I haven’t seen Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash mentioned. I’ve read through a bunch of the light novels. Eventually it gets tedious we the painfully slow pace of character development, but it definitely doesn’t have issues with OP characters. The major issue is it ends very prematurely. The light novel series extends much further.
I have weird feelings about the genre. I want to like it less than I do. Some of it is shallow, but gratifying. I want to like it more than I do. Some of it explores interesting territory with depth, but the burnout can be quick, especially with super OP characters, even if it serves a use as a plot device.
There is a lot I can put up with in manga if it’s light-hearted reading. I don’t like it when characters start out OP for what feels like wish-fulfillment rather than as a plot device, but sometimes I’m fine with it. The one thing which really has become the deciding line to drop a story these days is the slave-girl thing. It’s the supreme contrivance where the MC is nearly forced to accept having a cute slave girl who forms a rapid emotional subservience and dependence on him because he’s the first person to not horrible abuse her in ages. It gets increasingly problematic that the MC often treats her in a secondary fashion without giving much regards to her deeper feelings and needs as an individual. The idea that he sees her as a sister or would never dream of seeing her sexually given the power dynamic comes off as sensible and admirable at first, but as it develops into a bizarre scenario where she is one-sidedly in love with him, yet he’s completely oblivious or just ignores it, it comes across as super unhealthy and abusive. If it were a one-off, I wouldn’t care, but it’s a trope in itself. You read it too many times without sufficient variation, and the whole ‘“good guy” preserving and benefitting off of unhealthy emotional relationships based off of dependence and low self-worth’ gets more and more f’d up the more you see it. Because it’s not just a quirk of that relationship in that one story in that one world. It feels too reflective of something not so awesome in our world.
I wouldn’t be more happy if the gender arrangement were different. I’d be fine with it if it came across as more of a consensual dom/sub sort of thing.
To be honest, I’d rather leave the slavery thing out altogether most of the time. It’s often not exploring some deep social commentary in a plot line full of real existential considerations. Some things shouldn’t be treated frivolously. It’s not that I want to sanitize the genre. It’s just slavery isn’t a gag, prop, or world builder.
Wait, what was the question?