So as you can see from that title, I’ll be looking at the second volume of Akuma no Riddle. This volume contains nine chapters, from 9 to 17. With volume 1 covering most of the introductions for Class Black, this volume starts to focus on the assassination attempts.
As usual, let’s start with the blurb:
When it comes to afterschool activities, these students aren’t just killing time.
Tokaku has saved Haru from the first assassination attempt in Myojo Private School’s Class Black, but the fight is far from over. Although Tokaku is the only ally Haru has in a class otherwise made up of assassins tasked to kill her, the energetic and trusting Haru still wants nothing more than to befriend her fellow students.
A system is put into place where all students must deliver notices to Haru, and then kill her by whatever means necessary before their time runs out. As Tokaku tries to protect her from within a den of potential murderers, will the pair be able to determine friend from foe or is the line too blurred in a school otherwise full of smiling faces?
Much like the first volume, this one starts with a few colour pages featuring various characters. The characters featured in this one are Haru; Tokaku and Otoya; Kouko and Suzu; and Nio.
Chapter 9 is called ‘Adjudicator’, which refers to Nio’s role in Class Black. The assassins gather, and Nio explains the rules for assassinating Haru. They are as follows: that whoever is able to successfully kill Haru will be granted any one reward, students outside of Class Black can’t be involved and any failed assassination attempts or breach of the rules will result in the culprit being expelled.
Each student also receives an advance notice, which they must give to Haru before making an attempt on her life. If they don’t succeed in assassinating her 48 hours after handing out their advance notice, the attempt is considered a failure. Each person only gets one chance, as well.
Tokaku tears up her advance notice, and tells the others that she will protect Haru.
The 10th chapter is called ‘First Warning’, with the focus on Otoya making the first move. We are also properly introduced to Sumireko Hanabusa in this chapter, though that’s more of a side thing.
The main focus of this chapter is Tokaku’s attempts to prevent Haru from opening Otoya’s notice, as well as a bit of backstory for Otoya. We also learn what reward she seeks.
Turns out Otoya can be quite a bully, with Mahiru being a victim of this. Sumireko steps in, though she isn’t too keen on either of them at this point.
Chapter 11 is ‘Commence Operations’, and that pretty much sums up the message that Tokaku sends to Kaiba.
Sumireko tries inviting Mahiru to lunch, but Mahiru turns her down. We also learn that Chitaru is attending Class Black with a target other than Haru in mind – a conversation she has with Hitsugi reveals that she is looking for ‘Angel Trumpet;.
Meanwhile, Otoya gets closer to Haru – Tokaku can see what she’s attempting to do, but Haru freely engages with her anyway. Despite her efforts, Tokaku is unable to prevent Haru from talking with Otoya.
‘Bullying Isn’t Nice, You Know’ is the title of chapter 12. It begins with Nio meeting with the chairman, and explaining the situation regarding Tokaku and Haru. The chairman had expected that to happen, so she’s fine with it.
Back in class, Otoya tries bullying Shiena, but Shiena stands up to her, saying the title of the chapter in the process.
Otoya invites Haru to the school’s garden, and Haru is all too eager to go. Tokaku tries to talk Haru out of it, but Haru insists that she wants to make friends normally. Tokaku reaches a compromise and tells Haru to e-mail her if any trouble arises.
As arranged, Haru meets Otoya in the garden. Naturally, Otoya attacks Haru. Meanwhile, Tokaku realises that she won’t be able to take care of everything from the shadows.
The 13th chapter is called ‘Poisonous Flower’, which starts with a few of the girls in the shower. They chat together, and it’s also revealed that Otoya is a serial killer.
In the garden, Haru runs from Otoya. Naturally, Otoya is keen to kill her target, so she gives chase. Haru happens to come across a poisonous plant garden.
Tokaku arrives shortly afterwards, and Otoya’s attention turns to her. Whilst they fight, Haru is able to use a new species of flower with anaesthetic properties to knock out Otoya.
Otoya’s attempt failed, so she has suffer the consequences.
Chapter 14, ‘Can’t Fail’, starts with a flashback to Kouko’s past. She’s determined to succeed in assassinating Haru.
Haru and Tokaku eat lunch together, with Nio joining them to talk about seven mysteries of Myojo Academy. This interests Haru, but Tokaku dismisses it.
After lunch, Tokaku explains to Haru about the notices. She also has some questions for Haru, but Haru avoids them and just says that she trusts Tokaku.
The two return to their room to find a new notice – Tokaku is quick to spot that explosives have been rigged up in their room, and defuses them.
Kouko returns to her room, realising that she’ll have to try a different approach.
Chapter 15 ‘Won’t Pray to God’ continues directly from where the previous one left off, with Kouko in the shower. She tells Nio what reward she wants, and Suzu happens to overhear – they two do share a room after all.
Another flashback to Kouko’s past shows a woman named Elena – someone who Kouko reveres.
In the library, Haru and Tokaku study together in preparation for midterms. Haru is happy because her dream of studying is coming true. We also see a brief flashback of Haru’s past, when she was in hospital.
Tokaku leaves to go find a study guide, and Kouko seizes the opportunity to make her move. She uses explosives and a gun, though Haru avoids suffering any serious injury.
Naturally, Tokaku goes back to confront Kouko – together, both she and Haru are able to get the upper hand. Kouko realises that things won’t work out how she wants them to, even if she kills Haru, so she gives up – another failed attempt, which means Class Black’s number is reduced yet again.
The title of chapter 16 is ‘Until We Meet Again’, in which Suzu takes over the role of class president. Sumireko also continues trying to approach Mahiru, but things don’t really work out.
We also get to see Haruki’s family, whom she speaks with on the phone. She hangs up on them when Tokaku approaches, and says that she will kill Haru, even with an elite like Tokaku protecting her.
Elsewhere, Chitaru and Hitsugi share a small moment together – rather sweet, though Nio finds it gross.
The chapter ends with Mizorogi-sensei announcing Class Black will be participating in the school festival, performing Romeo and Juliet.
‘Will Decide By Myself’ is the title of chapter 17, which also happens to be the last chapter of this second volume. Roles are decided for the class, and Chitaru and Hitsugi end up playing the lead roles. Shiena also happens to be quite a fearsome director.
During a break, Chitaru and Hitsugi share another moment together – again, quite sweet, and Nio isn’t around to comment on it.
As preparations for the play continue, Haruki asks Tokaku what she would do if she fell in love with someone she shouldn’t. Tokaku’s response is that she will decide who she likes by herself.
The chapter, and volume, end there.
The second volume of Akuma no Riddle kicks things off properly, after all of the introductions in the first volume. We see some of Haru’s survival instincts kick in, and Tokaku gets to show how efficient she is in a fight.
The motivations for the two assassins who made attempts in this volume was also revealed, which gives them some depth. Overall, the second volume is a worthy continuation of the series, now that everything has started proper.
Next time, I won’t be looking at volume 3 – the simple reason for this being that is isn’t available until 13th May 2016 and I haven’t quite mastered the art of time travel just yet.
I’ve got quite a few options for my next look at some manga, whether it be another Madoka spin-off, or maybe a long-runner. I just decide these on a whim, so we’ll see how I feel next week.