I Could Never Be a Succubus!, Vol. 2

By Nora Kohigashi and Wasabi. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Succubus Ja Arimasen” by Hero Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

In the first volume of this surprisingly fun series, we meet Lisalinde, the beloved, perfect and pure student at the academy, and over the course of the book we discover that she has amnesia, and is actually Liz, a succubus who was part of the hero’s party to defeat the demon lord but also a raging pervert who slept with half the party and can turn anything into sexual innuendo… or indeed just sex, period. The contrast is what makes it funny, and that’s still true here. Here, though, we also get an added dimension, and it’s the reason why this series works beyond one volume. Liz is a perverted succubus, yes, but she’s also a hero, and is basically kind, good, and wants peace in the world. We see that kindness a lot more here too, and yes, it’s tied in with a lot of the sex stuff, but that’s the point of her character, and it’s why the hero’s party are frustrated by all this. They want their Liz back.

We pick up where we left off, with Lisalinde trying to live her normal, peaceful school life but having to deal with these occasional weird urges. She’s attending a fancy dress party (and sniffing Cain’s shirt after he’s forced to change due to a drinks spill); she’s helping to finish the combat uniforms that have been ordered at her friend’s shop (and also dress in erotic outfits provided by said shop); she’s going out shopping with friends and dealing with the hero party’s massive tsundere Rachel (and, in the past, helping her get stop denying her feelings and get together with another member of their party); and she’s dealing with Aina, who is certain that she’s making moves on Cain but is mostly just jealous… and honestly, Aina’s evilness is rather pathetic. Unfortunately, near the end of the book, the hero’s party goes off to take care of a crisis… but it’s a trap, and now the school is being attacked, and only Lisalinde… or rather, Liz… can save them.

I don’t want to make this sound TOO heartwarming. It’s absolutely not for anyone who is not ready for unrepentant horniness. I quoted a passage on Twitter where Liz (past Liz) is doing a perverse sentai performance, and demanding children love underpants, but was advised to remove the tweet as, well, it’s deeply, deeply, wrong. Honestly, I was rather surprised that it’s not the ENTIRE hero’s party who are part of Liz’s sexual polycule, and that Rachel and Mitter appear to be a separate couple (albeit sexual, thanks again to Liz). Even the final battle, which is mostly a dramatic fight showing how, when she actually HAS her memories back, Liz is stupid powerful, is triggered by her huffing Cain’s gym shorts for an extended period. Unfortunately, while she’s recovered enough to regain her memories for emergencies, she’s not recovered enough to keep them beyond that, so it’s back to horrified pure Lisalinde at the end.

So yes, better than it sounds, again, but only read it if you’re interested in what it sounds like.

I Could Never Be a Succubus!, Vol. 1

By Nora Kohigashi and Wasabi. Released in Japan as “Watashi wa Succubus Ja Arimasen” by Hero Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Roy Nukia.

Sure, it’s always nice when a book that you have high expectations for manages to justify them, but I’ve always been even more fond of books I expected to be utter trash being… well, slightly better than utter trash. I’m not about to say that I Could Never Be a Succubus! should take its place alongside Ascendance of a Bookworm or The Apothecary Diaries. It has consent issues and sometimes suspends disbelief more than I’d like. But I mean, the premise of this series, so I’d heard, was that a noble girl, on seeing the hero who is supposed to defeat the demon lord, arrive at her academy, asks if she can have his underpants. My expectations were THROUGH THE FLOOR. I only read this as I thought it would be amusingly bad. Instead I found it amusing but very readable, and it even has a bit of depth to it. And a great deal of this is due to my completely misreading how this premise was going to go.

A year before the main events in this book, the hero’s party battled the demon lord, and only survived due to the sacrifice of one of their members. A year later, Lisalinde is a student at the national academy. Gorgeous, polite, with great academics and strong magical powers, she’s loved by (almost) all of the student body. Then the hero’s party arrives. They’re still recovering from the battle, so are temporarily enrolling as students. And yes, as I stated above, Lisalinde, on seeing the hero, impulsively asks for his underpants. She’s appalled at herself. She has no idea why it happened. And what’s more, the more she gets to know the hero and his party members, the more perverse thoughts she starts to have. Has she REALLY not met them before? What’s going on?

So, sorry to spoil (it’s on Page 3), but Liselinde, aka Liz, is the party member who sacrificed herself to save the hero and the others. As a result, she’s lost her last two years of memories. Which means she has no idea that she is, in fact, a succubus. Who has already seduced the hero. And the lady knight who is his fiancee. And the adorable cleric who is his other fiance. This book goes back and forth between the present and the past, and that’s why it’s so funny, because Liz in the present is a seemingly normal girl struggling with terrifying impulses, while the Liz of the past, well aware she’s a succubus, will seduce anything that moves, and does so. (There’s no explicit sex in this, but there is a giant pile of IMPLICIT sex.) Liz can be a lot – she’s been known to drug food and drink with aphrodisiacs – but she clearly loves her fellow party members, and it’s obvious that they all miss her and want to get her memories back. I am assuming that there is a very good reason they can’t just tell her – but we don’t get it in this book.

There are six volumes of this to date in Japan, and I’m not sure how long it can sustain its premise. But if you enjoy ecchi comedies with a lovable sex maniac girl doing the cast… or if you love ecchi comedies with a pure young maiden horrified at her dirty mind… well, Liz gives you both.