Volume 2, Of Swords and Strength, continues the story introduced in Volume 1. The first volume basically was an introduction to the characters (though we do meet the "Saint of a Vice Commander" in this volume), but now we are given a closer look at some of them.
The Choshu and ninjas are given a bit more depth, Tetsunosuke makes a friend out of a previous acquaintance, and in an amusing episode, Can-Can music can be heard in the background of several scenes. Tetsu, though still childish, matures slightly through conflict with others. The chemistry between Suzu and Tetsu is quite funny and Saya brings in the concept of love and may be a possible future gilfriend, as hinted by the envy towards Hana. Hana is introduced here and can be a bit of an annoying character. I won't say much about her except that she seems to see no reason in hiding what Saya so desperately wants to keep hidden from Tetsu. Perhaps it is their profession or family?
As the title of the volume implies, swords have their part to play in the plot. There is some argument between characters as to whether or not Tetsu should indeed have a sword. Through this, we get a taste of Hijikata's regrets and concerns. I've begun to feel that he is truly an admirable character.
The humor and sometimes over-dramatic scenes are still present. I like the Character Collection extras (which are introduced on this disc) and the production sketches are sometimes worth looking at.
Overall, this is worth purchase. Though it doesn't have a spectacular soundtrack (though some music placement is well done and the ending theme, "Hey Jimmy", grows on you), nor does it posses animation to rival that of Miyazaki or Satoshi Kon (though, it is a TV show budget and it is pretty), Peacemaker is a consistent and fun series. Buy Volume 2. Enjoy the developing story and get a closer look at these loveable, enigmatic characters.