LN Reading Program — June 28

(pictured: Mimizuku and the King of Night -- art source)

(pictured: Mimizuku and the King of Night — art source)

For the third week of this summer reading program, we will discuss the final act of Kagerou Daze (volume 1) and Mimizuku and the King of Night.

As a reminder, if you are (for example) familiar with later events in Kagerou Daze (e.g. via the manga or anime) please refrain from posting spoilers.

I’ll try to keep my thoughts short this week, as I’ll likely be writing reviews for these novels at some point.

Kagerou Daze

The third story of this volume continued things with Momo as the viewpoint character, which took me a bit by surprise at first. It made sense in the end though, as it turned out this was largely a retelling of the events in the first story, but this time following Momo and the Mekakushi gang. All in all it was a fun little romp.

Discussion Points

What did you think of this final story? Did it tie everything in this volume well enough for you?

General impressions of the volume as a whole? Thoughts on the cliffhanger/sequel bait?

Favorite scene? Favorite character? Where do you think the series will go from here?

Kagerou Daze was one of the top-selling light novel series in Japan last year. What do you think is its appeal? In what ways does it resonate with its target audience?

Mimizuku and the King of Night

The last two chapters of this tale moved along at a nice pace, and I felt satisfied with the way everything played out in the end. All in all I really liked this story, and can see why it won awards in Japan when it was first released.

Discussion Points

Did the story end in a way you expected? Anything you wish happened differently?

Does Mimizuku “belong” in the world of monsters? What is it that ultimately draws her back?

What are your thoughts on the book as a whole? Is it similar to any other titles you’ve read?

What reason do you feel is there for the general conflict between the human and monster lands? How do you think relations will fare from this point on in the world of this story?

———

As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.

12 responses to “LN Reading Program — June 28

  1. I thought the final story tied up the first volume up nicely, and also gave us a lot of information about the supernatural powers all these people had, but left us with some questions that makes you want to pickup the next volume (like where exactly did Shintaro wake up at, and why did Marie want to bury something?).

    I am actually glad they wrote the epilogue like they did because it shows a part of the story that you might not have expected to see based on reading the first volume alone. When I watched the first episode of the anime I was expecting to watch an anime all about a hikkimori and his AI companion. Was proven wrong by the second episode.

    My favorite scenes from the first volume were simply when Ene and Shintaro were bickering with each other. Made me laugh a lot.

    • What happened to Shintaro at the end did seem a bit unresolved–he was supposedly hit by a bullet, but he seems fine now.
      As for Marie, I assumed she wanted to bury the tea cup shards? I don’t recall if that was explicitly laid out.

      I’ve heard that Kagerou Daze becomes more serious as it goes along (and indeed seems foreshadowed by the epilogue), but I hope the series still maintains some of its wacky style that permeated this first volume.

  2. Whew! Took me a while to finish Kagerou Daze! The Kisaragi Attention chapter was a bit of a slog, but I did enjoy the last act quite a lot. I tend to like stories that show the same event from multiple perspectives, and the last act tied things together quite well.

    At the same time, I’m not really interested in reading the next volumes. Perhaps I would feel differently if I was into Vocaloids, because the story is quite cleverly constructed around the songs. The light novel has a strong sense of style and a quirky sense of humour, although the story tended to meander quite a bit. Perhaps it would have appealed to me more if I was more invested in the characters themselves…? As likable as they are, they seemed rather one-note even by the end.

    I have to say I did like Kano a lot. He reminded me a lot of Izaya from Durarara!, only more of a good guy.

    • The volume wasn’t too big on character development, but I did feel it fulfilled its “promises,” as it were. The two viewpoint characters each had his/her personal conflict to deal with, and by the end of the story there was definitely a sense of progression on both accounts. And all through a shared event at the department store, which I felt made it all more fun. I’m curious to see if its style holds up in later volumes, so I’ll probably be sticking with it.

      There were certainly parallels with Durarara that could be made, and comparing Kano with Izaya is an interesting point… They’re both characters who don’t seem to be fazed by anything, at least. Kano does seem much more harmless though, thankfully. =P

  3. Also, Mimizuku is great. What I liked most about it was how the story respected everyone’s individual choices, even as it made it clear that they all had limited freedom. Mimizuku chose to go back to the forest, Orietta chose a life of servitude, Dantes chose his country over his own desires, Claudius chose to become a leader even without the ability to move his limbs. (I was actually kinda disappointed that he gained physical mobility at the end because I think people with disabilities have as much autonomy as anyone else.)

    The fairytale-like tone of the story made it appealing too. I found myself agreeing a lot with what Hiro Arakawa wrote in the afterword. You don’t see many light novels like this one and I enjoyed every bit of it!

    • Yes, I agree with all this. Everything did overall work out quite nicely, considering the situation–but again, it didn’t feel so out-of-place considering the tone and style of the story in general.

      I really liked all the characters in this one. In a way everyone was more or less just fulfilling a specific role, but their interactions with one another was always interesting. It’s rare to have a story where there isn’t really anyone you can label *the villain*, which I felt make the story stand out quite a bit for a “fairy tale.”

  4. Pingback: What Japanese Readers Think of Light Novels: Kagerou Daze and Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou | Fantastic Memes·

  5. I think the story concluded very nicely. By the end, everyone made their peace, both the humans and the monsters successfully coexisted, and Mimizuku made her choice. It’s a very typical “happy ever after” ending, but seeing as how this book has so much of a fairytale influence, I’m perfectly fine with it.

    • It left you feeling good, right? It was a cute ending, and a nice catharsis following all the turmoil of the first half.
      I think Mimizuku and the King of Night would make a great anime film, by the way. It has all the plot development beats that I think would translate quite nicely to that medium.

  6. I actually just finished reading yesterday, and I felt very satisfied about it as well. I definitely believe Mimizuku belongs in the world of monsters, as she threats it as her home. I was a bit disappointed with Claudius, I figured he would get a little more attention, but that wasn’t a major detail. Like you mentioned before, the story has a very fairytale like feeling to it, and that’s what caught my attention reading it.

    Anyway, thank you again for telling us about it and I’ll be looking forward for more!

    • Thanks for the comment, Aya!
      I personally like Claudius’s character arc–in another story its conclusion would perhaps feel too convenient, but it seemed to fit for this one. He had the resolve to stand against his father in order to help Mimizuku save Fukurou, and was then rewarded for the deed.
      We’ll be discussing the first part of Isolator and Song User on Sunday, so if you’re reading one of those then be sure to join in!

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