Sunday, November 7, 2010

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria 1 review

1st time
"I am Aya Otonashi. Pleased to meet you." 
The transfer student says with a faint smile. 

23rd time
"I'm Aya Otonashi. ...Regards." 
The transfer student says, uninterested, emotionlessly. 

1050th time
"Aya Otonashi." 
The transfer student utters, looking completely bored, not even looking at us. 

13118th time
I look at the transfer student, Aya Otonashi, whose name I don't yet know, standing on the platform. 
"Aya Otonashi." 
The transfer student murmurs only this to her classmates. In a low voice, as if she doesn't care whether we can understand her. Nevertheless, her voice is clear. 
--Yeah. I already know her name. I have just heard it for the first time, though. 
Everyone holds their breath. Not because of her blunt, simple self-introduction which wouldn't even count as greeting. It is probably because she is such a stunning beauty, who stands out from everyone in the room. 
Everyone waits for her next words. 
She opens her mouth. 
"Kazuki Hoshino." 
She calls out my name for some reason. The entire class looks at me with questioning looks. Don't look at me like that, I'm clueless myself. 
"I'm here to break you." 
She suddenly proclaims. 
"This is my 13,118th 'School Transfer'. Even I can't help but get annoyed after so many. So for a change, I'll proclaim war." 
She doesn't spare even a glance for our dumbfounded classmates and gazes at me alone. 
"Kazuki Hoshino. I'll make you surrender. Better give me your most precious thing soon. Resistance is futile. Why? That's simple. Because I am--" 
Aya Otonashi forms a smile and proceeds with her sentence. 

"--always by your side, no matter how much time passes."


So I just finished my essay (10 minutes before deadline, playing YATTA! to celebrate). I wanted to do this earlier, but as I said, got preoccupied last minute with my essay that I didn't even know the topic for, let alone that it was due today. The above is just the very first page or so of the novel, right after the prologue.

So, here's my review of the first Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria novel. I mentioned in my previous post that I was in the middle of reading it and found it pretty interesting. I finished the first volume, so now I think I can do a review on it without spoiling, and still catching some pretty good interest in it.

The story is pretty much a plot that's used quite commonly, a time loop. No, it's not quite like the Suzumiya Haruhi's anime adaptation of the Endless 8 time loop (which was actually only a 30 page chapter in the original) or anything, where everything is essentially the same except for a small part at the end. At the same time, it's not quite like the Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni time loop, where everything is completely different. There's one character, Aya Otonashi, that keeps her memories of the previous iterations. Most of the other cast lose all their memories when time resets itself. 

There are a few rules that are pretty much always followed, such a truck accident that always happens, and always kills one of the cast members. Shortly after this accident, time restarts itself, and the person that died in the accident is brought back alive. Of course, nobody really remembers the incident, aside from Aya Otanashi. But what's causing this loop? Apparently, it's the cause of a wish. There's a box that can grant any wish, and it was apparently handed to someone. So long as the owner of this box exists, their wish will carry out, and the resets will continue. Aya Otonashi attempts to find the owner of this box, and stop the cycle for good.

Interestingly enough, although the start of the story is in chronological order, it's simply to show that each iteration is different from one another, and to show how Aya Otonashi changes over time. The rest of the novel pretty much throws the time line out of whack. You're shown parts from various numbered loops, and they're not all in order. Sometimes you're seeing an iteration from before the one you just read, sometimes you're seeing one way ahead of what you just read. It even goes back to certain repetitions numerous times. It's pretty nice how it does it, and despite how it sounds, it's not really hard to keep track of everything. It also makes it nice way to hide clues for future plot twists.

As you can probably tell from the small part of the first page I pasted at the start of this review, Kazuki Hoshino plays a major role in this story. He's our narrator, and also loses his memories with each reset. However, he doesn't completely lose them. As long as he gets a mental push in the right direction, he can actually remember some of the past events. 

The novel is a pretty quick read. Like most light novels, it's packed with tons of dialogue, meaning it's a lot shorter than you'd think it is from page number (or, in this case, scrollbar length). You can easily finish it in a few hours, even if you're a relatively show reader. It keeps up at a fairly quick pace the whole time, skipping all the loops that are uneventful and sticking to the key time frames.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a nice light novel. It's enjoyable and has some pretty nice plot twists. I'm planning to start the 2nd novel tomorrow.
~ Kirari ミ★

13 posts:

Kirari Star said...

Not the best review, I know. I'm not very good at review writing, give me a break.

Hip-Hop Hikikomori said...

Stop being hard on yourself! I read the entire thing and I thought it was great. Good job.

Jerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry said...

As HHH said, don't be so hard on yourself.
I'm actually pretty interested in reading it because of your review.

Kirari Star said...

Thanks guys. I'm just a pretty pessimistic person and all.

Chiyo's Dad said...

That was a nice review, and it has piqued my interest in the novel. Off to my list it goes!

Cpt.Awesome said...

I'm probably going to start reading this tonight. Thanks for the review, it perked my interest in this novel even further.

Anonymous said...

This is making me want to stop procrastinating and actually look at my backlog.

A Hermit said...

Maybe I'll read it, it sounds interesting

Lemmiwinks said...

Kewl story, bra! waiting for updates from you

Beatrice said...

That's a better review than you think it is. I always have trouble writing reviews because it's hard for me to keep from spoiling anything.

orange drink said...

Appears that there are a lot of things I see revolving around time lately

It's become quite a popular topic for stories these days I guess lolo, sounds like a good read though

ModerneFusion said...

the drawing style looks really nice, I would definitely watch it if animated :O and your review is just fine, maybe more bold letters and underlines and colors for the A.D.D ppl like me so it looks more organized xD but content-wise it's good!

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