Sunday, November 13, 2022

REVIEW: The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, Vol. 2 (book) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, translated by Faelicy & Lily, illustrated by Xiao Tong Kong (Velinxi)

The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System is a fantasy comedy danmei (m/m) story. I bought my copy of this volume brand new.


It's now three years after the events that wrapped up volume 1. Based on his knowledge of the original web novel, Shen Qingqiu (SQQ) figures he has another two years to prepare for Luo Binghe's (LBH) return. However, while investigating a mysterious plague, SQQ discovers that LBH has, in fact, somehow come back early. He also understandably feels betrayed by and upset with SQQ. 

Everything is now out of whack - SQQ's preparations, his understanding of the overall story, his ability to predict how LBH will react and what he'll do. But he figures his best chance for survival involves sticking with his original plan as much as possible.

This was technically not my first time reading this part of the story, although my actual first time involved a fan translation. Seven Seas' official release was a much better way to experience this. I had so much fun with this volume that I wanted to immediately jump into volume 3. Alas, I knew it'd be better for me to write a review for volume 2 first.

SQQ spends the bulk of this volume clinging to his understanding of the original novel, although there is now quite a bit of evidence that things have changed. As always, one of my favorite things about the humor in this series is the mismatch between SQQ's understanding of what's going on and the reality, which is that he's now in a danmei (BL) novel. He has to get smacked in the face with that reality multiple times before it finally sticks.

We don't get much System in this volume, which made me sad, although I suppose System pretty much fulfilled its comedic purpose in volume 1. We do, however, get a lot of one of my other favorite things, which is SQQ mentally freaking out while the rest of him continues to act like the elegant peak lord everyone believes him to be. The Water Prison scene, in particular, was both great for SQQ freakout moments and SQQ story misunderstandings.

In addition to the comedy, MXTX managed to work in some genuinely touching moments. One scene made me tear up even though I knew it was going to work out fine. (Although I'll admit that it was slightly less touching when I discovered/was reminded just how much SQQ engineered things. To be fair, he didn't know how devastated poor LBH would become afterward.)

Although there were still a few sentences here and there that were a little hard for me to follow, overall I really like this translation. I also appreciated that the translators got to include occasional footnotes about trickier translations, such as the layers of meaning in "Chunshan."

I don't feel like I properly communicated my enjoyment of this volume, but now that I've finally squeezed a review out I can start volume 3, and that's all I really want right now. Except I think that's the volume with the deliberately terrible sex scene - if you thought the "is he trying to bite my lips off?" kiss was bad, I assure you that the sex scene will be worse.


Character, location, name, and pronunciation guides, a glossary, and some character sketches. Also, the volume begins with a couple full-color illustrations. I continue to appreciate the work that Seven Seas has put into these releases.

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