Our look at the light novel series of How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord continues! A week or two ago I gave my thoughts on the first volume of the series, which I enjoyed but was hard to get into because of the stellar anime adaptation. Now that I’ve accepted that fact, how does the second volume hold up? Join me after the cut as I dive into volume 2 of the Light Novel How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord!
Like I said before, it was hard for me to ‘step back’ into this series via the Light Novels because the anime was just so damn good. However I am happy to say that I don’t have that feeling anymore, and I left the second volume with a renewed appreciation for the series in this form. Most of that I chalk up to the fact that it took some time to readjust my expectations for the series. Anyway, the series picks up where the last volume left off and covers the second third of the anime series, which consists of the episodes where Shera is kidnapped by her brother as well as Diablo attempting to get the slave collars off both her and Rem.
Demon Lord should count itself lucky, that unlike The Rising of the Shield Hero, it was spared the onslaught of hand wringing and pearl clutching over the ‘slavery issue’ that was in its story. I find that to be a bit ironic, because while Shield Hero had the idea of Naofumi owning slaves is front and center at the start, it very much fades into the background as the series goes on. Demon Lord however maintains this idea throughout this volume, and it becomes a considerable factor in the story. While it may have just been luck (and the fact that it is an ecchi) that Demon Lord escaped all that bullshit, but I do think it may be something else. The big thing about the slave angle in this series, is that it is very clear out-front that this entire mess was a mistake that shouldn’t have happened. Furthermore, once Diablo realizes what has happened, he tries to get both him and the girls out of it. While this leads to one of the best scenes in the series (that was done better in the anime), it is clear that like most series, the idea of slavery is merely a plot device to initially tie the cast together.
Anyone with half a brain cell knows that slavery itself is a morally wrong act. And anyone with half of half a brain-cell knows that there is a clear difference between the actual historical slavery and the stuff that happens in fiction like this. It’s fun, it’s stupid, and it’s clearly not done with any foul intentions. Whatever you think of it is your choice to make, and frankly that is far as I am willing to go with this discussion. The rest of the story is again well told, and your mileage with this series depends wholly how much you enjoys the two characters. The chemistry between Diablo, Shera and Rem is always solid, and the ‘salt and pepper’ dynamic between the two girls keeps things fresh and fun. Shera of course takes center stage this volume with the story about her wanting to keep a sense of personal freedom, and get out of the silly blood politics of the elven families.
The newest addition to the cast, the Imperial Knight Alicia surprised me at how better she came off in this text other than the anime. Before her heel turn (which is hinted at great here), she came off in the anime as a annoying goody two-shoes that was annoying at best, and grating at worst. The light novel pulls back on that just a bit, which was great to let the character have a bit of space to breathe. The interlude chapters, which focus on other characters were also great for Alicia, which delves just a little bit more into her personal history and attitudes regarding her family. It’s nothing groundbreaking and won’t turn you around on the character, but it was an addition I quite liked. Likewise with the character of Galford, who serves as the ‘enemy’ of this volume. His fight scene is written quite well and he is the first real challenge to Diablo’s overpowered demon self, which was good to see that this early, Diablo won’t be strolling through this world with no issue.
Volume 2 of How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord has me on back board the series after the rough adjustment period that was the first volume. I love this world and I love these characters, which has made reading each chapter fun and captivating. Again, it is brisk read, but one that never really wastes your time with unnecessary padding. There is a sense of a world being built out, and with more than eight volumes to go, I am sure this is going to continue. There is only one more volume that the anime adapted, and I am really looking forward to seeing how that turned out, as well as going into uncharted waters with the rest. Either way, if you loved this series, I can say that volume 2 keeps the party going. The choice is yours if you want to keep attending.