Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 2: He’s Back in the Game

Sword Art Online Alicization - Episode 2 - Kirito and Eugeo

This episode did more or less what I expected it to, and that is it answered nothing and left us hanging on what happened in the real world. That isn’t actually a problem given how many episodes this series is going to have. Unlike an 11 – 13 episode show it doesn’t have that pressure of getting to a solution now or the problem that the end may feel rushed if it doesn’t get things moving and so we have plenty of time for set up and viewers going in knowing the length of the show are probably happy enough. Not to mention, the best part of the first episode was when Kirito was inside the Underground and so spending the whole episode with Kirito trying to get his bearings there again when he has some memories of his life but almost none of the virtual world and how it works is actually pretty interesting.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Episode 2 - Kirito

Of course, interesting is subjective, so if you are in the camp where watching Kirito wander around, eating bread, and chatting to characters that may or may not be NPC’s isn’t something you find fascinating, you are in for an episode that doesn’t really appeal.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Episode 2 - Eugeo

I did really like that we got to spend a lot of this episode with Eugeo. His memory of Alice’s disappearance is a little different to the way we saw it last week given Eugeo doesn’t seem to remember Kirito at all and that is just one other thing to later figure out. It is really nice to see Kirito kind of making a friend and the two of them play nicely off one another making it fun just to hang out with them.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Episode 2 - Kirito

Still, as I said at the beginning of this episode review, Alicization is in zero hurry. Practically nothing happens in this episode other than Kirito getting his bearings and one shot of some blue haired girl in a tower. There’s a million questions about the fallout from episode 1 but I guess we’ll all have to wait and in the meantime at least the virtual world is really pretty.

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SWORD ART ONLINE 5TH ANNIVERSARY OFFICIAL ARTBOOK

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Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1: SAO Is Back But Does It Work?

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1 - Kirito

I’m going to be honest and admit this was one title I was highly anticipating this season. There’s been a lot of hype around this arc thrown around but to be honest I’ve tried to avoid reading any actual spoilers so I went into this knowing nothing other than more SAO. And that in and of itself is probably enough to power through some of the less elegant moments of this 47 minute monster of an introductory episode. Emotionally, I fell back in love with Sword Art Online, Kirito and everything I hope this series will be. Objectively, there’s some issues. So I’m going to hit the negatives first and then tell you why you should watch this anyway.

*Some Spoilers – Okay, lots of episode spoilers, no spoilers of future developments because I don’t have a clue where this is going.*

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1

Going in with no knowledge of what this arc is about is incredibly disorienting. You are thrown in as a young version of Kirito and a blonde haired kid named Eugeo try to cut down a tree and then a blonde girl named Alice shows up and feeds them lunch. It’s a very low key introduction but without any context you’re brain is mostly trying to figure out whether Kirito is playing a game, and if yes, why is he so young.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1
Isn’t young Kirito adorable?

Discarding those questions and just going with it, you get a pleasant enough introduction to this world with the kids taking you on a quest to find some ice, driven by Kirito. It is probably this part that made me the most convinced that they were in a game given the other two characters seem very NPC like in the way they respond to his suggestions.  Though, the same could be said for Klein and the normal cast of SAO so that wasn’t exactly a proven fact. But, this does make it a slow start. Yes, I get this episode has 47 minutes, but this was a very meandering way to begin the story and while we will eventually get to a dragon fight and an arrest and things that are interesting before Kirito essentially wakes up, this series is very much banking on audience anticipation to keep you watching because if a series you had no familiarity with started this slowly it would probably hit the cut list very quickly.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1

A final problem with this episode is the exposition dump Kirito lays on us in the second half when at the cafe with Asuna and Sinon. As soon as they started talking about the new full dive technology accessing souls I kind of wanted to roll my eyes just a little. I can go along with head gear that makes your senses feel like you are in a game and translates those sensations to the body, but directly accessing the soul (which is apparently light stored in tubes inside your head in case you were wondering) and writing to it just seems like an unnecessary complication and lending itself to pseudo-science jargon. I’d have happily bought time distortion in standard VR technology without bringing souls into the mix.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1
Not sure why we are viewing this through the table leg.

Now, why should you watch anyway, other than it being Sword Art Online?

Firstly, Kirito and Asuna. Admittedly, the episode focuses almost exclusively on Kirito. The entire first half he’s the only one of the original cast who is present and it isn’t until the second half where we meet up with the rest of the gang, but Kirito is in fine form. The younger, weaker Kirito who still has that save the damsel and fix things mentality was kind of adorable to watch and the older more contemplative Kirito seems like he was going to be pretty interesting. Not to mention, Kirito practically proposes to Asuna asking her to go to America with him because he can’t live without her, which kind of hits the idea that SAO has ever been a harem anime firmly on the head. Despite his save the damsel in distress motivation, Kirito has only ever had eyes for Asuna. Of course, doing so practically raises his own death flag and this episode is happy enough to oblige in the name of ending on a dramatic cliff-hanger (47 minutes and you still felt the need to leave the audience just hanging).

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1
Go on, admit it. They are the cutest couple ever (except maybe Zen and Shirayuki).

However, leaving Kirito aside, SAO is clearly doing what it has always done and that is exploring the line between games and reality and the nature of humans whether it is in game or in real life. That aspect of the show has always been nicely done and regardless of the arc the story has come back to the theme again and again. Alicization isn’t deviating from that although again I’m not sure we needed to throw souls into the mix.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1
Asuna, that’s creepy.

Finally, despite the pacing and the exposition dump, this episode was still really fun. Okay, that’s a biased opinion from someone who just enjoys SAO but that’s kind of the point. This is entertainment and it does that. Is it going to work for everyone? Probably not. But fans of the franchise will probably not be disappointed and I’m not sure this exists for anyone else anyway given the episode barely pauses to introduce Klein, Sinon and the others who briefly show up for a gun battle before vanishing from the episode. There’s assumed knowledge of characters and context making it clear this one is for existing fans and isn’t an entry point. Unless of course the only important characters are Alice and Eugeo and the others just exist to give fans a hand wave and then vanish, in which case new viewers will be a little confused momentarily but just fine in the long run.

So, I’m hyped for more of this and I’m really hoping it delivers.


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SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET

No Game No Life Series Review: It’s Not Just a Game

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in June 2016 and can be found here.

This review was initially written in a style I very quickly dumped and that was separating out the characters, plot and setting under heading and discussing them in isolation. While I haven’t really changed my view on this anime, I have restructured the review quite significantly.

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This is a series I’d rewatched even before my first review and I noted that while the show remained ridiculously fun, the flaws of the series become far more glaringly obvious when the pretty shining colours and wow factor are less distracting and you already know the outcome of the games (though you kind of new the outcome in the first place it was more how they were going to pull it off).

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It is worth noting that realism is not what this anime was going for. All of the characters are complete and over-the-top parodies of human beings (even though the vast majority aren’t human). And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does make it hard to feel sympathy, empathy, or anything else for the characters. This problem was actually made worse when I finally got around to reading the first light novel hoping it would perhaps shed some light on some of the character’s back stories (note, it doesn’t at least not in volume 1).

And just when you think Sora and Shiro aren’t so bad afterall, Shiro’s outright lack of human emotion will punch you in the gut or Sora will follow up a truly brilliant dialogue with a panty joke or something equally jarring from the flow of the show.

That said, there is something amazing about these characters. My personal favourite is Izuna, who unfortunately doesn’t come along until close to the end but is actually the character I found the most sympathetic.

Jibril has some shining moments (anyone who values libraries and knowledge automatically gets some brownie points) and her adaptability is something to behold. But, those moments are contrasted with their attempts at using Jibril for comedic purposes that mostly fall flat. She was at her funniest when recalling the previous wars when she apparently single-handedly wiped out many elves. That was some pretty dark humour being thrown around in that scene, though that’s fairly consistent within No Game No Life. A lot of what you will be amused by within the context of the anime is actually quite dark and problematic when taken out of that context.

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The plot here is really where some people will start to drift away. They tell us early on that Blank  will NEVER lose. Seriously, they weren’t joking. Doesn’t matter what the situation or odds, these two are going to find a way to win. Whether you find the incessant rationalisation and explanations for how they managed to win charming and amusing or just pretentious will really determine how much you enjoy the story here.

More importantly, it kind of cuts off just as it’s getting interesting. They are progressing toward their stated goal but still have a long journey ahead of them and that’s it. Game over. Or, anime over. Perhaps we’ll eventually get a follow up, but for now, we’re left with Blank ready to start on their journey to challenge Tet (the god of Disboard) and yet we don’t get to see that journey.

There isn’t really anything resembling a subplot in this. There are supporting characters and something about a potential rebellion in Elven Garde but mostly this just serves as more fodder for explanations about how Sora manipulated the situation to win. What back story there is revolves around the previous King who lost a lot of Imanity’s (Humanity’s) territory to the War Beasts, and again, it isn’t a subplot so much as another piece of a long and convoluted explanation of victory.

However, where the characters might be questionable in how they are presented and the plot will only work provided you enjoy watching how they win rather than feeling any tension about whether they will win, the visuals are distinct, to say the least. Even on a rewatch, Disboard reamined beautiful.

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Okay, the colour palette is a little on the insane scale but it is supposed to be a fantasy world ruled by a god who thinks games are the best way to solve conflicts so we can probably let that go.

The music works but is reasonably forgettable and the voice acting is neither particularly good or bad. Shiro’s voice annoys me because it feels like everything she says has been put through a filter and is just that little bit too high and whisper like. Maybe this was supposed to make her sound cute but it drove me crazy by the end of the series. Fortunately, Shiro doesn’t talk anywhere near as often as Sora.

There’s fanservice here. Lots of it. Bathroom sequences and female characters losing their clothes for some fairly flimsy plot points. While bathroom scenes aren’t by themselves a problem their lack of purpose in this case is. It seems at times the entire plot just screeches to a halt while they chatter about random things while covered in suds. Could they at least talk strategy while showering? And seeing Sora using his phone to try to get photos of Stephanie in the bathroom is just all kinds of creepy.

Despite all the problems this series has that keep it from being a must watch, I like the set up and enjoy the games that are played. I like that the characters aren’t just proclaimed to be smart but they actually are planning ahead and have a vision of what they are trying to accomplish. The value of knowledge in this anime is expressed over and over again and that is something to be celebrated. That and the whole thing is so over the top and fun. While it won’t be for everyone, you can do a lot worse than No Game No Life.


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Karandi James

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Lost Technology First Impressions – A Reasonably Priced Addiction

Alright, so after last week’s cull from my watch list I had a few holes in my review line up for this week, and so I decided to post my impressions of a game that was recommended to me through another blog. It isn’t my usual genre of gaming but for $4 I was game to try out Lost Technology and see how it went. After some false starts, I think I finally have the hang of it.

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Lost Technology is a single player real time strategy simulation game which means for those of us used to a pause button in battles this is kind of highly stressful and I’m really glad that at least early on assigning a lot of your units to auto-mode will work (as the game continues relying on auto will get you wiped out real fast so I recommend using those early turns to figure out what you are doing so that you can actually take control).

There are story modes for some of the factions available, but a lot of factions don’t have a story mode yet, and to be honest, the story really doesn’t do much to make me want to help most of the factions win as it generally makes me dislike the characters. In practising and learning, I’ve started a campaign in most regions just to see how different units work and to try out different strategies, and I kind of enjoy the game equally as well whether the faction I’m playing has a story attached to it or not.

While we’re on things that probably aren’t great yet, I’ll point out the music is incredibly repetitive. Like one track that just loops over and over again and while it sounds really impressive for the first hour, subsequent hours make that music really start to get annoying. Ditto for the dings and clunks as you select units and navigate menus. Not to mention, while there is a full screen mode here, don’t expect it to actually work (or at least it doesn’t on my computer regardless of how I tweak the settings), and in windowed mode, opening and navigating the many layered menus can get really awkward and I’m just thankful that this part doesn’t happen in real time and I can take my time negotiating these before ending my turn.

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That said, for the price of the game on Steam, this is actually really fun. While I had to play the tutorial twice because I wasn’t really used to this kind of game and it took me awhile to get the hang of what I was supposed to even do (even the easy game mode doesn’t actually give you any kind of hint it just kind of drops you in and says go), once I had grasped the concept it became pretty simple to figure things out. Of course, like most brilliantly addictive games, playing is simple but winning is not.

I’m still very much on easy mode and while my most recent attempted campaign has survived long enough to get down to three factions, I’m pretty sure I’m now stretched so thin I’m about to be overrun in more than one direction (late update on that: I actually managed to beat them into submission and now I’ve just got one faction to go). Still, I’ve finally figured out plans of attack, how to minimise losses, when I should fight and when I should run, where to place units in the first place so they are actually effective, and most recently I realised I can actually change which ones are front and back line fighters (probably should have figured that out a bit earlier).

Perhaps my favourite part of the game is that the terrain makes a huge difference in every fight. There was one faction I was so close to defeating and I could crush them easily in every region but one. My troops were no good on water so every time I entered that territory I was wiped out even when I had the larger numbers. So instead of chasing them, I simply set up camp around their territory and whittled them down when they stepped on solid land. Eventually I’d reduced their numbers and chipped away at their reserves by isolating them, and finally managed to crush them. It was a pretty satisfying victory, and I managed to recruit one of the survivors into my troops and gained a unit of fighters who actually could handle water.

Lost2

But all terrain makes a difference. Trees, hills, forts, deserts, they can all be used to position troops and turn the tide of battle once you figure out which troops work well on that particular terrain. Magic users as well add a bit of spice to battles as early on they are just pretty weak support troops but later in the game they become fairly destructive forces of nature.

Anyway, if you have a few spare dollars, this game is oddly fun and you will definitely get enough hours out of it for the price tag.


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Karandi James

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So I’m a Spider, So What Volume 2 Light Novel Review: Being Reincarnated is Hard

While the game mechanics are still very much going wild, this second volume follows several of the classes reincarnated students through their latest trials and tribulations. If you missed my review of Volume 1, check it out here.

Review:

This is going to be really hard to review because mostly telling you anything about the plot would drop us face first into spoiler territory. While many things can be suspected early on in this volume, it isn’t until the end of it that critical reveals are made and that kind of changes a lot of how you feel about the story.

So I’ll start with my general impression of the book, which is it isn’t all that great to read. Don’t get me wrong, the story and setting are actually quite interesting, but the heavy reliance on levelling and game mechanics really get in the way of the narrative. There are literally entire pages given to reading the main character’s current levels and statuses. I don’t even like reading those when I am playing an RPG and prefer to just guess where abouts I’ve currently levelled to. The last thing I want is the pace of a novel to come to a screeching halt to find out that Recovery Speed is now at LV4 and Cutting Enhancement is at LV2. When you couple those gripping pages with pages of ‘narrator’ dialogue telling the spider that various points are going up, you could probably shed about half the pages in the book without actually denting the story content.

Despite that, the story we get is really interesting and that just annoys me because it means I will read the next book when I can even though the writing itself is really not great.

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I don’t ever want to reincarnate as a spider.

Still, the spider’s exploits in the labyrinth are kind of fun. The setting varies sufficiently and there is enough detail put into encounters to make it worth the while. More importantly, the human characters on the surface get a lot more time in this book than in book one. Shun in particular is a far more interesting character this time around and… okay, we’re getting back into spoiler territory, but he’s a lot more noteworthy and I enjoyed his story immensely.

Still, this volume is hard to recommend as a read. There are plenty of isekai stories out there about humans in other worlds, being reincarnated as either human or not, and this one isn’t particularly great to read. I’d love to see this story shed of the gimmicky game elements and told with quite a bit more fluency, though perhaps there’s a reason those elements are needed further down the line. For now they just seem to be there because the writer couldn’t think of a better way to show character progress and that by itself is probably a big red flag.


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Karandi James

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The One Liner Challenge

Thanks GeekOut South West for the nomination. I’m terrible at getting around to these tags and have a few others that I still haven’t responded to, but with Full Metal Panic not airing an actual episode this week I had an empty slot in my schedule and this looked like it would be a lot of fun.

  • Accept and thank your challenger(s) by linking back to their post.
  • Make a post of one-sentence summaries/roasts of at least five books/manga/anime/games.
  • No spoilers!
  • Link back to The Awkward Book Blogger so she can see your post.
  • Challenge as many or as few people as you want!

Okay, let’s take on this challenge. I’m going to take on anime, though part of me is tempted to do this challenge again for books or games at some point. I don’t think I’ve read enough manga yet to do the challenge with that, unless BL counts in which case the one sentence summaries will all end up more or less the same.

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Tortured teen love triangle occasionally interrupted by vampire/hunter politics.
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Feisty teen book worm kicks butt with transforming human weapon – and has daddy issues.
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For the price of a soul get one pretty boy butler who can do literally everything perfectly.
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Down on her luck Nanami goes from being homeless to being a god in one day with added perk of pretty fox boy servant.
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Why wouldn’t you call on a clumsy, ditsy, crybaby and a group of middle-school girls to save the world from the forces of darkness?

I’m not actually going to nominate anyone specifically given my terrible track record of getting around to answering nominations, but I would throw the challenge out there to anyone who is interested in this. It was actually quite a bit of fun.


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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Series Review: The Experiment Has Ended

I’d never read the source material before watching an anime before so Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody was something of an experiment to see if knowing what was going to happen would change my enjoyment of it. I can’t say that it did but that’s more because this anime probably would have bored me to tears either way. What did you think of it?

Review:

There’s very little for me to really say about this anime, which is kind of odd given I watched it through to the end and it wasn’t as though it was toxically terrible. That’s actually probably the worst thing about this show. It isn’t good or bad. It just kind of is. It is your typical game developer/designer/whatever wakes up inside game world kind of story and then just to make sure we aren’t worried about his safety he is transformed into a teenage version of himself with super stats. Of course he gains a harem of girls but being a gentlemen won’t do a thing with any of them, but he will slip off to a tavern if he gets the chance, and will definitely comment on the breast size of older women.

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However, that was the same as the source material and why it wasn’t great, it was enjoyable enough to read with some interesting descriptions of places and people. The anime on the other hand doesn’t get the benefit of the interesting descriptions and really just kind of drags the viewer along after Satou as he explores the new world. He also seems to gain levels and skills super fast, which again was the experience in the book but it didn’t feel as much like he was cheating his way through a story in the book for some reason even though the progress was much the same.

Deathmarch8c

The visuals aren’t great and a lot of the images end up being from Satou’s point of view with game menus dominating a large part of the screen and a weird filter over some shots. However, even when that isn’t the case, nothing is overly distinct visually. The town, the food, the scenery are all just kind of pseudo-medieval and while that was the case in the book, when you could imagine it yourself it looked a lot more interesting than this.

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The girls Satou rescues and befriends over the course of the series all have their good points and moments. The issue of course is the sheer number of them and they end up with overlapping personalities and roles within the group meaning they all become relatively inconsequential and interchangeable. You’d be forgiven for not being able to name any of them outside of Tama, Pochi and Arisa given the rest keep getting sidelined.

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As I said, not much to say about this. It wasn’t terrible. But it was probably the least interesting thing I watched this season. I really wanted more from it, but when you decide to follow events in a story as they are written rather than thinking about how to make them interesting to view on screen, this is more or less what you are going to end up with.

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Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 12: Friendship Trumps All

This one has finally drawn to a close and I’m not in the least sorry to see it end. While it isn’t unwatchable by any means, given I clearly watched it and it isn’t a disaster of a narrative, it really does just kind of meander its way through the events in the novels. Interestingly, the final episode probably has the biggest deviation from the events in the book and really that was probably just so they could wrap up this arc without needing another episode.

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Still, the anime has never once broken free of its generic trappings or of being a less impressive version of a story type we’ve seen before (but better) with characters we’ve met before (but more interesting versions). Being generic isn’t exactly a crime, and some generic anime manage to be quite entertaining, but this one felt like it was just passing time and the final episode does nothing to change that impression.

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I’ll write a full review soon but essentially this is Satou travelling about doing what he feels he would like to do and gathering a collection of girls into his travelling party who each increasingly serve less purpose as they start overlapping in their characteristics.

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Karandi James

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Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

So I’m a Spider, So What Volume 1 Light Novel Review: Game Mechanics Go Wild

Overview:

A classroom explodes in Japan and next thing our protagonist knows they are hatching as a spider in another world. Good thing for levelling up.

Review:

I’ll admit that wasn’t much of an overview, but to be honest, it probably didn’t need to be. The story presented in volume 1 of this series is that straight forward and more importantly it is a concept rather than a story. From beginning to end, this book is establishing its world and our character reacts accordingly to the various events that get thrown at them. But there is no grand quest or target here other than survival for another day. And while glimpses of other characters, also reincarnated classmates, suggest a much grander tale to unfold in future volumes, the plot in this one, judged on its own merit and without thinking about what might come later, is pretty lame.

It doesn’t help that we are once again trapped in a fantasy world that for some reason uses game based mechanics including menus, skills, levelling up, stamina bars and whatever else they chose to throw in. If we actually went through the book and removed all instances of discussing these things, observing them, or having announcements about achieving levels or targets, the book would be about half the size pretty much instantly. And while I’m not opposed to something being based on game mechanics, when it comes at the expense of story, or worse is used as the sole gimmick other than the protagonist being an arachnid, I really do have to throw a rock at it.

Yet, before you cast this one aside from any potential reading list I do have to note, that despite the plot, character, and gimmicky nature of the premise, this was actually fun to read. Okay, it didn’t do enough of anything and I finished the book feeling like maybe the introduction of a story was finished, and I really disliked the main character which is a shame because they narrate most of it, and yet the word fun still seems appropriate as a description of my reading experience.

So what did it do right?

From you normal point of view, very little. The narrative structure is barely present and really other than the character reeling from crisis to crisis with small moments of self-congratulations or loathing in between, there isn’t a lot going on. And yet, individually most of these moments are kind of fun. The spider learning to build a home, developing strategies for taking down prey, running from humans, fighting a snake, and even the final monkey fight (not that they are actually monkeys) were all pretty fun experiences.

There are also enough hints from the secondary story line with the Prince and the other reincarnated students that a larger story will eventually appear. However, this is one thing I don’t like about ongoing series when they don’t give you a narrative in itself that links to a larger story but simply give you a story fragment and expect that you’ll read on in order to be satisfied. While this certainly made me curious enough to read on, overall it makes it hard to recommend this first book because if you want to read a story, this doesn’t have one contained within.

That said, I do have to congratulated the writer on their pacing. We didn’t linger in any one part of the story for too long. Even the moments of self-loathing or healing that the spider underwent were moved through with sufficient pace that you caught the mood that was intended but didn’t feel like you were being dragged along by the writing. While a little more depth of character and tone may have been appreciated, I’m just glad at no point did I feel like nothing was going on and that I’d be better off closing the book and going elsewhere.

However, while pacing is nicely kept up, descriptions from start to finish are vague and perfunctory. Part of this is a byproduct of the gaming influence whereby the descriptions we get are the result of the spider’s appraisal skill and come out as a series of one word descriptors about species and status. The other issue is the narrator’s style and tone because a disengaged teenager does not make for the most observant or articulate of narrators and so vague comparisons are used and terrible names that the spider feels very smug about coining are used instead of decent descriptions of the monsters or settings. As a result, visualising anything that is going on becomes a bit of a chore outside of generic and vague because you are more getting a sketched outline of what is going on.

Right, I know it really sounds like this should be read and if you are after something that you might argue is a quality book, I’m guessing this isn’t going to be for you. But denying that this was entertaining and that, on reading the last pages with the inevitable cliff-hanger conclusion, I wanted to read the next book would be silly. I genuinely am interested in what this story does next and whether or not we will ever be told how the story of the previous hero’s death links to the classroom exploding in Japan and why these reincarnations have happened and why not all of the have ended up human. Basically, a mixed review all round and this is one that might entertain you or you might end up thinking is just a bit stupid. I guess you should judge by your reaction to the title. I kind of thought it sounded interesting and snarky and that was more or less what I got so I really can’t complain.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Episode 11: The Great Potion Bottle Conspiracy

The biggest problem with this anime is it lacks any sense of urgency. Ever. This episode begins with Satou taking a leisurely meal, drink, and whatever else is on offer at a pub before he continues travelling along and playing around with skills and practising different magic effects. While this ultimately leads him to the witch’s forest and triggers the next ‘event’ where he has to help the apprentice get enough of the potion gathered and delivered, there’s really no sense that there is any real threat here that the audience should take seriously.

Deathmarch11c

It was after this arc in the books where I paused in reading this series because I was having much the same problem reading about this dilemma. The main character has no personal stake in it. We only just met the witch and her apprentice so we have no attachment to them, and Satou does not need to get involved. He mostly just decides he wants to because… Okay, I don’t know that we know enough about him as a character to know what his motive is other than ‘nice MC archetype’.

Deathmarch11a

Though, so this doesn’t seem too negative (though how you could be too negative about something this dull I do have to wonder), I will point out the positive which is the very pretty magic display we get mid-episode.

Deathmarch11d

Onto the final episode then and to be honest I’m going to be pretty happy to say goodbye to this show from my watch list.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.