It seems like over-powered protagonists with the skills and/or the smarts to easily destroy any obstacle in their path have become common staples in fantasy manga and anime, particularly those that take inspiration from video games, and it’s easy to see why – it’s a fun power fantasy that allows the audience to imagine how great it would be if they were unstoppable bad-asses. Unfortunately, this wish-fulfillment style of narrative can sometimes come at the expense of the lead character’s likeability, as this type of character all too often comes off as arrogant, conceited and obnoxious. However, it’s possible that Suppose A Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town (which herein I will be referring to as Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies, for brevities sake) might have found a clever way of circumventing this pitfall. Drawn by Hajime Fusemachi and based on a light novel series created by Toshio Satou, Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies has added one little twist to the over-powered protagonist formula: what if the ultra-special champion didn’t recognize they’re own strength?
Lloyd has a simple dream; he wants to become a soldier so that he can be just like all of the courageous heroes that he’s read about in books. There’s just one problem; he’s the weakest person in his village and constantly struggles with simple physical tasks, such as gathering firewood or fishing, and instead excels in domestic tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. Despite this, he’s determined to pursue his dream and moves to the capital city to take the army’s recruitment test. Marie, a witch who was the student of the elder of his village, agrees to let him stay with her while he’s preparing for the test and she immediately notices that something is off with this supposed weakling. Lloyd has seemingly super human strength and endurance and he even knows how to use magic runes, a crazy powerful and almost entirely lost art that Marie herself had to struggle to master the basics of. To her amazement, Lloyd acts like all of his abilities are entirely average, or even pathetic, and assumes that Marie is just trying to boost his confidence when she tries to explain how awe inspiring he truly is. Turns out, the village that Lloyd grew up in isn’t an average rural village; it’s situated in an area filled with the most fearsome monsters imaginable and was founded by the nation’s legendary heroes. Meaning, everyone who lives there is either a descendant of those famous warriors or a legendary hero themselves and, since Lloyd has only had those people to compare himself too, his perception of his own abilities is completely divorced from reality. Will Lloyd ever manage to gain some self-confidence? Or, will his lack of insight into his own abilities prove to be his Achilles heel and prevent him from achieving his goals?
This manga is built around a single, very simple, gag: Lloyd nonchalantly pulls off some incredible feat, everyone around him freaks out or is completely bewildered by what they just witnessed and then Lloyd misunderstands their reactions and doggedly maintains the view of himself as a weakling that he’s internalized after living for so long surrounded by even more amazing people. Despite its simplicity, the premise works and Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies proves itself to be a solidly humorous and fun manga. I could see this setup potentially start to get old after a while – the joke of Lloyd being confused as to why people are showering him with presents for helping them with what he views as easy tasks, is already starting to feel a bit repetitive by the end of this volume – but, thus far, I’m enjoying the story and am interested in seeing where it will go. This is, in large part, because Lloyd is just so adorable! He has a cute design and is never mopey about his perceived lack of strength, instead maintaining a positive attitude while always being polite and considerate to those around him. He’s such a genuine sweetie-pie that you can’t help but root for him and I hope that he eventually comes to appreciate what he has to offer those around him.
The rest of the cast is populated with a motley crew of characters who fit neatly into common archetypes of the fantasy genre. There’s the reserved girl with a tortured past who’s actually socially-awkward, the roguish mercenary who’s only interested in money, the arrogant rich-boy who needs to learn some humility and, of course, the serious but kind of weird Commander who needs to whip them all into shape. While perhaps not super original, these characters all play off of each other in amusing ways and their wildly different reactions to Lloyd’s incredible abilities, ranging from total non-comprehension to obsessive adoration, help to keep things interesting. There are also some hints of political intrigues and plots brewing behind the scenes, which have the potential to move the plot in some exciting directions and I look forward to seeing what happens next.
This manga might be something of a one-joke-pony, but it tells that joke well and the loveable lead and entertaining cast of side-characters ensure that this tale of a clueless superman remains fun from start to finish. I’d recommend this series to anyone looking for a light-hearted fantasy romp.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Square Enix Manga & Book’s website: https://squareenixmangaandbooks.square-enix-games.com/en-us/series/suppose-a-kid-from-the-last-dungeon-boonies-moved-to-a-starter-town
What did you think of this manga? Has anyone read the light-novels it’s based on? Let me know in the comments!