Light Novel Thursday: Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance by Shimizu Yuu

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This week on Light Novel Thursday, I’m covering a series that’s getting an anime adaptation soon, I think this summer. It’s Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance by Shimizu Yuu.

Plot Synopsis: Only a pure maiden can have the privilege to contract with a spirit. At Areishia Spirit Academy, trained maidens of noble families are gathered and given an elite’s education to become elementalists. The protagonist, Kamito, accidentally peeped on a bathing girl, Claire, and ended up making a contract with the spirit she wanted. Indeed, as a male elementalist, Kamito is an irregularity whose existence was hitherto thought impossible. “You stole…my spirit…you have to take responsibility for it!” “Huh?” “You have to become my contracted spirit!” Where will Kamito’s destiny lead to?

Plot: It’s really not that original a plot, but it does get better as the story continues. That said it doesn’t get all that much better. I’d really love to see a harem series actually pull off an interesting romance sub-plot, but I’ve yet to see one, although High School DxD comes really close.

Characters: Poor Kamito you get surrounded by girls who are obviously in love with you and you pull all the standard protagonist crap. That being said, Kamito has an interesting background and while it doesn’t get touched upon until much later in the series, it does make his character more interesting. Claire on the other hand is the standard tsundere girl who can’t spit out her feelings. Nothing new with her.

Art: The art in this series is nice, but nothing spectacular like No Game No Life.

Overall: If you enjoy harem series, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

For those who like: Action, Magic, Fantasy, Harem series, Romance.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Light Novel Thursday: Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara

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This week I’m covering the very first Light Novel I ever read, Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara.

Plot Synopsis: Sword Art Online (SAO) is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), released in 2022. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.

On November 6, 2022, the players log in for the first time, and later discover that they are unable to log out. They are then informed by Akihiko Kayaba, SAO’s creator, that if they wish to be free, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world. One of these players is Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya, who was chosen as one of the 1,000 beta testers in the closed beta. Since he had previous experience and knowledge of the game, he felt that he could beat the game easily. As a result, he set out on an adventure to beat the game.

Plot: The plot is very character driven and focuses on Kirito’s struggle to deal with issues like Player-Killing, which is taken to a whole new level in the first arc, and his relationship with games after becoming trapped in a death game. I really enjoyed the plot as a whole because it shows Kirito’s thoughts and makes him a much more human character rather than who you see in the Anime adaptation. It also go much faster through the plot, because the first season of the anime took two volumes the first and the second, which was made solely of side stories that happen between Day 1 of SAO and the first chapter of SAO which is two years later.

Characters: I really enjoy the characters of SAO, because while the Anime was pretty good it made Kirito out to be too two-dimensional, and didn’t show any of his thoughts which helped make him a better character in the light novels.

Art: The art in the first few novels is okay, but could have been better and it becomes much better the third volume.

Overall: If you enjoy Virtual Reality stories, or video games in general, you’ll enjoy this series.

For those who like: Science-Fiction mixed with a bit of Fantasy, Romance, Virtual Reality, Video Games, MMORPG’s.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Anime Sunday: Outbreak Company

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This week we are going over one of my favorites from the Fall 2013 season of anime, Outbreak Company!

Plot Synopsis:  Shinichi Kanō is a young secluded otaku who is offered a job thanks to his vast knowledge of anime, manga and video games and just after meeting his new employer, he is kidnapped, awakening in an alternate world with a fantasy setup. Shinichi then is informed that he was in fact selected by the Japanese government to help improve his country’s relations with this new world by establishing a company to spread the unique products of the Japanese culture to this new, unexplored market.

 

Plot: If you can get past the first episode, it turns from a rather light hearted series into something very political and deep. Although this series is still chock full of Otaku culture references that most American’s won’t understand, if you are willing to do a bit of research some stuff, it will make sense. I have my own cultural guide which will cover a bit of what goes on in this series, but other things you’ll have to look for yourself.

Characters: I actually like how Shinichi grows as a character throughout the series, and how he influences the new world he’s in has a profound effect on his state of mind, plus he’s in love with the awesome half-elven maid Miusel who adores him because he accepts her despite being an outcast in her own world.

Art: I really wish this series had more episodes, because I enjoyed the art just as much as the plot of Outbreak Company. Everything is vibrant and evokes that fantasy world feel, plus there is tons of references to other series in the show.

Music: I really enjoyed the soundtrack and opening and ending themes for this series. I thought they were dark in just the right places and upbeat in the appropriate moments.

Overall: If you enjoy a political show about two worlds interacting with each other for the first time you’ll enjoy this show. Plus it’s got a kick ass magical maid.

For those who like: Political gambits, Tons of references to other shows, Otaku culture.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but particularly the Otaku culture part.

Light Novel Thursday: Date A Live by Kōshi Tachibana

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This week we are going over an interesting series, Date A Live by Kōshi Tachibana.

Plot Synopsis: Thirty years ago a strange phenomenon called a “spacequake” devastated the center of Eurasia, claiming the lives of at least 150 million people. Since then, smaller spacequakes plague the world on an irregular basis. Shido Itsuka, a seemingly ordinary high schooler comes across a mysterious girl at the ground zero of a spacequake and learns from his sister Kotori she is one of the “Spirits” who are the real cause of the spacequakes that occur when they manifest themselves in the world. He also learns that Kotori is the commander of the airship Fraxinus, crewed by the organization Ratatoskr, and is recruited to make use of his mysterious ability to seal the Spirits’ powers thus stopping them from being a threat to mankind. However, there is a catch: to seal a Spirit’s power, he must make her fall in love with him and kiss him.

Plot: This is most definitely a Romance-Comedy, mixed with a bit of battle fantasy and harem genres. Poor Shido is an idiot when it comes to women, and has serious trouble wooing Spirits. To combat his idiocy the crew of Fraxinus each have a remote in which they vote on what Shido should do or say based on a Galge (Girl Game, or Gal Game) scenario prompts, think asking the crowd on a game show.  Hilarity ensues usually and it’s pretty fun to read.

Characters: I actually find Tohka, the female lead, to be pretty adorable in her naivety, and when she gets really pissed off she can level entire cities.

Art: The art we see in the novels is pretty decent, but nothing amazing.

Overall: If you are a fan of Galge, or like the Rom-com genre you’ll enjoy this series.

For those who like: Galge, Rom-coms, Battle fantasies, Adorkable female leads.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Anime Sunday: Mahou Sensou/Magical Warfare

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This week on Anime Sunday, I’m going over Winter 2014’s season of anime’s biggest disappointment, Mahou Sensou or Magical Warfare.

Plot Synopsis:  Takeshi Nanase is an ordinary high school boy who has a somewhat dark past. One day, he comes across a girl named Mui Aiba, in a uniform he has never seen before, collapsed on the school campus. This encounter changes Takeshi’s destiny completely.

Plot: What starts out as an interesting series, quickly devolves into a series devoted to speeding through the source material, with little regards to the plot. As such things like “How did Takeshi learn this spell, wait 3 months passed after last episode?” occur all the time. Plus stuff is foreshadowed early on that a certain character is batshit insane and willing to kill another character, but it’s played like it was never foreshadowed at all.

Characters: I actually didn’t like Takeshi after the first episode, maybe it has something to do with his voice actor because he sounds incredibly stupid and slow. In the one and only time he gets mad at the end of the series does he sound even remotely like a protagonist. For the rest of the cast, I actually like Mui, even if she’s so incredibly set on her goal to the point of manslaughtering herself and her friends to accomplish it. The other characters were bland. Isoshima was a whiny and pointless character, although I’m sure in the Light Novels we’d get to see her character grow, in the anime she’s just a bitch most of the time.

Art: The only thing going for this series was it’s art and music. The art was decent enough, although whoever animated the Ending sequence deserves a raise it was very well done.

Music: The ending sequence was amazing and while the opening was okay, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. The soundtrack was pretty great too, although it wasn’t amazing like Strike The Blood or Log Horizon were.

Overall: I can’t honestly recommend this series to anyone, especially after watching the last episode.

For those who like: Magical schools, sword fighting, Magic, Confusing and poorly adapted plots.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Light Novel Thursday: Accel World by Reki Kawahara

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This week on Light Novel Thursday we are going over one of my favorite Light Novel series, Accel World by Reki Kawahara.

Plot Synopsis: The year is 2046, Virtual Reality is everywhere and every child under the age of 16 has a Neurolinker that lets them “Full Dive” into Virtual Reality. Haruyuki “Haru” Arita is a short, fat boy who is constantly bullied at the Umesato Junior High School which results in him having exceptionally low self-esteem. To escape the torment of real life, he logs onto the school’s Local Network where he always plays squash by himself, and his innate skills bring him the attention of Kuroyukihime (Literally translated it means Princess Snow Black), the school’s popular and very attractive female Student Council Vice-President.

Plot: Haru’s life sucks, he has major self esteem issues in part due to his best friends (Takumi and Chiyuri) dating each other, while he is the short fat boy who gets bullied. So when he meets the school idol who is the most beautiful girl at school he’s rightfully flabergasted that she wants to talk to him, let alone see him.  The Plot gets really interesting really quickly and Haru slowly grows a spine, although he never does get any less fat.

Characters: Haru is pretty unlikeable at the start, because of his rampant self esteem issues and inferiority complex whenever he compares himself to his best friend Taku. Taku is the perfect honors student, and excels in sports and is currently on the Kendo team. Kuroyuki (That’s not her real name, but she’s gotten every government record of hers to have that as her actual name somehow) is my favorite character and while Haru’s growth makes him a close second I have to say Kuroyuki is easily my favorite.

Art: Pretty freaking good, and its better than Campione!’s, but not quite as good as some other series I’ve read.

Overall: For those who like Science Fiction set in the near future, this series is a must read. It deals with the dangers of Virtual Reality and it’s perks as well.

For those who like: Science Fiction, Video Games, A hero that is a total loser, Virtual Reality stories.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, and of those the hero part is the most aggravating sometimes.

Light Novel Thursday: Log Horizon by Mamare Touno

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For this week’s Light Novel Thursday I’m reviewing Log Horizon by Mamare Touno. It’s an amazing series that explores the political and social ramifications of being stuck in a video game, specifically a MMO.

Summary: By its eleventh expansion pack, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Elder Tale (エルダー・テイル Erudā Teiru) has become a global success, having a following of millions of players. However, during the release of its twelfth expansion pack: Novasphere Pioneers (ノウアスフィアの開墾 Nōasufia no Kaikon), thirty thousand Japanese gamers who are all logged on at the time of the update, suddenly find themselves transported inside the game world and donning their in-game avatars. In the midst of the event, a socially awkward gamer called Shiroe along with his friends Naotsugu and Akatsuki decide to team up so that they may face this world which has now become their reality along with the challenges which lie ahead.

Characters: Shiroe isn’t like most protaganists, he knows what the hell is going on most of the time, and when he doesn’t it means something is really wrong. He used to be the strategist for a group of people who cleared some of the games hardest stuff.  The rest of the cast is awesome as well, without going into too many spoilers it’s just a fun filled cast.

Plot: Like his other work Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, Mamare Touno takes a typical setting and turns it on it’s side and makes it into a story about political factions warring for power and control. It’s well done, but it also has enough action in it to make it good for those wanting a bit more action than they may think is in this series.

Should you read it?: Yes absolutely. You can find it translated on Baka-Tsuki.

Hate reading, but love watching stuff?: You are in luck, the anime is well done and is available to watch on the standard sites.

For those who like: Typical settings made into something more amazing, comedy, drama, deep plot, a thinking hero.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.