By Yukiya Murasaki and Takahiro Tsurusaki. Released in Japan as “Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo Dorei Majutsu” by Kodansha. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Garrison Denim.
The second volume of this series picks up right where the first one left off, both in terms of the plot and in terms of my feelings about it. It’s rare to see a series that has so many of the things that I dislike in it be something I still want to read, but there you have it. I want to find out what happens next to Diablo, Shera and Rem. I find the pacing and narration easy to read. The book is occasionally funny, and the battles are well done. On the minus side, we double down on “this is why slavery is OK here”, complete with explanation of how it would work if good, nice people were in charge of slaves. We get another in a long line of villains who are meant to be as evil as possible, though for a change this one is not written by Reki Kawahara. He still works in rape threats AND incestual feelings, though. That said, honestly, for fans of this sort of book? This volume delivers the goods.
Shera got the cover of the first book, so Rem features here, even though the plot revolves around Shera. Her brother is trying to force her to return to the Elven Kingdom and become a broodmare (with him, which makes the whole thing even ickier), first trying threats, then using a mind control that is so painfully obvious that the only person it would ever work on is an insecure Japanese hikkikomori with no social skills who is pretending to be an over the top demon lord. Lucky for him! (In all seriousness, Diablo’s “mask” slips quite often in the dialogue, and he frequently sounds less like a demon lord and more like a typical tsukkomi-style protagonist. No one really remarks upon, this, so I’m not sure if it’s just sloppy writing or a deliberate attempt to show his “Diablo” is not as perfect as he’d like – certainly by the end of the book Rem seems to be seeing through him.) Naturally, Diablo, once he snaps out of it, goes to Shera’s rescue, but then he has to take on the very powerful Governor of the city they’re staying in.
I continue to like the relationship between Rem and Shera, who bounce well off each other, and are rapidly becoming close friends, much as Rem may not want to admit it. And while the fanservice is not my cup of tea (particularly the final “gag” involving the grasswalker adventurer who gets Diablo drunk and lives to regret it), it’s exactly the sort of thing that readers of this series would like to see. We’re also introduced to a Holy Knight named Alicia, who’s fairly straightforward and dull, and thus the epilogue pleased me as I’d been expecting something else to be going on with her right from the start. I suspect that the next volume will get back into the whole demon lord revival thing that had been a part of the first book. In the meantime, this is only for readers of harem isekai, I want to emphasize again. But I will be sticking around despite all the book’s faults, which is a positive thing.