Saturday, September 16, 2017

Seven Seas License Anouncment Take Away

Recently Seven Seas held a License acquisition promotion form September 11th to September 15th announcing new titles on Social Media. For the most part, it was a motley assortment of Isekai titles, Yuri, comedies, and one Boys' Love Manga. It should also be noted along with print rights Seven Seas also received digital rights for the titles as well which means nothing to me because my eyesight is too bad to read Manga digitally but is nice for people like reading thing digitally. I could only think of a few titles that got me really excited so this will not be like my post I wrote on license announcements at Anime Expo 2017 on July 4th of this year. It will more be me giving my thoughts on the titles in question instead of explaining why I'm looking forward to them with the exception of the titles I'm excited about. So let's get this started and I'll be going through the announcements as Seven Seas announced them on their website also please note all pricing and release information if from Seven Seas' Press Releases for thew series with that out of the way first up is. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest by Ryou Hakumai and RoGa (Volume 1 will be released on March 6, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): This is a Manga adaptation of the Light Novel of the same name about a classroom of students who transported to a fantasy world and the hero Hajime Nagumo is given the weak title of Synergist. Being able only to craft things. Before gaining powers and if latter art is to be believed a conveniently much older Loli Vampire Waifu. Full disclosure I pre-ordered the first novel of the original Light Novel series to this simply to support Seven Seas in their new venture in publishing Light Novels. So this title is less I don't like it and more that if I'm already reading the novel this seems superfluous to me. Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?! by FUNA, Itsuki Akata, and Neko Mint (Manga Series) and Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life?! by FUNA and Itsuki Akata (Light Novel Series) (Light Novel price and Release date: Volume 1 will be released on June 12, 2018 for $13.99 USA / $15.99 CAN. Manga release date and price: Volume 1 will be released on July 24, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN). A story of a girl who starts receiving visions of a past life and a somehow bungled promise made with god over average powers. This is one I would read but considering all the Light Novels I have yet to read or have waiting in the wings this is one I'll pass on more for not wanting to overburden myself than that I don't think it will be good. Kei Murayama’s Mushroom Girls In Love (will be released on July 3, 2018, for $13.99 USA / $15.99 CAN.): A one-shot Yuri title about sentient anthropomorphized mushrooms from the creator of Centaur's Life. All I have to say is I can bet you dollars to doughnuts there will be luminescent blushing and spores being cast about at one point. I don't hate this title as much I'm baffled by it but Seven Seas is meeting a need for what is thought to be an underserved part of the Western Fandom so kudos to them for filling a perceived lack of content. Precarious Woman Executive Miss Black General by Jin ( Volume 1 will be released on June 19, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN Available for pre-order now on Amazon): A story about a female Supervillain who harbors romantic feelings for her heroic antagonist this was the first title I saw that made me go "got to get in on this." The concept simply sounds hilarious along with it being Slapstick comedy a kind of comedy I think get short shrift among fans of comedy. I don't expect much from this but a good laugh is still a good thing. Little Devils by Uuumi ( Volume 1 will be released on July 10, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN): A title in which the hero Byron is essentially forced to become a daycare worker for a horde of demonic children after the defeat of The Demon King. This was the second title I got excited about but sadly much like when Red Riding Hood and The Big Sad Wolf was announced there is almost no information outside of the press release on it. However, this is an example of a child-rearing Manga one of the genres of Manga along with Pet Manga that I feel The West does not get enough of. This could be a fun little romp unless it crosses over into "I want to marry Daddy" territory. Also, one of the children looks like Tanya von Degurechaff from Saga of Tanya the Evil Could be fun if it avoids unfortunate implications. The Voynich Hotel by Seiman Douman (Volume 1 will be released on June 26, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): The story of an ex-Yakuza who checks into a mysterious hotel apparently this was a hot property among some fans I know nothing about it or the author's previous work so I'm frankly ambivalent about it. Good for the people who like it though I'm happy for them. Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter by Reia and Suki Umemiya (Volume 1 will be released on August 14, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN): The story of a female Otome Game Otaku who after being killed in a car accident becomes the Antagonist of the game she was just playing. Markes the beginning of the vein of Isekai titles that Seven Seas saw fit to license. Now I don't hate Isekei as much as some any genre of fiction that gives us a title like I Wander in the Dungeon, Having Been Reborn as a Vending Machine. Can not be all that bad and this title could be a fun use of Dating Sim mechanics and wish fulfillment so mark this down as a maybe for me. Satan’s Secretary by Kamotsu Kamonabe (Volume 1 will be released on June 5, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN): The story of a normal woman who becomes the secretary for the Demon King and is slowly making herself indispensable and losing her humanity at the same time. This could be a fun romp through middle brow fantasy and the idea of the personification of evil needing a secretary to plan his activities and collate paperwork makes me chuckle a bit inside. The Ancient Magus’ Bride series: The Ancient Magus’ Bride Supplement I and The Ancient Magus’ Bride Official Guide Book Merkmal (The Ancient Magus’ Bride Supplement I The book will be released on May 1, 2018, for $13.99 USA / $15.99 CAN The Ancient Magus’ Bride Official Guide Book Merkmal The book will be released on July 3, 2018, for $13.99 USA / $15.99 CAN.): Supplemental guidebooks to The Ancient Magus' Bride I don't care about this I'm not actively hostile to this but I didn't like the original series so it's hard for me to work up any real enthusiasm for it. Great for fans of the series combined the upcoming Anime for it as well. Cutie Honey: The Classic Collection by Go Nagai (The book will be released on July 3, 2018, for $24.99 USA / $28.99 CAN): This is a real coup as Cutie Honey can be looked upon as the progenitor of the Magical Girl series for male demographic titles like Lyrical Nanoha. This is also more Go Nagai a Mangaka who doesn't seem to get his due for what he has done for Manga and Anime as a medium as opposed to the almost cult-like devotion some have to Tezuka. I can only hope that with this and the Devilman titles being released as well that Nagai can gain a following here. This title is a must buy as its release and success will hopefully mean more classic Go Nagai series in the future and with this being a "one and done" Omnibus. Get it everyone needs some of this spunky and sassy Magical Girl in their lives and Go Nagai the "fun uncle" of Manga needs to be more appreciated in The West so get this book read it and hope that someday we may be able to get Scandalous School if it's in the cards. The Dungeon of Black Company by Youhei Yasumura (Volume 1 will be released on May 22, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): From the artist behind the Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon Manga. This chronicles the adventures of a lazy guy named Kinji who gets transported to another world and "press-ganged" into working for a mining company. It sounds like a fun fish out of water series but other than a passing interest in the concept I can't work up much enthusiasm for the title something that I'm just a little "meh" about it all. How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord by Yukiya Murasaki and Naoto Fukuda (Volume 1 will be released on March 13, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): A Manga adaptation of a series Light Novels about a socially awkward Gamer who ends up inhabiting the body of his character form the game he was playing and decides to become "The Demon Lord" of the game only to have his own social ineptitude get in the way. While also gaining two slaves a Cat Girl and an Elf. No doubt many find the idea of owning two women as slaves distasteful and if that puts you off I can't blame you for moving on from this one. Yet slavery or the ownership of others is a thing in certain Light Novel series from The Rising of the Shield Hero to Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody to name two recent examples. It all depends on how it's used but my word if this title does not have one of the most off-putting covers I've seen in recent memory it looks like some Record of Lodoss War Salve Doujinshi combined with John Normans' Saga of Gor novels. So do with it what you will draw your own conclusions read it or not I personally would have preferred to have the original Light Novels though. How to Treat Magical Beasts by Kajiya (Volume 1 will be released on May 22, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): A young girl Ziska becomes the apprentice to a veterinarian for magical creatures in a time when magic is slowly being overtaken by the rise of science. In short, this sounds like a gentle slice of life and occupational Manga that has potential to be a title for everyone. That is something I'm all for as titles need to be more for everybody without trying to pander to everyone and this title has potential if nothing else. If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord by CHIROLU and Hota (Volume 1 will be released on May 1, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): Manga adaptation of the Light Novel series about a young adventurer who adopts a young devil girl. This is a title that is for a certain kind of fan and I'm not one of them. Mostly because of the places the story goes in latter volumes without spoiling it too much if the ending to Usagi Drop made you uncomfortable give this one a pass. I for one don't feel like reading this or having to use the "yes but" line argumentation for why I like something. Hungry For You: Endo Yasuko Stalks the Night by Flowerchild (Volume 1 will be released on May 15, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN): A vampire Yuri love comedy that is really it. Yuri for me is like how Candy Corn is to Lewis Black I think I'll like it and when I am done consuming it I'm left reminding myself "oh yeah I don't like this" so I'll pass on this but it is Seven Seas meeting a demographic that has been underserved so I have to give them props for that even if it is not a genre I enjoy or read. Himouto! Umaru-chan by Sankaku Head ( Volume 1 will be released on May 22, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): The inspiration for the Internet Meme that won't die no matter how much 4chan wants it to die. This was a series that originally I thought of as a toothless WataMote. Yet this story of the slovenly Otaku little sister who presents herself as the perfect High School girl in public and her overworked put-upon older brother. Grew on me thanks to the Anime adaptation I'm looking forward to it as I need more comedy in my life and this has an odd assortment of side characters and may have a fun amount of inside references to Manga and Anime as well. If anything I expect fast-paced comedy. Go For It, Nakamura! by Syundei (Go For It, Nakamura! will be released on July 3, 2018, for $12.99 USA / $14.99 CAN.): The story of a painfully shy boy who finds himself falling in love with his classmate Hirose but is a bumbling klutz and may botch the potential relationship before it starts. The first boys' Love title Seven Seas has licensed this is another one and done Omnibus like Cutie Honey for BL fans this was a much-requested title for me it's a pass I've tried to get into Yaoi and BL in the past because critics I respected liked it and it's a genre I can't make myself like for numerous reasons. With that, I conclude this personal look at the latest Seven Seas acquisitions also as noted from their Twitter all books should be up for pre-order by next week. In conclusion, if you find something you like remember it's only Manga words, ink, and paper so don't be a jerk if someone states a dislike for something you like. Although I can say I was really hoping Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san by Souichirou Yamamoto would be picked up but I guess there is always next time for that. With that thanks to seven Seas for all the great Manga memories past and future and never forget to vote with your wallet.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Waiting For Spring Volume 2: Review

Mitsuki continues her quest to try and not only be more open with others but figure out her relationship with Towa is as well as now having to deal with her childhood friend Aya-Chan not only being back in her life again but the strong girl she wanted to be like is actually a boy and a star basketball player as well. With this, her ill defined relationship with Towa and her attempts to make female friends floundering Mitsuki is trying to figure out how to interact with others and sort out her burgeoning feelings for Towa that she feels only half aware of. Mitsuki in this volume is an interesting focal point while the boys of the school basketball club do get some focus for the most part it's Mitsuki trying to come out of her shell or figure out how she feels about Towa or Towa trying to figure out how he feels about Mitsuki it's a slowly burgeoning relationship of some kind. While it honestly ends up not feeling like harem series with the only serious apparent rival bring Mitsuki's childhood friend Aya. Aya is now back from America and revealed to be a boy who is up front about his intentions with Mitsuki. So a possible love triangle is in the works and the strongest parts of the volume are the interactions between Aya and Mitsuki be it the flash back of how they became friends to the in retrospect embarrassing amount of close personal contact and personal conversations they had while Mitsuki thought Aya was a girl. This is less a volume less about romantic matters of the heart and more about Mitsuki figuring out how to interact with others be it her and Reina going over how to improve her asking other girls out after school so she can hang out. To the internal monologues replete with self-doubt and recriminations of her own lack of presence in a social setting. For anyone who had an awkward adolescence or is simply more socially anxious or introverted, it's really easy to relate to Mitsuki. For this Waiting for Spring is something special while Towa is less a wish fulfillment "boyfriend" and more a kind of dense guy who sees a rival in Aya but also realizes how important Aya is to Mitsuki as well. Thankfully avoiding the overly possessive tendencies found in some male leads in Shojo Manga. With a mixture of the sweet awkward blossoming of Mitsuki and actual engaging potential love triangle in which both rivals feel like legitimate contenders. While also not reducing the female lead to a "Mary Sue" Anashin is to be praised. Panel layout and flow of action, in particular, should be praised as often times Shojo Manga is more about the mind and emotions the basketball pick up game the boys try to use cheer up Mitsuki shows that action can flow just as well as intimate moments of emotional vulnerability and introspection. With this volume, the series has gained emotional depth while never sinking into melodramatic angst or vicariously inflating the audience's sense of self or ego. In conclusion, this volume is less about the will they or won't they of a potential relationship although that is an element and is more about Mitsuki coming out of her shell and coming to terms not only with the past but a future that she subconsciously feels undeserving of in her own mind. I have to respect the series for being willing to give this much introspection to a lead character as it would be easy to reduce Mitsuki to an audience self-insert but instead she is fully Mitsuki and I while I thought the appeal of this series would originally be a seemingly light and frothy harem caper no instead it's a well-done story about a girl learning about herself and also experiencing love or it's first pangs at least. Impressive to say the least this volume is a treat for those that want a well-written heroine in Shojo Manga and male leads that feel real not some strange abstraction of the Mangaka's fantasies or idea of what the audience would like.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Aho-Girl Volume 2 Review

Chronicling the misadventures of the incredibly stupid title character Yoshiko Hanabatake and her put upon friends family and acquaintances. While this volume also focuses on side characters like the Head Monitor who has become an obsessed stalker of Yoshiko's childhood friend (also the straight man of the series) Akkun. Along with the standard collection of school days stories and slapstick and comedy through misapprehension. Aho-Girl works within the basic structure of a four panel Manga meaning that while there are some long form story arcs in the volume most the volume is dedicated to rapid fire jokes usually based around how incredibly stupid Yoshiko is. Along with numerous references to Japanese pop culture, Manga, Anime, and word puns all of which are helpfully explained with translator's notes in the back. How enjoyable one finds this volume will depend on how much you find the idea of an incredibly stupid girl forcing herself upon life and those that are forced to deal with her. Akkun for the most part simply feels like Yoshiko is the proverbial albatross around his neck. While he is also held up for ridicule with his friendless solitary existence. Making for a rather mean spirited series which I honestly find refreshing as four panel Manga or what gets licensed in America tends to either anodyne Moe series or slice of life series that feel aimless and plodding. Aho-Girl however feels more like a work by Fujio Akatsuka a throw back to anarchic and often scatological Gag Manga of the Seventies and Sixties and while a series like Crayon Shin-Chan could be argued that it had a greater message of not taking one's self so seriously. Aho-Girl has none of that it simply asks you to laugh derisively at an incredibly stupid girl and the collection of oddball side characters that gravitate around the black hole of ignorance that is Yoshiko. One could make a case that there is a kind of latent misogyny but the series is more apt to ridicule Yoshiko for her stupidity or determination to have fun than use her as a writ large example of all the foibles of Womankind as a whole. As is volume two of Aho-Girl is distilled slapstick that makes for a fast paced and sometimes second-hand embarrassing series. In particular, anytime the series switches focus toward the Head Monitor and her obsessed love with Akkun. Especially since Akkun sees her as just some weird girl that is around him. If nothing else and not to damn the series with faint praise it is fun. Often times in reviewing Manga it is a temptation to invest the medium you review with an importance or profundity it often does not have or aspire to as a mass medium. Aho-Girl is the perfect example of a series that is simple minded fun and unashamedly so for that, I commend it to readers as Manga needs in some ways to be saved from its own fans need to make it more important than it really is.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Delcious In Dungeon Volume Two Review

Laio's party continues its track through the Dungeon in hopes of saving Laio's sister from being digested by the red dragon. While also learning more about the ecosystem from Senshi and interacting with residents such as the Orcs and the history of the acrimony between Orcs and the other races. While also building each character from Chilchuck and his fear of Mimics due to past experiences to Senshi's strange relationship with a Kelpie, Even Laio's interaction with a creature that creates illusions in a painting in an attempt to stave off hunger when supplies are low. As a volume, this is more based around fleshing out not only the world but also the relationship between the characters Laios is an inarticulate but good hearted but at times inarticulate while also being knowledgeable of monsters as well. Senshi's use of golems as living vegetable gardens being the most original part of the volume while also answering a question I had about how one would get ahold of fresh produce in this subterranean maze. While each chapter is based on a specific dish and each is painstakingly detailed. The focus of the volume is not the mere act of trying to acquire food or eating it. SO thankful this is some growth in the story beyond the original concept of eating fantasy creatures although some are down right like Treasure bug jelly made from a kind of venomous insect that looks like the treasure. Probably the best recipe is the Exorcism Sorbet which is made when Senshi makes an inter-faith holy water to defeat a pack of ghouls and ghosts with the holy water being frozen by contact with the undead monsters. This also works as the strongest chapter in the entire volume as it establishes a bigger reason for wanting to save and develop Laio's sister Farin and why the party cares for her. Overall a volume that has a broader scope and tries to ground the world in more than mere fantasy conventions, tropes, and clichés while also giving the characters personalities. Laios may be unthinking and awkward but you can tell he cares for his sister Senshi is more than a monster eating eccentric and while Marcille is still very much a worry wart she is also at least the voice of reason and at times has a touch of the romantic to her as well keeping her from being shrewish or shrill. While Chilchuck gets down right vulnerable in his focus chapter when dealing with his fear of Mimics given his profoundly negative experiences in the past. Also, the boiled mimic makes for a delicious looking dish as well. While making Kelpie soap is another part of the story that makes for something that adds to the "flavor text" of the world that not only can monsters be made for food but also common household items like soap as well. This volume shows that Delicious In Dungeon is more than a one note curiosity or worse a self-serious joke that doesn't know it's a joke. With small incremental character development and subtle world building combined with a contumely strong design on food and now a soap along with natural sounding dialogue that makes the characters continue to feel like they actually know each other well enough to bicker, be vulnerable and have concern for each other.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Girl's Last Tour Volume 2 Review

Chito and Yuuri continue the journey in their Kettenkrad across the desiccated landscape of the post civilizational world. Finding old temples dedicated to unknown and long forgotten gods As well as learning how to use a camera dreaming about what it would be like to have an actual residence. How to deal with the elements and even an entire chapter dedicated to a dream sequence Chito has involving a giant Yuuri who transforms into a giant fish. All the while continuing their nomadic lifestyle scavenging for food and supplies and sleeping in the rough. While also having little human contact outside of each other with the exception of the inventor Ishii in this volume who conscripts the two into helping her build an airplane in exchange for repairs on their Kettenkrad. Girl's Last Tour continues to be strangely alienating and emotionally cold while ostensibly a slice of life series and Chito and Yuuri being girls whether they are cute or not will be up to how much you enjoy Tsukumizu's sketchy minimalist character design. It conjures up none of the warm and fuzzy feelings one would associate with something that tries to induce the feeling of Moe in the audience. Instead, it's a bleak sometimes oddly philosophical look at life after the end. From questions of the existence of and the uses of "god" and religion in the temple chapter. To a throwaway reference by Chito that she has no idea what cheese is it's a volume that feels suffocating and claustrophobic for the most part. With the small respite of the dream sequence adding an enjoyable amount of surreal imagery and humor. In fact finding enjoyment in everyday life seems less a kind of way to sacralize the every day with a sense of wonder and more like an arduous process of relearning lost knowledge or cultural memory. Be it music, aeronautics, or technology. A series that captures a sense of angst in a seemingly simple and light hearted package while also the relationship between Chito and Yuuri continues to develop while at times seeming like an attempt at Manzi style comedy with Yuuri playing the dull witted funny man to Chito's high strung and bookish straight man. They both feel to have hopes, dreams, and desires but also have to live in the now as well if for no other reason than to survive each new days struggles. Making for a duo that has to work through strengths, weaknesses, and differing personalities. this continues to be a strangely cozy from of bleakness comparable to how Aimee Mann's 2001 album Lost in Space was described by some critics as the coziest depiction of depression and alienation they had heard in recent memory. Much like I said in my review of Generation Witch Girl's Last Tour will never have a huge fanbase of Cosplayers or Fan Fiction or a wide readership. It's a quirky odd little slice of alienating comfort that makes the dilapidated cityscapes feel like home. Tsukumizu's art captures the scale of the torn down twisted metal left over remnants of human culture and even the simple joy of a bath, a hot meal, a roof over your head and a chance to dream about what might be. Also, the layout of the city is planned out in a three tiered structure. While the how and why of the world's end is still unexplained the crumbling concrete and twisted metal point to a seemingly advanced civilization. Even if nothing is revealed beyond this piecemeal world building it's not hard to be sucked in by the desiccated grandeur of it all.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Love & Lies Volume One Review

In the future, the Japanese government has instituted a system using various forms of testing and social engineering and genetic testing to figure out a government approved arranged marriage partner for when citizens turn sixteen years old. In the hopes of reversing the declining Japanese birth rate. For the most part has proven immensely successful at creating a more successful and intelligent new generation of Japanese youth through this form of social engineering. Into this world of socially engineered romance lives a boy named Yukari Nejima an average High School boy who on the cusp of his Sixteenth birthday decides to pluck up his courage and confess his feelings to his childhood crush Misaki a beautiful "girl next door." Only to receive his notice of his government assigned partner after he has confessed his feelings and Misaki has reciprocated his feelings. So begins a love triangle under the watchful eye of the government. In parts, romantic comedy and romantic drama Love & Lies is simple but not insultingly so but it doesn't try to imbue the teenage emotions of the cast with a kind of world ending solemnity that some Romance Manga try to instill in their storylines. Yukari for his part is very much a simple non-entity content to pine after Misaki and occasionally enthuse about his interest in ancient Japanese burial mounds called Kofun. Being overall awkward and stumbling over himself in attempts to interact with others. When his government assigned partner the prickly Lilina Sanada is introduced the story gets its first real interjection of personality in the story. As Misaki is very much a bland nice girl of course how much of this is because she is seen through the filter of Yukari's love for her. In the first part of the story is up to debate, overall except for the one instance where Masaki enthuses about all the little things she likes about Yukari from his hair whorl to awkward running stance and that is endearing and it at least helps Masaki be a little more human and a little less wish fulfillment girlfriend. In all honesty, Lilina is the most engaging character in the volume being alternatively awkward, book smart, and self-sacrificing it's hard not to feel like someone will have their heart broken in later volumes though. Overall Love & Lies is able to take a seemingly dystopian setting show how it is beneficial to society while harmful to the individual without making the government a stand in for one's parents. How bad you think the government mandated marriage system is will depend on how much you sympathize with Yukari and Misaki's seemingly star crossed plight. I couldn't find myself to care all that much as the sum total of their affection for each other stems from one seemingly inconsequential act of kindness on Yukari's part. That Yukari and Misaki both hold onto in secret. Sure first love can spring from seemingly mundane things but this feels hollow at best. While the art is crudely drawn in its attempts at super deformed comedic bits. While overall the character design feels blurry and could benefit from sharper of cleaner line work and an overuse of screen tone makes clothing and hair look muddy not as crisply defined as it could be. In conclusion, this volume sets up a fictional world that is more interesting than the characters that inhabit it hopefully in future volumes I can grow to actually care about the problems of the characters instead of wishing for a volume full of world building and lore in what is ostensibly a romance manga for teens.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Death March To The Parallel World Rhapsody Volume One: Review

Satou Suzuki a twenty-nine-year-old computer programmer falls asleep in the middle of an all night shift trying to finish up a mobile game before launch. Only to find himself in a content of mystery and magic at first thinking it is a dream. Satou slowly learns about the mysterious lands carrying out adventures and coming to enjoy the daily life of the city he ends up inhabiting called Seiryuu City. Being shown around by his friend the magic knight Zena. While also being aged down to the age of fifteen and gaining three beast people slaves while having to fight a demon in a labyrinth that the monster has created while all the while trying to hide his massive powers and proficiency in magic and effortlessly gain skills and navigate the culture and politics of the city he now calls home. Death March To the Parallel World Rhapsody takes the trope of the overpowered hero to ridiculous extremes with Satou gaining skills and applying experience points with ease. No that's not a metaphor Satou literally has a display screen only he can see that has him acquire skills and marshal points he get from actions he carries out. Often breaking the narrative momentum of the story to announce that Satou has acquired a new skill, In between interior monologues and the slice of life capering with Zena through a good portion of the book along with some exposition of the society of this new world. That includes slavery and demon lords along with poverty prostitution and a simple almost medieval era feel. Satou for his part while not a complete cipher is mostly in the story to carry out adventures and be blandly genial for most of has actions have to balance his being mentally twenty-nine years old while looking fifteen and gaining female admirers and acquaintances left and right. It almost feels like a foregone conclusion that this series will turn into a harem series in future volumes. that being said the few named girls that have significant interactions with Satou while simplistically written and easily summarized in one-word descriptions. The story was able to make me care about them. Although in the labyrinth battle Satou's newly acquired slaves the beast girls Liza the Lizard Girl, Tama the loli Cat Girl, and Pochi the loli dog girl. Feel less like people and more like items to be equipped of course this could also be because of the heavy use of RPG mechanics as the means by which the story is told as well and could be less about objectification and more about the party and quest dynamics being used in the world as Satou tries to make sense in the hostile demonic labyrinth. One should not think this will be an swash buckling adventure despite the opening scene of Satou wiping out a horde of Lizard Men with a meteor shower or the dungeon crawling adventures in the latter half which is the best written part of the book in my opinion capturing a sense of gloom and isolation while also showing Satou's concern for Tama, Pochi, and Liza and the growth of their relationship. With its mixture of chilled out slice of life elements and RPG and Table Top gaming mechanics and combined with a protagonist who is written with the minimum amount of characterization. This could be a dull wish fulfillment power fantasy yet it ends up being engaging more for the slice of life elements than the fantasy battles although the labyrinth fights are more based around Satou using strategy or his companion's strengths to defeat or out outsmart enemies and defuse traps. While my favorite character ended up not being Satou but Liza who has a loyalty to her new found master combined with her aptitude with a spear and sisterly affection for Tama and Pochi make her for me a character I loved to see in the novel and would like to see get more development and growth as the series continues. Overall a sometimes sleepy Fantasy series that has an engaging secondary cast that more than makes up for the bland lead. Often simple but Ainana is able to construct the world and make it feel real not simply a poorly constructed aping of RPG tropes despite the use of game mechanics. While hints of differences in the world compared to Satou's world give some hope for a more complex world be it the prejudice against Beast People or the standards of beauty the society has as well. The inclusion of slavery may be a deal breaker for some but Satou's treatment of his newly acquired Slaves as his extended family at least makes it a little more palatable than it could have been.