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February 2018 Update: Time For a Change

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Moving house is a pain in the butt. This is true no matter which country you’re in. This month, I moved house to west Tokyo. I really like where I’m living now because I’m within cycling distance of most of the anime studios in Tokyo. But moving to a new house was actually way more stressful for me than moving to Japan in the first place, mainly because it was my first time going through a Japanese real estate agent, buying my own furniture and setting up gas and electricity and whatnot. So in a way, this past month has felt like I’m finally moving into Japan for real.

I also happened to meet my fellow ANN Tokyo Correspondent for the first time last January, and this was the first month where we ate out together after going to an assignment. Since ANN is an international organisation where most of its members work remotely, I don’t often experience that feeling of socialising with my colleagues. My life has been all over the place in these past few months, but now I’m starting to feel like I’m settling into my job. It’s a nice feeling.

At the same time, I think it’s time for a change.

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The Fascinating and Problematic Setting of The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress

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I mentioned in my The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! blog post that I liked Bookwalker Global’s other exclusive light novel release: The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading volume 2, I figure I should write a post explaining why I like it.

Put simply, I’m a fan of the setting of The Combat Baker. It is a postwar story about a former soldier who takes on a mundane-sounding job in a fantasy European setting. I guess in that broad sense it is like Violet Evergarden, although the tone of the story is very, very different. The Combat Baker also puts a heavy focus on the political backdrop of its postwar setting, as well as how that affects people in a rural town. I quickly found myself sucked into this world that SOW had created.

As cute and fluffy as the cover images make it look, there are some disquieting elements to the setting of The Combat Baker beneath the surface. Thanks to the presence of fantasy technology, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact time period it’s based off, but the general “mood” of the story makes me think it’s around World War I. The victor of this fictional war is a country named Wiltia, whose citizens have Germanic names and whose physical appearances are defined by their blonde hair and blue eyes.

So, obviously, fantasy Germany won the war and annexed an entire continent.

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