As the summer came to a close I decided to check out a romantic fantasy series, An Archdemon’s Dilemma: How to Love Your Elf Bride. This title is slightly different from publisher J-Novel Clubs’ usual offerings and I was pleased with what I found. Today I’m here to revisit the series with the release of Volume 2!
In this volume Zagan and Nephy continue to peacefully live out their day-to-day lives in Zagan’s castle – that is, until an unruly trespasser named Valefor appears during one of Zagan’s relished meal times. Zagan manages to defeat the trespasser by knocking them out but soon discovers that they’re actually just a young girl!
Feeling bad about harming a child in front of Nephy, Zagan vows to make amends and gives Valefor a bed to rest in. Once Valefor awakens, Zagan learns that she was after his abilities as an Archdemon in order to gain true power. Zagan, who sympathises with her line of thought and feels confident that she won’t make any more attempts on his life, decides to “punish” Valefor by ordering her to spend a week helping Nephy around the castle. What grows from here is an awkward sort of parental love that only Zagan could end up with.
The majority of this volume of Elf Bride is based on the relationship between Zagan, Nephy and Valefor. What begins as a week-long punishment soon turns into a loving home for Valefor as both Zagan and Nephy begin to see themselves as parental figures to her. Zagan awkwardly teaches Valefor about sorcery, while Nephy mothers the young girl. However, it’s not long before their peaceful lives are once again disturbed when Nephy’s friend, and an Angelic Knight, Chastille, finds herself in mortal danger.
It seems that Chastille’s decision to not kill Zagan has earned her the ire of the most dreadful Archangel, Raphael Hyurandell, who feels she no longer deserves her sacred sword and appears to be after her (and Zagan’s) lives. Just what is an Archdemon meant to do with such a dysfunctional collection of people?
What I really enjoyed about this volume of Elf Bride was the (mostly) quiet everyday lives of the characters. Zagan and Nephy’s relationship is advancing slowly and although Zagan still has no idea how to share his feelings with her, you can really tell that the two love and respect each other. Thanks to Zagan managing to remove the slave collar on Nephy toward the end of the previous volume (despite Nephy requesting to wear it afterwards), this feeling is only heightened thanks to being able to consider them as equals rather than having Nephy’s former slave status hanging over things.
Overall, the writing in this volume is very good. Author Fuminori Teshima does a good job of conveying the awkward nature of Zagan and his relationships, as well as the feelings parents (adoptive or otherwise) hold toward their children. My only criticism is that Nephy has suddenly become a lot more confident between this book and Volume 1, which comes across as a somewhat jarring jump. It’s not a bad thing for Nephy as a character, and she’s much more likable when she’s got an air of confidence about her, but as a reader it feels unnatural. I’d rather have seen this change develop myself instead of it happening between volumes.
Where illustrations are concerned, illustrator COMTA has once again done a great job of capturing the cute and loving relationships our characters share. Valefor also sports a cutesy design with a great attention to detail in her clothing, much like Zagan. All-round good stuff here!
This release comes to English thanks to J-Novel Club and translation has once again been handled by Hikoki. While the typos that were present during the pre-pub releases appear to have been fixed for the ebook, there are awkward sentences and improper uses of grammar here and there. It doesn’t take away from the story too much, but you’ll undoubtedly notice them when you come across them nevertheless. It’s also worth noting that this ebook release includes colour illustrations which, unlike the first volume, are spoiler-free.
After reading the second volume of Elf Bride, I’ve found myself just as committed to this fluffy romance tale as I was with the first volume. Putting the oddities of Nephy’s rapidly developed personality aside, I had a lot of fun reading about Nephy and Zagan acting as parents while slowly growing closer to one another. If you enjoyed the first volume of Elf Bride then this one certainly won’t let you down!