Saturday, March 25, 2017

Death March To The Parallel World Rhapsody Vol. #02 Manga Review

Only the holy sword of a hero can defeat a demon lord.

Creative Staff:
Art: Ayamegumu
Story: Hiro Ainana
Character Design: Shri
Translation: Jenny McKeon
Lettering: Rochelle Gancio

What They Say:
Satou's caught in an underground labyrinth. Zena's also lost, and her only companions are three beast girls. Demons abound as Satou and Zena try to get to safety!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
After being sucked into an underground labyrinth at the end of the first volume, Satou awakens accompanied by no one other than the beastfolk this time around. Being sympathetic toward these demihumans who have experienced nothing other than the hardships of slavery for their entire life, Satou decides to take them under his wing. After observing each of their skill sets and experience bars, he discovers that none of them are over level four. In layman's terms, they're utterly useless. But considering his kind-hearted nature, Satou tends to their wounds, immediately earning their favor and sparking what is most likely the first positive interaction these beastfolk have ever had with a human. Not knowing how to deal with these circumstances, the beast girls declare Satou their new master and ask that he give them each nicknames -- which, of course, he does. Liza, Pochi, and Tama.

As the four make their way through the underground labyrinth, the encounter various types of monsters unknown to Satou. Of course, he's level 310 so he's able to cut each of them down without a worry. The main objective at this point in time is rendezvousing with Zena and her squad. However, along the way, Satou figures out that it might not be a bad idea to have the beastfolk join in on some of the fighting. After all, no one can possibly get hurt with him in the picture. From this point on, the relationship between these four is reinforced and strengthened with each and every battle. Eventually, they wind up discovering a few more survivors entrapped in webs and allow them to tag along as well. One of these survivors, however, has a predisposition toward beastfolk and becomes problematic. But after being gravely wounded and given a healing position by Satou and the others, his disposition fades and he becomes less of an issue.

Eventually, the group makes its way back to Zena's team. Unfortunately, the entire army is locked in battle with slime monsters, not understanding how to cut them down. But with the help of Liza and Satou, the army learns the weakness of said slimes and easily fends them off. After healing up, however, things take a turn for the worse.

The eyeball monster that sucked everyone into this labyrinth in the first place appears yet again, disguised as a mimic. This thrusts everyone back into battle mode while Satou is forced to retreat. He knows that if he goes all out, his disguise will be ruined and he will be banished from the city of Seiryu as a result of his farce. So, what he does is what any logical adventurer would do in this situation -- he runs away and puts on a mask, becoming a makeshift superhero in order to save the day and retain his identity. Just when things are looking up, however, the monster summons his master -- a greater hell demon. This demon then consumes his subordinate and transforms into the 'final boss' of the labyrinth. Of course, this is no problem for Satou as he switches his title to 'Godkiller' and cuts it down with the use of his divine sword and newly-acquired fire magic.

After everyone escapes from the dungeon, many of those who ventured inside were locked into containment as the event was investigated. Luckily for Satou, one of the survivors he had rescued was of noble blood, so he was allowed to take the beastfolk and seek residence inside the castle. Gaining the favor of the nobles, Satou increased the treatment toward the other prisoners of war before everyone was ultimately let loose to continue on with their lives. The only issue now was establishing that Satou was the true new master of Liza and the others. After visiting a merchant (Who was also a survivor Satou rescued) capable of handling this paperwork, it is made clear that our protagonist plans on freeing them. Of course, I don't think this is exactly going to work out considering that the girls have taken an immense liking to their new 'master'. Then, things become even more difficult when Satou is shown two new slaves that the merchant thinks he would be interested in. Before he is able to improve the conditions of his harem, the volume comes to an end.

In Summary:
Much of this volume is spent on further establishing the conditions of the world Satou has become a part of. After vanquishing a greater hell demon, he has finally gained the title of 'hero' -- which is absolutely fitting for someone as lawfully good as him. The addition of several new characters makes the world much more immersive as Death March takes on a life of its own. With such an interesting and well fleshed-out levelling system as well as a roster of characters oozing with sentiment, this series continues to stand out amongst others of similar genres. The attention to detail is clear step-up from how similar manga typically come across. In addition, the fact that this entire volume takes place in a single dungeon is a great sign for the rest of the series. I'm tired of action-fantasies that rush toward an ending as soon as they begin. Death March, in its second volume, still feels like it's just beginning and that there is much more left for Satou and the others.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 21, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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