“My Little Sister Can Read Kanji” vs “I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse”

j-novel-covers

Light novels are known for their clickbait titles even though the majority of light novels do not actually have clickbait titles. But hey, I fell for it, because out of all the J-Novel Club titles released so far, the only ones I’ve read at the time of this writing are My Little Sister Can Read Kanji and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse. I regret nothing.

This blog post is an evaluation of the two titles and their potential for fantastic memes.

THE PREMISE

My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is set in a dystopian future where otaku culture has taken over the world, and nobody can read kanji anymore except for the MC’s little sister. One day, our moronic hero meets up with his favourite author, an old man who writes perverted siscon fantasies, and they get sent back in time to our era, where they must survive in modern-day Japan despite being kanji-illiterate stooges.

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse is about an average high school boy who belongs to a bloodline that forces him to take the place of the hero of any light novel-esque story. On his sixteenth birthday, a girl from the future informs him that he will save too many girls and they will start a war over who gets to bang him, causing the apocalypse. In order to prevent that, he must choose a girl from his harem.

My Little Sister Can Read Kanji has the better premise, because it’s what all the light novel haters are afraid of. I love drinking the tears of haters who think light novels are RUINING THE ANIME INDUSTRY and killing Japanese literacy while they’re at it.

BEST GIRLS

In My Little Sister Can Read Kanji, the old man who writes perverted siscon fantasies becomes a little girl with twin tails. He is the best girl.

In I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse, R is the deadpan moe girl from the future. She has a nice hat, therefore she is the best girl.

r

Overall, however, both novels have shitty girls, I am sorry to say.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse is a pretty good story. All the characters are involved with a different storyline which the MC can alter, and it is pretty clever how the different storylines come together. The pacing is good, and there are no wasted scenes. Also, the MC is smart enough to save multiple worlds simultaneously but dumb enough to say shit like this:

riajuu

On the other hand, My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is not a well-told story. Once you get past the zany premise, it starts to get tiresome in the middle section of the story. The scenes drag on with meaningless banter, and for a while the story feels directionless. Maybe the plot will pick up in volume 2 after the cliffhanger ending.

That said, the satire is amazing.

my-little-sister-can-read-kanji-excerpt

Towards the end of the first volume, My Little Sister Can Read Kanji starts to make some thoughtful commentary about the assumptions we have about literature. Just as the people of our era dismiss light novels and stories about little sister incest offhand, the people in the world of My Little Sister Can Read Kanji dismiss literary fiction offhand. In truth, neither attitude is healthy. Shouldn’t we try to broaden our prospects by reading as much as we can?

If there is one thing I like about light novels, it’s that they’re linked to multiple subcultures and literary traditions in Japan. Light novels draw as much from western and Japanese sci-fi and fantasy novels as they do from manga and visual novels. “Proper” novels can have long and inane-sounding titles too. The relationship between “subculture” and “mainstream” can be hard to define when people often mistake “proper” novels for light novels and vice versa.

Light novels can do anything, and that’s how you end up with weird shit like My Little Sister Can Read Kanji and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse.

I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse is a really good, fun story, but My Little Sister Can Read Kanji gets to the heart of what light novels are all about. As someone who enjoys reading books of all sorts, from Natsume Souseki’s Kokoro to My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as Expected, its message resonated with me. Who cares what people think of you? Embrace your tastes loud and proud!

sensei

Having said that, My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is a bad novel. Read I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse instead.

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Posted on January 5, 2017, in Funny Anime Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. So, are you going to make a “Frog-kun’s Bad Novel Column” from now?

  2. I was under the impression you were a fan of “My Little Sister Can Read Kanji” for whatever reason, which I assume was my interpretation of your prior posts. Though, being a bad novel in itself satirises Light Novels in general, if you think about it that way.

    • My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is one giant meme, so I’ve always been amused by the concept of it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pull me any further than that

  3. It’s actually a very interesting question to think whether siskan is badly written in service to its conceit or because of lack of ability of the author to truly commit to the conceit.

  4. I heard “I Saved Too Many Girls” has a 5-volume manga version, which only covers a fraction of the source LN (now complete at 16 volumes).

    What other J-Novel Club titles do you plan to look at? I’ve heard How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom was pretty well received amongst webnovel readers. It’s one of those “isekai world reformation” titles.

    • I plan to check out all of them since I have a membership and everything, but I’m inclined to wait until a volume is done before I read it.

      I am particularly looking forward to Faraway Paladin since there’s been a lot of buzz about that from JP readers.

      • My Big Sister Lives In A Fantasy World is a surprisingly decent read in their lineup too. Even if it feels like it should have been written ten years ago.

  1. Pingback: Is My Little Sister Can Read Kanji a Good Satire? | Fantastic Memes

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