Title: The World's Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country's Novice Seeker
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Yen press
The World’s Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country’s Novice Seeker is shaping up to be a fine isekai from a foundation that I didn’t care about when it began. The whole idea of the “Rearguard” party member didn’t really grab my attention at first. What’s more, I didn’t really feel like getting invested in another manga where the reincarnated male protagonist surrounds himself with fantasy women and goes on quests.
However, The World’s Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country’s Novice Seeker Vol. 3 manga really pulls all the ideas together to really give readers what this is all about. You begin to realize the role that Arihito plays in the party and understand that his role is as important as your role when putting together a party in a JRPG. I feel volume expertly brings that experience to the reader.
The World’s Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country’s Novice Seeker Vol. 3 begins with a celebration as the group comes together to cure Theresia. It’s a nice little dinner with a few moments of backstory between the party members, but it’s generally light heart hearted in tone. I think this was a great opening as it parallels expertly with the action-heavy cliffhanger conclusion.
As the party sets out, they acquire some new gear that plays a significant role in the direction of the chapters. Arihito can morally support the characters to cure them of status effects. More importantly, they gain access to special skills that they can use together, known as Morale Discharge.
This does present a questionable story direction as the Morale Discharge skill used by Suzuna pretty much guides the party to a dangerous conclusion. It’s unclear what the skill even did at this time, but I felt there could have been a different way to put the party on this path instead of leaving a potential plot hole open with this Moon Reading skill that we may never see again.
The entire volume leads up to a massive encounter that is a must-read for any isekai action fans. The panels in this fight are excellent and balance such a large party equally, allowing them to show their skills. Arihito also learns more about his own powers in this battle, but it may not leave him in a healthy position if the fight goes much longer. The cliffhanger is perfectly timed as I felt like it was enough to warrant me to continue reading the next volumes.
Artist Rikizo does wonders with the environment illustrations as the city landscapes are exceptionally detailed. The innovative use of subtle fanservice is also not too in your face and doesn’t linger on for too many panels providing just enough to smirk and continue. I just really enjoyed the level of detail in scenes that others might have cut corners on.
The World’s Strongest Rearguard: Labyrinth Country’s Novice Seeker Vol. 3 made me a fan of this manga for good. I didn’t completely understand what made this any different than other isekai narratives. Still, I found myself significantly attracted to the idea that this is a JRPG and Arihito is the player. I mean, if I were him, I would create an all-female party too.
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