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nin
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I Was a Sword When I Reincarnated (WN)
August 25, 2017
Status: c79
The first 12 chapters are readable, but they are pretty cliche. It's just a typical OP protagonist in a JRPG style world story, except that the OP protagonist is a sword. Any novelty that comes from the sword aspect wears off pretty fast, and the fact that there are a trillion skills to keep track of even early on doesn't help matters much.

Once the sword meets its sword master though, the quality of the story rises dramatically. It's overall a pretty much a slice of life adventurer story, but the... more>> main protagonist bounces off the deuteragonist (loli cat girl swordwielder Fran) extremely well. They have a sweet father-daughter relationship going on, and the generic personality of the swords develops to be a bit more fatherly. In contrast, Fran is a stoic badass. The side characters aren't really developed much, but the dialogue the main two characters have with the side characters is consistently entertaining even while the novel is world building.

The flaws of the OP protagonist style story are mitigated by the fact that Fran is vulnerable without the sword and that the story is about making her stronger rather than just making the sword as OP as possible. The character Fran has a clear motivation to get stronger (fulfilling her parent's wish of a successful evolution) that the sword is convinced to help Fran in. There isn't much of a plot otherwise, but it's sufficient for holding the story together. The world building is also pretty interesting. It's not 100% original, but I like certain takes the author has on typical JRPG cliches like dungeons.

Overall, it's a pretty well executed isekai story. There are better ones, but this is still higher enough above average to warrant checking out. <<less
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Goblin Kingdom
August 24, 2017
Status: v2c110
It seems like Re:Monster at first glance, but it quickly becomes its own story.

1. The Main Character establishes that he wants to conquer the whole world early on. At first, it's just because he wants to make the most of his second life, but as he warms up to his subordinate goblins, it becomes clear that he's partly doing it for their sake too. He wants to be the invincible King that they all praise him to be and be a shining example, not necessarily morally speaking, but more in... more>> the sense of sheer greatness. Also, he has a sane number of skills in his skill list (less than a couple dozen) unlike most protagonists in the Weak to Strong genre. More than his strength, skill, and intellect, the most OP thing about him is willpower and ambition, and that makes the Goblin King extremely compelling and worthy of his title of King.

2. Most of the named goblin side characters have hilariously simplistic names. The fact that some of them end up being memorable regardless is a testament to how well developed they are. The author will effectively switch viewpoints to show the named Goblin's point of view and characterize them effectively. They are far from mindless loyalists in a monster horde. Gi Ga, in particular, gets his own time as the protagonist. The unmemorable name issue starts getting alleviated in the latter half of volume 1. There are some human side characters too, a couple in particular that are really well developed, and even other monster species occasionally have a cool side character.

3. This relates a bit to number one, but in pretty much every major battle, it's obvious that the protagonist needs his subordinates. Even if he's doing a climactic duel by himself, the side characters are always around to help him out in any way they can, whether that may be through waiting patiently to prevent themselves from interfering during an important duel by keeping faith in their king, by holding back the enemy forces, or even by assisting during a crucial moment. In turn, he does the same for his subordinates, to the point that he is hesitant to use risky plans that may directly cause subordinate deaths. They have a extremely strong bond overall as King and Subject.

Honestly, the only complaint I have so far is that the beginning battle in Vol 2 is a little too long. Yet, that battle has so memorable moments that I can't really hate it at all. <<less
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Goblin Slayer
September 19, 2017
Status: v3
The best part of this novel series is the main himself, Goblin Slayer. Putting a superhero cliche (hyper prepared normal person bound by vengence) into a fantasy world works surprisingly well, and it helps a lot that the novel fleshes him out so well and shows sides about that aren't just about goblin slaying. The bizarre quirk the novel has of referring characters to their class name rather than their actual name only makes the protagonist's self proclaimed title of Goblin Slayer stand out that much more.

Even though the side... more>> characters have very mundane names (like Priestess and Guild Girl), the author fleshes out the important ones really well. Priestess in particular is almost as well developed as Goblin Slayer, and most of the other reccuring side characters aren't too far behind.

There are harem elements, but they are really minor. No romantic antics while the party is slaying goblins, just a little to spice up the SoL segments. The love interests (Cow Girl, Guild Girl, High Elven Hunter, and Priestess) are fleshed out enough that it doesn't feel like mindless pandering, and the relationship Goblin Slayer has with his male companions are fleshed out similarly well.

The world building is neat, explaining why creatures as dangerous as goblins are underestimated so much and how deadly they would be in a realistic setting. There are also mentions of more high fantasy elements occuring in the background even though the series is almost entirely low fantasy, but they serve mostly to hammer in the point that the novel is mostly about background characters doing their best fighting off the more mundane evils of the fantasy world. They help to make the series and the world feel more complete.

The overall plot isn't about grand ideas about saving the world, it's about fighting goblins. As such, the plot amounts to loosely connected side quests rather than one big epic quest. The character development is strong enough to hold the series together regardless, just don't expect something plot-focused. Each individual adventure is fun though with how the Goblin Slayer and his allies overcome their various difficulties with crazy antics.

Overall, if you want a great fantasy LN series about a unique protagonist, solid side characters, neat world building, and interesting adventures, you can't go wrong with Goblin Slayer. <<less
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My Pet Is a Holy Maiden
August 25, 2017
Status: c51
This novel has two aspects that are above average.

1. The relationship between the two characters is absolutely adorable. The grampa is pretty chill too.

2. The devils are a really interesting enemy.

... more>> Most of the other aspects like the side characters and world building are about average. They aren't notably terrible, but they aren't notably great either. The OP protagonist is pretty OP, but he's not that bad as far as OP protagonists go.

The current arc, the guild arc, is pretty boring since it's the same old cliches for the most part, which is why this review is 3 stars instead of 4. Hopefully, it can get better. <<less
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I Reincarnated Into a Vending Machine
August 25, 2017
Status: c51
Honestly, I have a fondness for series like these. It's always great to see how the author can take the most idiotic premise and execute it well.

In any case, this is one of those cases. The protagonist isn't overly special, but he has an extreme enthusiasm for vending machines. Seeing what absurd antics he can pull is fun, whether it is trying to sell food to stay alive, fighting bosses single-handedly, or taking care of certain societal issues. Sure, he uses common sense like a lot of isekai protagonists, but... more>> he can only do that because of all of the crazy vending machines he has encountered throughout his life. The heroines (?) and side characters aren't that well developed in and of themselves, but they have fun dialogue with the protagonist and each other. The novel's gimmick of restricting the protagonist's speech to a few words, and the side characters trying to interpret what he's trying to say make simple conversations more fun than they should be. Eventually, they grow to love the vending machine, and he grows to love them. There's a real sense of community between the characters of the novel.

The pacing is overall slow, and this story isn't for everyone mainly for that reason (and the absurd premise). For me however, it is very entertaining. If you want a weird SOL story, try this one out. <<less
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Re:Monster
August 24, 2017
Status: v2d93
It's interesting at first. The protagonist is a jerk, but he isn't irredeemably so, and if nothing else, it's a nice change of pace from the goody two shoes protagonist isekai stories normally have. However, at some point, soon after he reaches the Ogre stage, the protagonist becomes too OP to care about anymore. He acquires powers way too easily, just by eating, and his skill list is unmanageable. The side characters have some personality, but they aren't developed enough to stand on their own for the most part, especially... more>> the harem he has. The setting isn't overly interesting either, but that just may be me.

2 stars because even if it is bad, it's not close to absolutely horrible. It just could be a lot better. <<less
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nin
It's neither great or good, only decent.

The protagonist isn't particularly unique, but his dialogue and thoughts are entertaining enough to carry the novel.

The pace of the novel is pretty slow, but not unbearably so. Just when it arguably gets too SoL, it becomes obvious that events are brewing in the background.

My biggest issue right now is that the protagonist changes location drastically after the first arc and meets a new cast of side characters with the old ones probably not appearing for a long while. That said, the old side... more>> characters are referenced enough that it's likely they'll be relevant again. <<less
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Knights & Magic
August 24, 2017
Status: v5c39
Do you like giant robots? Yes? Then go ahead; it's honestly about as simple as that.

To go into further detail, while it does have the typical cliche of the OP protagonist, said OP protagonist isn't that bad because the novel goes into detail about how he trained really hard to become that OP instead of it being due to luck. It makes it clear that anyone who trained as hard as the protagonist could theoretically become as strong. Furthermore, if you hate harems, there's none of that here. Furthermore, while... more>> the protagonist does use his personal common sense to advance technology, I found that the explanation for why the protagonist's and the world's common sense on how to treat the mecha to be 100% justified especially if you consider that the time the world takes place in is pre-industrial/scientific revolution.

The highlight of this novel series are the magical mecha research and development sequences. The explanations for the technology and mecha designs are always fun to read. Unfortunately, in contrast, the action scenes aren't as strong, even if they are usually adequate. The first three volumes don't have much of an overarching plot and are very slice of life. The seeds of a plot are planted in volume 2 and manifest in full form at volume 4 though.

The protagonist is largely a static character and doesn't really go under much character development, but the side characters get their own somewhat interesting character arcs that let some of them be likable. None of the side characters individually are strong enough to carry the story along, but even though the protagonist doesn't really develop as a character, he is pretty easy to empathize with if you like giant robots enough and is compelling enough to be the center of the story.

But seriously, the medieval mecha are cool. And in the end, perhaps that is all that truly matters for the hardcore mecha fan. <<less
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Semi Datte Tensei Sureba Ryuu Ni Naru
September 16, 2017
Status: epilogue
This is a short story that is only as long as it needs to be. While it has some elements of being a heroic fantasy sort of tale, it's mostly just a short story about one soul living its life to the fullest. It's not a grand epic adventure, but it doesn't need to be, and that is perfectly fine.

There are stories with better characterization, world building, combat feats, and so forth. This is mainly due to the length of the story itself. However, this particular story is surprisingly well... more>> constructed, so it ends up being greater than the sum of its parts. As a whole, it is truly really great.

I can definitely recommend giving it a read. <<less
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Zero no Tsukaima
August 25, 2017
Status: v21
First, the LN is significantly better than the anime. It's not better to the point where you'll like the LN if you abhor the anime, but if you think the anime is mediocre, the LN doesn't have some of the anime's more glaring issues. There are less deus ex machinas and the relationship doesn't seem to reset every season for example. As a result, Saito and Louis are more likable, but that may just be me.

It's somewhat obvious that this inspired future isekai stories significantly especially with the harem antics... more>> and the focus on a technical magic system rather than vague magic. Other than the lack of RPG statistics though, one important thing that this LN does not have that a lot of future isekai stories have is an overpowered protagonist. He can do some crazy things, but he's not remotely god-tier.

The world building is surprisingly good with a significant amount of politics if that intrigues you. The world and magic system overall are better elaborated in the LNs than the anime. The characters also end up being surprisingly well rounded as time goes on, especially Saito, Louise, and their classmates. The character development is probably the strongest point of the LN, even if it's occasionally done through annoying harem antics and even if Louise may be considered an unlikable love interest. Interestingly, the novel has a bunch of side characters the anime skips over. They aren't overly important, but they help to flesh out the world.

Honestly speaking, even with harem antics interfering, the relationship between Saito and Louise is probably one of the best written ones I've seen. At the very least, it's my favorite romance involving a tsundere in a light novel. That could be just nostalgia talking, but if you like tsunderes at all, you should give this a try just for that.

Even if you don't like tsunderes though, I would say give the first few novels a try. If you can somehow warm up to Louise, you'll probably be able to enjoy the rest of the series. <<less
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