Volume 2 of this psychological title continues to bring Misao and Kokai closer to Sae Maki's wrath. They may not escape.

The Love and Creed of Sae Maki: SAE-ISM Volume 2Title: The Love and Creed of Sae Maki: SAE-ISM
Genre: Psychological, Horror
Publisher: Akita Shoten (JP), Media Do International (US)
Creator: Tohru Uchimizu
Serialized in: Champion Cross, Motto!
Translation: Krysta Uyekawa
Release Date: November 7, 2017

If you thought Tohru Uchimizu would take the foot off the gas after revealing Sae’s not alone in bullying people, well…Tohru sorta does. But it doesn’t take long for Misao to realize she’s not only in a worse predicament than she was when she was bullied, she can’t get out. Her only ray of hope is two things — Sae’s abnormal affection for her, and Kokai’s determination to end Sae in any way he can. Those two things come into conflict in The Love and Creed of Sae Maki: SAE-ISM volume 2.

After finding out what Sae’s capable of, and the “kigurumi” she has behind her, Misao and Kokai realize they’re in a boatload of trouble. However, knowing what she can do drives Misao to come up with her own plan — one that will put her directly into Sae’s crosshairs, for better or worse. With Kokai’s help they plot to expose Sae’s deeds, but may have put their lives at stake. Though maybe they’ll attain the help of someone unexpected?

One problem that has come up with this volume, and even in volume 1, is the actions of Kokai. I think it’s more his personality doesn’t feel natural. You have a moment where something occurs and his face looks off. It’s either he’s surprised or stunned, and it doesn’t seem right. That makes some of his actions hard to believe. What should be a tragic moment when he goes into how he knew Sae Maki’s past victims, for example, comes across as overwrought. I think it’s a case where framing and skills come into play, and it doesn’t work out too well.

What does work out well is everything else. Just when you thought Misao’s troubles couldn’t get any worse, well, they do. Because of that she plots with Kokai to finally expose Sae Maki, and it all comes down to Sae’s ego that almost gets her in trouble. Note, almost because apparently, Sae Maki is entirely too perfect, and people (at least most) are stupid enough to fall for her lies.

This unfortunately continues to fascinate me. The more the manga goes on, the more it reveals how Sae Maki became this way. And as it shows the hows and whys, the only remaining question becomes: what drove her to this state? Because not only can she manipulate people to do what she wants, but she’s a pretty capable fighter. Um, was she an assassin in her past life or something? Whatever the case, she is not perfect, and it’s even shown in this volume. I personally do hope she is human, and not some actual monster.

The Love and Creed of Sae Maki: SAE-ISM Volume 2 is a pretty fast read. It’s not overly complicated and it looks well. There’s still a lot more that needs to be known, though; the #1 thing we need to know is how screwed is Misao now, and #2, will Sae eventually get what’s coming to her? Sometimes a work can end in a manner that doesn’t solve the problem, and it usually isn’t a good thing. Sae Maki could end in a similar fashion, but the manga will have a strong conclusion if it ends with something good happening. I’d like to keep reading to find out if it will.