For general information on this series: My Favorite Song entry
This review is for the first volume of My Favorite Song by Kairi Aragusuku (with art by Ako Tenma). The first installment of the English translation of this web novel series was released as an ebook by Cross Infinite World in May 2016. No word yet on when the second installment will release.
The English release for My Favorite Song is pretty unique, as far as this site is concerned. In Japan, it is a self-published work—a web novel that has never seen a print run. Cross Infinite World decided to not only translate this series into English, but to revise and edit the story in order to give this volume some extra polish. On top of that, they hired an artist to provide manga-style illustrations that are typical to light novels. All in all, the final package is definitely high quality, and Cross Infinite World deserves kudos for putting in all that extra effort.
On to the story itself: My Favorite Song is about an everyday high school girl named Kanon, who finds herself suddenly whisked away into a fantasy world (similar to Magic Knight Rayearth, and hundreds of other stories). There she learns she is the legendary silver siren, purported to bring destruction to the world (perhaps comparable to Pacifica from Scrapped Princess). Before some guards can kill her, she is rescued by a short-tempered sorcerer named Rag, who is cursed to become a young boy for a time whenever he uses his magic (which reminded me of Habaek from the manhwa Bride of the Water God). To remove his curse, Rag needs to lead Kanon to a mysterious man named Ernest—but along the way they end up helping villagers in a subjugated land that has suffered at the hands of magic-users in a terrible war (with several plot beats echoing Fullmetal Alchemist to me).
I suppose my main point is that My Favorite Song feels very familiar. For fans of classic shoujo fantasy adventure anime and manga from the 90s (or perhaps more recent iterations, such as Yona of the Dawn), this novel could work great as a change of pace due to its medium as prose fiction. For those like me who read books regularly though… well, maybe make sure you’re in the mood for this kind of story. It’s a light read, but like many web novels (based on those I’ve read) it’s rather slow-paced and overall just sticks to a tried-and-true formula.
The characters are likable enough, though Kanon herself is fairly blank slate. (This review from OASG likened her to an otome visual novel protagonist, which sounds about right.) She isn’t a talented singer, but she loves singing—and it is through song that she utilizes magical abilities in this fantasy setting. Again, this is familiar ground, but I imagine it resonates with young readers whose favorite hobby is karaoke. And as for all the other characters, there isn’t much I disliked about any of them. They all fulfill their roles in the plot well enough, though I really would have liked to learn something more about them in terms of their background.
In the end I didn’t feel strongly one way or another about this story, but this may be in part due to my fatigue with this specific subgenre. I’m not a huge fan of “trapped in a fantasy world,” or at least not enough of one to read so many variations of the same setup. If that is your cup of tea though, My Favorite Song is still worth checking out—especially if you’re a fan of shoujo stories.
Cho’s Rating: Maybe Recommended