our heroes for driving them away in Volume 1.
Now faced with both a war and a water crisis, Princess Tillis is fed up with Six’s team and orders them to set things right. Left with two major problems of their own making, the group are disheartened but perhaps Alice can bring their spirits back up with some ideas on how to bring an end to their suffering.
Compared to Volume 1 where our cast spends most of their time in one place, this instalment of Combatants Will Be Dispatched broadens our view of the world and gives us a glimpse into how other kingdoms live. It offers us solid world-building, which I’m pleased to see after Volume 1 was more focused on the characters.
Now that we’re well acquainted with all the cast, Volume 2 also has time to just focus on one or two characters at a time. This time around the spotlight is on Alice, Six’s android companion. Up until now, she’s mostly been there to antagonise Six and be of little help (given she threatens to explode if made to fight) but she’s become very much the brains of the operation.
Although Alice insists she has little in the way of human emotions, this story makes it clear that isn’t quite true. Despite how harshly she treats them, Six and his team are her friends and she doesn’t want to see any harm come to them. She grows a lot throughout this tale, which is rewarding to see as a reader.
The only downside to Volume 2 is that some of the jokes come off as being a bit, well, sleazy. When the team is fighting to save the kingdom, it’s easy to forget that Six is originally from an organisation of villains back on Earth, so a lot of his actions are downright outrageous until you remember who he’s supposed to be. A lot of the comedy is quite sexualised and while I found it funny in Volume 1 (and still did at times here), I think it goes a bit too far. I’m not sure if that’s just because I started to see Six as a ‘good guy’ or just a weakness in Akatsuki’s writing but either way, it will put off some readers because it doesn’t quite join up to how we now perceive the cast.
Speaking of Akatsuki’s writing, keen-eyed Konosuba fans will enjoy spotting parodies and references the author has sneaked into this book. There is even a crossover bonus chapter where an agent of Six’s organisation lands in the world of Konosuba and interacts with the cast of that series. If you’re a fan of the franchise then you’ll certainly enjoy entertaining the idea that it and Combatants Will Be Dispatched! could be taking place in the same universe. It would certainly explain a lot of what’s happened in Konosuba!
As previously mentioned Combatants Will Be Dispatched! comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Noboru Akimoto. The translation reads well with no issues. This release includes various colour pages (illustrated by Kakao Lanthanum) depicting the cast, but the book is fairly light on images otherwise.
Combatants Will Be Dispatched! continues to be an entertaining read. This volume spends a lot of time fleshing out the world and one member of the cast, which is appreciated. While the comedy might be a bit off-putting this time around, fans of Natsume Akatsuki’s work should still enjoy what it offers.