If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord, Vol. 2

By CHIROLU and Truffle. Released in Japan as “Uchi no Musume no Tame Naraba, Ore Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoserukamo Shirenai” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Matthew Warner.

Like a lot of second volumes, this one seems to have a bit of an “wait, I have to write more? Well, OK…” feel to it. For the most part it’s the continuing adventures of Adventurer Dale (whose last name, we find out, literally MEANS adventurer, as it’s more of a title), and his adorable adopted Devil daughter Latina (who has aged a couple more years since the first book). Since Latina is now the main reason for Dale’s existence (jokes about him being a pushover for his girl continue to be the main running gag of the series), he’s decided to take her home to meet his family. And so most of the book is a leisurely trip across the continent, as Latina experiences different cultures, tries new foods (and gets better and better as a cook), and we learn a tiny bit more about her past. That said, this book also lacks the dark yet extremely compelling climax the first book had.

Instead we get a mellower climax that introduces us to Dale’s family proper, a village of powerful folks connected to the Earth, led by his matriarch grandmother. Dale was, in fact, supposed to be the future head of the clan, but he had the calling to be an Adventurer and protect the world, so he does that calling, and his younger brother gets the clanship – and the girl, as he’s getting married while they’re there. We get a bit more of Dale’s past, mostly with occasional thoughts from other people’s POV on how he used to be, but I really wish woe could get an extended flashback or something. It’s all very well and good to say Latina changed him for the better so much, but honestly we’re only familiar with Goofy Dad Dale, so it’s got less impact. As for Latina, she still unintentionally wraps everyone around her little finger by virtue of being really good and smart and pretty and diligent and earnest and pure.

Latina also gets some rather nasty nightmares when she wakes up and Dale’s not around, brought about by too much family all at once and hearing talk about getting married and moving on. And this is an issue, as Latina is VERY attached to Dale, and she to him. For the most part, this is dealt with in the standard way you’d expect in a Japanese light novel – his family make the occasional lolicon joke, Dale says “OMG I’m her father!” a lot, and Latina misses all this subtext. But honestly, I think in the next book she’s a couple years older, and there’s a few books still to go, and I am throwing out there that this is a really enjoyable series, but I would not be surprised at all if it ended with Dale and Latina in a romantic relationship, which is obviously far more acceptable in a Japanese work. I don’t actually know any spoilers, and if I’m totally wrong I apologize, but I’ve been burned a bit too often by this sort of thing. Latina is not the perpetual 5-year-old Yotsuba.

That said, nothing has really happened yet, and what you’re left with is a heartwarming and sweet story of a father and his adopted daughter, going on mild yet entertaining adventures. If the series keeps giving us that, I’m perfectly fine with it.

If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord, Vol. 1

By CHIROLU and Truffle. Released in Japan as “Uchi no Musume no Tame Naraba, Ore Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoserukamo Shirenai” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Matthew Warner.

The most popular light novel genre at the moment, both here and in Japan, is “generic RPG fantasy world”. In this genre, however, you can do all sorts of things. There are isekai variations, and novels where it really is a game. There are harem romances, and dark gritty tragedies. These days it seems like a popular editorial request is “do fantasy but with __________”. And with this particular title, we’re getting another type of popular Japanese genre, the “single dad raises his daughter/adopted daughter (it’s always a daughter) and she’s really really goddamn cute” genre. The dad can be bumbling or competent, but the adorableness of the girl is never in question. (The light novel genre being male-oriented, the single mom raising her adorable son has not to my knowledge had any series, but hope springs eternal.) And now we have this series, where the adopted girl is a devil abandoned by her people for mystery reasons, and she’s just cute as the dickens.

The first 2/3 of this book is basically running on that premise. Our hero is a seasoned young adventurer who looks like the standard ‘generic guy’ you see in these sorts of fantasy book (Smartphone guy looks exactly the same). He runs into Latina in the woods, starving and unable to speak human languages, and decides to bring her home on the basis of being unable to let her starve to death or be eaten by monsters. Then he and the couple who run the inn he lives in slowly watch her grow up, learn to speak and read human, show she can use magic, wait tables, and wrap absolutely everyone around her finger. Part of the fun in this book is seeing Dale (the dad) turning into a complete over the top loon about his new daughter. Actually, one drawback is that I wish we’d had a bit more of Dale as he was before he met Latina – we see flashes of it, but it loses a bit of impact as we barely know him before he’s a doting dad.

The last third is far more serious, and at first I thought it might be dealing with Latina being bullied by her peers, but no, she’s being emotionally and mentally abused by her new teacher, who lost her family to devils and has gone half-insane to rage and prejudice as a result. Latina’s attempts to hide what’s being done to her with “everything is fine” even as she looks more and more worn and exhausted will ring a bell with anyone who ever dealt with a bullied child “staying strong”. The whole section is brutal, and it wouldn’t have nearly half the impact it does without most of the book being variations on “look at the daily life of this cutie”. It is nice to see the entire town seemingly standing up to protect her, including Dale, whose cold rage is absolutely terrifying to the temple who employed the teacher.

There are 5 volumes in this series, and each one shows Latina slightly older, so I suspect we won’t have cute antics for the whole series. But if you enjoy series like Yotsuba&!, Sweetness and Lightning, or Bunny Drop (the first half – I hope) and wish it had more swords and sorcery, I think you’d greatly enjoy this series.