Helck Volume Two begins to develop both Helck and Vermilio as characters.

Helck Volume Two
Written by: Nanaki Nanao
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 14, 2023

Right at the end of Volume One, Helck, the other contestants vying for the title of the Demon Lord, and Vermilio make it to Castle Urum and are attacked by a winged creature. It’s revealed early on in Volume Two that the winged creature is actually a human, and is someone that Helck recognizes. Edil, the winged human, reveals that humans are awakening and becoming heroes, and this revelation makes Vermilio question whether or not Helck is really on the demons’ side. Edil is taken down, but a teleportation spell is cast and creates a gate. In the process of trying to stop the gate, Vermilio is sucked into the gate, but Helck tries to save her before that happens. Helck’s action confuses Vermilio, because she finds herself questioning why he would help her if he’s on the humans’ side.

Much of Volume Two shows what happens to Helck and Vermilio after they come out of the gate. The two of them end up on an island that’s inhabited by a small village, and we see Helck and Vermilio interacting with the inhabitants. But Helck keeps busy by building a house for shelter, as well as building a small boat. While Helck and Vermilio may not know the way back to where they came from, he wants to have a boat ready for when they do. Vermilio is quite torn, because while she wants to return home, she thinks it would be better to keep Helck here and eliminate the problem his involvement with the tournament created. At the same time, Vermilio seems like she’s slowly starting to change as she spends time on the island with Helck and the inhabitants.

Near the end of the volume, Vermilio finally decides to start asking Helck some questions. Through these questions, she, along with the reader, start getting a hint as to why Helck has walked away from the humans and is competing in the Demon Lord competition.

After Vermilio and Helck’s conversation, the volume returns to Castle Urum, where the other competitors are surrounded by a large number of the winged humans. They get some unexpected aid from Azudra and Ista that turns the tide in the competitors’ favor.

Helck Volume Two also includes a bonus story, which is set at a time when Vermilio was younger. The story shows her interacting with Azudra during a time before she came to hate him like she does in the main story of the manga. I thought this bonus story was a nice addition, because it allows the reader to get to know these two characters a little better, and it provides some context for their interactions that we see in the main story. It feels like it enhances the volume instead of coming across like it was something that was thrown in order to get the volume to a particular page length.

In my review for Volume One, I was wondering how Nanao would be able to keep this story going for 12 volumes. Volume Two did provide at least one answer: send a couple of characters away for a side story. So far, I like how Vermilio and Helck’s side story is being handled, but I’m hoping their time on the island isn’t stretched out to a ridiculous amount of time. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them on the island in Volume Three, but I would hope that by the end of Volume Four that they will have returned home and rejoined the others in the main storyline.

In Volume One, one of Vermilio’s spies discovered that the humans had disappeared from the towns she had investigated. It appears that Volume Two provided the answer as to why they had disappeared. The concept of the humans evolving and becoming heroes is an interesting one, and hopefully there will be a decent follow through for this plot development. I also appreciated getting a hint for Helck’s motivations in the series, and if I get the chance to read more volumes of Helck, I hope that more specific details will be revealed to help explain why Helck developed these motivations.

Even though there was still some humor in Helck Volume Two, it seemed to be scaled back a bit in comparison to the humor level in Volume One. Considering the plot points that happen in this volume, though, it makes sense to cut back on some of the humor. This lower humor level works for the series, and hopefully it can stay at this level. I’d hate for the humor aspect to disappear from this series completely.

If you read and enjoyed the first volume of Helck, then I think you’ll appreciate how the story and the characters progress in Volume Two.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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