Light Novel Review: TaiCheat Volume 2

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


Volume 2 is flatter and more sexualized than volume 1. The harem size pretty much explodes while the comedy and originality falls. It’s still a good pick for people who like a harem fantasy rom-com without drama, but it won’t blow your mind.

Difficulty


The phrasing in volume 2 feels kind of fancier than in volume 1. That means, it’s gotten a tad harder in general, but it’s easier on the names and terms than before. That adds up to a strong 6 for me.

Difficulty 6/10

Translation Where?


Nothing I know of. Gotta learn dem moon runes, boy.

Contents


NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!

The Whole Damn Thing

As I said in the previous volume, a rough summary of a story with this many places and characters just can’t be good. The story is consistent, so if my summary seems confusing then the issue’s my summary not being detailed enough; I’m not taking notes while I read, I simply write down summaries off the top of my head. I encourage everyone who finds the story interesting to simply try and read it themselves.

The prologue consists of a short story where a dragon gets blasted by tens of thousands (!) of enchanted (!!) rockets by the Empire.

The first “real” chapter is exactly what most people would expect after seeing the cover: All the heroines are in bed with the protagonist (at least partly) naked and want him to pop their cherries and have his offspring. Of course nothing happens.

The story then continues with Muzio teasing Tsunenobu for being such a cuck who isn’t banging all the girls already. Well deserved. Anyway, there’s a bunch of different things going on. The Rebellion still hasn’t fully surrendered. Especially that one kingdom (Igdral? The one where Rosalinde is from, I think. God I’m bad with names) that attacked last volume is still refusing. However, Tsunenobu makes it very clear to Muzio that he’s not willing to just blitzkrieg them down like the Empire always did, he wants to make them submit – but without going aggressive. In other news, manga culture starts to kick off on the fantasy interwebz, illustrators share their illustrations and Tsunenobu gets sucked into it, playing with the thought of starting publishing to commercialize their work. Also, this year’s tax results are out and apparently, even though they spent ridiculous amounts of cash on building the internet and war against the Rebellion, they got a an alltime high tax revenue of outrageous proportions. It seems like people are spending like crazy.

Representatives of a smaller kingdom, Atoma (I took note for once), which the Empire hasn’t annexed yet but always was on somewhat edgy terms with, have arrived. They’ve brought a gift for the Emperor. Muzio’s super happy to hear that, because it might mean that they’re willing to surrender themselves to the Empire. Tsunenobu is handed the present, opens it, and indeed, there’s the rumored national treasure of Atoma, a gem, inside – but before long, a light flashes and seemingly out of the crystal jumps a girl and almost chops Tsunenobu’s head off. It’s Yuri, the “Princess of Light,” one of the seven princess heroes that are destined to fight the great evil which has befallen the continent – namely the Empire, apparently. Anyway, she introduces herself and vanishes with the other messengers, who – in their defense – were as baffled as everyone else in the room that Yuri appeared out of nowhere.

Tsunenobu is visibly shaken by the attempt on his life and orders Muzio to take measures so that the Princesses can’t so easily infiltrate the castle. He returns to his room to regain composure and finds Paola and Kyala idling in there under a kotatsu (that heated table with a blanket all around). He’s being taught some facts about the war between the Empire and the, errr, beast race (?) which Kyala is a member of. Back in the day, during the war, the beast race had pretty much the same weaponry as humankind right now (our real humankind). However, bullets and explosives couldn’t pierce magic-infused things, and since beasts themselves don’t have any magical ability whatsoever, they stood no chance against the Empire and its magic users.

Anyway, it’s said that Yuri is a user of teleportation magic, a fact which is kinda just dropped there and then they proceed to have an “Say ‘aaaaahn,'” mandarin feeding session with Paola. Also, a video appeared on the internet. Namely, a declaration of war by five of the princesses: Sierra (Darkness), Yuri (Light), Natalia (Water), Maraika (Earth), and Marianne (Fire). Yuri was the assassin from before, Natalia is the girl who fought the Imperial Troops on the river last volume, Maraika is the girl who created the big-ass golems that Tsunenobu let fall into giant pitfalls, and Marianne is the girl with the huge and mighty dragon. Sierra’s kinda new. So, the contents of the vid are basically each of them showing off their fighting prowess against a bunch of power-ranger-ish thugs and then posing together in a power ranger-ish manner, and have those colored smoke bombs go off in the background like – well – in power rangers – with a bit of a Japanese idol show touch. In any case, point being those five princesses declare war on the Empire to free their comrade, the Princess of Storms (Rosalinde) and avenge her; they think the Emperor’s doing “this and that” (R-18) to her in his dungeon.

Well, consequently there are now rumors of a sex tape starring the Princess of Storm and they just won‘t go away. Even worse, the internet demands its release. Even the ministers suggest to just produce one (kappa) and put it out there. However, Tsunenobu‘s not having it, together with Hildegard, he wants to try and negotiate with Rosalinde to persuade her to make a public announcement that no such thing ever happened. And so he goes visit Rosalinde in her luxuriously furnished prison tower. He tells her about the circumstances and about her comrades who want to free her. Upon hearing that, her reaction’s sorta complicated, but anyway, Tsunenobu asks her to tell the world that she’s being treated nicely. Of course, she harshly refuses. After all, she’s been put under that enslavement spell and humiliated (last volume, remember?). And so Tsunenobu does what he has to do and forces her (utilizing the spell) to read out a prepared statement in front of a camera. Since she does her best resisting the command, and thus experiences the pleasure that the spell puts onto those who go against the commands of the profiteer, the video doesn’t really turn into the statement he was looking for, but rather into the sex tape that everyone else is demanding, so Tsunenobu just deletes it.

After returning to his room, he runs into Paola, who obviously just cried. The reason, as it turns out, is that she asked on the internet what they could do since everyone – even though he did nothing wrong – talks bad about her Emperor-chan. The reactions – as you might expect when porn is involved – are rather harsh. It’s his fault for keeping the porn to himself, what do you expect of a wimp who doesn’t just raze that smallass country to the ground, it’s his fault for keeping a princess as a prisoner of war, there’s no evidence he isn’t treating her badly, etc. etc.. Tsunenobu says that Paola doesn’t have to try so hard, he’ll figure something out. But in tears Paola replies that she wants to be of help to Tsunenobu even if it hurts. Seeing no other way, he decides to issue his own statement now.

Or so he thought! Apparently, there’s been a hidden camera in the room when he comforted Paola. And the video’s up on the internet now! Turns out, it was Kyala who installed the camera there and uploaded the video. The reactions are pretty much, “They made our Paola-chan cry! Kill ’em!,” so everyone’s on the side of the Emperor again. However, shortly after Paola’s video was on top of the charts, it’s a concert of Maraika, one of the Princesses and a super famous idol in the kingdom named, errr, Erzurum (a city in Turkey, apparently; I took note again). So what’s the Empire gonna do about that? Counter this cultural invasion with an idol culture of their own! Paola is assigned as the producer, after all she really wants to be part of this but having this big-boobed loli juggle her boobies all across the stage apparently doesn’t sit well with Tsunenobu, and Paola just has the most experience with this kind of thing, since she’s a big fan of Maraika.

Bice also returned, but with bad news. The Brimreck (?) Kingdom is preparing for war. That’s where Marianne, the Princess of Fire – at least I think it was her – comes from. So that’s not good. Being desperate, Tsunenobu decides to go into the treasure vault and look for some legendary weapon that might be able to defeat her dragon – Bice decides to tag along. Before long, Hildegard turns up and throws herself onto the ground, begging Tsunenobu not to send Rosalinde back to her country, since her father would just have her executed. Tsunenobu finds that hard to believe, she’s the king’s real daughter, after all. However, Hildegard insists that her uncle is a control freak who doesn’t hesitate to send the last of his folk to death if that’s necessary to secure his throne. So she asks Tsunenobu to take Rosalinde as his concubine (kappa) to protect her. He takes her by her word and promises that he won’t send her back (not takin’ her as his concubine either, though). Suddenly it dawns on Tsunenobu: He wants to try and utilize the old “beast folk” weaponry, clad it in magic, and as such defeat the dragon with it. However, metal and magic don’t seem to go along easily. To fix that problem, they might need master blacksmith expertise, and apparently Hildegard knows just the people… Although very hesitant since her blacksmith acquaintances are pretty much crazy, she agrees to go look for them and bring them to the Emperor.

Tsunenobu decides he should inspect the old tanks. And so he visits the beast folk who apparently live in “confinement” on a 400.000-ish km² big piece of land that is surrounded by a big concrete wall. Another nice piece of information is that apparently beast folk from the same “family” can communicate by telepathy. Also, since the Empire crushed them, their internal quarrels have also calmed down. Their government still seems to be autonom. Anyway, sure enough, there are tens of thousands of tanks still there, hardly maintenanced, but not disassembled either and could be ready-made with some effort.

They spend the night in an inn or something like that in the vicinity, and when Tsunenobu’s about to read some porn manga on the internet and wank one out, he gets an emergency call from Muzio: The Princesses released another video. In that, they apologize to Paola for making her cry, but of course still stick with declaring war on the emperor. Welp, there goes the effect of the Empire’s last video. They say that this would be the last New Year’s the Empire will see. Apparently, New Year’s is less than a month away.

After that, it’s said that they were able to meet with that blacksmith (not much written about it apart from “it was terrifying”) and got all the stuff they needed together. It’s two more weeks until New Year’s. Terue and Brimrick Troops have started moving.

Tsunenobu pays Paola a visit while she’s pursuing her producer duties. They’re in the middle of dance lessons right now. While not having had their debut performance yet, there’s already tons of “backstage” content on the video platforms. Of course, Paola shows Tsunenobu a bit of it. It’s basically drama stuff where, for instance, one of the girls has a breakdown and is like “I can’t do this, I don’t have the talent,” then everyone but that one girl cheers her up who is like “Then GTFO,” and everyone’s like “Gosh,” but she be like continuing and it becomes apparent that in truth she’s cheering her on more than anybody else, they tightly hug each other and cry tears of joy, hooray. Tsunenobu’s rather confused why they’d need this kinda stuff, but it’s topping the charts, so Paola must be doing it right.

Time for some espionage. Kyala prepared a bunch of surveillance drones that look like bugs and keep track of Marianne, The Princess of Fire, the one with the dragon. Currently, she’s preoccupied in something that, from the looks of it, is a candy castle. She’s basically in a villa made out of sweets that seems to be situated in the Empire. And being quite the sweet tooth, she’s loving it and – to her troops’ dismay – doesn’t think about leaving anytime soon. Anyway, the drone gets spotted out by her dragon, named, and I shit you not “Red Phosphorus Great Divine Dragon.” It’s written in all katakana as if it was a foreign term. I’ll go with “Great Red Dragon,” since being red is its most striking feature. Anyway, being that divine and great, it’s pretty bored sitting around while its companion enjoys her stay in candyland, so it tells them, through the drone, that it might as well come on its own and burn ’em to ashes. Tsunenobu’s like “I’m not scared, come at me, brah,” which amuses the Great Red Dragon and, thankfully, it’s conceited enough to propose it will just stand there and not move until they’re done attacking (to see true despair in their faces when they realize they can’t hurt it) and if they manage to even land an attack, they get to ask a wish from her. So ye, Tsunenobu accepts that offer.

Which brings us to the continuation of the prologue. Great Red Dragon got her ass handed and all that’s left in the crater is a little girl. You guessed it, the dragon took on human form. And she’s pissed that they kept bombarding her even though she screamed for a timeout – which Tsunenobu didn’t hear ’cause explosions. Anyway, the Empire won, so Tsunenobu’s got a free wish, and he asks her to not ever attack the Empire.

After the battle, they meet up with Marianne in the chocolate castle and give her her dragon back. She’s all cozy with her since usually “Rin” (that’s how Marianne calls Great Red Dragon, which I will, too, from now on) refuses to take on human form and it’s been a while since she’s seen Rin like this. Marianne is a big sister type of girl. Very pampering, slow and kind way of speaking, really stretches her words; you get the idea. Tsunenobu gives her the chocolate castle as a sign of his good will and asks her to drop her attack on the Empire. After some discussion, she agrees since she didn’t really fancy the idea from the start. However, she warns him that the other Princesses might be more stubborn about the matter than her.

Using their spy drones, they have a look at what Maraika – the Princess of Earth – is doing. Apparently, she is really annoyed that the Empire’s idol group took first place in the charts; which is according to Tsunenobu’s plan. Her generals enter the room and want to talk about strategies for the upcoming battle. However, she’s in thought about how to reclaim her spot as the top idol on the continent, throws the generals out and tells them she’s busy for the time being. Seems like this front’s doing fine for the Empire, too.

Checking on the Princess of Water, Natalia, Tsunenobu’s plan was to get a bunch of mangaka together to draw yuri manga starring Natalia and her first in command, Sonia, export them to their country and throw them into tumult. Spying on her through their drones, however, Tsunenobu sees Natalia binge-reading said yuri manga, she literally imported them by herself and has a huge amount of them towering in her room. Her only complaints about ’em is that some of those mangaka don’t get “what Sonia’s charmes are at all.” Sonia walks in on her and suggests to ban such filth from their country. Natalia, however, says that you don’t just ban things because you don’t like them, she wants her to explain in detail what part of the yuri manga is so wrong that it’d warrant a ban on them, ultimately making her read some scenes out loud, and embarrassing her. In the end, Sonia apologizes for being so biased and they agree on not banning them. Anyway, Natalia’s busy reading eromanga, so Tsunenobu got them occupied in any case.

Marianne arranged a meeting with Sierra, the Princess of Darkness, for them – basically she and Yuri are the last of the “Super 5” who declared war on the Empire. This one doesn’t go as well. Tsunenobu tries to explain to her that he didn’t do anything bad to Rosalinde, but Sierra insists that she’s got proof. The proof being – again – manga that is based on “Emperor abuses Princess of Storms” rumors. Although even the manga itself says that it’s a work of fiction, Sierra just won’t listen and announces that she’ll be marching on the capital city, alone. She also flings a crystal Tsunenobu’s way and tells him to not forget that Yuri’s still there, too. Yuri does pop out of nowhere again and does them the favor of telling what Sierra’s power is: Basically creating black holes that suck everything in that they touch. Why Yuri doesn’t just assassinate Tsunenobu? Well, she’s getting along with Paola awfully well all of a sudden… Don’t ask me.

So Sierra’s marching on the Empire and the Imperial Forces are making their stand on a plain. They do everything they can, fire 500.000 rockets and whatnot at her multiple times, but she doesn’t take any damage, she simply sucks them all into her black orbs and gets weirdly aroused doing so, to the point that her corset bursts open, revealing her big boobies she’s been hiding and even what appears to be demon wings. Tsunenobu commands his troops to retreat.

His ministers and advisors held an emergency meeting and call for him to make his decision. They advise him to let Rosalinde go. That, however, would spell her death, since her father would execute her. Everyone, even Yuri, tells him that the future of the Empire is at stake and that he has to release her. Tsunenobu does think about it for a while and then declines, stating that he won’t let her die and will keep his promise with Hildegarde. He’ll go and face Sierra himself.

So lastly he and his spec ops face Sierra. The spec ops surrounding her while keeping a good distance and Tsunenobu in front of her, challenging her to an honest one on one fist fight. After a bit of an exchange, it becomes apparent what Sierra’s true goal is: Apparently, she’s a super masochist and came all this way to be abused by the one she heard is the most degenerated of perverts: The Emperor. Tsunenobu, having been prepared to die, is totally perplexed seeing this “demon” just turn out to be an outrageous pervert. Suddenly, Marianne, Natalia, Maraika, and Yuri turn up, too. And even some of the Imperial troops. Apparently, Tsunenobu’s speech about how he’s not letting Rosalinde die and would rather sacrifice himself for the Empire had been recorded (again) and uploaded to the internet, inspiring some of the troops to act on their own and come rushing towards their Emperor’s side. Anyway, all of them start abusing Sierra either verbally (chanting “go home”) or physically (the Princesses attacking her). But it’s still not enough, “The Pervert of Darkness” is clearly aroused but not satisfied yet. Tsunenobu has an idea, he turns to Bice, who he thinks has a talent for this kind of thing. Although reluctant, she goes and does some sado play with Sierra (“You’re just a pig, get on all four and squeal like you’re ought to!”), basically finishing her off and allowing their spec ops to restrain and seal Sierra’s powers.

The volume closes with more or less all heroines that have taken stage this far entering Tsunenobu’s room and either flirting with him (Natalia, Paola, Bice) or asking for his child (Rosalinde, Hildegarde (kinda)). The Princesses decided to stay in the Empire for a while, either to read manga (Natalia), hold a collaboration concert with the Empire’s idol group (Maraika), getting their kicks (Sierra), or try some of the Empire’s sweets (Marianne).

Conclusion


Volume 2 Cover

TaiCheat (just a reminder that this isn’t the official shorthandle) was one of the most pleasant surprises I had with “new” light novel series these days. Although the cover screamed “dumb, cliched fanservice,” it actually had an interesting setting with many unconventional and funny plot twists. That, of course, lead me to read volume 2 asap. How did it hold up?

Once one of volume 1’s biggest strengths, the storyline can’t hold its own in volume 2. It feels rushed and poorly thought out in general, I’d like to demonstrate why with several key events.

First, you might remember that volume 1 introduced the “Seven Princesses,” warriors of legend destined to fight a grand evil which would befall the continent; and apparently it’s been decided that said evil is the Empire. Volume 2 deals with five of those princesses: Fire, Water, Earth, Light, Darkness. Volume 1, on the other hand, dealt with one of them: Wind (Storm). So legendary warriors, five of them to boot, all of them being dealt with in one volume, five times as much as in the previous installment. As you might expect, the princesses this volume appear hardly threatening nor do most of them even put up a fight. Maraika, the Princess of Earth, is dealt with by simply keeping her busy with a rivaling idol group. Natalia, the Princess of Water, is dealt with by simply having yuri doujins of her and her first in command. Yuri, the Princess of Light, isn’t even dealt with in any active or semi-active way, she’s just a friendly all of a sudden. Marianne, the Princess of Fire, is being dealt with by defeating her dragon and she’s a friendly all of a sudden. Only Sierra, the Princess of Darkness, actually puts up a fight. What’s nagging me about this isn’t even that they’re not putting up as much of a fight like Rosalinde, the Princess of Wind, in volume 1, but how easily they turn friendly. At the beginning of volume 2, Yuri tries to assassinate Tsunenobu, and then she’s suddenly an ally. Why? Why did she go from killing intend to sitting on Tsunenobu’s lap? The Empire is considered an aggressive country that razes down smaller countries to annex them, they are or at least were a terror on the continent, all of the princesses should face the Emperor with distrust; and that’s exactly what Rosalinde did, she even keeps resisting for the most of volume 2. Yet, even though five of the princesses declare war on the Empire, Marianne, Natalia, Yuri, and Maraika just let it go like that. On top of that, they join the harem at the end of the volume, Natalia even makes active advances. She’s literally seen him for the first time! He’s the Emperor of an aggressor! There are missing links all over the freaking storyline, the way most of them behave makes just no sense, it frustrates me to no end, completely different from volume 1.

To make matters worse, the final conclusion of volume 2 is three of the princesses fighting the Princess of Darkness. Not only do they not attack the Empire, they turn on their ally, swayed by one mere video clip on the internet! Well, it’s not like Sierra attacked the Empire for greater justice. Her reasoning stems from sado-maso eromanga alone, which could be funny if it wasn’t just so unreal that it makes your eyes roll. The manga has the typical “this is a work of fiction”-disclaimer, yet Sierra chooses to not believe anyone that it isn’t reality and decides to attack. Again, it makes no sense and feels super forced. Rosalinde, on the other hand, had a sound reason to attack. For one, she was ordered to. Second, she believed the Empire to be evil, which she had all reason to. Oh, and the final battle of volume 2 has hundreds of civilians chanting “go home” at Sierra, which the author believes does trigger masochism. Truly cringy.

Another source of annoyance is Paola. I wouldn’t mind if she was just a little sister type of loli or if she was a little sister for ecchi incidents. However, she seems to be designed for both. She’s got the mind and statue of an elementary schooler with the boobs of an adult. While she’s supposed to be “super moe” and “cute,” she merely looks like someone who tries too hard to appear cute, consequently achieving the contrary by looking retarded and annoying. It’s so off-putting that she behaves like an 8 y/o, is overly sexualized and wants Tsunenobu to impregnate her. Really the product of a truly disturbed mind. To me, Paola is either a mentally handicapped (judging by her behavior) young adult (judging by her body) – that’s the option that’d let me sleep at night – or just a biologically perversed child/elementary schooler with breast implants. She doesn’t even bring anything to the story table, every time she makes an appearance it’s about her forced “cutesy” behavior that is so exaggerated, you just can’t buy it. I’d go as far as saying volume 2 would be a better book without her. A poorly written character, indeed. I also wanna add that the other loli characters (Kyala, Yuri, Maraika) are way better designed and written than Paola, who just seems to be a manifestation of the author’s fetish.

As you might be able to tell by now, I’m not exactly thrilled by TaiCheat volume 2. It feels like I’ve just read three volumes with 2/3 of them missing. It still has its moments in humor and twists, but they’re far less impactful than they were in volume 1. The worldbuilding, however, is pretty decent. It even has a worldmap and faction section for people who suck with names (me), and it took me way too long to actually spot it ’cause it’s after the table of contents and in front of the prologue, I tend to skip to the prologue after the color illustrations so ye, overlooked it at first. The summary might’ve been better if I’d seen it. Oh well. So ye, the worldbuilding heaves volume 2 above average – ever so slightly. Sadly, I don’t really have other compliments than that, it’s a pretty weak continuation of a great story and a weak 6 in my mind. However, I bought up to volume 4, so I will read TaiCheat at least to that point. I hope volume 3 goes back to the roots.

Rating 6/10

 

CDJapan | Amazon | BOOKWALKER

Leave a Comment