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Bakanogami
Bakanogami rated it
Ascendance of a Bookworm
April 30, 2017
Status: c677
Spoiler

I just finished reading the raws, and it's a shame the translation isn't further along. I've never been sucked into a WN as much as I have this one. Many, many tears were shed. I can't get up the urge to start a new novel when I could instead reread Bookworm for a third time in a row.

The MC is a bit self centered and aggravating in the first part of the series, the part that's been translated, but the author has said that it's intentional. Maine learning to balance her own desires with more important things is a big part of the series.

While I love every bit of Bookworm, the first part (there are 5) is probably the least representative of the series as a whole. This story goes places you would not expect.

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Bakanogami
Just finished catching up to the raw. It's good, I really enjoyed it! Here are some no-spoiler reasons why:

  1. The MC's skillset is quite unique. Raid/Nicole was the wire-using Assassin character in the hero party. He kind of stood out from the rest, and has a complex about it. It makes him kind of stand out among the billion isekai MCs who all use the same mix of swords and magic. A lot more stealth and espionage. He's overpowered, but at the same time there are a lot of enemies he can't take head-on. He admits he specializes in killing people, and isn't very good at killing monsters.
  2. Related to this, the fact that he/she keeps his reincarnated identity a secret gives an interesting bit of drama. Rather than the normal run around showing off how cheat he is, we get a lot more drama focusing on him running around behind the scenes, trying to take care of stuff with limited resources while simultaneously keeping his identity a secret.
  3. Without spoiling anything, when they finally reveal the big villain, I found him very interesting. There's a lot of potential for things to get very crazy in the context of this story.
  4. The author uses the same world as his other stories (like Hakai Me no Yuuri), and even namedrops some of the characters from them. Neat if you've read them before.
I'm looking forward to reading more of it. Hopefully it gets a reliable translator so everyone else can enjoy it too.
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Bakanogami
Bakanogami rated it
I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (WN)
May 15, 2018
Status: c475
I was a Sword when I reincarnated (aka TenKen or Sword Dad) is one of those series I always find myself coming back to. Some other series might have more drama or unique twists, but it's just a good, honest romp through a generic fantasy world, having adventures and fights along the way.

If you're reading it for the first time, don't be tricked by the first arc where the MC (who is a sword, obviously) goes around killing monsters by himself by flying around through the air. The series only... more>> really gets onto the rails it'll stay on once the MC meets Fran, a wee quiet catgirl who he frees from slavery, and who becomes his wielder.

It's the unique double-protagonist relationship that's the hallmark of this series. While the narrative is all from the perspective of the Sword MC, the "public face" that all the other characters see and interact with is Fran. So it gives a unique perspective where the MC plays backseat driver, directing and worrying about Fran as she fights and is put in danger.

Also, most importantly: Fran is cute. <<less
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Bakanogami
Bakanogami rated it
The Death Mage Who Doesn’t Want a Fourth Time
March 26, 2018
Status: c304
I put off reading this for a long time because the premise sounded a bit too overly complex or edgy. But I'm very glad I decided to pick it up. In the 2-3 weeks it took me to catch up with the raws, I couldn't put it down for a minute. It's rocketed straight up into my top 5 favorite web novels.

For one, there's a lot of basic stuff that many WNs do wrong but that Death Mage does right. Most characters have personality traits and quirks that make them... more>> unique, likable, and memorable, so that even as the cast grows to a huge size, you can still keep track of who's who without much difficulty. It seriously considers the backgrounds and consequences of events, rather than just having everything come together in ways that are convenient for the plot. It has twists that I never saw coming. It even has honest to god proper worldbuilding- something that's important for fantasy novels but that many WNs neglect, instead keeping close to a very vanilla Dragon Quest stereotype. We're commonly treated to stories about the history of the world, or side chapters featuring things from the perspectives of the gods who are looking down at this mess.

The MC's growth in particular is fun to follow, because "growth" for Vandelieu essentially equates to throwing away even more of his humanity. Whereas most MCs would grow stronger by learning a new sword technique or magic spell, when Van finishes a big fight it often results with stuff like him learning to flail his tongue around like a whip, or growing antenna or spider legs or tentacles or what have you.

A lot of these novels will have an arc or two that just really seem to drag, but I haven't hit anything like that in Death Mage. My only regret is that now that I'm caught up with the raws there's no more to binge-read. Upon finishing what's out there my first instinct was to turn around and read through it a second time, something that I've only thought about one or two other series.

If I were to compare it to something, I'd say it's similar to stuff like I Was A Slime When I Reincarnated, or Maou-sama no Machizukuri, where you have the MC building a nation of monsters that is far more advanced and pleasant to live in than any human country, and putting down the forces that come to subjugate it.

You can tell the author's preferences. If you like 2-3 meter tall monstergirl muscle waifus, you'll like this series, because Van gathers an impressive collection of them. I really wish there was a manga version or some fanart. The LN illustrations only cover the first couple arcs, before a lot of the cast is introduced. <<less
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Bakanogami
Bakanogami rated it
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyusoukyoku (WN)
July 27, 2018
Status: v16c56
Death March is a pretty standard isekai series. Guy goes to fantasyland, is stronger than everyone else, collects a harem and saves the world. It does have a few issues that might turn people off. I feel it's one of those series that I don't think is very "good", but that I love reading anyway.

Positives:

-The MC's main ability (basically menu and auto-mapping) is used quite cleverly at times. It's a cheat that sounds generic but is kind of fun to read about.

-At times the author puts in decent descriptions about... more>> crafting or experimenting about how certain principles work. This does fade away somewhat later in the series.

-This has some of the highest inflation of all JP web novels. The MC starts out stronger that basically anybody, and he gets much stronger than there. In the later volumes he essentially can do almost anything and is raising the question of if he's a god or not.

-Kind of on that note, in the second half of the series there's a lot of building up of alternate personas, companies, bases, etc that I thought was quite interesting. You have the MC teleporting around the world and using different identities and disguises to accomplish various things.

-World is relatively well developed. There's an established mythology, history, and geography. It clears the hurdle of "if the MC wasn't around, would it still be interesting?"

-While some of the minor side characters start to blend together, and the MC is kind of dull, almost all of the main characters are fairly interesting, with their own unique and cute personalities.

-Translation's quite long and caught up to raws.

Negatives:

-It has the common JP novel trope of the MC getting slaves and those slaves refusing to be freed because they're too devoted to the master they met two days ago. All the slave heroines do eventually get freed, and they don't really play it up enough that I'd quite consider it fetishizing slavery, but it is problematic.

-MC is quite generic personality-wise and passive/evasive when it comes to romance. He'll come up with various reasons not to lay a hand on anyone in his harem of 10+ girls, but will then sneak out at night to go to brothels. If these sorts of MCs aggravate you you might get frustrated at Death March.

-A lot of the more minor characters can kind of blend together to some extent, and there's not really a good resource to go back to if you can't remember who Marquis Lloyd or someone is. Similarly, while there's a fairly complex in-universe geography, there's not really a good map out there to refer to.

-If you want the MC to actually go through a difficult fight at any point this isn't really the series for you. It has the same problems as Superman where you know he's stronger than everyone else.

-It's a little bit slow to get started. The first few arcs are some of the weakest in the series.

-This is personal preference, but I kind of think the WN holds up better than the LN and the anime, which add padding and new arcs that I don't think hold up very well. This would be okay if you could just completely ignore them and only focus on the WN, but the author has made it clear that content also happened off-screen in the WN, and has started referring back to it sometimes.

-The harem is growing a little out of control.

-There are a few points where the translation is a little rough. Only occasionally, it's mostly very good, but there are points. <<less
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Bakanogami
It's alright. It's one of those fantasy worlds where everyone has a job/class/role/gift from birth, but there are problems with that system here. Namely, the gifts are completely arbitrary, so a poor peasant might get "General" or "Royal Poet" or something like that, and a noble might get "Bartender" or something. You can also only level up your gift by killing stuff, so even non-combat classes have to go out and fight.

And lastly, and most central to the story, your given gift will actually affect your personality. Someone with the... more>> Bar Brawler gift will get violent quickly, someone with the Torturer gift will get urges to hurt others, and a Hero will have uncontrollable urges to save people.

It's an interesting premise, and they tie things together pretty interestingly. The MC is alright (if a bit on the negative side), whose thing is that he's high level but can only use common skills all classes can get.

I knock one star off because the slice-of-life parts that are billed as the central theme of the story honestly feel a little weak to me, and I wasn't really sold on the main heroine, who just kind of decides to live with the MC out of nowhere, and the MC decides he loves her back with little development in between. The stuff with the Hero in the second volume is much more interesting. <<less
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Bakanogami
Raw reader here. I wouldn't quite put this series in my favorites, but maybe one rank below that?

Basic summary: VRMMO players get transferred to another world identical to the game. Not all at once, though, but rather here and there over a course of many years. The MC shows up decades later. In the game the MC RPed a summoner character who was basically Gandalf. Due to an accident in the transfer, he wound up in the body of a young girl instead. In the game his guild had created... more>> a player-run nation that's in trouble now that it's real life. The main McGuffin driving the story is the MC searching out her lost companions to save the country.

What's notable about this story is that it really takes its time, going over every detail and carefully building the world. It's been 4 years since it first began, but in the raws the MC has still only found a few of her companions. This means it can kind of drag a little bit at times, but at the same time it gives a real sense of going on an adventure I've seen few series match.

I'll give special mention to the MC's abilities. She's a summoner who occasionally uses a sort of magic kung-fu, and the author does a good job of making it interesting as she explores what she can do now that the game is real. The fight scenes are usually pretty fun and interesting.

I will say that I think the first parts are some of the weakest of the series, but that it gets more interesting later IMO. Hopefully someday the translation gets that far.

On that note, it's a bit of a difficult series to give a good translation to. The MC has a way of very explicitly talking like an old man in Japanese that's difficult to translate to English without sounding stilted. <<less
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