Archive for the 'novels' Category

On the Nature of Enjoyment (feat. Ange Ushiromiya)

One thing that I’ve noticed as I read a lot of Western fiction and watch a lot of Japanese animation is that occasionally I have to pause and think about the nature of how I enjoy something. This frequently leads to bewilderment and confusion in both myself and others as I try to figure out whether or not liking something in a different way than I like something else means that I like it less (or more). It’s fairly meaningless for me to say something like “Simoun is a better fantasy than William Goldman’s The Princess Bride” when there’s almost zero grounds for any sort of comparison. It might be slightly more meaningful, depending on the context, for me to say “I like Simoun better than The Princess Bride” but then that’s akin to saying “I like celery more than I like bananas”. And sometimes I really want bananas. But right now, what I want is a whole-wheat cracker.

It’s something I feel whenever I think about the differences in the nature and form of enjoyment I take from the Western novel and the anime (or manga, or even what little Actual Japanese Literature™ I’ve read), but can’t quite put in words. And, no, it’s not quite a visual appeal issue, so I can’t solve it by saying “anime has cute girls therefore it’s better/worse [please circle the best choice] case closed.” The closest I can come is placing things into a strange matrix of enjoyment derived from intellectual and emotional means. This is not to say that one is inherently better than the other–it’s best, after all, when both are present in similar amounts–but the method of approach, the ever-mutable intellectual and emotional expectations brought into and taken from a work, seem to alter the nature of the enjoyment I derive.

When I think of a Western (the vague and ill-defined global concept, not Louis L’Amour) novel, for instance, I think of intelligence; this is regardless of whether or not I like the novel under question, or whether said novel is intelligent or not. The novel is praised for being intelligent, for being clever, for doing anything that appeals to intellect; the novel is detested for failing to appeal to the intellect, for being sloppy or sentimental or schlocky, for being the Dread Word “Entertaining”. The observation of this perception is hardly news as it’s been going on for roughly two centuries (give or take some decades), but there’s more to it than Sturgeonesque bitterness towards the intellectual elite. Consider the fact that most defences of entertainment, of genre, of actually enjoying what you read are intellectually adroit, understandable given how they are generally addressed addressed to an intellectual audience that may or may not like to enjoy itself. The fight to enjoy something, to defend something against being deemed “escapist” or otherwise “unintelligent” is to insist on the unconventional intelligence of the works under contention.

I’m not trying to upturn my nose here–I’m as guilty as the next person at wanting and enjoying intelligent entertainment (in all of that phrase’s gloriously fuzzy meaning), and, in all honesty, treating entertainment of any kind as though it were unintelligent by default is damaging to everyone. I read books that I enjoy, and I enjoy books that I read. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, more often than not I find a novel to be more intellectually appealing than emotionally–no matter how affectionate I am of the novel or how emotionally appealing I found it. Again, this is not bad, but merely an expression of a particular form of enjoyment.

Conversely, when I think of anime (and of Japanese literature in general, to which anime and manga belong, however reluctantly) I find myself thinking far more of emotions. This, again, is hardly surprising: the history of Japanese literature places more emphasis on the emotional side of a story than its logical side. In other words, the emotions and internal workings of the characters play a stronger role than how “real” (or “realistic”) the characters are. I find this notion easy to detect in anime: whether it be Kabuto Kouji full of burning passion to defeat Baron Ashura and Dr. Hell, Akari Mizunashi full of curiosity and delight in the small things, or the complex characters of Macross Plus, emotions–both those of the characters and/or those engendered in the viewer–play a key role in the series and its appeal to its fanbase, no matter how simplistic or complex they might be.

Just as how Western novels blend intellectual and emotional appeal, however, so too does Japan (more so now, with an increase in Westernized attitudes). The Tale of Genji, the first and most significant work of Japanese prose literature, is extremely internally consistent despite its vast cast of characters rarely referred to by name and with shifting titles; the few inconsistencies tend to appear in chapters where Murasaki Shikibu’s authorship is potentially in doubt. There is also anime that offers much to the intellectually-oriented audience–the  films of Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon strike my mind first here, but that may more be due to their larger penetration into the Western market. Even Miyazaki has a strong intellectual appeal, one that may be causing the divide on Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. And there’s the reverse, with more emotional than intellectual appeal, where I think of Key and their ability to take fairly thin characters and still engender strong emotional reactions in their readers and viewers; ef seems to follow in this tradition, if a bit more spectacularly.

In fact, what attracted me to anime in the first place (as I’ve no doubt regaled people with countless times) was the profound emotional effect it had on me; hitherto that point I’d mostly been interested in comedies and was convinced I didn’t like drama at all. The effect of this flip-flopped my attitude not just towards anime and manga but also towards novels and literature; here were emotions I’d not had, or didn’t think I’d like. The result seems to be that I began to understand and explore that which emotionally appealed more to me over that which appealed more to my intellect, and (slowly but surely) move closer to integrating the two. I’ll probably always tend more towards that which stirs the emotions than that which purely stimulates the intellect; but as these two concepts are not diametrically opposed but instead exist on a Cartesian coordinate plane, I can certainly hope to have it both ways (or at least adjust myself as I deem it necessary).

I’ve divided the spectrum between West and East (or West and Japan) and between textual and visual mostly unintentionally, as my initial goal was to muse upon (for my benefit and potential sanity at least) the odd, contrasting natures of how I liked both Western fiction and anime in what generally appears to me to be completely contrasting and contradictory ways (leading to maddening questions like “Do I really like books? Do I really like anime? Do I really like anything? Do I really have too much free time these days? Do I really need to go take a really long walk and just wipe myself out?”). Nothing mentioned here is strictly bounded by borders of nation, genre, or medium, real or imagined.

I think, in some sort of conclusion (have I actually reached one?), it’s worth pointing out that nothing, as the aforementioned Sturgeon said, is ever absolutely so, and examples and counter-examples clearly exist to everything here, and, furthermore, those examples and counter-examples are going to differ depending on the person giving them. But whether it’s just me who thinks this way, or everyone, or if I’m even dead wrong on my (hilariously subjective) assessment of the matter, I think it best to at least keep in mind that there are at least two tandem approaches to deriving enjoyment from any given narrative: one from the intellect and one from emotion. Each manifests itself differently in everyone and people naturally tend towards one more than the other for some narratives and vice versa for others; some will even be able to swap between the approaches at will. And it’s likely that as time passes that the preferences will change as well.

I think I best list some examples so, at the very least, my subjective assessment of all this nonsense will be known, so that perhaps thought processes can maybe be assimilated into some kind of coherent whole by someone who is not me. Oddly enough this also somewhat serves as a “recommended reading/watching” list in a very odd and somewhat haphazardly slapped together at the last minute way.

  • Primarily intellectual:
    Novels: Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, feed by M.T. Anderson, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    Anime: Legend of Galactic Heroes, Macross Plus, The Sky Crawlers
  • Primarily emotional:
    Novels: The Six Duchies nonalogy by Robin Hobb, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl
    Anime: Kamichu!, Crest of the Stars, Whisper of the Heart
  • Primarily both:
    Novels: Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    Anime: Revolutionary Girl Utena, Planetes, Toki o Kakeru Shoujo

If this post makes no sense, it is entirely my fault for not being sensible. I’m going to go not think for a while. It might do me some good, and prepare me mentally to think way too hard about information management.

The Rediscovery of Haruhi Suzumiya

One day the H will be as familiar a sight as the crucifix, the Star of David, the crescent moon and star, and whatever other religious symbols I have no room to list here there are.

One day the H will be as familiar a sight as the crucifix, the Star of David, the crescent moon and star, and whatever other religious symbols I have no room to list here there are.

 

I remember 2006.

I remember when no one had a clue what The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was, let alone knowing that it would turn into a phenomenon that persists to this day. I remember watching it before true Haruhiist mania had caught on, which was sometime around the release of the second broadcast episode. I remember dropping everything I was doing, once a week, to watch the new Haruhi episode. I remember arguing with people about whether it was meta-parody or not, about whether it was the horribly generic and silly series it had lampooned in the student film episode or not, about whether it was “just another silly harem series” or not, about endless permutations of quality and the lack thereof. In short, I remember it being a highly complicated time, and not exactly a good environment to foster sane, rational opinions about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I also remember, after it had concluded and the post-good-series glow had faded, wondering what all the hooplah still going on was about.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like the series, but there was always something different about the way I liked it. Sometimes I thought that there was some quality that I’d overlooked, one that may or may not appeal to me, but that obviously appealed to the legions of fans, that drove the series from a fad to a phenomenon. Other times I thought that everyone else was grossly overestimating it, and the value of Haruhi became less intrinsic to the work so much as intrinsic to the fandom surrounding it. The average of these two feelings was the simple, almost apathetic, stance of “it’s good, even great, but why all the fuss over it?” (I should point out here that this statement encompasses my current stance on Neon Genesis Evangelion as well)

I have, however, recently read the Yen Press release of the first volume, which (by way of review) was quite well-done. Except for the fact that they published a hardcover without a dust jacket–like seriously, dust jackets can be super annoying at times, but I like them, and I really wanted a Haruhi dust jacket. But I’m a bibliophile plus an anime fan, so that makes for a deadly combination indeed. The translation was also fairly solid, and, in fact, at times felt like Strato’s a.f.k. subs that I almost suspect that he was the translator, or, at least, that the translator/editor had certainly seen more of of the a.f.k. subs than any other subs. But more important than the content, it turned out, was the chance to revisit The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya with fresher eyes.

I cannot–will not–speak for the fandom at large, but for me, after reading the first novel, I at least have a more firm grasp on what I like about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I chalk this up to three factors: time, distance, and personal maturity. There is almost no new information in the novel that isn’t in the anime as well, with the only significant disadvantage of the anime being that some of Kyon’s narratorial snark is lost. And yet, somehow, it felt like I was experiencing Haruhi for the first time all over again.

What Haruhi is to me–and I remember seeing very vague glimmers of this three years ago, although nothing that could ever make it to a concrete thought–is less a showcase for a bevy of cute girls (and a couple cute guys if Kyon x Itsuki is your thing) or a complicated meta-parody of stereotypical tropes (although it certainly is those things to varying degrees, as well as others I can’t quite put words on now) but more of a story of Kyon, who lost his imagination, and Haruhi, who is utterly enveloped in it. Kyon spells it out straight right at the start: as he grew older, in the name of “maturity” and “adulthood” he shelved his boyish obsessions with the paranormal, the nonexistent–the fictional–and resigned himself to his daily trudge up the massive, giant hill that his high school resides upon, and the hours upon hours of mindless drudgery that occupy the space inside those walls. This, he sighs, is life. Mindless, meaningless, and merely something that one has to trudge through.

Starkly contrasting with Kyon’s dreary and bleak acceptance of the “normalcy” of the world is Our Lady of Abnormal herself, Haruhi, who insists that there are paranormal events, that there are things that are greater than reality, and who lives so much in a world of her own creation that she has no interest at all in the mundane world. She later reveals that she has the same basic worldview as Kyon does, albeit expressed differently, but she draws the exact opposite conclusion–that nothing fun will happen if you sit around waiting and accepting of the dreary drudgery that surrounds you–and drags it to the same illogically extreme pole that Kyon drags his. Kyon is content to sit around and be bored a lot; Haruhi isn’t content unless she’s yelling a lot in a bunnysuit and handing out flyers advertising her new super-cool yet still-unnamed club.

 

Haruhi having fun, the only way she knows how to.

Haruhi having fun, the only way she knows how to.

 

The extremes of Kyon and Haruhi’s personalities, of course, are played more for laughs, but there’s a darker edge. Kyon may be sardonic, but he’s also jaded and retains no passion or fervor for anything. He has no interests, nothing that distinguishes him from the crowd, and (aside from the snark) no personality. Haruhi, meanwhile, has passion and fervor for her multitudinous interests to spare, and her antics relating to said passion and fervor get her in more trouble than it seems to be worth–not to mention that her entire forthright personality is very much a cover for her own depression. No matter how wacky Haruhi’s antics get, or how bitingly snide Kyon gets, neither of these are good extremes. And yet, even in the first novel, and in the anime, you get the feeling that Kyon is (very gradually) learning to enjoy non-reality, and Haruhi is (very gradually) learning to enjoy life as it is; both have more fun than they are willing to admit. Even in the first novel, Kyon is the “unknown factor” of Haruhi because he has an active interest in her–he denies it constantly, but it’s blatantly obvious that he is attracted to her, and Yuki, Mikuru, and Itsuki all agree that Kyon himself is important to Haruhi (even if she won’t admit it either).

The important thing that Haruhi tries to get across, at least in what I’ve read/seen, is that the extremes of Haruhi and Kyon, lovable though they both are, are not to be desired, founded, as they are, upon inner turmoil and abject apathy. Together, however, they seem to counterbalance (and tolerate) each other’s extremes, and pull the other towards a more coherent, integrated median. Those grounded on Earth learn how to stick their heads up in the clouds, and those with their heads in the clouds learn how to place their feet on the ground. Fantasy and reality are two halves of a whole, and life is hollow if it lacks one or the other.

And that is why I suddenly have a newfound appreciation for Haruhi. I’m pretty sure I won’t run out and join a Haruhiist cult, but, on a personal level, it’s quite nice to step back from the former insanity that was Haruhi‘s airing and the roaring undercurrent it is now, and find something more in a series that I didn’t see at first. Even if it’s not there, and Haruhi really is about a bevy of attractive anime characters of both genders (who is which gender is debatable after the Great Discovery of Kyonko).

Zaregoto, bk. 1: The Kubikiri Cycle: A Horribly Late Review of Trivial Consequence

So I’ve had a copy of Zaregoto book 1 since it came out (in August), and carried it around in my everpresent man-purse messenger bag, but, despite it being in said bag-like entity, it was not being read because there were other things in there, like other novels and a collection of short stories by Saki that I should really read more of before I have to return it to the wild library and various textbooks that see far more use than anything else in said cloth carrying device. So my actual copy looks more well-read than it might seem for a book I read over about three days, but definitely much less well-read than my original mass-market edition from ten years ago of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which I think still exists, but its cover is currently held together with Scotch tape and a prayer. Possibly missing the Scotch tape.

Why am I telling you all that? I have no idea.

I actually managed to read Zaregoto last week, in the process rediscovering what absolute fun it is to shut off all electronic devices in a room, save for a small lamp by the bed, and stick my nose in a book for a few hours, oblivious to the passage of time. That particular revelation (re-revelation?) might color my reading experience, but probably less than the fact that after reading the book my brain oozed out onto the floor and had to expend some effort reconstituting itself inside my skull, since this was my first experience reading Nisioisin. I still can’t hear the word “genius” without cringing. That sentence pained me to write.

I’ve always held a peculiar fondness for the older-style mystery novels, so it’s just as well that Zaregoto struck me in much the same way, owing partially to its similiarity to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None… (which I have not read yet, but it is sitting here, waiting) in the sense that the characters are called to a remote island whereupon murders are committed upon the hapless and badly confused guests until someone figures them out and off they go. It even has the obvious-only-in-retrospect ending that delights me so!

Only one thing really bugs me, but only in a pet peevish way: the third protagonist of the series, Aikawa Jun, delivers the final final solution for the events of the book, despite not having been in the book at all until that point. As a set-up for the next novel (where Ii-chan, Kisa, and Jun work as a unit, because three is better than one), it works, and it’s not wholly terrible, it just robs me of my Sherlock Holmes-esque thrill. Of course, then again, as a nine-novel sequence, perhaps we could also see some character development in Ii-chan, who is one of those first-person narrators who, although omnipresent throughout the reading experience, doesn’t seem to have much of a personality–a fact alluded to by several characters throughout the book, making it a plot point of sorts.

Me, mostly I’m just impressed that Nisioisin managed to turn out a solidly written title as his debut novel at age 20. Take that, Christopher Paolini. The other good thing about reading Zaregoto is that it’s left me with a sore hankering for mystery, which I am filling by re-reading The Westing Game for the first time since I was a kid (it’s still really hard to figure out, even though I know the solution already, because the entire book is a distration for the solution–strangely enough, a bit like Zaregoto in some ways). What monsters hath an open book released, indeed.

(Did I make the obligatory “Zaregoto is pretty heavy for a light novel” joke yet? Consider it made)

SOME OTHER REVIEWS THAT PROBABLY SAY IN MORE (OR FEWER) WORDS WHAT I SAID ABOVE:
Demian has fun reading the book, even though it doesn’t have the word Abraxas in it at all.
DiGiKerot says, uh, what I just said. Possibly better, depending on one’s point of view about such things, but without an amusing yet vague glimpse into some of the deranged workings of my life, which probably makes it better.
astrange is mysteriously vague about what he thinks about the novel in a one-line review in a mostly irrelevant post, no doubt brought on by the fact that he’s read entirely too much Haruki Murakami.

Brave Story novel wins little-known ALA children’s book award; also Tokyo Media Arts Festival awards

I have no idea when the award was given out, but the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award winner is none other than Miyki Miyabe’s own epic fantasy novel masterpiece Brave Story.

You’re probably looking at me like I’m crazy and saying “What on Earth is the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and why do I care?” I hadn’t heard of it hitherto this point either, but (according to the ALA award information page I linked above) it’s an award given to a foreign-language book of exceptional merit that has been translated into English. A list of past winners is available, in case you were curious (the only book I recognize off that list is Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord,and I work in a library, so you’re not alone in going “Say what now?”) but, of course, the important thing is that it won an award, which means that at least someone out there is paying attention. Japanese books have won the award before, of course, as that list I linked proves; the difference here is, of course, that the publisher for Brave Story is VIZ Media. Which means that a manga company has won an ALA award. I’m probably the only one impressed by this, of course, due to my librarian nature.

In other award new, spurred by the Brave Story award discovery, I checked Wikipedia for the winners of the Tokyo Media Arts Festival prizes and, lo and behold, two of the four winners of the Excellence Prize are none other than Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann and Dennou Coil. It’s not as awesome as taking home the Grand Prize, like Toki o Kakeru Shoujo deservedly did for 2006, but now people can mention Gurren-Lagann and Kamichu! in the same sentence and not raise eyebrows quite so much. Past Excellence awards winners include Neon Genesis Evangelion, Serial Experiments: Lain, Tokyo Godfathers and Mahou Shoutengai Abenobashi. By contrast, past Grand Prize winners include Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Millenium Actress, Blood: The Last Vampire, the aforementioned Tokikake, and Mind Game (Kemonozume fans are probably rejoicing at this news, all three of them).

I still, however, don’t know if Youhou won a prize in the Entertainment/Interactive Art category. If anyone knows what happened with that, please let me know. It could probably win just on how interactive the fanbase is with the actual source material, in terms of generating content, but we don’t know.

Socrates in Love (Sekai no Chushin de Ai o Sakebu) by Katayama Kyoichi

So I found out while browsing for things to ask for Christmas that Viz, in their infinite wisdom, licensed the Socrates in Love novel a while ago. I never actually got it for Christmas, so I ordered it from the bookstore and devoured it this week (It’s such a short novel, it could easily have been devoured in a matter of three-four hours of casual reading).

It was really good. I think I felt tears starting to well up around page 3. I never actually cried, but I probably would have if I had started reading the book outside of my break at work and finished it all in one swallow. What struck me about the book was how beautifully it was written, even in translation. I spent the rest of the evening obsessing over the 20 or so pages I’d read, and then went home and…waited until school on Wednesday to read more.

The story, as it is, is fairly simple–boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy gets girl, girl gets leukemia. The book minces no meat about what happens to Aki at the end–the very first scene is Sakutaro bringing her ashes to Cairns with her family in tow. So it’s not like anything on that end is a massive spoiler for the ending. As in all things, the Japanese value the getting there more than the ending itself (or maybe that’s just me), and the getting there is a beautiful and tragic love story. The emotions of a young couple in love are captured here, for all those without hearts made of solid, frigid iron to enjoy. Like Voices of a Distant Star and Mikako, almost, the novel isn’t about the plot so much as the captured essence of the emotions of Sakutaro. It certainly has the power to affect the reader in much the same way.

I’ve only read a couple books out by Viz so far (this and Brave Story), but they’re doing a mighty fine job of licensing quality novels. And this one even has SHOUJO BEAT FICTION on the spine! How cool is that?!

Del Rey and the Growing Light Novel Market in America

I’m sure all interested parties have heard that Del Rey, a division of Random House, has licensed a couple of light novels, including the award-winning mystery/fantasy series Zaregoto. I can’t help but think that, as both an anime fan and a novel fan, the growing trend towards licensing light novels is incredibly awesome.

I remember back about three/four years ago when the news first broke than Tokyopop was releasing the Love Hina novel (why on Earth anyone would want to read a novel version of Love Hina is beyond me, you’re missing out on all that Akamatsu Ken fanservice) and thinking “Huh, novels.” Then the Crest of the Stars novel series got licensed, and (since I already knew beforehand that the anime was based on the novels) I was condiserably more interested. And then, just recently, Tokyopop and Seven Seas have both stepped into the fray and licensed a whole chunk of interesting titles like Kino no Tabi and Boogiepop. I haven’t had a chance to even buy many of these, unfortunately, and I probably should, as I really would like to see more novels of this sort translated over into English.

Viz is also breaking into the novel publishing industry–I read their version of Brave Story earlier this year, and it was quite well-done. I picked up Socrates in Love (Sekai no Chushin de Ai o Sakebu) and their re-issue of Dragon Sword & Wind Child yesterday. I’ve always avoided Japanese author released in America as the ones that tend to make it over here are the literary snob types (Murakami Haruki, although I read Sputnik Sweetheart and it was nice, if not particularly spectacular), but Viz has been pulling in more popular fiction from Japan, which I can only see as a plus.

And, now, Del Rey has taken off the gloves and entered the fray, ready to come out swinging. Del Rey’s always been a publisher who had the money to be able to take risks–when you publish powerhouses like Star Wars novels, you can probably afford to pick up weird titles that other publishers turned down, and then act surprised when they turn out hits (*cough*His Majesty’s Dragon*cough*). So, really, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them starting to pitch Zaregoto not only to their manga readers, but also their fiction readers. If they’re successful, we may have a whole new door open up for us in light novels–one wherein both otaku and novel readers can create a new market all by themselves. I’d love to see a strong light novel market in the States, as who doesn’t want a combination of anime and books? Unless, of course, you hate one or the other. You’re weird.

Brave Story THE NOVEL by Miyuki Miyabe

I’ve always been a reader all my life (although I’m finding increasingly that anime is coming to dominate as my hobby), and I read Brave Story recently, so I thought I’d jot my thoughts down.

For those who aren’t aware, Brave Story is about a young child named Wataru whose father has an affair with another woman, and leaves his mother and bim in favor of this new, younger woman. When his mother tries to kill herself (and Wataru with her) by letting gas from the stove into their apartment, Wataru escapes and finds himself in the magical land of Vision, where he is now a Traveller on a quest for five gemstones that will grant him the wish he desires to change his destiny.

Brave Story was absolutely incredible for Part One. It was high drama with a touch of fantasy elements. All seventeen chapters were immensely powerful, and really made you feel incredibly empathetic with Wataru. There are so many powerful scenes in these 200 pages that I was solidly impressed with the book just from that.

The unfortunate thing is, when Wataru goes to Vision, things take a sharp turn downhill–kind of. Vision starts off as a bland, generic kind of fantasy land, but after having finished the book, I think Miyabe made it “bland” on purpose. I kind of soured on the book for a while, but it does improve remarkably after Wataru finds the first gemstone. That’s probably because of the introduction of the Plot Device called Halnera, where one person from Vision and one person from the real world (i.e. Wataru or Mitsuru) will be sacrificed to give another thousand years of protection from destruction. It was an interesting Plot Device, and it served to further complicate matters in Vision.

On Vision being generic–Wataru plays a lot of RPGs, most prominently the winner of the Not-Dragon-Quest award, Eldritch Saga. Since Vision is unique to every Traveller who enters it (the world is altered depending on who is viewing it, an interesting Heisenberg phenomenon that further serves to make Vision more interesting), Wataru’s Vision is based on his own experiences playing…generic fantasy RPG games. So, I won’t fault the book on the dullness of the book, although, as someone more used to fantasy authors such as Steven Erikson, the initial blandness came as quite a shock.

The ending was also quite well-done, and I won’t go into the details, but it brings a satisfying (if somewhat predictable, but I never let predictability bother me too much in things) and well-executed finish. It’s not, perhaps, as moving as the opening 200 pages, but it’s a solid conclusion.

Having not seen the movie, I have no idea how it compares, but for anyone who likes to read and likes anime, Brave Story is a must-read. It’s like anime in a book! Kind of.


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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