Spirit Chronicles - Volume 2 - Blessing of the Spirits | Featured
Spirit Chronicles - Volume 2 - Blessing of the Spirits | Cover Art
Title Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits
Author Yuri Kitayama
Publisher JP: Hobby Japan
EN: J-Novel Club
Original Release Dates JP: Dec 2015
EN: Nov 2018
Genre Medieval Fantasy, Isekai, Tragedy, Light Novel

In this review, I discuss plot points and details of storylines and character arcs which could be considered minor spoilers. No major spoilers will be revealed.

Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles, by author Yuri Kitayama tells the story of college student Haruto Amakawa, who is reborn into a medieval fantasy world by having his consciousness merge with that of an orphan named Rio. Enduring a hellish life in the slums before merging with Haruto, this remade Rio uses these memories and personality from another lifetime to navigate equally particular circumstances that see him escape the slums and enrolled at the Royal Academy. With his inner changes, as well as having gained new opportunities, knowledge, and skills, Rio finds himself driven by a desire of introspection; to understand who he is now, yet also to learn more about his past and his roots. Departing from the Beltrum Kingdom, Rio must continue to stand resolute against the unceasing schemes of the world’s kingdoms, and boldly face his many upcoming challenges on his journey of self-discovery.

Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits continues Rio’s story after Volume 1’s solid efforts of laying a strong foundation for our main character and the world he finds himself in. After his time enrolled in the Royal Academy, which included entanglements with the kingdom’s classist elite, Rio follows his own ambitions and sets off into the world, leaving the Beltrum Kingdom and this chapter of his life behind. He begins a new stage in hopes of learning more about his background and his parents; their history and their reasons for leaving their home country; as well as perhaps meeting any family he may yet have.

However, it won’t be so simple for Rio, as he must now navigate an adventurer’s life, full of its own clashes and conflicts. It also seems like Rio cannot entirely escape the reach of the Beltrum nobility, as he soon encounters a young Spirit Folk named Latifa. Latifa, a were-fox and enslaved assassin, has been sent by a dukedom to silence Rio for the sake of covering up a scheme of theirs. The story reaches a critical point with their encounter, resulting in a too-sudden life change and a reluctant concession, followed by an uneasy journey, for two. With simple acts of kindness along the way, a blossoming bond between them will grow, and fate’s involvements with be revealed.

Rio will then be further challenged by extreme prejudices and strong resistance. Trials await to test his compassion, mentality, and resolve, yet Rio will press ever forward as he continues his pursuit of understanding himself while also gaining new knowledge and insight of this truly bewildering magical world.

Similar to the first volume, Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits features a story packed to the brim. The main arc sees Rio truly begin his journey of self; setting off to learn more about his past while continuing his internal examination to figure out who he is now. A new piece to this is also introduced, as Rio takes the opportunities presented to him to further add to himself and develop into the individual he ultimately wishes to become. As Rio is a young teen and Haruto was just a twenty-year-old student, the story establishes that this merged individual is one who is still growing and maturing. The story also has plenty of major events that offer readers continued insight into Rio’s depth as a character. These circumstances challenge his reasoning and display the wrestling between two personalities when decision making, and thus further develop this complex character with an equally complex story ahead of him.

Spirit Chronicles - Volume 2 - Blessing of the Spirits | Insert3
A fateful encounter that will lead to a flood of emotions

We also see the introduction of Latifa, whose story will intertwine with Rio’s early this volume and have a lasting influence. She plays a direct role in Rio’s thinking and behaviors, as her own situation sees her becoming attached to him. Fortunately, she is not merely a device to simply progress Rio’s own story. Latifa very much has her own story arc, told through flashbacks that reveal a tragic depth, and, through her interactions with Rio, revealing just how lovable she can be. We get to learn of a character easy to empathize with and care for quickly, and one who has plenty of room for future growth.

Along with the main arcs, Volume 2 also provides plenty in the ways of world building, future set up, and a few stand-alone events. The most notable of these is the introduction of the Spirit Folk, non-human entities such as dwarves, elves, and were-folk. The Spirit Folk will quickly become essential to the story, offering new personalities, new knowledge, and hopefully a foundation for implied future arcs to come. For now, Rio’s initial introduction to them is hardly warm, giving us the first taste of a long, deep-seated malice between humans and Spirit Folk.

With action, depth, and plenty of emotion, Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits is a thrilling and enjoyable read throughout. With the themes of discovery and journeying out into a vast world, the story takes on a noticeably more dynamic, energetic feel. In this volume, we see more unveiling and learning, meaning more mystery and suspicion, thus the tones offer feelings of revelation, as Rio and we readers learn more together. There is also more in the ways of misunderstandings, which are paralleled with prejudices and the story’s first explorations into racism. The related distrust and misdirected aggression provide a palpable edge to the many emotions felt by the characters in these scenes. Volume 2 also offers more action scenes, which depict clashes of quick thinking and even quicker displays of physical and magical combat. They’re full of intensity and force, making for moments of pure vigor. Lastly, the entirety of what the Spirit Folk bring is substantial. Emotion, backstory, magical lore, not to mention all of the future story possibilities. This addition is a significant one that easily immerses and fascinates, and I hope the Spirit Folk play as large a role later as they do here. Volume 2’s story is an excellent continuation to, and an overall improvement over Volume 1, where intriguing story arcs and scenes come together with rich doses of emotional poignancy to make for a pleasantly immersive experience.

As exceptional as the story is, with its action, the emotions that come through, and the depth of immersion it achieves, I feel the most outstanding aspects of Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits are its two main characters and their development. Beginning with Rio, we get to see the progress of this already complex character, with more variations to his thinking and emotions. He’s not restricted by the noble settings in Volume 1, nor does he have to navigate that specific world, and so we see different sides to him in his many new circumstances. What stood out for me, I feel Rio shows more frustration and stress this volume. Back in Volume 1, Haruto’s influence meant Rio understood his circumstances and knew he had to be strong in his resolve, as he steadied himself against ridicule for greater advantages. He also had Celia, a teacher, friend, and, in many ways, a guardian to Rio. In Volume 2, he’s much more a lone individual who then later must step up into a guardian role himself. And so, there are these wonderful moments of inner struggle with what the mature Haruto believes is right versus the survivalist-minded Rio’s instinct of taking the best options for himself and his personal goals, thus causing more of this inner friction and frustration. And I love how these clashes feel like they are on another level, as they and his character arcs all emphasize that Rio is still a young work in progress. Now, that’s not to say we’re not treated to Rio’s exceptional rationality and decision making. These core traits are on full display, reinforcing the cool, calculated personality the merged Rio exhibited in Volume 1. In fact, he is seldom tripped up or caught off guard, making those few times in which he is particularly exciting. Truthfully, I wish there were more of them, for seeing Rio challenged or put off balance and working through it is what makes him such an engaging character. Having said this, Rio continues to be a fascinating individual, and I’m satisfied with the challenges and contemplation he works through, how he does so, and, ultimately, the progress his character receives.

Although Rio’s development in this volume impresses, I believe author Kitayama went above and beyond with Latifa. Latifa receives her own complex arc, beginning with glimpses of a brighter past that is suddenly and cruelly punctuated by an existence of sheer confusion and sadness. From what is gleamed of her life is terribly sad, making it difficult just to think about. In particular, when events reach the point in time when the series begins, Latifa’s situation becomes so sad that I genuinely don’t want to think about it. Also, parts of the flashbacks are left vague, forcing us readers to consider whatever worst we may come up with. Intentional or not, it’s as clever as it is insidious on author Kitayama’s part. What’s more, the first memories described are hallmarked by gratitude and young, innocent admiration, making the sharp, sudden contrast in Latifa’s history so much more painful. The cruelty of Latifa’s circumstances were awful enough, yet they become truly tragic with the flashbacks up to the time of the series’ start. And so, surviving her agonizing childhood, stripped of hope and affection, Latifa is molded into a weapon. Her present task of tracking down Rio results in their perilous meeting.

With the tones of heartbreak, suffering, and the author’s ability to instill our sheer want to help this poor young girl, it makes Latifa all the more precious and lovable. As readers, we want to see Rio become the person Latifa needs in her life. We want to see Rio’s feelings evolve for her sake. It’s because Latifa’s backstory is so sad, and her current self, fully exposed to Rio, is so frail and delicate, that we can’t help but adore her, and long to see her receive the affection and care she needs. It’s quite the story and character arc, running a gauntlet on us readers’ emotions. And the emotions hit hard, telling of the depth and detail, as well as the skill, in which author Kitayama achieves. With the tones of her backstory paired with the heavy mood and raw emotions running through the two, the read fully engrosses to the point where you just can’t help but root for Latifa. She has easily become my favorite character and I cannot help but look forward to her stories and scenes in the future.

Spirit Chronicles - Volume 2 - Blessing of the Spirits | Insert5
Latifa is the star this volume, but she’s not the only new character…

There’s no question that Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits impresses, however, there are some minor issues regarding its presentation that prevent my giving it a perfect score. The most obvious regard the translation. Every so often, there will be confusing choices in how sentences are phrased, making them less clear than they could have been with fewer words or simpler wording. Also, repeated words and incorrect tenses are few, but present throughout. So are instances in which characters are incorrectly referred to. This last one is a bit more problematic, as many new characters are introduced in the second half of the novel. Although none of these are enough to prevent readers from understanding or enjoying the volume, the breaks to immersion are just enough for me to comment on them.

Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits is simply a fantastic read. From its story to its characters, Volume 2 is an excellent continuation of the series, praiseworthy for its exemplary ability to convey palpable energy and feelings. This volume holds nothing back, making those emotions felt by its characters both raw and vivid to its readers. And while the characters and their personal journeys are the high points of this volume, the overall story is nonetheless engaging and fascinating. The introduction of Latifa is just brilliant, and with what she and the Spirit Folk may bring in the future, it keeps me wanting for more. Powerful emotions, busts of energy, and empathy you cannot help but express, Blessing of the Spirits will draw you in and offer a wonderfully deep, immersing experience.

Review Score

English translation of Spirit Chronicles Volume 2 – Blessing of the Spirits and all volumes of Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles by J-Novel Club. Digital versions of Spirit Chronicles Volume 2, and all volumes, made available through affiliate shops like Amazon.

Drew D.
Drew has been an avid gamer most of his life, favoring single-player campaigns. For him, a worthwhile game is one that immerses you; it envelops you and draws out an array of emotions that produce those memorable moments we live for as gamers.