Back in March, I reviewed the first volume of The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess. Although I ended up having mixed feelings on the first instalment, I was hopeful things would improve in the second book – and now it’s time to find out what happened!
As we reunite with protagonist Iana, we find her enjoying a relatively peaceful existence alongside sister Konoha and servant Sol. However, all that changes when a boy called Yomi returns from the Lily Kingdom!
Having originally created this world, Iana should be familiar with all the characters but when Yomi arrives, she has no recollection of him at all. It’s only after he informs her that he’s here to help her kill Konoha that Iana finally remembers his purpose in the story.
Yomi was written to be a villain who would side with Iana in her quest to murder Konoha and who was deeply in love with her. Of course, Iana is trying to avoid following the path of the story she wrote and now tries desperately to prove to Yomi that she no longer wishes to harm Konoha.
Naturally, her behaviour causes Sol to become suspicious of her relationship with Yomi, which in itself makes Iana worry that she’s already tripped a death flag. The last thing she needs is for Sol to decide she’s after Konoha’s life and kill her in advance.
In my review of Volume 1, I commented that the series struggled with its contrast between a dark narrative and the shojo moments. On the whole, I think this instalment avoids those issues, largely because it leans more heavily into comedy and romantic antics with the inclusion of Yomi. There is still a dark undercurrent to the story because Iana is worried about being killed, but I think the story is more coherent now than it was before.
The bigger issue this time around is that Yomi is a frustrating character in so many ways. Despite how hard Iana tries to tell him she’s changed her plans and turned over a new leaf, he refuses to believe her. For someone very intelligent otherwise, it doesn’t make sense that he won’t listen to her and remains so stubborn.
That said, when it comes to Iana, Yomi isn’t the only one who won’t listen. While Sol doesn’t neglect his duties toward making sure Konoha is safe, it’s clear that one of the reasons he becomes so suspicious of Yomi so quickly is because he’s jealous of how close Iana is to him. It was very obvious in Volume 1 that Sol now harbours romantic feelings for Iana and it’s interesting to see them surface here. If Yomi sticks around long-term, these two are the sort of characters who will butt heads nonstop.
If you found yourself particularly invested in the romance aspects of The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess then you’ll certainly enjoy seeing where the story goes from here as it leans into it. If you enjoyed the first volume because of the dark narrative, well I think this one will disappoint and I’m not convinced it’ll go back to it in the future.
The problem for me is that nothing about the shojo aspects of the series are all that original, nor are they particularly compelling. I quite like the budding relationship between Iana and Sol, but considering how airheaded Iana is, I’m not convinced it’s going anywhere anytime soon either. Your enjoyment is going to hinge on how much you care about these characters.
The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Lisa Coffman. Lettering on the other hand has changed over to DK and since there are fewer uses of the fairytale styled font things are more legible than they were before. Yen has Volume 3 of the series scheduled for release in July.
Overall, The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess Volume 2 has worked out what direction to take the story in. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly an improvement on the first book. How much you enjoy it will depend on how much patience you have with the new character.