When I reviewed the first book in this series I was pleasantly surprised by the writing even if the plot did seem padded and there were definitely moments in the story I could have done with out. As we plunge into the second book, I have to wonder why people think more is better? I get that you are setting up a harem for Satou and all that but how many girls really need to be in it? Given some of the characters get completely forgotten in this book at times (even though they are apparently still hanging around) it is possible that two books in this one has already over-expanded the harem to insane proportions.
However, let’s look at this a bit more sensibly.
The plot this time around kind of confirms that this isn’t really an adventure or questing story. Satou is literally playing tourist. He’s stuck here, it is kind of a game world, and he’s more or less unkillable at this point, so he really does seem kind of content to site see and look after the tragic girls in his ever increasing harem. He isn’t out to right the wrongs and injustices, but he isn’t totally indifferent to the plight of others. Basically, he’s just an extremely overpowered guy having a chill out because prior to being trapped in a game like world he was overworked and burning out.
What this means though is that while there are certainly dungeon sequences and fights, don’t expect much from them. These exist more as an obligation (which even Satou comments on as he finds the shortest possible path through one and conquers it in about thirty minutes because he isn’t really interested in playing around in a dungeon). And the fight sequences at times get intense but more because Satou is either not fighting and just looking out for the girls as they ‘level up’ or because he’s holding back so that he doesn’t accidentally kill the person he is fighting. There’s very little reason to feel concern during a fight and it is more a question of how Satou will win without inflicting too much damage or burning down the building he is in.
So what does that leave us for plot if we aren’t actually actioning our way through dungeons and the like? Well, for the first half of this book Satou does what I really think more protagonists should do and yet now I realise exactly why they don’t. He sits down and asks another character for details about the world. All the details. Not just get one answer and not ask any follow up questions or figure out what it means. He drills in and wants to know. The fact that a lot of the answers we get contradict Satou’s own observations are kind of interesting and it sets up a lot of possible future story pathways, but what it isn’t is a fascinating read. Something even the author must have realised given they chose to punctuate this particular sequence with a naked girl climbing into the protagonist’s bed and end it with the two being found there by one of the potential love interests. But it was all a big misunderstanding! (Really fighting the urge to roll my eyes here.)
So while I appreciate the information we’re given and some of the points are very interesting, this wasn’t the most fascinating starting sequence to the story. When this is followed up by more shopping, watching a play, and then touring some possible houses for rent, part of me started wondering if this story would in fact find a story.
The answer to that is maybe and maybe not. There’s certainly the over-arching issue of Satou being trapped in the world and meeting people who have apparently either been summoned or reincarnated into the world and have memories of his world. The how and the why of all this remains the one overall consistent plot point. Everything else is kind of just Satou exploring, meeting people, sticking his nose into things, learning new skills, playing with the pay, and so on and so forth.
Probably my biggest issue reading this is Arisa’s character (naked girl from the first scene and reincarnated character). Her personality is all over the place but 90% of the time is just obnoxious. She has a lot of information and has helped set up quite a few things but mostly she’s an irritant to the other characters (who already had enough outside antagonists given half the party are beast girls) so we really didn’t need someone in the party stirring things. I kind of get that her character will probably connect us to other plot points later, but seriously I wouldn’t mind her having an accident in a dungeon and just never coming back.
This remains relatively fun to read overall and Satou remains a pretty fun narrator. My issues with the plot and characters became a bit more foregrounded in this second book but I’m curious enough to check out what happens next.
If you’re interested in reading Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Volume 2 it is available on the Book Depository.