Reader’s Corner: Frieren Vol. 2, The Demon Girl Next Door Vol. 3, and Demon Slayer Stories of Water and Flame

Goodbye Otherworld, See You Tomorrow, Vol. 1

In the continuing mission to explore strange new genre mashups involving isekai, here’s postapocalyptic isekai. Poor Keisuke finds himself in a fantasy world where magic disappeared centuries ago after an industrial revolution, and most of the population died out recently. Soon after he encounters another lost soul, Nito the half-elven artist, both their vehicles break down. Since only Keisuke’s steam car can be fixed, and only Nito has money to pay for those repairs, they end up traveling together. This is a pretty heavy story. A couple characters consider suicide (though none go through with it), and other serious topics (e.g., dementia) also appear. What makes it all tolerable is the tale’s unrelenting sense of optimism. The story encourages characters and readers alike not to give up hope. Keisuke and Nito help each other, as well as others they encounter, find reasons to keep going. However dark it gets, even if one doesn’t know what they’re hoping for, it’s better to endure in the hope of something better than to give up. Considering both my struggles with depression and the fact that hope is one of the highest Christian virtues (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13), I found Goodbye Otherworld to be downright inspiring. I look forward to seeing where Keisuke and Nito’s adventures go from here. ~ jeskaiangel

Goodbye Otherworld, See You Tomorrow is published by J-Novel Club.

The Demon Girl Next Door, Vol. 3

Given how much I enjoyed the anime, I definitely wanted to read the original manga, and the third volume, which is the first to cover events after the anime’s first season, definitely did not disappoint. The end of the anime (and the second volume of the manga) already had some huge revelations as it was, but this one does not let up at all and continues to divulge many huge things related to Shamiko and, in particular, Momo’s “older sister” and mentor, Sakura. Beyond that, there are plenty of fun moments, too, including the introduction of some new characters. Most importantly, the volume continues to show how important Shamiko and Momo are to each other, and how much they care about each other. Those who enjoyed the anime and want to see what happens next before the second season starts will definitely not be disappointed, and if you haven’t started the series at all in either form, I definitely recommend either the anime or the manga, as it’s one of the best stories I’ve seen come out of the “cute-girls-doing-cute-things” subgenre. ~ stardf29

The Demon Girl Next Door is published by Seven Seas.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—Stories of Water and Flame

Wanting some more Demon Slayer content? VIZ Media is delivering with their newest release in the franchise, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—Stories of Water and Flame! Centering on Giyu and Rengoku in two different parts, readers can get clear glimpses of their backstories before certain events that happen in the manga and anime. Giyu travels to a town where he hears the story of a bear killing hunters, but a young woman (the daughter of a slain hunter) might know more then she is letting on. Rengoku, on the other hand, sees his father abandon his role as Flame Hashira and he himself instead rises to prove if he is worthy to bear the title. I admit that when I first started reading, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that I wanted more Rengoku! Ha! As a whole, I did find this manga was different than I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. The writer did such an amazing job of capturing the personalities of these two Hashira! I was very impressed, especially considering I didn’t even realize before starting that this wasn’t by the original mangaka. I think what was most surprising though was seeing how often guns were used. I don’t recall any guns being used in the original series, so I found that a little jolting (and at times violent). However, I very much loved the art and would definitely be interested in seeing other Hashira stories should there be more volumes or spin-offs! ~ Laura A. Grace

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—Stories of Water and Flame is published by VIZ Media.*

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Vol. 2

When I read volume one of Frieren, I thought I’d discovered something perfectly in my wheelhouse—a lovely, dreamy work that would be soporific, even, if not for lovely bits of humor spread throughout. What I wasn’t thinking afterwards was that this fantasy tale about the titular elf mage, who is retracing the journey she made nearly a century ago with companion adventurers and in doing so, learning what it is to feel, love, and grieve, needs to become its own great adventure and feature a dose of heavy violence and battle. Well, apparently that was precisely what it needed. Volume two of Frieren does mostly continue along the way of the first, full of nostalgia and heart as Frieren remembers her comrades and develops new ones—not only continuing to teach her apprentice, Fern, but also gaining an additional and fun warrior—but also opens the story in a more epic and traditional way in the world of fantasy by introducing the great evil of the land (in this case, demons). And so, in a very complete way, volume two is even better than the near perfect initial one, demonstrating that Kanehito Yamada and Tsukasa Abe are as equally adept at creating calm and heartwarming atmospheres as they are epic and violent ones. What an amazing journey this manga is taking us on—and we’ve only just begun. ~ Twwk

Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is published by Viz Media.* Volume two releases on January 11th.

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, Vol. 3

“Maybe it’s okay to be a normie.” That seems to be the theme of volume three, as Tomozaki continues his quest to become a top-tier character in the game of life, but as the book progresses, it deals with the elephant in the room: Isn’t Minami’s strategy insincere and deceitful, and won’t it eventually hurt someone? Well, yes. Absolutely. Just look to Pygmalion or Emma for examples of one brilliant but prideful character shaping another gone and leading to broke relationships. The potential for the same occurs here as well with a heavy focus on the dating goal that had been hovering from the beginning, but now comes to forefront as Tomozaki gets closer to Kikuchi, with him having to determine whether to follow through with his teacher’s instructions in this game or to reject what he’s learned. While the bulk of the novel is entertaining, focusing on a BBQ with “normies” in addition to Tomozaki and Kikuchi’s interactions, the last few chapters really make volume three, taking a hard shift as Tomozaki is given more agency and expressing Minami’s character in more depth, offering a welcome change to the story before it reaches the point of becoming too repetitive. A smart decision for a light novel series that I’m starting to enjoy quite a lot. ~ Twwk

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki is published by Yen Press.*

Reader’s Corner is our way of embracing the wonderful world of manga, light novels, and visual novels, creative works intimately related to anime but with a magic all their own. Each week, our writers provide their thoughts on the works their reading—both those recently released as we keep you informed of newly published works and older titles that you might find as magical (or in some cases, reprehensible) as we do.

*Thank you to Yen Press, Viz Media, and Kodansha for providing review copies.

7 thoughts on “Reader’s Corner: Frieren Vol. 2, The Demon Girl Next Door Vol. 3, and Demon Slayer Stories of Water and Flame

  1. While I do enjoy Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, I do feel that chapters can be hit or miss. There are some action chapters, some very heavy chapters dealing with Frieren’s past, and then there are some random side quests that the group goes on. Personally, I feel that the chapters that show the hero party and how Frieren is seeing her past adventure in a new light, are the highlight of the series. I do feel a bit disappointed when the chapter is one of the other two types.

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