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Arha
Arha rated it
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka?
February 10, 2019
Status: --
This story singlehandedly renewed my interest in light novels and anime after years of just ignoring all but a few releases. It starts off very simple and unfocused with the main character simply trying to survive in a hellhole and and like all isekai protagonists becomes completely overpowered... but she's not the hero, she's the hero's villain, so of course she has to be strong. She's the one making the plot, not responding to it. And once there stops being serious threats to her, she stops getting into real fights.

There... more>> are so many small things to praise about this story. The villain group's POV is very sympathetic, but also fundamentally flawed. The protagonist in particular goes from seeming completely happy go lucky to showing multiple different mental illnesses which cause most of the conflict. The ridiculous skill system actually has a legit reason for existing. The characters have a lot of depth and all have significant flaws and conflicts. It really isn't clear where the story is going or who will 'win' in the end and so on. It all comes together quite nicely with a lot of intrigue and mystery as characters all struggle for opposing goals where even the villains mostly can't be considered truly evil nor the heroes totally good.

It is not without flaws. The first part of the story is basically impossible to get invested in if you do not like the protagonist. There are no other significant characters for a LONG time. The first and second half of the story vary wildly in tone and themes. But despite all this, it's easily my favorite isekai story and Shiraori in particular is the most fascinating and complicated characters I've seen in years. I hope things work out for her.

It's truly a shame about the spotty translation the series has at times and the long hiatuses. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want a Fourth Time
May 4, 2019
Status: c192
It's okay. If the story could drop the harem angle or at least keep it to a manageable level I'd feel quite happy with giving it four stars despite the protagonist's boring personality, but every damn arc seems determined to throw in more cute monster girls and then not develop them at all or give them any meaningful personality. At this point I'm expecting his mom and Vida to start swooning over his complete lack of charisma. Which is weird, because he's ACKNOWLEDGED to have no charisma, yet still has... more>> like fifty women wanting to jump his underaged, waxy corpselike bod. I guess it's the mind control he constantly uses on his followers. Oh yeah, he uses mind control on his followers, did I forget to mention that part?

The greater conflict going on in the background is legitimately interesting, but it takes a really long time to get to it at all because of the slow pacing. The more important gods are interesting characters who don't completely revolve around the protagonist yet, so it's neat to see the details of their age old conflict. If more could be done with the Bravers I'd still be happy. However, their subplot seems to be getting dragged out as well. By the time they get there and do stuff the protagonist is going to be even more ludicrously broken. Nothing is a challenge for him anymore and hasn't been since like chapter thirty.

Still, I'll keep going. The world building is interesting, the monster girls are fun when they have personalities and I like a lot of the small stuff like the legitimately different values on things like relationships. It just gets drowned in so much mediocrity and pandering that it's clear that I won't last with this series until the end. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
Ascendance of a Bookworm
April 5, 2019
Status: c55
I wish we could award half stars because I don't know whether I want to give it three or four stars. I'll be nice and give it four.

There are, I think, three major issues for the series. First, the main character is insufferable at the start. She's very demanding, selfish and condescending, but after awhile she slowly gets used to things and realizes how much of a burden she is on everyone, so I don't mind that too much. Second is the pacing. As I sit here around c55 or... more>> so I'm waiting for this Devouring thing to finally be over and done with. It's not like I want her to launch fireballs at goblins or anything, it's just that it gets a little tedious having her oh so slowly deal with (part of) her weak constitution. I know it's not an easy problem, but it's still kind of annoying. The third issue that there's something kind of off about the characters. Lutz, for example, absolutely does not read like a six year old to me and the clever merchant characters don't seem to grasp the idea of not totally alienating your business partners. If Maine was like 10% more selfish/intelligent she'd cast Benno away for the way he's always trying to cheat her. It's understandable that he wants profits, but he seriously undermines himself as a credible partner.

Now, on to the positive side. Maine actually does develop as a character and the way her social status changes over time is also pretty interesting. She doesn't suddenly leap up to queen of the land just because she knows how to make shampoo. She doesn't know what's valuable, she doesn't know how to market it and she can barely make the stuff at all.

Next, the characters personalities are very distinct. Often when I'm reading a story I feel like the character is more of a template where we fill in the blanks or just go off of archetypes. The characters relationships revolve around the main character and it isn't really clear why they do what they do and what motivates them as thinking feeling human beings. That is not the case here: You can easily tell who Lutz, Maine, Benno etc are, what they want and why they do what they do.

Overall, I'd like to give it about a 7/10. I'm going to be very frustrated when I hit the end of the translated chapters because I know that with the slow pacing it'll take months to really get anywhere again. <<less
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Arha
To put it simply, this story is very good. It manages to be gritty and bloody without diving head first into the EDGE that it easily could have given the premise. While the supporting cast is fairly well rounded, the true draw is of course Eliza the Impaler. Her head is a very strange place to be because she just has this emotional numbness that leaves her almost completely unable to open up to people or accept good will from others, but at her core is obviously a rather kind... more>> woman who is trying to fulfill the role she's given herself to atone for her past 'crime.' I also appreciate the rather subtle sense of humor. Things may be bad sometimes and Eliza may have a terrible sense of humor, but the story doesn't lose itself in those things entirely, which is what helps save it from being too dark.

As for the story, I find it a nice change of pace that it doesn't stay on the otome game side of things for too long nor get too far into it before heading back to the politics and warfare. And yet those moments at the school are still quite entertaining because it's one of the best ways to see how people truly think of her. The adult nobles who aren't basically her family are too wrapped up in politics and their own affairs to make it clear how they see her except as a tool or threat to themselves, but the children see both the hard working noblewoman and the battlefield butcher and come to their own conclusions based on that alone.

If I had to give some criticisms to the story, I guess there would be two, which is why it only gets four stars from me. First, a lot of the side characters lack a certain depth to them. You can tell what they feel and part of why they feel that way, but the details about them as actual people can be a little lacking. The second criticism is, I think, a bit more problematic. Namely, there are some real flow issues between chapters sometimes. Between chapters the story often seems to jerk forward rather than ride smoothly ahead. I suspect the latter issue is probably lessened in the light novels, but the characters are probably still a little flat even there. Still, it's hard to say for sure.

On second thought, I'm going to bump by rating up to five stars. With the way the ratings are skewed 'really good but not perfect' should be a five here, not a four. My only serious concern is the pacing, after all. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
Tensei Shoujo no Rirekisho
April 9, 2019
Status: c16
Okay, setting aside that we've already had two major scenario changes fifteen chapters in, I had to drop it because of two serious problems.

First, I have this troubling feeling of 'I think the world and the people would be better off if all the useless commoners died.' Waaah, using a well is too hard. What, you made a pump for it? It's still too hard! Give me back the magic water box! The nobles aren't much better but at least they're not that incredibly dim. But even the 'nice' nobles... more>> Ryou was living with own slaves, Ryou being the most obvious among them.

And what's with Ryou? She's sold off, enslaved, has it suggested she be used to s*xually initiate children, is forcibly adopted (or was going to be) and then told she'd be told to marry some dude against her will and then impregnated and she reacts with an 'oh well' feeling. How am I supposed to care about this girl when she clearly doesn't care about herself?

Three stars might be generous but I felt two was a little mean because the actual writing quality was okay and the characters do have distinct personalities... they're just all awful. <<less
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Arha
It's alright, I guess. It started off strong but after awhile it seemed to just be about the hunky underaged boys. Which is fine, the MC is a little girl too, but then it gets kind of creepy when the one that seems to be the main hunky boy is eight years older than her and fell in love with her when she was four. Ew ew ew. Eighteen year old man creeping on a ten year old girl is Not Cool.
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Arha
Arha rated it
Skeleton Knight, in Another World
May 18, 2019
Status: v8
Starts strong with the plot about rescuing elves from slavers, but then it just drops that plot by literally going "We don't care about this anymore, go do something else." The story has a really terrible way of just dropping plot threads like that. What happened to the succession subplot? Is this romantic subplot going to go anywhere? What about the curse on the protagonist?! Are... are you just going to end the story THERE of all places?

And that's not even mentioning how boring and out of place the villain... more>> was. What's with this evil religion crap? Who even cares?

On the bright side, the characters are pretty solid, if unexceptional, and the humor isn't bad. It just kind of nose dived in quality about halfway through. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
The Male Lead’s Villainess Fiancée
May 17, 2019
Status: --
I got bored and stopped reading around chapter 60 or so. The way the story emphasizes just how perfect and pretty and kind Louise is gets kind of irritating, as does the characters seemingly refuse to progress in any way. The last straw was being framed for cheating after she thinks about what a "terrible villain" she is for not intending to go easy on Stella after going out of her way to help her, only for Stella to apparently be complicit in framing her. Yeah, I get it, the... more>> teacher's a bitch and Stella either is too or is at best not willing to stand up for her, but the situation just makes me roll by eyes at how the story treats her like some martyr.

As for the characters not changing, the story only works because Louise is too stupid to realize that the prince is in love with her even though she knows exactly how the prince in love behaves. For the prince's part, it also only works here because he's ALSO too stupid to realize. Thus, they're at this point of quasi dating for sixty chapters because of how thick the characters are.

2.5/5, rounding down because I realized I don't have any GOOD things to say about it, only parts that I feel were competently written. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
By A Slight Mistake
May 13, 2019
Status: c34
The story begins with the question of why the beautiful, kind and intelligent rival from the otome game wasn't the heroine instead. The story then sets about answering why: She's completely unrelatable, artificial and holds grudges even while claiming she doesn't care. Everything with her is about image and not substance.

The majority of the supporting cast is very flat. I literally can't tell most of her suitors apart and when I can it's only because they have some really stock defining trait like 'guard with obsessive loyalty.' Pretty much the... more>> only characters with any personality at all are Mizuki, Yakumo, Shiori and Suwabe or whatever his name is. And while the story emphasizes the stupidity of the latter two, I find myself pitying them because Mizuki's family is destroying theirs after two young children made a stupid mistake that had consequences far worse than they anticipated.

I can't keep going with this one. After Mizuki flat out admits her mechanical view of the world it's damn near impossible to like her. Maybe it gets better when the otome game heroine shows up and cucks her or something, but with the way the story likes to wank Mizuki I very much doubt any of them will pay any attention to her....I guess the boys have a fetish for scars or something? Because I don't see what else is different about Mizuki that makes her so much more desirable this time around. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
A Wild Last Boss Appeared
April 29, 2019
Status: c70
This is one of the most consistently entertaining series that I track. I cannot emphasize enough how amazing it is to have a protagonist that picks up on the obvious foreshadowing as quickly as the audience does rather than being beaten over the head with it. I also think the twist the story is building up to will be amazing
Spoiler

if the author really has the balls to have it so the player character never existed and Ruphas was just tricked into thinking she got isekai'd.

[collapse]
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Arha
For a story about yandere male leads, there sure don't seem to be a lot of them in this story. It's really only the final boss, isn't it? Even Art is just kind of bratty.

It comes as a pleasant surprise to me to see that the actual love interest is significantly less controlling than I've come to dread from many stories of this type. Lately it's like any time I see a story and think 'I sure hope THIS one isn't the love interest. Everyone else is fine, he's such... more>> a controlling and manipulative tool' then it turns out that THAT one absolutely is the love interest. However, Wolf is kind and supportive and his only trace of jealousy comes early in the story.

Lily was much better than I'd been expecting as well. Don't get me wrong, I almost always like the heroine character in the villainess isekai when they're proper heroines and not the villain of the story. I just don't expect them to be complex characters in their own right. Actually, I kind of wish that 'Lycoris and Lily become lovers' joke near the end was real because the two of them have a great relationship.

As far as criticism goes, I suppose the main problem is that it doesn't do much to stand out from the pack. Lycoris is more sensible and level headed than most girls in her position but it doesn't change things significantly. <<less
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Arha
It started off strong, but Achille really made things go downhill once it became obvious he was the love interest. He's pushy and controlling, including manipulating his friend's family and servants so that he can force her to marry him. I've got some other complaints but honestly, they're just minor quibbles. From what I see in the other reviews it seems like I picked a good time to bail 'cause it sounds like the whole point of the series with Camille gets undermined by not letting her live up to... more>> her reputation.

I thought the idea of a toddler reincarnating into an older child with no idea that she was in an otome game was interesting. I wish Mei had been explored a little more but the series just seems so enamored with that prick Achille that it couldn't be bothered to develop Camille's other relationships onscreen. <<less
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Arha
Arha rated it
I’ll Live My Second Life!
March 16, 2019
Status: c84
It's not perfect, but Fii is a treasure. There's all this setup for her as the tragic heroine loved by no one who eventually earns the respect and love of blah blah blah seen it a million times, but upon seeing her crappy future coming she just Nopes! Right on out of there without a moment's hesitation. No shyness when seen naked. No worries about rooming and working with a bunch of sweaty smelly dudes. The absolution domination when it comes to controlling Doug. Calling the idiot king an idiot... more>> right to his face.

The supporting cast is really solid as well, such as poor Kain the ninja with an impossible set of orders, Crow the flirt and York the annoying thickheaded dork, the villainous looking but actually rather solid and dependable Gorms.

If I had to list some complaints, I'd say there's a few smaller things that would lose it a half point if I could score like that. It takes too long to learn literally ANYTHING about her sister's personality, her backstory strains credibility a little with how ignored she was and it's one of those series where you have this sneaking suspicion that the author doesn't have a solid end point in mind, but all in all these are minor quibbles, even the last point. It's not really the kind of story that NEEDS to have an end game in mind. <<less
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