Category Archives: Reviews and Impressions
Your mind can be a dark and scary place.
Alone with only your worst thoughts stewing in your mind, the entire world feels like a prison. Your every problem is magnified to impossible proportions; you feel like you’re up against a suffocating wall with no weapons to fight.
A part of you is aware that your problems would be seen as trivial by other people. “It’s all in your head!” they’d say. But it’s not trivial, because they don’t understand that your head has become your enemy, and that it’s with you all the time. That’s why you never tell them. You never tell anyone.
And eventually, you snap.
The best thing about The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! is the afterword, where the author reveals just how much research he did to write a shogi-themed light novel. Usually, light novel authors use the afterword to thank the book’s illustrator, editor and the readers (in that order), but Shirow Shiratori goes out of his way to thank dozens of people involved in the professional Shogi world. He even recounts a personal story from his high school days, when he played Shogi against “the high-school Ryuo.”
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! is a novel that takes a traditional Japanese board game seriously. It took four years of research before the first volume was even published. Think of it like the Hikaru no Go of light novels, except with unfunny lolicon jokes and the worst opening chapter in the world.
Seriously, it cannot be overstated just how bad of a first impression this light novel makes.
Have I ever told you about my impeccable taste in light novels?
Have I ever told you about how impeccably I choose the light novels that I read?
In the wise words of Wataru Watari: “The illustrations count for everything.”
Who gives a shit about the author, the plot, the reviews, or any other indicator of good writing? I always pick my light novels based on how cute the pictures look, and this method has never once failed me.
What is it with Tsukasa Fushimi and making every pairing in his stories so shippable except for the main one? After Eromanga Sensei volume 3, I’m rooting for the MC to bang anyone except his sister, but alas, not all things in life go the way you want them to.
The longer I keep up with seasonal anime, the more evident it becomes that most anime are vehicles of stealth marketing. You can watch anime-original projects full of SAKUGA like the above, but most shows are 350-minute long advertisements of a manga/novel/game/whatever. Why bother sticking to just anime for your weeb entertainment in today’s media mix environment?
These days, I usually go directly to the source material unless I really like the anime staff. There are very few anime that fall into this category this season, unfortunately. I would have liked to watch Little Witch Academia, but unfortunately there’s no legal streaming option outside of Japanese Netflix. And as much as I like Yasuhiro Takemoto and KyoAni shows in general, Maid Dragon Kobayashi isn’t my kind of thing.
But whatever, I’ve still been getting into some interesting stuff this season, so here are some vague impressions.
Reki Kawahara is well known for Sword Art Online and Accel World, but if you ask me, his best work is The Isolator, a sci-fi thriller and psychological drama series that only gets a new volume once a year. It’s based off a web novel Kawahara began writing in 2004, but he has rewritten the story heavily for its light novel release, and it is easily his most mature work.
In a nutshell: The Re:ZERO Ex novel raises more questions than it answers about Crusch and Ferris’s pasts, but Re:ZERO fans should enjoy it nonetheless. The lack of a central plot in this volume does make it weaker than the main story, however.
A note of warning: This review contains spoilers for the Re:ZERO Ex novel. Don’t read this post if you don’t want to get spoiled for the anime because I’ll be discussing the main story here as well. Also, there are no web novel spoilers here, so please don’t provide any in the comments.
Update: Yen Press released an English translation of this novel on November 21st, 2017. Please support the release!
I bought this light novel thinking it was a cute knight/princess story but it was a gay romance instead
Actual title: 12-gatsu no Veronica (Amazon link)
Hey guys, I’m back with another review of an untranslated light novel that nobody has read or will ever read. But I liked it, so here’s a blog post about it. I will be spoiling the crap out of the entire novel, so here’s a fair warning in advance. I have a lot of ~FEELINGS~ to convey, so let’s jump right into it.
Hey, guys! I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’ve uploaded the entire translation of Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin on the Nano Desu website. Please give it a read if you haven’t already.
Meanwhile, I’ve started work on the next volume in the Qualidea series: Itsuka Sekai wo Sukuu Tame ni by Tachibana Koushi. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite busy lately and I have other translation projects to deal with, so I haven’t progressed very far yet. I can’t tell you when the next Qualidea update will be, but hopefully it won’t take too long before I get back into the swing of things.
In other news, I recently got my English copy of Kizumonogatari. Unfortunately, as soon as I began to read it, I was reminded why I dislike Nisio Isin’s writing. It’s personal taste, but I find the smugness in his writing style off-putting. I do plan to at least finish the book, but I’m not sure if I’ll be buying the rest of the series.
I can’t comment deeply on the word choices in Ko Ransom’s translation yet, but one thing that strikes me is how the translation goes out of its way to preserve the Japanese syntax and punctuation. Here’s an example from the very first paragraph:
ENGLISH: During the spring break between my second and third years as a high school student—I met her. It was a shocking meeting, and it was a catastrophic one. In any case, I must have had terrible luck—of course, in the same way that I was unable to avoid that bad luck, even if I somehow had, I doubt someone else would have met that fate.
Japanese uses punctuation differently from English at times, so this paragraph comes across as unreadable, ungrammatical nonsense in English. This is one of those cases where adapting a novel for an English-speaking audience should extend to more than just translating words. As it stands, Nisio Isin comes across even more gratingly in English than he does in Japanese.
In more positive news, I recently finished all five volumes of Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen. I enjoyed it! I wrote a review/summary of the series a year ago, but I’ve updated the original post so that it addresses my thoughts on the entire series. Since it’s a bother to click an extra link, I’ve copypasted my review below: