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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
My Death Flags Show No Sign of Ending
December 24, 2018
Status: v4c75
TL;DR:

The plot turns into garbage after volume 2.

Avoid this story.

... more>> -------------------------------------

I really want to like this story. The protagonist is genuinely interesting, and many of the supporting characters (and villains) are even more so. The world and the premise of the story are actually really well put together. The writing is extremely strong (for a web novel) and the author is clearly intelligent enough to put together a riveting, compelling story.

All that potential just makes what actually happens even more disappointing. By the time v4 rolls around, the story has devolved into what I can only call a generic wish fulfillment harem novel. Every arc for the past 40 chapters has been exactly the same, and riddled with all the things that I detest about generic wish fulfillment isekais, except with a lot more self-destructiveness from the protagonist. Here, I'll give you the run down:

  1. The main villain instigates problem X. Meanwhile, the protagonist, in spite of supposedly having foreknowledge of everything that happens in the game, will have done absolutely nothing to prepare for this. In fact, he won't have done anything proactive at all since the last arc.
  2. The protagonist encounters guest character Y. Over the course of the arc, a frustratingly contrived sequence of misunderstandings will convince them that the protagonist is the most kind and "intelligent" person that they have ever met in spite of his constant blunders and insulting speech. If the guest character is female, she will fall in love with him, and then another member of the cast will deliver a blatantly out of character speech that ensures that she spend the rest of the story never acting on these feelings except to talk about how great the protagonist is.
  3. The protagonist chooses a needlessly overcomplicated and self-destructive way to resolve problem X that usually ends in him just beating it down with his overpowered physical specs anyways. All the easier, glaringly obvious solutions to the problem are cursorily ignored.
  4. All regular citizens hear about the protagonist's exploits and resolve to hate him even more than they already did. Meanwhile, all the primary characters stroke their beards and read way more into his actions than he intended to convince themselves that he really is as "clever" as they think he is. The protagonist, having supposedly learned from his mistakes and grown as a person, proceeds to go back to doing absolutely nothing so that exactly the same thing can happen next arc.
Don't get me wrong, the way that this happens in each arc is varied, interesting, and (comparatively) well written. But honestly, that just makes it even more frustrating when you think about what actually happened.

Rating: 2 / 5 (Poor)

Spoiler
  • Writing: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Translation: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
  • Characters: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Story: 2 / 5 (Poor)
  • World: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (WN)
November 8, 2018
Status: c546
This web novel is a shounen/slice of life hybrid following the adventures of an incredibly lovable catgirl as she makes friends, beats up bad guys, and gradually explores the world. Read it if you like those genres, because a hardworking-yet-adorable catgirl adventuring in a fantasy world is precisely what you will get. And as far as far as shounen/slice-of-life hybrids go, this web novel is one of the best you'll find. ~ This web novel is NOT:

    • An edge-of-your-seat thriller where the world hangs in the balance
    • A heartbreaking tale of romance and drama where tears flow like water
    • A power-trip Isekai designed to indulge the fantasies of unhappy 13-35 year olds
    • A critical commentary on society, racism, power dynamics, or ANYTHING else
It is simply a very satisfying shounen/slice-of-life following the adventurers of a catgirl and her talking sword. Yes, her sword does happen to be a reincarnee and also serves as the narrator of the story. And yes, various villains do occasionally destroy cities and bring unfortunate nations to the brink of collapse. But they are not the focus of the story. That would be the aforementioned catgirl.

"Nh."
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
The Second Coming of Gluttony
September 1, 2019
Status: c132
TL;DR: If you like fantasy-adventure stories with dynamic protagonists, you will like this. Guaranteed. Yes, it is that good.

Seriously, just read it.

---------------------------------------------

... more>> This story is truly excellent. It is hands down the best example of isekais without the 'empire building' tag, in spite of technically not being an isekai. It simply takes everything you would expect from a good seinen isekai (non-grimdark) and does it well.

It has interesting, dynamic characters. It has epic fights. It has levels of struggle and challenge actually appropriate to the protagonist's power level. It has a well thought-out world with some very interesting alterations made to the standard premises for this genre. I could go on and on about the good writing choices that were made in this story, because there were a lot.

But for me, what ultimately convinced me that this story was worth the time was the strength of its character interactions and the complexity of the protagonist. He's not just a generic self-insert, but an honest to goodness real human being, complete with flaws, mistakes, and good points that change over time as he grows as a person. He's also the most self-aware protagonist I've ever read, surpassing even traditional genre-savvy protagonists, to the point where his self-reflections and triumphs over himself are straight-up my favorite part of this story, surpassing even the excellently done moments of badassery.

Relevant Tags: Fantasy World, Character Growth, Weak to Strong, Golden Rule, Past Plays a Big Role, Psychological

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)

Spoiler
  • Writing: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • Translation: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • Characters: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Story: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • World: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
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Reasons to love this story:

Spoiler
  • Dynamic, interesting, and realistic protagonist.
  • All of the typical isekai tropes are done fantastically well.
  • Protagonist actually has to earn all of his best powers, rather than having them handed to him on a silver platter.
  • Why are you still reading this review? Scroll up! Chapter 1 is up there!
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Reasons to hate this story:

Spoiler
  • Precisely because the protagonist is a real human being, this is not an unabashed power fantasy story. The protagonist makes mistakes, and acknowledges them when he does. And he's not the type to lord his OPness over others when there are still so many better than him. If you're here for the blatant power fantasy and lording your OPness over others, move along.
  • Many of the traditional fantasy and isekai tropes are still present, even if they are subverted or altered beyond recognition as often as they're played straight.
  • This is not a true wish fulfillment story. The protagonist is not truly OP in any way, and is certainly no genius or martial savant. Everything that he gains is earned through hard work and carefully leveraging his (incredibly underwhelming) special power to gradually expand his web of friends, allies, and comrades.
  • The romantic subplot is a well-done and exceptionally human slow play... but it's not an integral part of the story. Note the lack of Romance tag.
  • There technically is harem, but not really (and author has clearly signaled a monogamous ending). Honestly, the author seems to simply get bored of the early quasi-harem antics after the Neutral Zone arc, only keeping up the absolute bare minimum requirements necessary to merit the tag. The girls that remain are closer to "female friends who had a mild crush on you at one point, but are now simply good friends" with only one notable exception. If you're here solely for the harem tag, move along.
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
The Amber Sword
December 4, 2018
Status: v3c198
EDIT: Once he enters the Dark Forest, the protagonist picks up a 500 pound idiot ball and becomes only marginally more foresightful than a shounen protagonist, which really drags down the story. From that point on, I'd probably rate the story at "Good" (3.5 / 5). It's still entertaining, but not really engaging. Doesn't change the fact that the first few hundred chapters were amazing, though.

-------------------------------------------------

[original review based on up through the end of v2]

While it's not without its flaws and the rich world might be a turnoff to some,... more>> this story is a veritable diamond among the roughshod stories that dominate this site. It's rare to see so many different threads and ideas in one place, and even rarer to see them all fit coherently into the narrative.

This is not a finely polished story, but even as it is now, it's so overflowing with potential and the author's own enthusiasm that I will quite happily recommend it to anyone. Seriously, just read it.

Relevant Tags: Fantasy, Strategic Battles, Weak to Strong, Kingdom Building, Multiple PoV, Clever Protagonist, Caring Protagonist

Rating: 5 / 5 (Masterful)

Spoiler
  • Writing: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • Translation: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
  • Characters: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • Story: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • World: 5 / 5 (Masterful)
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Reasons to love this story:

Spoiler
  • Amazingly deep world.
  • Everyone is clever, and while the MC runs circles around ordinary generals, the big players are every bit as cunning as our protagonist. This makes for some fantastic intrigue and a very engaging story.
  • Contains elements of hero vs. Hero Isekai combat, kingdom building, strategic warfare, psychological manipulation, and good old-fashioned friendship. And somehow makes it all work.
  • No crappy teenage romance.
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Reasons to hate this story:

Spoiler
  • Lots of info dumps, and almost no repeated information between info dumps. You can still read the story without retaining all of that, but you might find yourself confused by many of the MC's cleverer manipulations.
  • Characters, even minor characters, are all inhumanly determined and clever. This means that emotional interactions and lighthearted exchanges between characters are much less common. It also makes the characters feel rather unrealistic, although they're by no means unrelatable.
  • Writing is kind of odd/inconsistent. Still not sure if that's the author, the translator, or both. In general, it's very good, though.
  • No romance at all, really. What 'romance' does exist is mostly just the cute antics you saw in elementary/middle school. You can basically ignore it.
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (WN)
October 17, 2018
Status: epilogue
Absolutely phenomenal story and characters. Don't be deceived by the relatively low rankings, this is a fantastic read and easily the smartest Isekai I've ever encountered.

However, I cannot recommend this novel, because The manga is even better. It takes TSSDK's excellent story, world, and characters and adds much better pacing and translation, which exactly address the reasons that some people rated this story poorly. Read that instead.
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
Ouroboros Record ~Circus of Oubeniel~
November 17, 2018
Status: c23
Forget about other web novels on this site, this story is good enough to be compared to actually talented authors. Only certain types of people will enjoy it, though.

If you enjoy stories of valiant adventurers triumphing over evil through love and friendship, you'd best look elsewhere.

But if you have ever taken delight in watching a villain play all of their cards correctly... if you have ever thought that it might be fun to watch a twisted mastermind slowly convert everything around him into a horrifically dystopian society of glorified dolls...... more>> then this story was written for you.

... Someone give the demented genius who wrote this masterpiece a medal.

Relevant Tags: Seinen, Evil Protagonist, Clever Protagonist, Brainwashing

Rating: 5 / 5 (Masterful)

Spoiler
  • Writing: 5 / 5 (Masterful)
  • Translation: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • Characters: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Story: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
  • World: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
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Reasons to love this story:

Spoiler
  • Brilliantly deranged villain protagonist.
  • Smart story.
  • Excellent use of multiple perspectives to flesh out the world and make up for the protagonist's human deficiencies.
  • Characters feel like real people. (albeit deranged, in the case of the protagonist and his allies)
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Reasons to hate this story:

Spoiler
  • Emotion, when present, is almost entirely implied in this story. The protagonist's narration is, at least on the surface, extremely clinical. (the things that the author chooses to write, and the things that he omits, betray that a lot more than that is going on, though)
  • The protagonist is an intelligent villain who completely ignores typical villain tropes. Naturally, this means that he takes great care to ensure that others don't realize just how dangerous he actually is. Unfortunately, this also means that he never experiences challenges appropriate to his current "power level", which hurts the story.
  • While there is technically romance, it is as muted and twisted as the rest of the protagonist's personality.
  • The protagonist regularly and consistently does things that would turn your stomach without batting an eye.
  • ... For pity's sake, this is the story of a soulless b*stard who makes the characters from Overlord look like kindergartners. It should be pretty obvious why this might not be your cup of tea.
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (LN)
November 8, 2018
Status: v1c2 part2
This light novel is no better than the web novel on which it is based.

The storyline is (from what I've seen) identical to the original, complete with all of the original's pacing and sequencing issues.

The prose itself is... different, but not actually better than the web novel. And not distinct from it in any interesting way.

Just read the web novel.
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Sanatoga
Sanatoga rated it
Everyone Else is a Returnee
September 1, 2018
Status: afterword
This was honestly a joy to read, and by far the best Isekai I've found on this site, with the possible exception of Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken. The characters, while not overly complex, are all distinct and likable. The protagonist is smart, genre-savvy, and immensely talented, but is continuously forced to face adversaries way beyond his league, and thus never lacking challenges that push him to his limits. The storyline itself is surprisingly complex and more than enough to keep people entertained. And most importantly, an endless quantity of witty banter and lively character interactions gives this story more energy than you see in most published novels.

Having said that, this is a story with the tags Comedy, Harem, Overpowered Protagonist, and Parallel Worlds. If you are the... more>> kind of person who categorically hates these genres, you will not like this story, regardless of its quality compared to other stories of its type. Conversely, if you're not overly bothered by those tags, you almost certainly will like this story. Seriously, read the genre tags, guys. This is basic stuff.

REASONS TO LOVE THIS STORY:

    • Humorous and self-aware banter, filled with meta jokes and references
    • Overpowered, genre-savvy protagonist, who consistently makes darn-near optimal use of his abilities to turn the tables on overwhelmingly more powerful adversaries
    • Engaging story with plenty of plot twists
    • Harem actually goes somewhere
    • Deceptively well thought-out world with plenty of dynamic characters
    • No plot holes* (see spoiler)
Spoiler
    • There is technically one exception, which is that the protagonist needs massively more experience than everyone else to level up. It is implied that one of the reasons for this is that his effective level is much higher than the level displayed on his status, but this is never stated outright.
      • However, in the case of Ymir & friends, it is explained: they received a massive experience bonus from the protagonist's Rule skill. It can be understood that other non-Transcender higher existences benefitted from something similar, since the Rule skill (or another method for manipulating & sharing records) is one of the requirements for creating a Faction.
      • Incidentally, the Rule skill's experience bonus works by sharing the Ruler's superior records (levels, skills, knowledge, etc) in order to allow the subordinate to make more effective use of their own records than they could have by themselves. This mechanic is first explained when the protagonist asks Erta how Heaven's Rewards are able to grant skills back when he encounters his first Overflow, and then again when Erza is explaining the normal process for becoming a higher existence. The gist of it is: By subordinating yourself to someone stronger than you, you can use their records as a "cheat sheet" in order to develop much faster, at the cost of losing a lot of your freedom to potentially grow in a new direction.
    • The Cross Bag's creation was closer to a permanency'd spell (specifically, an angel's Inventory) than magic item crafting; this is why it was possible to stack multiple features, why the protagonist was never asked to help when features were added to it, and also why the bag never received a Rare/Unique/Epic/etc. rank.
    • The 1000 year time stop at the beginning of the story occurs because the protagonist inherited his father's affinity for time magic, which synergized with Heaven's attempted time stop. The author points this out after Ymir's 1000 day temporal acceleration happens, but it's easy to miss.
      • Incidentally, the protagonist's (untapped) aptitude for time magic and his max-level concealment skill are the only things inherited from his parents; everything else was his own effort.
    • All other "plot holes" that I've seen mentioned in other reviews are explicitly explained in the text, so... all I can really say is "Stop skimming!"
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REASONS TO HATE THIS STORY:

    • Humorous and self-aware banter, filled with meta jokes and references
    • Overpowered protagonist and power creep like you wouldn't believe. The main character's deductive skills and intuition are also borderline supernatural
    • Parts of the story won't fully make sense until the ending reveal. (this is the reason a lot of the one star reviews claim "plot holes")
    • Harem
    • Most characters are relatively simple, and the harem is, while not implausible, certainly improbable
    • Humanity is painted in a somewhat rosy light, MC gets pretty lucky in a few places, and relatively few named allied characters die, so story may not be adequately edgy for you if you're used to grimdark
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Sanatoga
This story takes "generic Isekai" and plays it straight to such an extent that I was half convinced I was reading satire. Characters also tend to be a bit lacking in the intelligence department. Not retarded, but not particularly clever either. For me, the biggest appeal of this series is that the lower IQ allows a lot of humorous shenanigans that wouldn't fly in real life to take place, but it also has all of the standard Isekai tropes done decently well if that's your cup of tea.

Did I enjoy... more>> reading this? Yes. Would I recommend it to someone else? Probably not.

Relevant Tags: Isekai, Comedy, Drama, Harem, Overpowered Protagonist

Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Good)

Spoiler

    • Writing: 2.5 / 5 (Sub-Par)
    • Translation: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
    • Characters: 3 / 5 (OK)
    • Story: 2.5 / 5 (Sub-Par)
    • World: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
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Reasons to love this story:

Spoiler

    • Likeable protagonist who actually experiences challenges appropriate for his power level.
    • Lots of humorous antics.
    • Harem.
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Reasons to hate this story:

Spoiler

    • No real overarching story, and little thought put into the various subplots.
    • Characters are remarkably one dimensional and not particularly bright.
    • Harem.
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Sanatoga
PSA: All the 1-star reviews come from the first 10 chapters. Read the prologue, then skip to chapter 10 part 3, ctrl+F "Half a year after my birth", and start reading from there.

If you like generic Isekai, this story is perhaps the best-written example of it that you will find. BUT, if you can't at least tolerate all of the listed Relevant Tags, you'll have to skip this story. Sorry.

Relevant Tags: Isekai (Parallel World), Adventure, Harem, Romance, Breast Fetish

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)

Spoiler
  • Writing: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Translation: 4.5 / 5 (Excellent)
  • Characters: 3.5 / 5 (Good)
  • Story: 4 / 5 (Very Good)
  • World: 3 / 5 (OK)
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Reasons to love this story:

Spoiler
  • Competent, kindhearted protagonist who doesn't hesitate to be assertive when the situation calls for it.
  • Actually made me feel something for the characters involved. This is the first web novel I've ever encountered where the author actually capitalizes on really touching emotional scenes in the story, rather than glossing over them due to incompetence.
  • Main characters all have genuinely engaging backstories, and are fairly dynamic. Minor characters, while one-dimensional, somehow still manage to feel unique and vibrant.
  • There is a pretty darn good romance between the protagonist and the main girl, and no doubt about who this girl is. It's honestly almost up to the standards of Chivalry of a Failed Knight, which is high praise. (CFK is written by an author who has actual experience with relationships)
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Reasons to hate this story:

Spoiler
  • Protagonist has a terminal case of breast fetishism.
  • Unbelievable levels of harem: up to 15 already. Almost literally every female character introduced loves the protagonist either romantically or as a family member (no signs of incest so far)
  • Still not up to the standards of actually good published literature. (But if you're reading web novels, this is a given)
  • The first 10 chapters are comprised entirely of a combination of breast play and blatant mind control. Thankfully, both are massively toned down after chapter 10, and the breast play is toned down even further as the story progresses.
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