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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Release that Witch
January 31, 2017
Status: c900
Plot:
Mechanical engineer MC reincarnates as a disregarded prince in a medieval fantasy world. After an encounter with a witch, he begins using their powers to help accelerate the development of his territory from nothing, fight off threats both human and otherwise, and prepare for an ancient doomsday prophecy. There's kingdom building, army building, tech development (firearms, explosives, steel, etc), war, slice-of-life.

Pros:
- Great writing. Feels like a Japanese WN, almost can't believe it's a Chinese WN. There's little of the repetitive/hand-wavy/edgelord writing that plagues Xianxia stories. Reaction chapters are... more>> enjoyable and help with the world building, told from the perspective of side/minor characters rather than through infodumps or used as filler. Author seems to have the plot planned out so far.
- Likable MC, memorable side characters. Side characters get screen time, reappearances, development. Cast is fairly large and expanding, so your favorite side/minor character (s) may not get as many appearances as you'd like. So refreshing compared to usual Xianxia stories.
- There's basic science involved so you might learn something (the comments are sometimes interesting and not just pure cancer). Having something grounded in reality really adds to the enjoyment (like Seiun wo Kakeru).
- Regular translator updates (QI). Source updates daily (used to be twice a day, now once).
- Contrary to my expectations (because of the science and whatnot), is easily read with GT. Get the Perapera Chinese add-on for Firefox if you haven't already. Or read it on LNMTL.

Cons:
- Translation quality (Volare) drops pretty quick. First chapter is great at roping you in, but a few chapters in you'll start noticing the errors. Typos, poor grammar, engrish/MTL-sounding sentences, odd word choices (eg: God's Stone of Punishment/Retaliation), occasional messed up names and translation inaccuracies. Still very readable and vastly preferable to MTL, with the caveat you may find the process slightly irritating.
Update: Both QI & Seki's versions are machine translations. QI = quick and dirty (worse than Volare's), whilst Seki is slow but reads better.

Recommendation:
If you liked "Gate: Thus The JSDF Fought There" for its modern day warfare trouncing medieval tech theme, you'll probably like this. Read up to chapter 900 with zero regrets so far.

Edit: triggerk has an interesting review, but perspective readers be warned that there are many points that are flat out wrong.
Spoiler

>> Roland was a mechanical engineer before, but apparently he knows chemistry, biology, the education system, war tactics, shipbuilding, and who knows what else. Basic knowledge is fine. What this guy has is unacceptable, however.

The war tactics aren't strange as he's a huge military nerd. They're not complex to the point of implausibility either. The theory/construction of the concrete bathtub river boats is relatively simple, they tested models beforehand and there's no stuff like air compartments etc like modern boats. The steel version's design uses the same basic theory as the concrete ones. I'm not sure what you find so unbelievable about Roland's education system. IIRC they're only teaching basic literacy (maybe basic math? don't remember), not even at the level of modern primary school curricula. Only the witches get a more specialized education with Scroll teaching. It's not till much later on he starts getting the alchemists to start teaching chemistry classes to help fill the chemist deficiency.

>> Hey, I'm going to write a chemistry textbook telling you every formula in the world. By the way I'm going to jot down a 500 page manual on how2biology.

It's basic chemistry/etc according to whatever he still remembers from school/life. They're exercise book sized at best, not several hundred pages, why would you even assume that? I guess you could bloat them with exercises for the students. He struggled to fill the intermediate level chem book (and gave up). As for biology (human health), it probably has complex revolutionary content like: organ locations/functions, microorganisms exist, basic first aid, wash your hands, why you shouldn't sh*t in the street, etc.

>> I'll add in a physics course for free.

He's a mechanical engineer, I should bloody hope so.

>> Some defend this, but there's literally nobody who can do this. (...) Can they list the periodic table in its entirety 20 years after they've long forgotten their high school chemistry class?

... Roland literally couldn't either, the periodic table in his chem book is full of blank spaces. A perceptive reader would use this as a reference to extrapolate how the content in his other textbooks might appear. I don't know why people keep getting the impression that he's writing 1:1 copies of his prior textbooks.

>> And I'm going to rewrite an entire play or three, by memory, perfectly.

Nowhere does it mention they're perfect recreations. Roland writes the basic outline (the translation makes it sound as if he wrote it all himself) with help from past life knowledge plagiarism whilst Scroll does most of the heavy lifting. Helps with having many plays to reference with her memory power. Cinderella & Chicken Calls At Midnight are primary school plays (1 western, 1 chinese), whilst for A Witch's Diary Scroll can draw from personal experience. He comments the plays aren't even that good, just that the people have nothing to compare them to. Not that crazy when you remember the author is a working engineer writing RtW as a hobby.

>> Did I mention I'm a master plumber, farmer, and blacksmith?

He has people that he delegates those tasks to, and witches to skip years of development work. He was never a blacksmithing expert, not sure how you got this idea. Blacksmithing is one of the first things he makes redundant. Farming he doesn't micro-manage, other than some common sense knowledge (use fertilizer, crop rotation) he's left it all up to the farmers themselves to figure out best practices and City Hall to help spread that info. As far as plumbing goes, it's not that big a leap with Anna/Soraya/Hummingbird. Trial and error for plumbing isn't terribly interesting though, which is why for many similar technological developments (see: Nitrogen extraction) the author doesn't over elaborate on the process and focuses more instead on the results.

>> Hell, have some music theory too, because I'm a mechanical engineer who took some GE classes and we can all do that while governing an entire city as a full-time job.

Recreating a marching song isn't impossible. Helping Echo spitball music ideas through conversation and singing some Earth songs in his downtime is well within reason. You're also giving Echo too little credit, she can mimic and project a person's voice after hearing it once and she has musical training. A chapter describing the fumbling about wouldn't work well in a written format though.

>> Release that Witch is a power fantasy for teenage and young adult men.

Don't disagree, RtW doesn't pretend to be otherwise. The first battle against Duke Ryans' forces should've clued you in. There are people who want the story to turn into tragedy, or to have the MC struggle, but the story has never been about that. It's a quick, light read with regular updates.

>> Only in foreign webnovels do protagonists get a pass for being overpowered, which is called bad writing anywhere else.

It's what their audience wants. Believe it or not, many people actually enjoy OP MCs. And as far as OP MCs go, Roland wouldn't even crack the top 100.

>> Even Superman has his Kryponite, whether it's a rock or vulnerable friends he must care for. Millions are enthralled by something like Game of Thrones because the characters are human.

Comparing Roland to Superman? lol, that's probably the worst analogy you could've made. One of Roland's main appeals is that he's a regular human in a fantasy world. Honestly if you have to go so far as to compare RtW with actual professional published works with years/months between releases to take it down, that says a lot about its quality. If you think it's possible to write Game of Thrones as a daily webnovel though, I've got a bridge to sell you.

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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Upgrade Specialist in Another World
May 12, 2016
Status: Completed
Plot:
The MC, a poverty-stricken teenager in a cultivation world, accidentally gets a video game cheat skill that lets him upgrade items. More specifically, from the shredded remnants of a gamer's soul from an parallel universe (you lose if you mind it). And so the adventure begins. Pros:
- Initial fight scenes are the most detailed of any Xianxia story I've read so far. It actually feels like a story about martial arts instead of quasi-spell casters or a video game. Every punch and kick is described and there's no... more>> garbage like rubberneckers constantly showing up and making half-assed rank vs. Rank fight commentary, higher-levelled people insta-gibbing lower-level opponents with a glance, or just straight up skipping fights/events completely by summing them up in a single sentence.
- MC's power isn't OP as soon as he gets it, allowing room for growth throughout the story. Unfortunately (IMO) for a game-related power it doesn't have much depth. Upgrade power/stone origin isn't fully unveiled by the end (other than the vague "Great Dao" or "from space" explanations).
- Power system doesn't extend into Dragonball Z level territory (blowing up mountains at most by the end), so power inflation issues aren't too glaring. Initial fights have a lot of CQC nuance, but later on the MC relies more heavily on rotating item effects (read using a questionable MTL so I may be mistaken on this).
- No space arc. Story ends before ascending to the god plane. Cons:
- Upgrading/crafting (the main hook) isn't as fulfilling as it ought to be. Demon's Diary did a better job of this IMO. The MC doesn't really go hunting for treasures, scouring dungeons and crafting epic items. Most of the story is just PVP; long stretches of fighting arrogant/schemy douches above his current power level and getting their items, separated by scarce short bouts of item upgrading.
- MC's personality is rather vanilla. Template good-natured MC; doesn't turn into a murderous psychopath. Romance is also rather forgettable. Not a lot of depth here.
- Slow translation updates (seems to have been resolved). Recommendation:
Okay time killer. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Imperial God Emperor
April 9, 2016
Status: --
Read up to chapter 150.

An average Xianxia so far. Hasn’t hit the point yet where I’m committed to reading more.

MC is an angsty preteen with a tragic backstory, which is the rationale for him being hardcore etc etc. When the story starts, he immediately enters the local cultivator high school and starts squashing the beefs with the cliques that wrong (ed) him. After he out-levels his school, he joins the military and finds out there’s cliques there too. Makes you wonder how they haven’t been wiped out yet with all... more>> the corruption and backstabbing going on and it apparently being located on the most dangerous border in the country. Not finding the MC or any of the characters likeable.

The author’s writing style exhibits problems common with Xianxia WNs;

– Lots of detail (too much actually) on useless stuff like the MC’s inner soul world/cultivation, but when it comes to fights they’re sometimes briefly mentioned or skipped entirely.

– Explaining the obvious.

– Shallow characters; antagonists are carbon copy one-dimensional arrogant villains.

– Inconsistent MC. MC walks the path of a ruthless Asura, except when he doesn’t feel like it. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Evolution Theory of the Hunter
November 25, 2016
Status: v1c102
Plot:
Real world turns into a game world when dungeons appear on Earth and the global population skydives. MC works as a lowly porter to the rich people (assholes) who can "play" in the dungeons.

Pros:
- Writing quality is good. Items, skills, loot etc are all well described.
- Translation quality is good.
- Plot progression/structure seems solid so far (no trainwrecks).
- MC is likable, no standout negative personality traits. Side characters differ from your usual template archetypes; though we don't really know that much about some of them.... more>> Antagonists so far seem to be cut from the same mold for the most part; ie: variations of standard enemy mob characters. No arch-rival/nemesis type characters yet.
- Power system (items/skills etc) is well defined and described. Levels basically revolve around equipment.

Cons:
- Translator currently on hiatus.
- World revolves around the MC.
Spoiler

The world's dungeon evolutions are based around the MC's stat progression for some reason.

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- MC is a special snowflake.
Spoiler

MC seems to be the sole person on the planet who's found and is using the OP new game system at the present time. Story hints that this may have happened several times in the past also.

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Recommendation:
- A very satisfying read if you're into the real world turned into game world genre. Definitely recommended. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Reincarnator
November 25, 2016
Status: c232
Plot:
People of Earth are transported into an apocalyptic game by a bored god. OP MC travels back in time with future knowledge to avert humanity's extinction.

Pros:
- Interesting concept, world building. Epic settings (bigger is better right?).
- Plot progression/structure seems to be well planned so far; though the setting's structure helps this by essentially "resetting" every arc.

Cons:
- Writing quality gets worse over time. Author skips describing details on items, skills, visual descriptions (of all sorts; eg: people/locations/monsters), entire events.
- Translation quality varies. Oftentimes hard to tell... more>> what's happening from the word salads.
- MC has very little personality. Side characters often have the same selfish/schemy template archetype. So the story tends to come off like an emotionless robot on a thankless mission to save a race of assholes. Characters aren't very interesting; no consistent core cast.
- Power system is half-assed; mostly related to the writing quality (ie: info is just skipped over). There's apparently all sorts of runes (that mostly aren't described), but the MC/story only focuses on the 8 main ones. Loot is generally a forgotten afterthought besides quest-type items. MC is a special snowflake that has 7 skill slots max for story balance whilst everyone else has unlimited (which are rarely described). Skill proficiency is glossed over. So much wasted potential here.
- Power creep is managed by having the previous zone's runes/skills/gear becomes obsolete by the new zone's drops, though this is often told (narrated) and not shown. Ie: Characters are just vaguely described as "stronger." MC gets around this by having cheat skills/items that can level with him. Because the power system is poorly thought out, the story resorts to rank comparison descriptions that change from arc to arc (eg: 2nd world it switched to # years (as in lived there for # years), 4th world it's using levels (ala an RPG)).

Recommendation:
An okay time killer if you like the real world turned into death game world genre. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Otoko Nara Ikkokuichijou no Aruji o Mezasa Nakya, ne?
August 7, 2017
Status: c200
Plot:
39 people die in an accident and are reincarnated into a low fantasy medieval world called Orth where dungeons and magic exists. MC is reborn in a low noble house and aspires to make his own country.

- Translation: Readable and consistent. 200+ giant chapters so far, I'm impressed they can stick through translating all the tedium. Very rarely there's some confusing sentences but you're not missing anything with the author's writing style anyway. Many chapters in the middle were pasted with Word Wrap enabled, breaking sentence formatting. Updates are... more>> fast.

- Writing: Worst aspect of the story. 80% of the story seems to consist of the MC's unnecessary, tedious, repetitive internal monologues and infodumps. It kills the story pacing and is solely responsible for the slow story progression. Eg: multiple chapters used to explain the MC learning the Appraisal skill; a skill which exists in practically every isekai story and whose characters would understand the mechanics in a paragraph or two. Or when the MC starts doing pointless math, or explaining the obvious like complex explanations of simple game mechanics, or story recaps, or rambles through the entirety of the MC's paranoid thought processes.
Every so often there's cringey dialogue/narration which seems like a robot trying to write human interaction. Eg: MC's conversations with his family as a baby. Or MC's reaction to the attempted rape of Bel; reading his thought process that quickly flips from worldly-wise nonchalant ('sh*t happens, it's a stranger') to blinding righteous rage ('rape is the worst thing in the world') is cringe-worthy.

- MC: His character as a former JSDF officer and salary-man isn't believable. The author tries to write it off as his body's age affecting his mind, but it just comes across as an excuse for bad writing.
His defining MC cheat power is discovering that magic training as a child greatly increases mana capacity (ala Mushoku Tensei), so his magic power is comparatively off the charts. He has 2 unique skills, which in normal stories'd usually be the cheat, but here they're not really interesting.

- Characters: They're okay. Nothing memorable that'll make you want to draw fanart about though.

- World building: Generic low fantasy medieval world sparsely populated with monsters and the occasional dungeon. Animal people, elves and dwarves are randomly interspersed within human kingdoms for no apparent reason. Human feudal culture is dominant (caste system, poverty, slavery, etc). As for tech level, MC introduces rubber as a revolutionary new technology for armor and miscellaneous goods. Magic items so far are limited to appliances (cooking, lighting, etc), or are weak/uninteresting. After leaving his village, MC heads to one of the generic dungeons to fund his future endeavours. World setting doesn't have anything that really stands out.

- Power system: The status system is superficial and unimaginative. Stats don't seem to matter. Skills are few and generic. The unique skills the reincarnees get are boring. The magic system is simple; it's based off the 4 elements (fire/water/earth/wind) and 1 do-all miscellaneous element (healing etc). Later on a D&D spell system is shoe-horned in. Levelling doesn't seem very enticive from a reader's perspective; if this was a game you wouldn't play it.

Recommendation:
Buried under all the useless information lies an okay isekai story. Deliberately identifying and skimming through the word count padding improved my reading experience. I rarely give 1s, but I hate filler/padding and this is full of it. I love RPGs and dungeons so I forced myself to make it up to the dungeon arc (+1 star for me personally), but fundamentally it doesn't change much. So far I haven't really felt the primary fantasy of 'becoming a king.' <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Martial God Asura
April 4, 2016
Status: c2150
Like most Xianxia/Wuxia, it helps if you leave your brain at the door before you start reading. Like others have said, the MC is a mass-murdering, hypocritical, rapist, idiot. It's never a good sign when the MC's entire family is killed and your first reaction varies between "good", "meh" or "lol". The MC is a poorly written self-insert character that breaks character constantly to suit the situation.

Side characters are shallow and the overuse of the word "genius" (which kinda implies intelligence) to describe people in the translation feels pretty ironic.... more>> The author's writing style falls into the same bad habit many chinese WNs exhibit of repetitively explaining the same concepts/things over and over again, even when they're bloody obvious things (like simple addition to determine the MC's power level), and telling instead of showing. The power system is shallow and ignored whenever convenient. Fight scenes (among other things) often aren't even described. Like the "mechanisms" in the tombs that are never described; or skills used during a fight that are directly referred to as "rank X" without even being given an actual name; or during the Monkey King's mass World Spirit summon and they're never even described, just referred to as "World Spirits". If you can ignore that, it's an entertaining way to pass the time.
Spoiler

Also, I've found that the story is endlessly more amusing when you replace the words "Chu Feng" with "Doom" (via an addon). Eg:

*poof* Suddenly, the city lord of the Vermilion Bird City knelt to the ground and endlessly kowtowed to Doom, "Doom, please spare me, please spare me. I was truly forced and had no other choice! I had no intentions of harming you."

"It's fine no matter what you do to me, Doom. However, you ignored your daughters' happiness many times in order to continue living in this world. You truly aren't qualified to be a father." Doom slowly walked over with oppressing killing intent.

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Update:
Reading up to chapter 920, wow the story is a trainwreck. Basically the entire Eastern Sea Region arc can be summed up as:

Spoiler

– MC is rich as sh*t but doesn't spend a single cent to buy cultivation oddities that'll boost his power level after he buys the dead lava fetus for practically nothing.

– MC creates a secret identity to protect his loved ones but blows it every single chance he gets.

– Previously powerful side characters get sidelined like in every other Xianxia/Wuxia WN and turn into dead weight.

– Power system is still incredibly stupid and treadmilly. Fights all feel the same; stronger guys can instagib weaker guys unless there's plot reasons. Asspulls out the yin yang, MC suddenly uses abilities he's apparently learnt out of nowhere. Fight rubberneckers can somehow magically discern the exact power level and skill ranks of combatants.

– The girl that the MC raped into a fish monster turned out to be demonically possessed and raping her actually helped her. He finishes a quest to find a magic flower to help seal the demon, saving her life. She secretly thanks him from far away, as he speeds off into the sunset. My eyes can't roll back any further.

– MC rapes two female bad guys after Eggy, his female World Spirit summon, eggs him on (see what I did there?). The male bad guy who got cuckolded was the fiance and brother to them and was so incensed he penetrated his fiance with a spear in the hoohah. After she gives a short but strangely coherent, impassioned, defiant speech about why he's such a c-word, he detonates her into blood mist. Also slaps his sister after she gives an appropriate WTF for added measure.

– Magic rape poison incense strikes again. It conveniently depowers women, makes them horny, and eventually kills them in a blood explosion. Why even bother learning martial arts?

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On the plus side, the writing's so simplistic you can understand 90% of it with GT.

Update:
Read up to chapter 2150 (beginning of the Outer Heaven arc) and dropped it. Finally found out what was in the baseme- I mean Emperor Tomb. Was as disappointing as what was in the Asura Ghost Tower.

Spoiler

- mrezman's summary perfectly describes the entire Holy Land of Martialism arc. It's so formulaic it's laughable. At one point he forms a team of mysterious old elders. On the positive side, the author's stopped with the rape. Not much romance either (if you can call it that). Poor Jiang Wushang and Zhang Tianyi keep getting bullied. Alas, the fate of a Xianxia side character.

- Martial Half-emperor and Half-ancestor are stupid ranks. Like, plan this stuff out before you run into power inflation problems during the story. The naming's kind of stupid when everyone's a Lord or King or Emperor. Same with the pointless armament ranks.

- World Spiritist is a literal do-everything ass-pull profession. The MC will often randomly use OP WS powers out of nowhere, stretching plausibility. In one egregious case, apparently the MC studied architecture sometime during his HLM journey and can create multiple floating palaces in seconds out of thin air.

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Poorly written and inconsistent MC; shallow world building and characters; recycled, formulaic, trainwreck plot; disappointing plot resolutions; poor writing. The world building being interesting at times (despite how it eventually turns out) would be the only positive I can give to bad WNs like this. +1 star for lots of content if you have some time to kill. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Arena
December 8, 2016
Status: c67
Plot:
Similar to Gantz, life fail MC dies and is forced to play a death game with RPG elements on another world named Arena.

Pros:
- Great writing. Can't stress this enough. Genuinely funny dialogue. Non-archetypal, interesting characters. His family members are great. Normally in this genre the game/dungeon chapters are where the meat is and the civilian life intermissions suffer from blandness/genericness. Not this story, the out-of-game chapters are just as interesting. Lots of detail is given to flesh out the world and characters.
- Great character development. Characters feel... more>> real. Believable MC; isn't a blank slate, blatant self-insert, silent robot archetype.
- Power system is consistent and easy to understand.

Cons:
- The first couple of chapters with the first mission feels kind of forced and abrupt (unnatural). If you can get past that though, you're in for a treat.

Recommendation:
Wasn't expecting much, so this was a surprise. Got quite a few laughs. Definitely worth a read. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Overgeared
February 6, 2018
Status: c100
The game is full of implausibility, impracticability and plain stupidity so you'll need some tolerance going in. It's not as bad as Ark yet with its full pain sensation, but enough to have you questioning how on Earth this generic POS is supposed to ensnare 2 billion players. 120, 000 classes (good luck programming that) ; NPC on NPC (underage) rape (I'd love to have been in that meeting) ; secret classes that only a single person in the entire world will play (giant waste of money and resources). That... more>> legendary quest where some schmuck has to stay connected for 50 consecutive hours in an in-game prison and the company execs convene a meeting to make arrangements with the player's government to make sure he doesn't die (I can't even), etc etc. There's other dumb stuff too like saying the game's creator's more influential than the US president, or Mongolians being a nomadic people in 2040, which should give you an idea of the maturity of the writing. Game mechanics pretty much follow Legend of the Moonlight Sculptor; everything kind of feels like an asspull and full of rookie game dev mistakes.

The MC OTOH strangely isn't irking me like I was expecting, he fits the stereotype and is a source of comedy. Much more than say, superhuman autist Weed or Ark, gaming 18 out of 24 hrs in a day yet are somehow also peak national-level martial artists AND have melodramatic sob stories to act as a source of motivation. This MC is more believable, although later developments do feel kinda cringey.

Translation is perfectly readable and very fast. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Way of the Devil
January 14, 2018
Status: c312
Plot:
MC transmigrates into the body of a playboy noble son in an ancient chinese world setting. Discovers the world is ruled by supernatural powers that regular martial arts cannot contend against, and embarks upon a path to survival for him and his family.

Great premise, average execution. To get a feel for the series, imagine if at the end of every X-Files episode, the MC hulks out and punches the monster of the week in the face to death.

MC's cheat power basically lacks depth, he instantly learns/merges any martial arts... more>> he comes across. This exponentially scales like Re:Monster and he basically turns into a demonic Hulk. MC's personality degrades from interesting to standard psychopath chinese WN MC pretty quick and never recovers. The unique horror-wuxia vibe is ruined when he leaves the starter country and it turns out, there ARE martial arts that can contend against the supernatural.

Recommendation:
The beginning arcs are somewhat fresh and new, worth a try. Too many Chinese WN cliches starting showing up later on (side characters don't matter, organization building doesn't matter, location change every arc in lieu of meaningful world building, etc). Leaving the starter country was the last straw. By that point the story "formula" had become apparent, removing any hope of change, so I dropped it. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
I Shall Seal the Heavens
January 7, 2017
Status: c1183
A story about an unassuming, mild-mannered scholar who stumbles onto the path of becoming a Chosen of Khorne. Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! Also animal rape jokes. 5 stars.

Edit: Dammit, up to the space arc and I'm already regretting the 5 stars. Pretty much every bad trope you've read in every other Chinese WN. Back to 3 stars in the space arc.

- Repetitive writing; lots of recaps and explaining the obvious. As soon as a large unit of measurement comes up expect 2+ chapters of... more>> pointless cultivation contests and crowd reactions ("OMG! He's at 18, 000m!" "OMFG! He's at 20, 000m!" Bitch, how are you even measuring?). As a result I skim read the text nowadays.
- Nonsensical & inconsistent power system. Soul lamps, wtf? Summoning a bridge isn't a deep or impressive attack skill no matter how you try to dress it up (how do you even use it to block experts, can't they fly around it?). Trying to visualize 2 people throwing illusionary rivers and mountains (the amount of which keeps growing; I think the highest count so far has been 100, 000) at each other is ridiculous. MC gains a growing collection of OP skills, eg: instant kill Midas Touch, which he never uses again. Oh, he can transform into a planet? Sure why not. Fights feel kinda meh as the rules of the universe feel vague and unadhered to.
- Faulty understanding of basic physics (shattering liquids, punching lightning/liquids to powder, air in space, the entire structure of the dimension they live in, etc). It's tolerable before the space arc then it gets really noticeable.
- Lack of visual descriptions. Herbalism profession also has a lot of interesting descriptions, but when it comes to alchemy (actual pills & recipes) it's strangely lacking in comparison (generally pills consumed are referenced in general terms, whereas recipes aren't even mentioned).
- Story feels like it revolves more around avenging slights and d*ck measuring contests than adventuring (so much disdain).
- Dictating morals through narration ("no right or wrong in war" and other spoon-fed crap).
- Inconsistent MC and Peter Pan syndrome. I liked the character development he had up until his Spirit Severing; you could feel that his character was maturing. Then he reverted back into a teenager to fight with other centuries-old teenagers.
- One dimensional side characters that don't get much screen time or development. Chen Fan is a weird exception where he got a 1 chapter info dump of a background story change. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Warlock of the Magus World
December 28, 2016
Status: c710
Plot:
MC reincarnates with an AI chip fused to his soul in a western fantasy/cultivator setting. And so begins his ascent to godhood.

Pros:
- Translation is decent. Odd word choices and poor grammar are common.
- Power system is simple to understand; AI chip makes it feel like an RPG. There's not many stats and they're brought up often so you know where the MC stands. Basically though it's still your standard cultivation system but with melee spec mages. 'Potioneering' (horrible word choice) is the replacement for the template alchemy... more>> (dan producing) profession. The level up system can feel random.
- World setting is somewhat different & interesting. World building is rather lacking and forgettable.
- No romance or aversion to s*x.
- Fast translation updates. Lots of content.

Cons:
- Author's writing style negative traits: word padding (repetition & explaining the obvious), telling instead of showing, shallow characters (no memorable side characters). Felt like I was reading The Phantom (comic) ; almost every line of dialogue ends! In! An! Exclamation! Point!
- The edge. There are no truly good people in this world, because the author says so. Repeatedly. *Cue event that proves this point.* MC is not a saint, magi are logical and calculating, etc etc. After the 200th time it gets annoying. Every time the MC does something, the author has to reiterate how cunning the MC is.
- Petty gripes (I have to vent). MC tasting random plants for his AI chip to analyze (stupid idea), the 10 crystals he stole from that dude's corpse at the beginning being forgotten (minor gripe), snake heart producing blood (that's not how any of this works), etc. OP AI chip. Frankly speaking its research capabilities are good enough, but the wide range radar, atomic microscope and oftentimes illogical analysis capability takes the cake.
- MC's character. He's not really believable as a scientist, though if you told me he was a cold-blooded CEO I would believe you. He basically uses his AI chip for everything, from research to fighting so oftentimes it doesn't feel like he's earned anything. Try replacing the words "AI Chip" with "Siri" and see how the story changes for you.

Recommendation:
Average read; took me ~50 chapters to get interested (where the power ups started popping up IIRC). If you've read a lot of Chinese WNs and can't stand the annoying writing tics authors commonly use, you may want to subtract a star. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyusoukyoku (WN)
May 30, 2016
Status: v15c1
One of my favorite stories. Brings a smile to my face.

Slice-of-life, cuteness, comedy and dungeon crawling. Chill OP MC takes a world vacation with his adopted isekai family. Chapters are well-written with very little fat and you never quite know what to expect. I enjoy reading the source as well for the added enjoyment of the japanese language quirks that don't translate well into english. Also, Tama and Pochi are justice.

The translator is a beast. Consistent, regular, decent quality releases over a long period of time for a japanese title... more>> feels rare these days, especially given how long the chapters are. Burnout usually sets in pretty quickly so I don't bother starting many new japanese WNs (Chinese WNs tend to be easier to translate).

Rated 3 to 4 stars before the Labyrinth City arc (volume 10), 5 stars after (scratched my RPG itch). Enjoyable to re-read.

1 star reviewers are self-inserting too hard into the MC. If you go into the story expecting a standard Xianxia plot or softcore porn harem, you're gonna have a bad time. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
God and Devil World
April 9, 2016
Status: Completed
Story starts off okay. Zombie apocalypse + video game levelling system. Awesome. Eyebrows start getting raised as the zombie apocalypse setting starts kicking in and people start going from civilized society to rapist racist cannibals too damn quick. As the story progresses, it expands from survival into empire building as well as adventuring. Multiple story settings popup as the author starts throwing everything and the kitchen sink in; post-nuclear apocalypse, prehistoric, sci-fi, mechs, horror, aliens, transforming robots, demons, gods etc. Basically a male power fantasy, don't expect character development or... more>> deep thoughts. MC is a blatant self-insert vehicle; a college student of average looks (emphasized) and zero personality turning from a normal person into a ruthless warlord god with no scruples, a massive harem and zero personality. As for other common Xianxia tropes; expect power creep, a plot that has zero long-term planning, and side characters and plot points being constantly forgotten throughout the story.

The power system is simple to understand. No stat summaries are ever brought up so you're always pretty much guessing where the MC's at. Melee and gun skills are satisfying. MC runs a Gary Stu spec (can do everything).
Spoiler

Beginner village is only revisited once in the entire story. Unfortunately due to price inflation, he can't clean shop with his massive amounts of money earned (lol plot balancing). The gene splicing thing and village upgrade concepts are forgotten. Later on due to power creep, the entire initial system gets tossed out for a standard Xianxia god/soul sea system. Expect lots of commentary of rank vs. Rank comparisons during fights.

The empire building aspect had so much potential, but in the end it's pretty much sidelined. The story ends before he reunites the entirety of China through conquest. The big China vs. Europe vs. USA vs. India (etc) clash never happens.
In the end he becomes a rank 10 god and wills all mutants/monsters/demons/etc on all worlds in the current galaxy into non-existence (except for monster girls, because lol)

[collapse]

The story did made me think of other RPG-type fantasy works where there's villages, monsters and demon lords, and the disparity in atmosphere despite technically similar settings.

So, the racism and s*xism.

There's acceptable and unacceptable. Acceptable is using it as a plot vehicle to generate conflict in the story (ie: creating "bad guys" or believable story events). Unacceptable is when the author uses it to slip in awkward social commentary.

Believable:
- Racist nutjob survivor factions in the post apocalypse gain power, antagonize the MC, commit atrocities, believe/spout nutjob racist ideology.

A bit on the nose, but still believable:
- Foreign nationals receiving preferential treatment by the local government to the detriment of its citizens. Odd seeing it from a local perspective; from an foreigner's point of view of China it appears to be the exact opposite.

- When fighting nationalist factions (ie: racists), the author brings up every Chinese tragedy in history inflicted by said nationality as rationale. Japan gets it the worst, for obvious reasons (google Nanking). Corruption of surviving elites and government institutions is a running theme but it stops short of outright criticizing the Chinese government for any past tragedies (doesn't wanna risk jail I guess, the irony).

The stupid:
Spoiler

- In Japan, the MC allows a gang-rape that includes grade-schoolers to happen in front of him because their strangely detailed and politically hostile views on Sino-Japanese relations roused his ire. Racist and politically savvy 10 year olds, sure why not.

- Also in Japan, after the MC offers to release some Chinese prisoners being held captive, a female exchange student refuses to disavow her Japanese captors who are repeatedly described as abusing, raping and golden showering her (and others), choosing to stay in the prison. The MC comments that Chinese youth being brainwashed with anime/manga culture is a disease in their society, and complains about Chinese females traveling to Japan to find boyfriends (they're takin' our wimmen).

- By the point the MC arrives in Indonesia, the racism has almost become parody. Of course they're all cannibal, racist, torturers that live in mud huts. Even the women, children and old people.

- The video game power system should technically equalize the s*xes, but men still hold 99% of the power. IIRC there's 2 instances of the token all-female faction in the story somewhere, but that didn't really go anywhere (1 s*xy amazon tribe and 1 chinese dom faction, with all the tropes you'd expect).

- Virgins are literally used as currency. The MC uses virgins to pay his men.

[collapse]

Plot is a trainwreck as the author's writing on the fly from day-to-day without any real structure or endpoint. Try not to roll your eyes every time at the complete lack of subtlety of the MC getting tossed off to a new location to start every new arc. Also expect disappointing plot resolutions and an abrupt ending. If you've read a trainwreck story before (where the author throws every single genre into the mix and changes stuff on the fly) you may want to subtract a star. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Chronicles of Primordial Wars
December 28, 2016
Status: Completed
Plot:
MC gets mysteriously transported into the body of a child in a presumably prehistoric time/world. MC adapts to a survivalist caveman life with monsters and some cultivation.

Pros:
- Unique world building. My favorite aspect of the story, it's like a calming nature documentary in a savage prehistoric land with a dash of magic.
- Characters are amusing (lots of lovable muscle brains). Antagonists have more depth than good or evil. No romance.
- MC's personality changes the further along in the story, more and more resembling his tribe.
-... more>> Translation is great.

Cons:
- There's a little repetition/explaining the obvious in the author's writing style, but it's a minor issue.
- Visual descriptions can be bland/omitted. Eg: I can't picture what the "Black Thorn Wind" creature looks like (is it a crocodile?) because it's never described. It's a minor issue though, especially when compared to many other Chinese WNs.
- Some sidelining of side characters occurs later in the story (poor Caesar).
- The power system is shallow; basically divided into lower/intermediate/higher totem warrior. Some basic cultivation breathing techniques are mentioned and forgotten.
Spoiler

In the middle and later segments of the story, the plot relies too much on the MC's mysterious power to resolve situations via deus ex machina. It's a problem because it's never explained and no-one/nothing else in the world can compare to it.

[collapse]
- The ending.
Spoiler

Story just abruptly ends, there's no resolution to many hanging plot threads (eg: MC's power/reincarnation; where/when the world is; nation building; the antagonist, etc). As if the author lost interest.

[collapse]

Recommendations:
Often feels like a slice-of-life story, so not everyone's cup of tea. I love the world building and non-template story; the early arcs where the MC explores nature (before he starts travelling the world) are my favorite chapters. Those bishie caveman MC WN cover images make me lol though. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Gate of Revelation
November 25, 2016
Status: c587
Plot:
... more>>
Spoiler

Due to an (apparent) system bug, the MC discovers that he's an NPC living in a Matrix-like game. He gains game-like superpowers and has to fight for his survival in a death game.

[collapse]

Pros:
- Translation quality is good.
- MC is likable. Side characters are interesting.
- Unique concept. Story raises some interesting philosophical questions.
- The "dungeons" have a background (historical) theme that the MC uses his smarts to overcome. One of the author's notes says he did a lot of research for this, which is unique I guess. Personally I find that it kind of takes away from the whole "kill monsters, get loot" theme of RPGs/games though. Even the players the MC meets don't seem to care about the game's fluff; though it makes sense from a gamer's perspective (who the hell would study (apparently fake) history to play a dungeon?).
- Interesting dungeon concepts/events.

Cons:
- Writing quality is okay. Author can be long-winded though, which makes the chapters feel slow-paced and full of filler (eg: explaining the obvious). Author also keeps breaking the fourth wall with self-insertion and direct references to things like Gundam, which breaks immersion and deflates the seriousness/tension in the story.
- Power system is vague. Stats/items use an alphabet ranking (SS > S > A >... > F etc). Since the MC and everyone else starts at B you can probably expect problems with power inflation later on. Story's already using +/- after the alphabet characters.
Spoiler

As expected, later on there are massive power inflation problems. eg: fighting god-level GM characters; hints of interplanetary/stellar warfare (planet buster bombs, spaceships, etc). Level/stat progression is still vague as hell.

[collapse]
Spoiler

MC and the other special Awakened (Irregulars) received a cheat skill each somehow, which hasn't been explained. Apparently they're supposed to have cloned a player with the bug so I'm not sure why they only gained 1 super rare skill.

[collapse]

Recommendation:
Kind of a mixture of the Matrix and Gantz, with a mish-mash of lots of different genres in the dungeons. The story's different, although that doesn't automatically translate into awesome. I would recommend saving up chapters and reading it in batches rather than following every new release. Definitely worth checking out if you're into the real world turned into death game world genre. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Katahane no Riku
May 12, 2016
Status: --
If I had to describe the story with one word, it would be bland. The story feels like it's missing a massive amount of detail, whether it be characters, world building, fights, etc.

Basically the only reason you'd want to read this is if you've never seen a story where a couple of archetypal cute anime heroine-type characters get slaughtered. But even that's kind of meh, as the characters themselves aren't fleshed out very well.

... more>>
Spoiler

As far as "subverting tropes" go, the aggravating event where the MC was on the verge of killing the "hero, " he escapes unharmed via plot armor in a typical disappointing cliche development. Welp, there goes the one thing the story had going for it.

[collapse]

The translation has a lot of errors, but is readable. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
The Amber Sword
December 31, 2017
Status: v3c75
Plot:
MC gets transmigrated into an NPC of his favorite VRMMORPG. Then sets about trying to change the game's future history with his OP future/game knowledge.

Pluses:
- Translation is okay. The original writing isn't that good anyway, so the "rewrites" are a non-issue for me. I suppose they'd be easier to swallow if the typos and odd word choices weren't as common. The Chinese have words for Japanese-specific terminology like "onee-san, " "moe, " "chuunibyou, " etc and the author frequently uses them, so complaints about them are pointless.
-... more>> Epic fights & army battles. Follows the Rule of Cool trope as the story often breaks its own rules.
- Game turned into reality. MC has a game system, XP, loot etc. Stats would be interesting if they mattered/appeared more though.
- World building is okay, nothing really unique to make it stand out though. Mostly focused around medieval knight battles with random fantasy elements thrown in from everywhere.

Minuses:
- Pacing issues and interspersed with infodumps.
- MC has no backstory beyond the game. No personality besides his one-track goal of saving the kingdom/I remember this from the game/don't mess with my nakama! Basically his personality is generic and predictable, and given the story setting his motivational speeches feel like chuunibyou.
- Characters are rather shallow; they have a defining trait and don't seem to grow much beyond that.
- No romance. Could be a plus, except he accumulates a harem but nothing happens.
- Cliche VRMMO element mistakes; one-time quests, thousands of classes, persistent AI characters + changeable storyline (would never work in a game w/ millions of players), millions of items (hard to imagine w/ the garbage stats/unique effects on the items actually shown), super AI magic programming, etc. The MC knows way too much pointless minutiae (eg: heraldry, army compositions, minor characters, quest info/storylines, etc). MC has trash gear for his level.
- Additional game mechanics are tossed in for no reason. The Magic The Gathering subsystem is tolerable until the full chapter infodumps, and every card battle feels like asspulls on top of asspulls. The terminology and even some of the cards themselves are copied straight from the game. The card game never appeared in the VRMMO and unfortunately it seems it'll be pivotal to the story's endgame (when he ascends to the god realm or whatever).
- Cultivator story elements start popping up later. Character/monster levels have a game level ranking and a cultivator ranking. Cultivator abilities aren't believable in a game setting (how do you balance everyone having hundred meter radius AOE attacks, flight, unique abilities/domains, etc?). MC has a secret OP grandfather, gets the best unique element, has a secret OP bloodline (in a VRMMORPG?), gets a secret OP inheritance (from you'll never guess who), keeps offending people above his level, etc etc.
- Presumably more RTS mechanics are introduced later after his base starts getting into full gear. Don't know if I'll last that long.

Recommendation:
Meh. The story translated so far (v3c75) is okay, my complaints mostly appear after that. Kinda feels like a train-wreck when the story keeps breaking the rules of its own universe. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
A Record of a Mortal’s Journey to Immortality
December 30, 2016
Status: c251
Plot:
Average village boy joins a sect, embarking on the path of cultivation.

Pros:
- Decent translation. Regular updates.

Cons:
- Slow paced. I found the first 100 chapters (volume 1) to be mind numbingly boring; in the middle of the first big fight (50 chapters in) I was so turned off I dropped it for a month before I was able to pick it up again. Not being able to write an entertaining fight in a martial arts story was a red flag to me. The only upsides were the interactions... more>> he had with that one friend and his experiments with his cheat item. Got slightly better in volume 2 when he gets into the cultivator world. Writing style is still long-winded though, there's a lot of fat that could be cut.
- Dull world building; as generic as they come. Tropes: monsters are almost extinct in the world, magic professions have a horrifically low success rate, everyone is poor, everyone is out to get the MC, loner MC, side character deficiency syndrome. I personally prefer adventuring/monster hunting RPG shenanigans in my fantasy novels over the constant comeuppance over the never-ending tide of forgettable side characters that disrespect/scheme against the MC that's common these days. Recommendation:
I found it rather boring, there wasn't a hook that drew me into the story and I'm not really attached to the world or any of the characters. +1 star for lots of content I guess. <<less
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Hantosh
Hantosh rated it
Overlord (LN)
May 30, 2016
Status: v11c6
Interesting unique concept. OP MC and his OP NPC guild descend to a lower realm for some noob-stomping; coincidentally, they're the bad guys. The story is slow paced, so don't expect non-stop action. The world setting is a grimdark medieval world, so expect lots of cruelty.

There's a colorful gallery of rogues on the MC's side, and Ainz Ooal Gown's details and secrets are slowly teased over the story to keep you interested. The power system is an atypical D&D type system; many of its specifics aren't immediately revealed. The MC... more>> is level capped and the NPCs are level-locked so there's no power crawl.

My only fault with the story is that the world they've been transported to seems rather bland (so far) and some of the chapters are pretty boring to read (usually those revolving around the native characters). The lizardman volume I didn't particularly enjoy (though I understand what the author was going for), nor Climb's backstory.

Fan translation starts off pretty rough, but get better by the end. They used chinese raws for some reason, translation similarities with chinese WNs are noticeable. My only minor criticism is that due to the author's writing style (compounded by the translation perhaps), I don't find re-reading the story to be enjoyable. <<less
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