With the anime for The Executioner and Her Way of Life beginning in the Spring season, what better time to return to the light novel series with Volume 3! As the present-day continues to change compared to the past Akari’s lived through, will she be able to protect Menou? Let’s find out.
Volume 3 of the series opens with Akari being kidnapped and Menou running to her rescue. The two are currently travelling through the Wild Frontier, a lawless desert full of baddies out to make money however they can. Menou assumes the kidnappers are just your typical desert bandits, but once she reaches their military-style base she realises these people could be much more dangerous than she imagined.
Luckily, Akari is only being guarded by a handful of people so Menou quickly rescues her. While there, she also frees Sahara, a monk who was friends with Menou in childhood. Things have changed significantly for Sahara since they were children, including the fact she now has an artificial arm due to being injured during her time in the Wild Frontier. Although Sahara is friendly with Menou, it’s not long before our protagonist begins to suspect there is more to her story than she’s willing to share.
Menou wants to continue her journey to Akari to find the legendary blade that turns all it touches into salt, which Menou is hoping she can use to kill Akari once and for all. But before they can leave, Menou decides to take down the criminals that captured Akari, especially since it looks like they’ve constructed their base to use a powerful summoning spell that would be nothing but bad news for the world!
While Menou and Sahara split off to deal with the evildoers, Akari is left to her own devices and begins to worry about how much the future is changing, compared to how it’s supposed to go. In previous time loops Akari and Menou never had any trouble in the Wild Frontier, she certainly never got kidnapped and they never met a girl called Sahara. With things spiralling so far out of control, Akari worries she can no longer protect Menou alone and turns to an unlikely source for help…
As I commented when reviewing Volume 2, one of the things I’m enjoying most about The Executioner and Her Way of LIfe is how it divides its time between Menou, Akari and both the present day and past events. It’s not only interesting to see how things are changing for Akari in this loop, but also the decisions she makes to try and account for them.
If I have one complaint this time around, it rests with Sahara who is yet another Menou-obsessed member of the cast. Perhaps that’s to be expected, having trained alongside Menou and Momo (who is completely smitten with our protagonist) as a child but I think this pattern is starting to become too much. Author Mato Sato does go to great lengths to justify Sahara’s feelings toward Menou and how they’ve driven her decisions in life up to this point, but I think we could have done without this. The one saving grace is that there is so much going on that Sahara’s presence is never overwhelming and although I dislike her obsession with Menou, it’s easy enough to simply concentrate on everything else happening in the book. But seriously is there a single sane girl who grew up in the monastery and isn’t Menou? I really hope so.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Jenny Mckeon. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 4 is scheduled for an English release in April, just in time for the anime starting!
Overall, The Executioner and Her Way of Life Volume 3 proves to be another engrossing read, even if I have some qualms about the new character introduced. Now things are spiralling even further out of Akari’s hands, it’s clear the plot is only going to quickly escalate in more fascinating ways and I am certainly on board to see what happens.