The battle between fiends and heroes finally kicks off.
Story: Ishio Yamagata
Translation/Adaptation: Jennifer Ward
What They Say:
Enemies without…and an enemy within.
After escaping the impostor’s trap, the newly assembled Braves of the Six Flowers set off to fight the Evil God–only to find yet another person bearing the Crest! With the clock ticking down on the time until their fearsome enemy awakens, the seven have no choice but to journey through the Howling Vilelands with a false hero among them. To make matters worse, a seemingly invincible fiend commander with connections to several Braves attacks the divided group. They must work together to have even a hope of defeating such an adversary…but how can they, when anyone could be the traitor?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I loved the first volume of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, my biggest gripe with it was the lack of actual fighting between the fiends and the Braves. Though its narrative that involved in-fighting and an elusive traitor was gripping, there was a lack of movement towards the central plot point of destroying the evil Demon God.
Thankfully, this second volume fixes all of that. Despite the (spoilers for volume one) shocking reveal of yet another hidden traitor among the group with the introduction of Rolonia, volume two doesn’t lose itself in solely retreading themes of the first book. Instead, it finds a nice balance between looking for the new traitor and actually furthering the journey to defeat the Demon God.
Kicking right off the bat with a shocking death, I was jarred by this twist and it stuck out in my mind for the entirety of the novel. Who did it? Why did this happen? Rest in peace, [redacted]. With the shocking reveal, the story does a classic rewind to explain the events that led up to that moment, beginning with a battle against one of the most important fiend commanders.
Tgurneu is a fascinating new enemy that acts as the first real villain for the series. One of three commanders that control the entirety of the fiend army, he is an important figure whose death would be integral to success in this war against the Demon God. An intelligent, sophisticated fiend, Tgurneu is an intriguing character that antagonizes the group for the majority of the novel.
From setting traps to dividing the group, he knows what he is doing and does it well. Even in combat, he is a force to be reckoned with that isn’t easily defeated. Building up a central villain that allows for more information on the fiends and the lore behind Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers is a smart move on the author’s part, as it allows the world to expand beyond the limited knowledge the reader has in the first book.
This is helped along by a huge focus on Mora. If you couldn’t tell by her time to shine on the cover art, volume two is truly her story. Her backstory and motivations are explored during the course of the book, giving some necessary context to everything that is going on during the present day battle against Tgurneu.
Mora wasn’t the most appealing character, in my opinion, during volume one, but that changes completely here. Having a better understanding of why she acts how she does is compelling as the reader gets a dive into her mind frequently. Her backstory is both surprising and game-changing, complicating an already complex plot.
That isn’t to say that she’s the only one who gets her time in the limelight, as newbie Brave, Rolonia, makes a strong case, too. Her introduction at the end of the first book felt shoehorned and unnecessary, but I take that back completely with the way the author handles her in volume two.
The writing and equally good translation help to bring her to life in such a way that she will easily become a new fan favorite in the group. Her power of manipulating blood is interesting enough on its own, but like Mora, her backstory is what elevates her personality higher. Her timidness and strange quirks are explained well enough, in addition to how she came to know Adlet previously. Their relationship, though only briefly explored, is one that I look forward to in later installments.
The action in volume two of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers is even more intense and engaging than in the first novel. There are multiple battles that take place in the book, culminating in a large-scale battle that takes up most of the second half. This battle results in a stand-off between a few characters that is powerful, resulting in the death that kicked off the book. That surprise fight and an interesting cameo sets the stage for a third book that has me excited for whatever is next.
Following up on a strong first book, volume two of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers expands upon everything in some significant ways. The lore, plot, characters, and even the war against the fiends is given a lot more time to shine. I initially worried that this novel would just regurgitate what happened before, but that isn’t the case at all.
Mora and newcomer Rolonia steal the show with some compelling backstories that propel the story forward against fiend villain Tgurneu. The action is more intense and the stakes are higher than ever, resulting in a clean ending that has me excited for whatever is next in volume three.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017