The Magic in This Other World Is Too Far Behind!, Vol. 2

By Gamei Hitsuji and himesuz. Released in Japan by Overlap. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Hikoki.

For all that the first volume of this did a very good job introducing its cast and showing off the basics of the world, it did not really dwell much on the demon invasion beyond it being the reason why the hero was summoned, and why he’s training. The second volume, though, takes that ball and absolutely runs with it. The demons are coming, they’re hard to defeat, and they’re nasty pieces of work, both in terms of powers and personality. I gotta admit, you really want the demon general to get his by the end of this. What’s more, their leader is not only good at murdering people but also at emotional manipulation and torture. Which is fine for Suimei, who at least has a veneer of “I am cool-headed” (which isn’t actually true, but hey). But it’s definitely bad news for the new heroine of this book, Lefille, who is a red-haired noble swordswoman who wears her heart on her sleeve.

This is very much a book that puts all its fantastic stuff on the back end. The start is all right, with Sui9mei trying to join the Adventurer’s Guild and maintain a low profile, something he screws up pretty much immediately. He and Lefille bond right away, but it’s as a good friendship, and there’s not really much romance involved here yet. But things really pick up with the actual invasion, and particularly when Lefille breaks away from Suimei to try to save the party that essentially told her to get lost earlier. This is a significantly darker book than the first volume was, and there’s a lot of brutal deaths here. What’s more, there’s a lot of misblaming going on, to the point where I wondered if it was part of a ploy by the demon general to break Lefille. But no, it’s just people getting the wrong idea and spewing dying vitriol.

I admit, I was worried that this book was not going to stick the landing. It spends a LOT of time setting up the demon general as Lefille’s enemy that she absolutely has to defeat, then breaks her utterly. This is very well done, and emotionally gripping. But when Suimei showed up and started going to town, I thought “uh-oh”. You can’t set up this sort of thing and then have the solution be “I can overcome it thanks to the powers of my cool protagonist friend”. And yes, Suimei *does* get the final shot in. But we see Lefille watching Suimei’s battle and realize what she needs to do, and find her heroic second wind, driving the demon back to the point where he has to retreat. This was very important, and makes her a better heroine than the first one. (That said, this seems like a “new heroine every book” series, so I wonder if she’ll stay on.)

The book does have flaws – Suimei’s “let me read magic wikipedia at you” narration can be tedious, Lefille has a demon curse that seems to be nothing but an excuse to have her masturbate naked on a rock for the benefit of the illustrator/readers, and the ending, where she reverts to being a little girl due to lack of spirit energy, had me going “WTF?” as much as it did our heroes. Oh yes, and please try not to have your hero brainwashing people for fun and profit. But overall, I found the suspense and character depth of this second volume to be excellent, and I’m far more on board with this series now.

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