By Yukika Minamino and Kotokan. Released in Japan as “Isekai Saiken Keikaku” by Legend Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Adam Seacord.
I admit I was a bit worried about this one. The first book relied a heck of a lot on the really good twist near the end, and I also did not want to end up having a ‘loop’-style redo of the previous book. Fortunately, my worries proved to be mistaken. The ‘let’s fix the beriberi’ plot is still around, but rapidly takes a backseat to ‘let’s battle the monsters who are somehow far more well organized’ plot, which frankly is a lot more interesting. As for the twist no longer applying, much to my surprise it makes the book a lot better, because with context what was a somewhat annoying and frustrating relationship turns into something really fantastic. The book still suffers a bit from dry prose, and the new twist about 3/4 through this book is somewhat uncomfortable, but I suspect it’s designed to be that way. Put it all together, and you have a volume that manages to avoid a sophomore slump. Plus, that cover art!
Our hero Eiji, when we last saw him, had died. We briefly see how things went after he died in that world, and get the revelation that Tiamat is actually his fiancee from Japan, and he then asks to go back and try again. He ends up back at the “would you like to come to the castle and be poisoned?” part of the book, and this time says no. This works out well, and eventually the King comes to him begging for their help in fixing the beriberi. While it’s not fixed by any means, they get enough of a start to have our main group move on to another country – because it’s not just this one country that has issues. Noura is a seaport, but before they can settle in they have to deal with the huge monster horde attacking it. A very… organized monster horde. It’s almost as if the enemy has someone on their side who’s been transported from another world.
The new villain here is a high school girl, which is less surprising than the revelations from the first volume. What’s worse, she’s also come from an abused family, something that Tiamat reluctantly uses against her to stop her simply killing Eiji. I admit I’m not really sure where the book is going with the character of Rio Kodama, but it was refreshing to hear a discussion of abused children and the impact it has on their lives and emotions. It feels like something a third volume would expand on. More to the point, and much to my surprise, the banter between Eiji and Tiamat, which I honestly found a bit annoying in the first book, has transformed now that we – and Eiji – know who she is, and their banter is far more affectionate and fun. (There are still plenty of otaku references I just didn’t get, however). Their relationship is now the highlight of the book.
This looks like it’s going to wrap up in a third volume, judging by the webnovel contents, but that 3rd novel is not announced yet in Japan. Till then, though, this is a decent second volume which manages to improve on the first mostly through its main couple and their flirting. Even if one is a dragon.