Back in October publisher, Vertical brought the first volume of NISIOISIN’s Pretty Boy Detective Club into English. After a successful debut, I’ve been eager to return to the series with Volume 2, which I’m here to take a look at today!
The story begins one fateful day when Mayumi is on her way to school. Before she gets there, she runs into a businessman who drops a large bundle of ten ¥1,000 notes, which she quickly returns to him. Grateful for Mayumi’s help, the man gives her some of the money before promptly disappearing.
Of course, having found herself with more money than she’s ever had before, Mayumi can’t shake the feeling that the man was highly suspicious. So our heroine brings her concerns to the Pretty Boy Detective Club, who quickly decide to take the case and get to the bottom of things.
Before anything else, the group decides to take a closer look at the money given to Mayumi. This proves fruitful as they discover that each note holds an invitation to the Reasonable Doubt Casino, held at nearby Kamikazari Middle School.
With enough invitations to cover the whole group, the Pretty Boys head off to the school, where they discover that the casino is a very lavish event. As the group wonder how something like this has gone unnoticed for so long, they begin to gamble themselves, hoping to get invited to a game with the head of the operation.
Just like the first volume of Pretty Boy Detective Club, this instalment is relatively short, but it manages to pack a lot of story into its 200-page count. The tale being told here is a suitably interesting one, packed with the whimsical yet engrossing narratives NISIOISIN often brings to the table. It’s so gripping that I even read the whole thing in a single sitting, which is unusual for me with light novels.
That said, the one downside of being so focused on the case is that I was once again left feeling that I don’t truly know any of these characters beyond the protagonist. It was easier to let this slide in Volume 1 when NISIOISIN was working so hard to get us invested in the overall concept, but this time around, I’m left wondering if the cast will ever receive meaningful development.
I don’t think Pretty Boy Detective Club is a bad series by any means and a lack of development doesn’t ruin it for me, but it certainly doesn’t have the depth of NISIOISIN’s other series. This one seems content to take the reader along on whatever crazy case the Detective Club gets involved with and that’s going to be fine for some readers while actively annoying others.
I’ve made my peace with what the series wants to be and Volume 2 certainly showcases its strengths and weaknesses in full force. If you’ve been on the fence about it up until now, then this book will certainly be the deciding factor in whether you choose to continue or not.
As previously mentioned, Pretty Boy Detective Club Volume 2 comes to the UK thanks to Vertical and has been translated by Winifred Bird. The translation reads well with no issues of note.
Overall, Pretty Boy Detective Club Volume 2 brings us a fascinating case to explore, but still lacks in character development. The strengths of the series overcome the weaknesses for me, but that won’t be the case for everyone. One thing’s for sure: your loyalty to the series will be rewarded with interesting stories as is always the case with NISIOISIN’s works!