Editorial 2019

The year is ending, and thus I have decided to retrace the light novel of this year, as well as talk about the evolution of this blog.

Let’s start with the light novel, then if you want to read more about the blog, you can continue.

I decided to make a tier list for what I have read this year, and it’s not easy. Some LN would need a finer granularity to better express tier but I have to choose! Now counting them, it’s like between S, and A to F…

Previous years read are not featured because my memory has limits, whether it’s embellishing or degrading what I remember.

In the recommended category, the one I think brings something unique and elevate the medium, the LN for special occasion. You rush to read it but feel guilty because that was the expensive wine of your cellar or actually you don’t rush because you need to be in the mood to appreciate that wine.

  • Ascendance of a bookworm. I hadn’t planned to read it again from the beginning, but the story is so immersive, you just get into it.
  • World End: Bittersweetness, like 95% cacao… Actually I prefer 70%. So I don’t rush to reach this one.
  • Bottom Tier Character Tomozaki: A surprise. Lots of social deconstruction which is well developed, all wrapped in gaming mechanics for entertainment.
  • The Ryuou works is never done. I have lots of volume to catch up with, but I know I’m in for an emotional ride.
  • Mushoku Tensei: I have read the full WN so I’m not really far in the LN. This is one of the gender defining adventure isekai. The life of Rudeus is a wild adventure with its ups and down, from beginning to end.
  • Eighty-Six: The other surprise. A war story with all its nastiness, alongside societal issues. Just thinking of it makes me shiver.

  • I’m a spider so what: I know the WN very well, and it has its fair share of flaws. But those flaws are for now well fixed in the LN, resulting in an epic adventure with the snarkiest spider of another world. It’s too bad I can’t re-experience some of the plot twist.
  • The Saga of Tanya the evil. A multi faceted story which really profits from its manga. Still only one volume in but I went ahead in the manga so I know what to expect. Only problem is that I need to be fully awake and in the mood to read this one, but I like it.
  • The good daily LN. The one you can rush to read and not feel guilty because it’s just made for everyday. Also a bit less images from here on.

    • Arifureta Zero: The author is a chuuni writing chuuni story. And it’s ton of fun and I like that. I’m far ahead in the WN, and honestly, the best parts has yet to come. Zero is narratively derivate from the later part more mature writing style of the author, and it’s just a blast, with all the wackiness of its character. Actually you can put the main LN in the same tier.
    • Didn’t I say to make my abilities average: Funa best work. Full of comedy, and clever plot, but may also be losing some steam. There were hints of bigger plot, but at volume 8, they didn’t seem to lead to anything, except slice of life.
    • That time I got Reincarnated as a slime: The other gender defining isekai of varying quality. Could be higher if not for volume 3 which was lackluster to me. Later it gets better. It could go up.
    • The dirty way to destroy the goddess’s heroes. I went blind and I was rather pleased with what I read. Fun, clever at time.
    • The alchemist who survived now dreams of a quiet city life. I like the Atelier game series so I kind of went with some expectations about what alchemist does, like synthetizing barrels and bombs… Alas, none of this, but it’s a charming story about crafting, and I like crafting.
    • I’ve been killing slimes for 300 years and maxed out my level. Very cute, but has some flaws. It’s starting to get too many characters who doesn’t get spotlight and some plots are average.
    • An Archdemon’s dilemma. So fluffy, yet so intriguing.

    Guilty pleasure, because you should feel guilty for liking these because it’s bad for you health just like fast food. But fast food can be comfort food, so you are forgiven.

    • Seiren Gensouki. Goddamnit, let me punch Rio.
    • Woof woof story. Just plain fun. Honestly could go one rank up in this list, and this could depend on volume 3 I have yet to read.
    • Reincarnated as a sword. A bit of a love hate relationship with this one as I’m familiar with the WN. It could go lower. but this will depend of later volume. Biggest problem in my opinion is that it depends far too much on those RPG mechanics and it distract from other elements. It can also get monotonous.

    The stuff I read because of reason… Yeah, I’m not too sure why. I still have some interest in them to continue.

    • Death March. I liked the WN, but the LN is a disappointment to me. It feels like a bog standard adventure isekai when the WN is the nerdy over the top LN with lots of food tourism. Volume 9 is new content and everything which I dislike about this take on the WN. I may be done with volume 10. If anything, the LN tried to elevate the work to something it was never meant to be, and thus failed.
    • Skeleton knight. I liked the bit of the manga I read, but the more the LN goes forward, the less interesting it gets as it’s just some adventure, with parallel politics plots which are loosely tied to the protagonist. If there was a stronger connection, it could be more interesting, but right now it feels like I’m in the filler part of a shounen.
    • Last round Arthurs. Yep, that one will totally depend on volume 2. I’m hopeful. Huge potential was displayed in the first volume, just to be squandered on the most cliché LN first volume. I’m so booked ( pun not intended ) that it will easily go down a tier as I need to leave time for better read.
    • Welcome to Japan, Ms. Elf! I liked volume 1, but volume 2 left me unimpressed. The novelty wore off faster than I thought. And the narration is a bit messy at time, resulting in sudden change which made me read back a few lines to understand.
    • There was no secret evil-fighting organization, so I made one myself. So much buildup for a weird act after. It didn’t grab much of my interest, so depending of later volume, could go down, or up.

    Those I have no interest to continue but are not really offending either:

    • The hero is overpowered but overly cautious: It’s a comedy which fails to make me laugh, and Seiya is still unpleasant. I have read volume 2 and my expectations were met in the plot but I still don’t find it funny.

    The LN I wish I never went that far in:

    • Redefining the META at VRMMO academy. I have a draft review for this one but I dislike shooting down someone else work. For an Ex-MMO player like me, this was a huge dissapointment in the MMO department, and the rest was so barebone I couldn’t find a redeeming quality.
    • Shield Hero: Honestly, I’m too far in at volume 13. Since volume 4 or 6, it has gone downhill. The end of volume 13 was so idiotic, I decided to stop there.

    The LN I didn’t finish the first volume:

    • Battle Diva: The amount of stupidness among the characters and the gratuitous repetitive fanservice made me stop halfway. I’m not against fanservice but truly this one was terribad.

    The backlog, because I don’t have enough reading time and I should actually stop reading things I just shouldn’t read:

    • Spice and wolf. I’m just at volume 1 which I enjoyed, but there are so many more orz
    • Zero Maria: I have read volume 1. Honestly, I don’t know what to think about it despite people actually liking it. Actually, I just shouldn’t have read this during a flight while being tired because it wasn’t easy to understand and may have prevented me from enjoying the story.
    • Re:zero. I know the anime, so the actual drive to read it is low.

    And there is more… but time is too limited to read everything, and the tier list is already very long, so I will stop there. It’s just incredible how many LN are getting localised nowadays, and without too much region locking. 2019 has been great, but 2020 can be better

    For the upcoming year, let’s address the elephant in the room. Sol Press has a rather poor record for continuing with their LN. There is not many LN I like from them and the few one I do has no date for future volume, and I’m uncertain about picking new one too because I don’t know if the next volume will ever be available.

    Outside of publisher, what do I wish for the new year? I haven’t read much fan translation lately as official release are already eating all my time, but here are a few wishes.

    • The death mage who doesn’t want a fourth time. Huge isekai, rather twisted with a lot of stuff related to dark magic and death, and lots of comedy too.
    • More volume of Seriously seeking sister. Now that one depends on the author.
    • Answers in Seiren Gensouki and Rio stop avoiding people.
    • More time to read.

    If you reached this part, thanks for bearing with me! The rest is more focused on my little corner of the Internet.

    I had the idea for this blog in July. I just wanted to write and share my thoughts about some of the LN have I have been reading in the hope that more people would join the hobby.

    I started with around 7 drafts, each around 500 words. I needed this little buffer to keep the pace. The plan was to have 2 reviews per week, but you may have noticed that it had slowed down to 1 per week. At the same time, the reviews length also doubled. As I continue to improve them, more research goes into what I write, and I do spend more time to write, so with my busy life, it’s challenging. Hell, this editorial is now at 2000 words.

    Most of my time reading nowadays is in public transport, and during lunch break. Reading with writing a review in mind is quite a different process than simple reading for enjoyment. I miss a bit of the time when it was more mindless and fun. I actually have a harder time to read now as my mind is easily distracted by the analysis which will result in a review. You may have noticed that I don’t give a numeric evaluation; instead I try to figure the reader’s profile who may enjoy it, or otherwise, have strong recommendation, or the reverse. As I don’t believe any review can be objective and partial ( there is science behind this ), I think it’s best to know the reviewer to get his point of view, and figure if you can share it or not. Though I will admit that making a tier list is like giving a note orz.

    Now, for the upcoming years, I will probably continue like that, but I do want to write other stuff. It could be my own WN, or about some other interest like doujinshi, technology or whatever I’m geeking about at the moment. I just don’t know how it will fit here, or somewhere else. On this note, have a wonderful year 2020.