I originally became aware of Roll Over And Die: I Will Fight for an Ordinary Life with My Love and Cursed Sword through reviews of the light novel, by Kiki. A dark fantasy/yuri series sounded interesting to me, but it was also described as being extremely violent and I was worried that it might be a bit too macabre for my tastes.
Then I heard about the manga adaptation, by Sunao Minakata, and how the grisly elements were somewhat toned down, when compared to the novel. So, I decided to take a chance on this series, and I’m happy that I did.
When Flum is chosen to be a member of the party of heroes being assembled to defeat the Demon Lord, she finds herself in a pretty precarious situation. She has no magic power or fighting skills, only a rare ability, known as “Reversal”, which she has no idea how to use. Despite this, she joins the other heroes on their journey, in the hopes that she’ll be able to find some way to be useful to them. As time passes, and she remains weak and powerless, however, some of her party members start to grow distant or to treat her with open contempt. Finally, one of them decides to take matters into his on hands and sells her into slavery, in order to finally be rid of her. Flum finds herself flung into a prison, along with a group of other slaves who’ve been deemed “worthless”, and a horde of undead creatures is released in there with them, so that their owner can watch them get torn apart for his amusement. The only weapon in the cell is a cursed sword, purposefully left there to taunt them. But, if she’s going to die either way, Flum decides that she wants to go down fighting and takes hold of the cursed blade – and that’s when her destiny is changed forever.
I’m really glad that I decided to give Roll Over And Die a shot. This manga has pulse-pounding action, a sympathetic and indominable heroine and hints of a romance brewing between Flum and Milkit, another slave whom Flum rescued.
Milkit is a stoic and emotionless character, but this is clearly a coping mechanism to deal with all of the suffering and abuse she’s been made to endure. Milkit insists on referring to Flum as her “Master”, as she hasn’t had any relationships with others outside of that framework and doesn’t want to get her hopes up that Flum might be different. Flum decides to play along with this, for now, and, because Milkit has nowhere else to go and Flum is afraid to be alone, the two become traveling companions. Despite Milkit’s taciturn nature, a genuine bond is starting to form between them, as Milkit begins to realize that Flum is someone that she can depend on.
I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that Flum’s aptly named “Reversal” ability means that the curse on the sword has the opposite effect on her that it would normally have. Meaning, she gets a nice stat boost from the sword and some useful new abilities. She’s a force to be reconned with now, but not so overpowered that the fight scenes become boring. Flum still needs to struggle and use her head in order to win in battle, and the action scenes are exciting and intense.
I feel like I should mention that, while I’ve heard that the violence depicted in the manga is less grotesque than some of the things that were described in the novels, it’s still a dark series that can get pretty gory. If you have a low tolerance for horror, blood or gore, this is probably a title you’ll want to avoid. While I was fine with the level of violence, I think this isn’t going to be a series that’s for everyone. On the other hand, there aren’t any scenes of sexual violence (at least, not in this volume), which was a nice surprise. I’d been worried about that, given that the two main characters are girls who were sold into slavery, and that sexual assault is something that seems to crop up a lot in series that are labeled as “dark fantasy”.
While certainly not a manga for the faint of heart, Roll Over And Die turned out to be a gripping story, and I’m excited to read more and see Flum and Milkit continue to grow closer and improve their lot in life. Hopefully, Flum can find some more cursed items and continue to boost her power! I’m also intrigued by what we’ve seen of Flum’s former party members and the conniving man who betrayed her. Can’t wait to see what happens when Flum meets up with them again!
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? If you’ve read the light novels, how do you think they compare to the manga? Let me know in the comments.
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