When you have a main party this overpowered the only thing to do is throw everything at them, including terrible puns. Hajime and Yue having escaped the dungeon now encounter a blue bunny girl before setting off to defeat the remaining labyrinths. If you missed my review of Volume 1 you can find it here.
I’m really torn on this second volume of Arifureta. On the one hand, I like the overall quest Hajime and Yue are on to conquer all the dungeons and get back to earth. On the other hand, we’re definitely starting to build a harem with the introduction of Shea, the single most annoying punching bag character ever introduced. So reading this volume was a mix of moments that I really enjoyed followed by a lot of inane interactions between the new core group of three that just didn’t sit well with me.
There are two real parts to this volume. The first is Hajime and Yue leaving the labyrinth and being recruited by Shea to save her family of bunny men which Hajime ends up doing despite his endless protests because despite being a complete ass ninety percent of the time they still want us to somewhat like him and believe that he’s kind of a good person who was just warped by circumstance. What follows, after a lot of waffling and some not so funny attempts at comedy, is a sequence that kind of reminded me of that episode in Full Metal Panic Fumoffu where Sousuke turns the soft-hearted football team into killers.
I will admit, while I found the sequence fairly entertaining it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because we now had these ruthless rabbit people pretty much happy to engage in the kill or be killed mentality that Hajime had to develop to survive. Then again, part of this process is probably trying to emphasise what Hajime lost in the process and maybe the point is to help him slowly figure out that he needs to reign it in. At least he kind of acknowledged he may have gone to far before they moved on, though even that moment is kind of ruined by Shea being Shea (and can Hajime stop using rubber bullets on her and just kill her).
“You know, I really did feel bad about what I did to you guys. Even if it was to train you as quickly as possible in the short time we had, I should have put a stop to it after a while.” – Hajime
The second half of the story focuses more on Hajime, Yue and Shea venturing into the human towns and joining the adventurers guild before taking on their second labyrinth. The issue with this part is that the first book was fun because we started with Hajime literally at the mercy of everything and having to coldly build himself up, discarding everything human in the process in order to survive. This labyrinth doesn’t have that.
Instead we artificially limit Yue and Hajime by using a mineral that makes it hard to use Mana or magic, making Shea the tank of the team as they traverse this labyrinth. There still is never a real sense of danger and Hajime and Yue don’t ever really get serious, although they do get annoyed more often than not at the taunting of the labyrinth’s owner.
We get a few cuts to the other students and what they are up to, but they are definitely side characters at the moment and their scenes feel very much like after thoughts. They might be leading to something later on but right now they aren’t very interesting.
Basically it isn’t as compelling a read as volume 1. It is still quite fun in its own way but a lot of the tone and the general idea of Hajime’s character is kind of lost and this volume settles into far more generic isekai tropes. And while that doesn’t result in a bad book by any means, it also isn’t grabbing me as much as volume 1 did.
I’ll give this series another volume and see if it can pick itself back up or whether I’ll part ways with it there.
If you’re interested in reading Arifureta Volume 2 it is available on the Book Depository.