How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 7: Overwriting = Bad but Command = Good?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7 Diablo

The Prince returns and Shera follows him leaving one depressed Demon Lord. However, Rem and Alicia get Diablo back on his feet and then it is time for a showdown between the Prince’s ability to overwrite Shera’s will with Diablo’s ability to command her to tell the truth as his slave. Wait? Who was supposed to  be the good guy here?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

After the fan service heavy episode 6, I was hoping for a more plot driven episode and to be honest, this episode delivered (while still actually delivering on fan service at the same time). It was unexpected how well the episode managed to balance both aspects that so far had been separated. Where most events fell into either the fan service or the plot/character camps, this episode succeeded at delivering the two simultaneously without seemingly giving up on the quality of either. A rare feat but one I had to applaud by the end.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

Shera is the star of this episode even if she isn’t the hero. From the early focus on her as she watches Diablo make potions (as he watches her breasts jiggling) to the first round of brain washing where she returns to her brother, this episode is Shera’s. Diablo may have started the episode with a flash back to his childhood when he was still in the real world and facing rejection (a theme that will carry through the episode) but it is nowhere near as compelling as Shera’s story here.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

By the time the stupid prince Keera delivers cloth eating slime to Shera (and do I dare ask why it immediately attacks Shera’s clothes when there’s the prince, a rug, a tent and a lot of other cloth it could eat), despite the obvious cliche moment of the girl writhing under the slimes, the audience is genuinely feeling for Shera’s character and waiting for the rescue that we know is on the way.

Even after the rescue, it isn’t as though Shera simply becomes baggage. As Diablo and Keera fight it out for control over Shera’s mind, ultimately it is what Shera wants that dictates the outcome of the battle and then Shera’s not ready to cry and play the damsel in distress. She’s standing right there next to Rem as Keera unleashes his dangerous summon and I’m hoping that Shera continues to grow as a character and an adventurer.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

This was a genuinely satisfying episode and while bouncing boobs and dissolving clothes may not be to everyone’s liking, here it felt like they actually did belong in the story rather than feeling like an added extra for the sake of it after the fact.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6: A Flimsy Excuse For Flimsy Outfits

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6

I’m not surprised that this episode went the direction it did, but nor did I particularly enjoy parts of the episode. When a character is moaning and crying out (after being magically inspected) so loudly I feel the need to turn the sound down and I finish the episode wondering if there was even ten minutes of content, there’s probably something lacking (although it would have been hard to squeeze some story in amongst the outfit changes and bed sequences I guess).

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo and Shera

Episodes like this one are kind of expected when you watch something as clearly fan-service focused as this anime has been. Delaying their journey to deal with the elf situation in order to visit a slave market to investigate the removal of the collars is a fine excuse to stall the plot while we instead get some magical shenanigans that of course involve Shera once again wearing an incredibly revealing outfit and then writhing and moaning on a bed while Diablo investigates magical flows (and they still don’t get the collar off because that would kind of puncture the whole set up of the show I guess).

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Rem and Alicia

However, in case you think Rem is being ignored, there is actually some minor plot points being developed outside the tent where Alicia teachers Rem a ‘charm’ in a scene that suggests a number of possibilities but keeps fairly quiet as to which way they’ll ultimately take things. This was perhaps one of my favourite moments of the episode because it actually added to the characters and the plot and ultimately it felt meaningful. Also, if you actually want to see Rem writhing about on a bed, just wait until the end of the episode where Shera decides that she can treat Rem to the experience.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo

The other thing of note that happens this episode is Shera’s brother, Keera, shows up at the inn and plays the sweet brother who has been misunderstood. It was clearly a fairly lame act in the first place and about the only character buying it is Diablo (which plays nicely into his lack of social skills). Right before the credits we get a scene of the brother playing his flute while standing on the apex of a tree (because that’s normal) and he lets his crazy out. The scene kind of lacks impact because even without it we more or less knew that this was the case, and really they could have had the same dialogue shown while he was walking away from the room. It didn’t really need its own scene.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Shera

Basically if you are watching this show for the fan-service, this episode is a treat. If you are watching for the plot, there are a few pieces here and there that you will need for later so this episode isn’t skippable, but it won’t be the most enjoyable either.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 5: Princesses, Demon Lords and Imperial Knights

Diablo is perhaps the best thing about this anime with his internal and external personalities constantly at war. While the plot continues to be surprisingly interesting there’s no denying the ongoing prolific fanservice.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo
Inner self, freaking out.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord continues to be quite a bit of fun to watch. The fantasy setting is generic and so far the events (invading army, bounty on a party member, prevent a war) are all pretty standard, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. While Diablo as a character may suffer from some of the usual hang-ups of these kinds of characters (as well as having an almost magnetic connection with Shera’s chest) he actually remains a fairly interesting character and one who I’m enjoying watching find a balance between his in-game persona and his inner self.

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Outer self, taking control.

This week we are introduced to the local Lord who is apparently some big-shot Hero, though his overall presence in this episode felt more like a set-up or an introduction given Diablo had already been given the quest and they were given no real extra information. Maybe they just want this guy known so that later when he does something important it doesn’t feel like a last minute add in? The one useful thing that did come out of this meeting was Diablo added yet another girl to his harem in the form of an Imperial Knight (who are apparently usually male but of course the one sent here is female).

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Alicia might be a fun character but we’ll see how she goes next week. That said, the final part of this episode where Shera is kidnapped and we get a short chase sequence was kind of fun. It is also good to know that Emile made a full recovery after his confrontation with the Fallen last week. As much as I thought Emile was a jerk, his defence of Rem despite knowing he was outclassed was pretty admirable.

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Just not sure who this shot is for.

I will just say that while the occasional panty shot, the ongoing revealing outfits, and other aspects of fan-service don’t really bother me that much, scenes like this one, where Diablo is nearly smothered in Shera’s boobs, really does break me out of the story. Mostly because I can’t imagine what purpose such a scene serves given it doesn’t look like a desirable situation for anyone and visually it isn’t exactly alluring. Maybe I’m just not the target audience, but I think even people who like fan-service would have to look at that scene and be a little put off.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 4: Overpowered Protagonist Balanced Against Real Consequences (With a Healthy Dose of Fan-Service)

How Not To Summon Demon Lord Episode 4

The focus on actual plot continued this week, and not the usual kind of plot one expects from a harem fantasy, with Diablo facing the Fallen army and then dealing with the aftermath. All things considered, this was surprisingly solid.

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For a good chunk of this episode, I honestly had the feeling that this show had just tipped all its harem antics into episodes 1 and 2 and had now dived into full on fantasy drama. Then Diablo blew away the army of the Fallen and its leader, in the process blowing the clothes off the leader, as can only happen in anime. In fairness to the show though, it later has Emile more or less stripped of his armour and we later on get a shot of Diablo in bed without a shirt so maybe the show is going for equal opportunity fan-service. The later part of the episode also has some boobs pressed against Diablo and a fairly flat joke where he knocks himself out quite literally on one of the girl’s fairly un-endowed chests.

Despite those moments, or actually even with those moments, this is a fairly solid episode where the only real complaint I have is how fast some of this went by. The characters were placed in real peril and even Diablo ran down his magic reserves by the end of the fight. It leaves the series open to bring our overpowered MC down a few pegs and have him face some real challenges later. Particularly if the individual opponents don’t need to be all that strong but persistent to wear him down.

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I also loved that there are real consequences of the Fallen arriving. People have died and this is not glossed over. Admittedly, the very short span of time and the cliche rain filled funeral sequence didn’t really give us much time to ponder mortality, but it is another aspect to the show. Previously, I’d felt this was kind of similar to the Devil is a Part Timer and he literally just uses his magic to undo any damage caused by the various battles leaving no lasting consequences or scars. This episode sets this show apart in its tone and in how it is going to deal with conflict

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All and all, while I’d still like some of the fan-service moments to be either briefer or less in my face, there’s a fairly solid plot and a good bit of world building going on in this series at the moment and I hope that continues. At this stage the fan-service isn’t intrusive enough to really put me off, and everything else is working well enough to keep me interested.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 3: Fight the Fallen

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 3 - Diablo

Apparently the writers are aware that a lot of viewers call it at episode 3. Fan-service is low comparatively this week and plot stakes are high ending in a cliff-hanger designed to force viewers to commit to at least one more. Was it successful?

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While it might have been very easy to dismiss this title as just another fan-service laden isekai story adapted from a light novel there have been definite signs of some thought put into this anime right from episode 1. Whether or not the aspects it gets right are enough to offset some of the other elements is entirely up to the individual viewer, but episode 3 is probably a good indication of what this show might be able to do. With the fan-service dialled back to about a five instead of a nine out of ten (there’s some low angle shots of the girls, an ongoing focus on bouncing breasts, and a sequence where elf-girl squishes herself against Diablo for the length of a conversation), there’s actually time for some plot development and this is actually going fairly well.

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The story Rem told in episode 1 about housing a demon’s soul is fairly relevant as is the discontented Mage who has been mostly the butt of jokes for the past two episodes. We also get more of a sense of who Diablo is going to be in the world as he steps up to the task of defending others for little gain of his own. The duelling personalities of the main character continue to work well with his in-game persona carrying him on even as his inner self kind of freaks out at the thought of fighting.

DemonLord3d

I’m not about to proclaim this one a master-piece or even particularly great in the grand scheme of things, but realistically, there’s actually a fairly solid story being set up here and these first three episodes have given me reason to believe that the plot is even going to work on being cohesive and tying points together making encounters not feel so pointless or random. It could all still just become a boob and butt fest with the girls, but this episode came with a decent enough attempt at narrative and characterisation.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 2: Fan-Service and Boobs in Fantasy Land

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 2

I’m thinking that anyone who finds fan-service and boob gropes a major problem are going to have already ditched this show from consideration and I can’t say I blame them. That said, does this anime offer anything else?

DemonLord2e

Seriously, it is kind of accepted that fan service moments are going to permeate these kinds of stories, particularly with a set-up as blatant as summoned demon lord enslaves his summoners (who happen to be a cute cat chick and an elf with gravity defying breasts), and yet I can’t help but wonder if the beginning and end of this episode couldn’t have ended up scrapped on the editing floor without discernibly changing the episode. The entire pre-credits sequence was the usual trope of boy wakes up, realises he’s still in fantasy land, and then wonders what his hand is touching. Oh, it’s the elf’s breast. And then instead of moving his hand he proceeds to grope her blaming his hand for having a mind of its own. And then he realises his right hand is on the cat girl’s breast. It all ends with cat girl losing her temper and probably hitting him before we begin the credits.

While I get there is an audience for this kind of sequence, the majority of people I know who watch anime tolerate this kind of nonsense rather than enjoy it. And even those people who watch a show for the more ecchi moments would surely want something presented better than this? The final sequence in the show goes back to boob grabbing with the elf girl straddling the demon lord for whatever reason and then the cat girl coming in and claiming she’s aware her boobs are small before she once again probably pummels them. It is lazy fan-service at best and it is when this anime is at its weakest.

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In between these two sequences we get a mixed bag of an episode with the part registering at the adventurer’s guild and taking on a quest. There’s some lighter moments like when Diablo tries to play down the elf’s fear of a blood seal and then proceeds to slice his own thumb open leading to copious blood spray (wait, I was meant to be covering light moments), and then the magic mirror works quite well. Even the absence of fast travel or teleportation leaving Diablo to declare the game ‘BS’ was kind of amusing before we got a reasonably decent fight sequence considering how overpowered Diablo is (meaning, there’s really no opposition and just a one sided defeat with some extremely unfair magical attacks).  It isn’t great by any means, but it is actually kind of fun.

DemonLord2d

The question most viewers will have to ask themselves is whether or not the excessive fan-service is a plus or a minus and whether they enjoy it or are willing to tolerate it for what seems like it will be a fairly average kind of show. For me, I’m probably sticking with this one but I’m not expecting it to exactly rank high on my list of anime from this year. And if the fan-service ends up increasing from this point, I will probably drop because the elf on the bed at the end of this episode is kind of my limit. And if you are looking for screencaps of the fan-service, I’m probably not going to be much help because I’m not taking those.

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Friday’s Feature: The Power of Clichés, Archetypes, and Being Predictable

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 1 - Diablo

We all know about anime clichés, archetypes and tropes and we’ve all kind of come to accept that there are certain characters and events that we’re going to run into again and again. However, for some people, the existence of clichés and archetype characters who don’t break the mould are enough for them to scorn a show and turn away from it. They label it unoriginal or boring and might claim it offers nothing. And yet there are a lot of good reasons for stories not to go off script or venture into new waters.

That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be nice occasionally for things to be changed up a bit or presented in a new way, nor is it excusing the lazy use of clichés for laughs in exchange for actually writing a story or considering the purpose of the characters but it does mean that just because something is entirely cliché does not mean it is bad just because it is. I think we need to consider the context and the execution (as well as which cliché it is because there are some clichés that individuals will accept more readily than others) before making up our minds.

It is kind of timely to visit this topic with so many new shows starting for the season. It is inevitable that first episodes will be riddled with clichés. And for those who consider that a death sentence on a story that is something you will have to accept.

Why?

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First episodes need to get their point across, set up what their tone is going to be, introduce characters and give the audience some impression of who they are, as well as do some basic world-building. And they need to grab the audience’s attention so there are going to be some bells and whistles thrown in. All of this in some twenty minutes. It is a lot to ask and while some shows put off some of these attributes for later episodes and choose to either focus on world building, tone, or characters rather than all of them in one episode, with the short attention span of viewers these days that’s a pretty risky move. That’s where clichés and archetypes come in.

Archetypes are recognisable and memorable. They also cut through a lot of explanations because people already know what is on offer. In a first episode a female character might come across as the ‘manic pixie girl’ and a male character might be ‘generic self-insert isekai protagonist’ but it instantly establishes where this character is starting and the tone the audience can expect. Depending on which character archetypes we have on display the audience can begin making predictions about the kind of narrative path we’re about to walk and what is on offer. They may have seen it before, but they haven’t seen this version, so as long as the quality of how things are being executed is there, or there is some reason to believe that things are going to get shaken up in future episodes, there’s no reason to dismiss something just because it seems like it might be similar to about a thousand other stories.

Cliche events and actions such as first meetings, finding a secret power, some sort of misunderstanding, and so on serve much the same purpose in these first episodes. They may not be terribly original but as long as they are presented with integrity, that isn’t a huge problem. The issue isn’t from the archetypes and clichés themselves, the issue comes from the lazy way these are sometimes rolled out.

DemonLord1c

If we take a look at the current anime season on offer we might look at something like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and begin with the take down criticism of it being horrendously unoriginal, derivative, and the same as about a million other stories. And certainly it isn’t exactly ground breaking as we’ve seen a player trapped in his in game character that is some sort of demon in Overlord, we’ve seen transported to another world about a million times, and a world based on a game fairly recently in Death March to a Parallel World Rhapsody. We’ve certainly seen ordinary socially awkward guy instantly surrounded by bunch of girls of various types who for whatever reason all end up in love with him (more times than I can count).

The set up is incredibly generic, and then the events in the first episode are incredibly cliche. We have more fan-service moments then I’d care to recount right at the moment, an obnoxious jerk who wants to teach the protagonist a lesson and consequently gets beaten down, and the cute girl who eats a lot. Then the main character who is so incredibly recognisable as a gamer with no social skills or ability to talk to other people without assuming some sort of in game role (No Game No Life and about a million others).

All of this might be enough reason for some anime viewers to pass on this show entirely and I’ve certainly seen a fair number of reviewers who have thrown all isekai offerings this season into a basket and if that basket had been more than just metaphorical they’d have set it on fire (much the same to how I feel about idol anime really). However, not all isekai anime are created equal and while episode 1 of How Not To Summon A Demon Lord certainly didn’t blow my socks off, it did a decent job of setting up a potential story of interest with characters that have most definitely started out as cookie cutter archetypes that we’ve seen before but they all have growth potential.

This is where it gets tricky. The anime now has a short window of time to convert viewers like me from ‘maybe’ into definitely following the show. While generic cliches and archetypes work well enough in first episodes to establish ideas, if the show doesn’t demonstrate a willingness to do anything more than walk the well tread path of other stories, or worse, it has established the characters and then it leaves them exactly where they are, then the show becomes utterly deserving of the criticism of being unoriginal, derivative and not worth the time. But a first episode isn’t enough to make that judgement.

Though episode 2’s opening act with Diablo waking up with his hands on the boobs of both of his female companions probably indicates where this show sees character development.

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While comparing first episodes I’m really looking at How Not To Summon a Demon Lord or The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar to add to this season’s watch list (but not both because even I draw the line on isekai at some point). At the moment How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is slightly edging out The Master of Ragnarok for the simple reason that I had more fun with the first episode and the potential story set up looks like it will have a better pay off. Also, cool explosion (sorry, deep down I’m six years old and I know it) and the reference was cool even though I never watched the anime being referenced (memes do wonders for filling in context sometimes). The Master of Ragnarok didn’t get an immediate skip though because despite the overly harem qualities, the overt sex jokes, and every other poor generic idea this genre likes to throw at us, it does have the slight intrigue of not being another world but potential the past earth and the protagonist isn’t just arriving, he’s already there and established. It gives it just enough points of interest to earn a second episode consideration despite all the flaws with the first episode.

Regardless of which isekai I end up watching, the point that clichés and archetypes aren’t all bad can be made pretty clearly through an anime that also aired recently, Cells at Work. Outside of the concept that the characters are all anthropomorphic cells doing jobs within the body, there’s really nothing particularly original about the first episode. While AE3803 might be a truly adorable red blood cell, she’s your stereotypical naive and shy girl on her first day at work. She’s confused, she gets lost, after a chance encounter with a guy who saves her she literally clings on to him as he shows her around before he saves her again. If we took out the fact that they are blood cells, it is pretty much the script of any romantic comedy anywhere or even an action flick (actually, take out first day on the job and we’ve more or less got Temple of Doom working here).

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Yet most viewers would agree that Cells at Work presents itself in such a way that it feels original, fresh and entertaining. The change in setting and the clever way that is integrated into plot and character development allows them to execute a fairly ordinary and familiar story in a way that people appreciated and enjoyed. Something isekai stories might start doing if every ‘other world’ wasn’t generic fantasy land type B (why are no other worlds ever technologically advanced or just completely different from anything we’re familiar with – pseudo-medieval settings have been done to death, move on).

As a reviewer, I’m not above calling something cliche or generic, but at the same time, that isn’t reason enough for me to condemn a story and stop watching. As a fantasy/horror/action/sci-fi fan (in movies) I am well used to seeing very familiar characters and plots time and time again. What I want isn’t something that reinvents the wheel or revolutionises story telling; what I want is a quality story with a purpose and passion behind it that lends integrity to the work. Though that also might be asking too much sometimes and maybe I should just stick to wanting to be entertained for twenty minutes because that is something I’m more likely to achieve.

Alright, over to the readers. What do you think about the use of generic plots, tropes, cliches and archetypes and what do you think about the start of the Summer anime season? Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know.


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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 1: An Isekai Entry With A Bit of Ear Nibbling

We’ve got demon summons, enslaved girls, an elf, a cat girl, magic, bouncing boobs, and a guy pinning a girl to a bed and then having no idea what to do next… Yep, we’re back in the isekai genre so I guess the question is whether this one is any good.

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It is amazing how many things in the isekai genre I dislike by default and yet I actually don’t dislike the genre. The repetitive set-ups and characters, the over-reliance on game mechanics to propel the plot forward, and the annoyance of relying on girls in skimpy outfits with various breast sizes for a lot of the comedy and fan-service really all do deserve to be criticised to forever and back. Yet if I look past all of that, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord actually gave us a fairly average first episode and has a bit of potential to be not terrible, which is kind of promising given I lost count of the number of close ups of the elf girls breasts flouncing up and down.

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Maybe this is just my popcorn style viewing, but the generic shut in main character (who wouldn’t withstand any kind of analysis given he’s the worst kind of gamer stereotype) ending up in the game world as his in game character Diablo who is extremely overpowered managed to entertain me. He’s not a good character by any means, but his internal panic compared to his external role playing dialogue worked well enough for amusement and the set up of the cat girl with a demon soul trapped inside her was intriguing enough as a plot point to make me want to know what is going to happen next.

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Okay, I’m not going to jump up and down about this one because there’s definitely the usual elements that turn people away from isekai stories and so far it hasn’t done anywhere near enough to compensate for those weaknesses, but I’m going to give this one a couple more episodes to see if it can find its feet and make itself that little bit more distinct.

If you watched this first episode, I’d love to know your thoughts so leave me a comment below.


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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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Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Level 5 Light Novel Review: The Hole of Surprises Isn’t Kidding

If you missed my reviews of the first 4 books, check them out here. The review below will contain spoilers for the previous books.

Review:

Level 5 is an interesting entry into the Grimgar series if only because it seems to be forcing the direction of the story and the characters down a slightly different path. Prior to now day to day survival and the grief of losing friends has stayed first and foremost in the characters minds. They are newbies in a vicious world where mistakes get you killed and that kind of dominated the first four books.

Needless to say, by book 5 a change was needed. Not because what came before it wasn’t good, but because there’s only so many hunting trips where the characters caution each other, or pitched battles where they rely on others and feel regret, that you can read through before it starts to become repetitive. These characters are no longer the newbies in the world and they realise they have to step things up. The end result isn’t flawless and certainly as a story this chapter is probably weaker than the previous entries, and yet the possibilities it presents for future instalments makes me want to keep going.

Let’s look at some specifics. Level 5 sees Haruhiro and the crew still playing in the Wonder Hole and getting into a kind of routine. All of that changes when they discover a new shaft in that isn’t known to the other recruits and they decide they want to claim it as there’s. Unfortunately for them, team Tokimune also stumble upon the discovery and so an uneasy alliances is formed.

This premise has some great potential. For the first time Haruhiro and the others aren’t just following along with the directions they are given. Initially they started goblin hunting in areas they were directed to, and then Mary led them to the mines. The pitched battle was organised by others as well and even their forays in the Wonder Hole were always following the advice they were given about the different areas and dwellers. Moving into unknown territory is a huge step for this group. Also, pairing with another team, while they’ve kind of worked with team Renji before during a battle, allows new characters and interactions and a general shake up of the group dynamics. There’s really a lot of scope being opened up at the start of this book.

Unfortunately there is a major problem fairly quickly. And that is that team Tokimune is made up of nut-jobs and not the fun kind. While one or two eccentrics would be understandable and could even be fun in this setting, an entire team of people who seem like they shouldn’t have survive a week in Grimgar is asking a bit much. Then as these characters dominate a lot of the interactions part of me is almost wishing for Ranta to start shouting again. Oh, but he does that anyway. So we’re left with the worst interactions from the original crew and a new team that aren’t all that interesting (because they are trying to hard to be quirky) or likeable.

Where this volume manages to save itself is that it presents a genuinely interesting challenge for the teams. And as team Tokimune are the ones blundering into things unprepared for once, it makes Haruhiro and his team step up and take the lead, which is quite satisfying to see. While they aren’t instant juggernauts and the threat of death continues to seems very close at all times, these characters are quite pleasing in their new role as the stable support and later the rescue squad.

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There’s a very weird series of interactions between Haruhiro and Mimorin from the other team that seem to be indicating that she’s wanting to either adopt him as a pet or maybe she’s falling for him. I’m not really sure but their interactions are weird and the book ends with these two which makes me wonder about how significant this character is overall or whether she’s going to fade away after this one volume.

Overall though, while the book has its good points and weaker parts, it is a very satisfying continuation of a story that I’m pretty engrossed in and I’m looking forward to buying the next books and finding out where it goes.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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