Volume 4 of Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside brought the series to what could have been a suitable conclusion. However, rather than ending, the story goes on and now with Volume 5 in hand, it’s time to find out if that was the right decision or not!
The story begins with protagonist Red struggling to decide on the perfect stone for his engagement ring for Rit. Living in the town of Zoltan, there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to precious gems and Red has his heart set on finding a sapphire. To find what he wants, Red will have to take a trip to the Wall at the End of the World, where he can find merchants who deal in precious gems.
So Red sets out on his trip with Rit, little sister Ruti, and dwarf friend Mogrim Bronzehead in tow. Mogrim’s wife is pregnant and he’s hoping to find a precious material of his own that he can make into a knife, in case they need to operate on her for any reason. Mogrim is also a skilled fighter, so Red is more than happy to have him join them on their trip.
Elsewhere, high elf Yarandrala arrives in town, looking for Red and Rit whom she’s heard are living there. Since Red got thrown out of the hero’s party way back at the beginning of the series, Yarandrala has been angry about the betrayal and looking to invite Red, Rit and Ruti to live in the elf kingdom where they can no longer be hurt by humans. In Zoltan, she runs into the assassin Tisse, who informs her that Red and the others have gone on a trip. Unwilling to wait for their return, Yarandrala sets off after them with a party of her own but what answer will she get when she finds and asks Red’s group to leave Zoltan behind?
So, safe to say that rather than start a new arc, this volume of Banished from the Hero’s Party is fairly self-contained. There are some hints at something bigger lurking in the shadows toward the end of the book, but otherwise, it’s very focused on the trip for Red to get a sapphire for the ring. Sometimes I find myself complaining about series that waste their time on things not directly related to the plot, but since Volume 4 wrapped things up so neatly, this storyline ends up feeling like a natural extension of the epilogue. I also can’t deny that I have a soft spot for Red’s relationship with Rit, so I’m happy to read about him going all out to make his wife-to-be happy.
What I am less happy about in this volume is Ruti. Tisse has been worried about how Ruti would react to the news of her big brother getting married and when she takes the news well, Tisse worries about what that means. She presses Ruti for more information and Ruti reveals that she’s happy with Rit being Red’s wife since it doesn’t prevent her from also dating Red in the future.
Frankly, I’m disappointed that author Zappon leaned into the sister-ship so hard, given the series up until now has managed to avoid it. There have always been hints that Ruti held romantic feelings for Red, but since he’s oblivious to it and she hadn’t outright said it until now, I was happy to gloss over those in the hopes nothing would ever come of it. Now I fear that might not be the case after all and, honestly speaking, that makes the series a lot more difficult to recommend to people.
Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside Volume 5 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Dale DeLucia. As usual, the translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 6 of the series is scheduled for a release in June and looks set to kick off a new arc, judging by the synopsis.
Overall, Volume 5 of Banished from the Hero’s Party offers an enjoyable extension to the end of Volume 4 with an enjoyable self-contained story. Unfortunately, it also leans into shipping Ruti with her brother, which is sure to put off quite a few readers and see their time with the series come to an end.