I’m torn: I like the general premise and a lot of the potential in the various story threads, but I’m starting to get annoyed with some of the main characters and perspectives. The basic idea of The Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life (Vol. 3) is that Mariela, an alchemist puts herself in suspended animation to escape a monster attack and wakes up 200 years later alone in a changed world where her skills are highly valuable and rare. There’s an entire new world for her to learn, her big secret to keep, and the ever present threat of the local Labyrinth.
The side characters are what are starting to make the series. We learn a good bit more about Elmera, leader of the chemist’s guild and secretly a high ranking adventurer with lightening powers, Ghark’s backstory, and Amber and Dick’s history. These stories serve to make the characters and what they get up to more interesting; even Leonhardt and Weishardt get a little more to them.
The problem is mostly Mariela and Sieg. Mariel still acts like a little kid, and she’s supposed to be 16-17ish. Her knowledge and skill with alchemy does not at all match up with her childishness in pretty much everything else. Sieg keeps getting more strangely focused on Mariela in unhealthy ways, even though he is given a possible way out of his slavery. With the slavery thing, it gets hard to deal with a major bit of the story when the villain is a slave who acts badly because he’s supposed to be a bad guy, but it gets off-putting when he’s tortured for stealing and while yes he’s not very sympathetic given how he’s treated, it’s hard to really get mad at him for feeling resentful, even though again it’s supposed to be clearly a character defect. Given some of his final thoughts and acts of the story, he sort of deserves what happens, but it’s still a little squicky, especially given the current attention on the righteous anger of oppressed people.
The other rather off-putting bit is the running “Chubbyela” gag. When Sieg, Lynx, and Edgan go off for training, Mariela apparently gets lonely and comfort eats her way into gaining some weight, which upon the shock of her returning companions she loses as they force her to exercise and eat better. This wouldn’t be as bad if it didn’t keep getting brought up when Mariela wants a snack or something; it gets uncomfortably close to fat-shaming.
Some of the problems have been building and I’d consider giving up on this series, except that the epilogue promises to bring back a character who has so far only been described in the past tense, and I would very much like to see what happens with this one in the present.