Untranslated Light Novel Summary + Impressions: Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen vol. 1-5 (END)
Light novels are becoming more popular among English-speaking readers these days, but many, many LNs remain untranslated. This particular title doesn’t even have a fan translation. But never fear, Doctor Froggy is here to provide you with spoilers for a trashy light novel you’ll probably never read.
Overall Series Review
Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen (or Moeyo Pen for short) is the second light novel series by Murakami Rin, the fellow who brought you I’ll Make You into an Otaku, So Make Me into a Riajuu! It was published by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko and ran for five volumes.
If I could describe the plot of Moeyo Pen in a phrase, it’s OreImo crossed with Bakuman. Although the plot focuses on the struggles of two high school students struggling to find success in the manga industry, Moeyo Pen has a much more niche appeal than Bakuman ever did. The heroine, Ikoma Matsuri, is a hardcore otaku with a tsundere streak, though mercifully she’s not nearly as abusive as Kirino of OreImo infamy. The characters are drawn to be extremely cute and their personalities don’t stray far from the harem genre norms. Longtime consumers of light novels should know exactly what to expect from this kind of work.
The first volume of Moeyo Pen is by far its strongest and most focused from a storytelling perspective. The subsequent volumes lack a clear sense of direction, probably because the main characters have already achieved their main goal by the end of volume 1. Only in the final volume does the manga subplot come to the fore once more. Unfortunately, the volume was also very abridged and rushed, leading some readers to speculate that the series was cancelled. Whatever the case, Moeyo Pen makes for a very uneven reading experience; despite the foreshadowing, many of its more interesting side characters get little to no development. And for most of the story in volumes 2-4, the main plot is totally ignored in favour of ecchi romcom antics.
If you’re mainly interested in the manga aspect of this series, my advice to you would be to stop reading after volume 1. If you can’t read Japanese, I’ve included a summary of volume 1 in this post. Alternatively, you can read the manga adaptation, which covers the events of the first volume, though unfortunately the manga artwork is far inferior to the fantastic illustrations Tsukako drew for the LN.
While the illustrations are clearly the standout element of the light novel, I do also enjoy Murakami Rin’s writing for its simplicity. He keeps the story moving in every scene. Moeyo Pen is also arguably one of the easiest light novels to read in Japanese. If you can read manga comfortably without a dictionary, you should probably be able to handle Moeyo Pen just fine.
Another point in Moeyo Pen‘s favour is that it’s not obsessed with clever-sounding dialogue, so the trope-y moments came across as rather innocent instead of smug and self-aggrandising. On top of that, some of the trope-y moments actually make sense from a characterisation perspective. Our heroine is a socially awkward geek, so she only feels comfortable exploring her sexual curiosity by contriving what she calls “staple romcom events”. Many ecchi tropes revolve around non-consensual sexual situations, such as accidentally encountering a girl naked, so it was quite interesting to have our main characters agree to them beforehand. My favourite volume in the series was actually volume 3, which was full of such contrived (yet consensual) ecchi situations.
In the end, I do like I’ll Make You into an Otaku, So Make Me into a Riajuu! a little better, though. The manga industry aspect of Moeyo Pen is never shown in-depth, even when manga is the focus of the story. From what he wrote in the afterword of volume 1, it seems Murakami has familiarity with drawing manga, but since he and his friend only pursued their goal casually, he doesn’t have anywhere near the level of industry insight as the creators of Bakuman. Moeyo Pen is at its best when it manages to balance its serious plot with light-hearted romcom antics, but it lacks the interesting core themes of OtaRia.
Moeyo Pen is an enjoyable romcom series that seems to say more about the awkwardness of teen sexuality than it does about manga, but I wouldn’t have it any differently. It certainly has its trashy moments, but it has just enough earnestness that its ecchi moments have a touch of honesty about them. This is the kind of writing that I have come to expect from Murakami Rin. I’ll be looking forward to his next work.
MC-kun (Kimijima Sen)
Kirino Clone (Pen name: Ikoma Agito. Real name: Ikoma Matsuri)
Childhood Friend (Kouzuki Minase)
Tomoda (Hashimoto Takumi)
Burikko AKA Best Girl (Tsubaki Emiri)
Ikemen-kun (Serizawa Akito)
Hikikomori Girl (Ichinose Shirayuki)
Imouto (Ikoma Anri)
Editor (Saotome Yuri)
Volume 1 Summary
The story begins in media res. MC-kun, who is not an otaku, is very confused when Kirino Clone forces him to play an eroge.
This is the only part translated on Baka-Tsuki. Let me quote some of the lines for you:
“Kyahhoohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Ririne-san’s boooooooooooooobbs! Please let me bury my face into those large breeeaaassts!”
“The big sister archetype Ririne-san who’s always calmly leading the protagonist along, making such a cute voice in her disheveled ecchi state…… this contrast! Isn’t this the most amazing thing! No matter how many times I look at this frame, it’s still just as godly! Aah…… these fair, soft, squishy boobs……! That’s the godly eroge artist Tatara-san for you, he did a really great job, didn’t he ~!”
…IT GETS BETTER I SWEAR
After the prologue, MC-kun introduces himself. He is a wannabe mangaka who wants to draw hot-blooded shonen manga like Three Piece. However, he hides the fact that he draws manga from the rest of his class. You see, in elementary school, the kids made fun of him for drawing Pretty Cure characters. MC-kun was only doing it for his childhood friend, but suddenly the world thinks he’s a disgusting otaku pig. This event was so traumatising that MC-kun quit drawing manga altogether.
Fortunately, MC-kun is back into manga thanks to Best Friend-kun’s encouragement. MC-kun is currently working hard to get serialised in Monthly Shonen Dragon. (Random trivia: The manga adaptation of Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen is being serialised in Monthly Dragon Age, a label of Fujimi Shobo, the same company that publishes the Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen LN under the Fantasia Bunko imprint.)
Unfortunately for him, the Monthly Shonen Dragon editor rips apart MC-kun’s manga. She tells him that he can’t draw females and that the story is derivative, chuuni crap. But, having noticed his potential, Editor-san does two other things for MC-kun: 1) submit his manga to the “Fujimi Comics Grand Prize”, and 2) get him a job as an assistant for a mangaka working for Monthly Shonen Dragon’s sister magazine Monthly Pretty Dragon.
The mangaka he is supposed to be working for is, of course, our resident Kirino Clone. She is very pleased to see MC-kun.
“Why is it a guy?! I heard it was gonna be a beautiful, big-breasted older lady…” she says.
Needless to say, MC-kun is kinda WTF about this, especially when he gets eroge shoved in his face on their very first day working together. When he ends up missing the last train thanks to her shenanigans, he sleeps over at her place, feeling very, very sad and confused.
Just as he decides he’s going to quit working for Kirino Clone, he discovers that her manga is about to get cancelled. This inspires MC-kun to actually read Kirino Clone’s manga, only to discover that… he likes it. A lot.
(Kirino Clone draws a romcom manga with moe girls and sappy melodrama, much like Clannad except with a big-breasted oneesan character.)
Anyway, MC-kun is devastated that Kirino Clone’s manga will be cancelled, until he remembers something Editor-san said: if the results of the next reader survey are good enough, the manga will remain serialised.
So MC-kun pours his heart and soul into assisting Kirino Clone, and together they produce a chapter far superior to Kirino Clone’s usual output. Unfortunately, it’s for the chapter after next month’s issue, so all that hard work goes to waste and Kirino Clone’s manga ends up getting cancelled anyway.
As you can imagine, our heroes are pretty down in the dumps about their failure. At this point, Editor-san offers them a suggestion:
“Why don’t you draw a manga together?”
MC-kun can do the battles, while Kirino Clone can do the romcom stuff. Together, they can produce something the world has never seen before: a romcom battle manga!!!
If you thought all these developments were fairly reasonable and straightforward, never fear, the fanservice is here!
In other news, their editor informs MC-kun that his manga got an “honourable mention” in the Fujimi Comics Grand Prize. Things are looking up! Kirino Clone warns him not to let his guard down, though. The two of them are only rookies, not established mangaka. “If our oneshot doesn’t get good results and we don’t get serialised, the editing department will treat us badly and next time we won’t know when they’ll publish our serial or even a oneshot of ours. If worst comes to worst, we might not be published again…”
MC-kun, being the big fan of shonen manga he is, promises that this will never happen and that he will GANBARU.
In chapter 5, the major love rival appears.
Kirino Clone is pretty pissed off at Burikko AKA Best Girl. Burikko AKA Best Girl worked as Kirino Clone’s assistant before, but then she got fired because she plagiarised the backgrounds from Kirino Clone’s manga. Now she’s back and ready to sponge off Kirino Clone again.
Of course, Kirino Clone is having none of it, so Burikko AKA Best Girl ingratiates herself with MC-kun by amping up her pure girl charm. He manages to convince Kirino Clone to take her in and agrees to teach her how to draw backgrounds properly.
Regardless of her shady past, Burikko AKA Best Girl proves herself to be a hard worker. With her help, our heroes manage to complete their manuscript and get it published.
Unfortunately, the worst case scenario comes true. Our heroes miss out on serialisation and their future as mangaka hangs uncertainly. Burikko AKA Best Girl makes things even worse by inviting MC-kun to her house and feeding him curry, thereby sparking Kirino Clone’s jealousy. MC-kun and Kirino Clone have a fight and decide to quit working together.
MC-kun struggles to deal with his failure and wonders if he’s gone backwards. He only manages to get back on his feet because his friends encourage him. His childhood friend comes out of the woodwork and declares herself a fan of MC-kun’s manga. It turns out she was a trash otaku for all these years. She looks like a riajuu but is in fact a lolicon.
“I thought nobody was as hardcore an otaku as Ikoma-sensei [Kirino Clone], but… er… Minase [Childhood Friend] might give her a run for her money,” MC-kun thinks.
Anyway, MC-kun decides he really wants to draw manga with Kirino Clone again. He is convinced that together, the two of them draw better manga than they would alone. He makes his way over to her apartment, thinking he can patch things up with her, only to find her mother is already there.
Kirino Clone’s mother is against her daughter drawing manga. She tells her to quit and become more like her little sister, the smart one of the family. She simply just doesn’t understand why Kirino Clone wants to draw manga. Men have dreams that a woman wouldn’t understand!
Thanks to this scene, MC-kun comes to a better understanding of Kirino Clone, and the two of them manage to reconcile their differences. Soon after, they combine their talents and come up with their greatest manga yet – AKB0048!
I kid, but only slightly. It’s called “BATTLE IDOL!” I’m not sure if this manga features microphone lightsabers or lethal glowsticks, but I’d read the shit out of it if it did.
The other big event of chapter 8 is that Burikko AKA Best Girl is revealed to be a conniving witch. That’s why she’s Best Girl. At first, MC-kun feels betrayed over how his pure girl image of her was shattered. But then he remembers that the parts he genuinely admired about her – her ambition and willingness to work hard – are her true self. So he declares that he will continue to help her out anyway, thus triggering her flag. Not she has a snowball’s chance in hell with MC-kun, of course. But when has Best Girl ever won in a harem anyway?
In chapter 9, a whole slew of characters are introduced in this chapter who aren’t really important to this volume’s plot but will become recurring characters in the series. The two most important players are Ikemen-kun and Hikikomori Girl, the rivals for our heroes.
Realising how superior Ikemen-kun and Hikikomori Girl are to them, MC-kun decides to revise ten pages of the Battle Idol! manuscript. This puts pressure on he and Kirino Clone because now they might not make the deadline of the Pretty Dragon Cup in time. Only the first place winner gets serialised, so their manga needs to be a cut above the rest. It’s a tough decision, but they rise to the challenge and redraw the pages.
By the way, MC-kun decided to cut out some fanservice scenes and replace them with an emotional mother-daughter scene. The author of Moeyo Pen does not follow his example.
In between harem shenanigans, MC-kun still has the time to finish the manuscript by the deadline. What a talented lad!
Soon after, the early results of the Pretty Dragon Cup come out. And out of four participants, our heroes are… third.
Things aren’t looking good. They get even worse when Kirino Clone’s mother comes in
like a wrecking ball and tells her daughter that she must quit manga if she fails here.
MC-kun can’t stand to watch this, though. He included that mother-daughter scene because he wanted Kirino Clone’s mother to acknowledge her daughter’s work. He begs for the mother to read Battle Idol! so that she can see that their manga is more than moe trash.
The mother is the final boss, but at this stage, MC-kun can’t defeat her.
But then a miracle happens. The full results come out, and it turns out that most of Monthly Pretty Dragon’s regular readers voted for Battle Idol! MC-kun and Kirino Clone shoot up to first place. They’ve won! They’ll be serialised!
Now the final boss awaits. Kirino Clone is unwilling to confront her mother, but MC-kun quite literally whisks her off her feet and carries her all the way to her house. He demands that the mother acknowledges Kirino Clone’s dreams, because by now Kirino Clone is the one person he respects the most.
The mother doesn’t give up that easy, though. She tells MC-kun that being a mangaka is an insecure profession. She just wants her daughter to be happy and to have a stable income when she grows up.
At first, MC-kun is at a loss. But thinking about how much he cares about Kirino Clone, he blurts out, “養います!” which could be interpreted along the lines of “I’ll support her (as a husband)”.
Being a dense idiot, he doesn’t understand why Kirino Clone is blushing so furiously. But whatever, his earnestness wins the mother over. From now on, she treats him as a son-in-law, not that he realises that either. Even when Kirino Clone tells him to call her by her first name in the final scene, he doesn’t pick up the hint.
All’s well that ends well, I guess.
A showcase of my favourite illustrations
Posted on March 7, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions and tagged akb0048, bakuman, clannad, love live, murakami rin, one piece, ore no imouto ga konna ni kawaii wake ga nai, ore to kanojo no moeyo pen, otaku riajuu, pretty cure, shitty light novels, tsukako. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.