Title: Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Vol. 4
Author: Aya Megumu (Art), Hiro Ainana (Story), Shri (Character Art)
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: Shonen, Fantasy
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
Volume four of Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody gave us a backstory on who the elf was that was brought in by the helmeted rat person. The elf’s name is Mia and she is part of the Boruenan Forest, the same place that Yasuratoya came from. We also learn that the ratman’s name is Mize and that he rescued her when Mia escaped from a facility, but the two of them were caught in the ambush that Satou stumbled upon. A black wizard named Zen appears during a storm and ends up kidnapping Mia. This has Satou set out on a journey to the Cradle of Trazayuya in order to rescue her. There, Satou has to overcome 200 floors in order to reach Zen to do battle with him. Although him skipping through the tower heavily relied on plot devices, we do end up learning who Zen is which has a pretty profound impact on the story itself. I’ll touch upon that in the character’s section.
With Mia rescued, Satou returns back to the inn. There, he looks to set out on a journey to the capital to learn more about the world he is in.
I like how the volume took a little bit of a detour here with the main story. One of the great aspects about Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody is that it treats the story as if it were an actual RPG video game. Often times, when you’re about to advance the main quest, a side quest pops up and you feel compelled to complete it. That’s what this volume reminded me of. Satou bought his carriage and was ready to head to the capital and advance the plot, but the kidnapping of Mia felt like that side quest that you just had to do. Given how quickly the issue was resolved, it captured that feeling even more.
Despite being such a temporary character, the biggest development here was given to Zen because of his impact on the story. Zen is another person from Japan that was transported to this other world. He was killed in this world and was re-raised as an undead cursed with immortality. He kidnapped Mia in order to lure Satou to a place where Zen could be killed. He stated that only a hero could kill Zen, but Satou didn’t want to reveal the fact that he already obtained the Hero title. Satou passed every challenge Zen laid in front of him and was granted the Hero title by Zen. In addition, Zen gave him a holy sword capable of destroying him. Satou then granted Zen his final wish and laid him to rest, using the holy sword’s power to erase the immortality curse and striking Zen down.
It was kind of sad that he had to go to such lengths just to die, but it made me wonder why Satou didn’t really ask him for all the details he could about how he came to the world. Then again, Zen himself didn’t quite know all of the details either, which only reaffirms and enhances this unanswered mystery.
Mia’s introduction was okay. She has a child-like demeanor that’s a bit different than that of Pochi and Tama. She’s a bit more quiet and is child-like in the fact that she’ll always tug on Satou’s clothes to get his attention, speaking only in keywords. We already have two child characters so adding a third, even with the difference in personality, seems a bit much, but it is still a bit too early to give full judgment on her character. I’ll have to wait and see how this develops with the hopes that this doesn’t turn into Death March to the Parallel Babysitting and Day Care Services.
After the slower pace of volume three, volume four picks it up with a mixture of character development and action. Story progression was halted in favor of a side story that had an interesting outcome. It shows that there are others like Satou in the world so it’ll be interesting to see if he runs across others on his journey. Hopefully the ones he does run into can provide more pieces and clues to how he got here. It’s the right decision to slow burn this because how Satou got there is the biggest unanswered question that this series is centered around. Giving away the answer this early would ruin the mystique of the story.
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody continues to offer up a more RPG-like approach to the isekai genre. It takes the more serious tone of Log Horizon and combines it with the shonen styling of Sword Art Online. I like how Satou is extremely overpowered in this world, but he keeps all of that in check. Of course, there are times where he can’t really hide it, but he does his best to do so. This is very opposite of what Kirito did in Sword Art Online where he flaunted his high level almost every chance he got. In my opinion, Satou is how Kirito should have been handled and is a shining example of just how Death March does a lot of things right!
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This item was provided for review by Yen Press