Stories of heroes seeking to defeat a great evil are nothing new, but what happens if you’re kicked out of the hero’s group before reaching that goal? That’s the question asked in Yen Press’ latest fantasy adventure: Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to live a Quiet Life in the Countryside. Does it prove an entertaining read? Let’s find out!
Red used to be a member of the Hero’s party who is destined to save the world from the Demon Lord Taraxon. In this world, everyone is given a skill and Red’s was the Guide skill, an ability that started him off at an incredibly high level. Thanks to his high-level, Red was in the perfect position to support the Hero, his little sister Ruti, and her party but eventually, the others surpassed his skills.
One of Ruti’s companions (called Ares) suggests to Red that he might be holding the group back, which leads Red to decide to leave the party behind. Now with the freedom to do whatever he wants, Red relocates to a remote village where he dreams of opening an apothecary.
In the town of Zoltan, life goes by peacefully with no demon attacks and no evildoers in sight. It’s the perfect place for Red to lie low and get away from the high-stress environments he’s used to from working with the heroes. Even better, no one knows he used to be part of the hero’s party and instead believe he’s a low-level adventurer with a passion for collecting herbs.
That is until high-tier adventurer Rit arrives in town! Having harboured romantic feelings for him since they first met many years ago, she bravely asks Red if she can move in with him and help out with his store. Red readily accepts and life begins to get a little more lively for our protagonist.
Banished from the Hero’s Party feels right at home in Yen Press’s line-up alongside stories like I Killed Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level; and The Hero and His Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World. This series is a nice mix of slice of life and action, while not leaning into either far enough to become repetitive. Since Red is registered as an adventurer in Zoltan (even a low-tier one), he sometimes ends up fighting off enemies while searching for herbs.
What keeps the series engaging is the fact that it swaps back and forward between Red and the Hero’s party. This gives the impression that eventually Red’s past will catch up to him (especially as he never said goodbye to Ruti) and helps endear us to the extended cast without them being present all the time. Not only that but the series also frequently gives us a chapter centred around Rit or Red’s past exploits as companions to the hero. This is a clever way of giving us some engaging action scenes without disturbing the peaceful life Red has built for himself since.
Author Zappon’s Banished from the Hero’s Party began life as a web novel, which means the book consists of relatively bite-size chapters. Zappon seems to have a good sense of how long to let a particular scene or chapter go on before bringing it to a close, which is refreshing as so many of these series are prone to rambling on. Red does fall into the trap of being an overpowered protagonist, but since he doesn’t have a great deal of opportunity to make use of his powers in the current day scenes, it’s not as annoying as it could be otherwise.
Another thing I appreciate is how Zappon handles the romance angle. Red and Rit get together fairly quickly and there’s no big declaration of love or fanfare, it’s just natural. It’s also refreshing that Red hasn’t got a harem of girls around him, another thing this genre usually has as a staple. It feels like Zappon has done their best to sidestep some of the more annoying aspects of the fantasy light novel genre of late and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop the story going forward.
Illustrations for the series are by Yasumo and, while they aren’t particularly memorable, they do the job. I did like the colour pages included in this volume, since they capture the everyday life of the cast better than any of the images scattered throughout the book.
As previously mentioned Banished from the Hero’s Party comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Dale DeLucia. The translation reads well with no problems to note. The series is ongoing in Japan at seven volumes and Volume 2 is scheduled for release in February.
Overall, Banished from the Hero’s Part, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside offers an entertaining read. It’s not the best fantasy light novel around, but it does dodge many of the usual tropes and offers a fairly unique take on the chosen concept. If you’re a fan of the slice-of-life genre, then this is one worth reading.