Kizumonogatari Light Novel Review

KizuLogo

Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Art
  4. Enjoyment
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Vampire

STATUS : FINISHED

Read More »

Advertisements

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria Light Novel Review

10037244533461a86e(1)

Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Enjoyment
  4. Art
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Romance, School, Supernatural, Psychological, Thriller

STORY – 9/10

Kazuki Hoshino. I’m here to break you. 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.

With those words, we enter the world of Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria, The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria, or Hakomari in short. Kazuki Hosino lives his life as peacefully as he can. He wishes for nothing more, than to maintain his daily life as it is. Kazuki has a dream, someone, whose posture nor gender he can remember, offers him to make his wish come true, the only thing he has to do is use a Box, but Hoshino doesn’t really believe him, and refuses to use it. One day, namely March 2nd, a girl transfers into his class. Her name is Aya Otonashi, and she promises to break Kazuki, proclaiming that this is hers 13,118th ‘School Transfer’. With that said, we are introduced to the two of our main characters. After a short while, namely, a thousands of more School Transfers, Aya explains to Kazuki that they’re stuck in the timeloop, and that she’s the only one to remember every single loop. It’s all because of Boxes, a mysterious devices that grant the user any wish they want, more powerful the more they believe that their wish can actually be granted. Now, we wtiness our characters go against rationality, themselves and even the world as they know it, as they try to go back to how things were before.

The story of Hakomari appears to be rather simple. We have our main character established from the very start, namely Kazuki Hoshino, and what appears to be his enemy, an antagonist in form of Aya Otonashi. From now on, we’re witnessing our characters struggle their way through to escape the one behind all of that. The overall plotline is very well done, and everything falls into pieces as the story goes on. Every action the characters take is explained through inner monologue or heavy narration. Speaking of narration, the story is very much narrative driven, or rather, purely narrative driven. There is so much text detailing on the actions, motives, thought process of the characters, one asks themselves how did it achieve success. To answer that, I’d just say “Because the story is fantastic”. It really is, it mixes many genres together really well, giving the reader a chance to invest themselves and commit to the characters. The whole concept of Boxes is really well done as well. They are omnipotent and want nothing in return, as long as the user believes to the core that the Box itself will work. Ask yourself, would you truly believe someone who you cannot perceive when he’d offer you such thing, or believe in the way it works? Not many of you would. The novels do indeed have romance, but it’s quite subtle. It plays major role, yet doesn’t hold it down. It’s also not “Main Character is the bitch magnet”. In reality, he really isn’t. Drama and Horror genres are very expanded upon, same with Mystery. But, the light novels really shine when it comes to the Thriller and Psychological. It takes the best assets it has, and follows through with them.

However, the downside for some would be that the story is heavily narrative driven. As such, there is no chance of it ever getting properly adapted into an anime format. Back to the point however, the heavy focus on the explanation of the thought process may make you drop the series. Even for a light novel, it can prove difficult to skim through the wall of texts this series has. Other than that..it’s a really good read with great story to follow through.

CHARACTERS – 10/10

This series’ biggest asset are it’s characters. Every single one of them cannot, and should not, be put into the “archetypes 101” category. Each of them has a personality of their own, struggling with their own problems and depressions in some cases. They are very complex, providing a great ride throughout the whole LN. Their development is also really well done, with the characters getting more than a fair share of it. Their emotions, actions, motives..everything is laid out in front of our eyes, giving as a closure of their thought process. There is no underdeveloped character, and everyone has their sweet moments, be it good or bad.

I’ll try to detail the characters with only basic information, as anything beyond that would literally be a spoiler fest.

Kazuki Hoshino  : An ordinary high school boy, who is overly attached to his every day life.  He is very shy, tries not to stand out. He has a medium-long brown hair, isn’t very fond of any kind of brutality. At the start of the series he has a crush on Kasumi Mogi.

Aya Otonashi  : Very beautiful, long haired girl. She is rather cold and merciless in her words, She isn’t very sociable, but is rather resolute. She is very intelligent, and seems to always know what she’s doing.

Daiya Oomine : A self-centered, arrogant class president. He dyes his hair silvery-white and wears 3 piercings in his right ear. He is very intelligent, and acts douchy sometimes.

Haruaki Usui : A good friend of Kazuki Hoshino. He is a baseball Ace. He often hangs out with Hoshino and Oomine. He offers a good comedic relief in some situations, but also offers advices and help when necessary.

Kokone Kirino : A beautiful girl, very bright, always tries to stand out. She cares very deeply about her friends. She and Daiya have known each other for a very long time, and their arguments have become a legend within their class.

Kasumi Mogi : A silent, pretty girl who has won Kazuki’s heart. She is rather expressionless, but can be very nice if she wants to.

ENJOYMENT – 9/10

The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria was my first ever LN within the psychological genre. With that being said, it turned out way better than I could have possibly expected. It offered me a lot of fun, made me brain storm a little bit while trying to figure out what the characters are going to do next, how are they going to play certain scenarios out. Mind you, I was almost never 100% right. The sheer enjoyment you’ll be able to get from this particular series is based purely on whether or not you like those kinds of novels. If you like long texts, a lot of background information and thought process, with many mysteries and psychological aspects, Hakomari is sure to deliver. If you’re more of an action fan, you may be disappointed by the lack of “fights”. Nonetheless, if you’re not certain or not sure, checking out first volume is a good reference towards the rest of the series. If you’ve enjoyed it, you’re sure to enjoy it as a whole.

ART – 7/10

The art of Hakomari is very distinct. While there aren’t that many pictures, given it’s a book first, there are some. They are very detailed when it comes to characters. However, the best part about the art department, is that more often than not, the pictures themselves portray what is happening in any given volume/chapter. You’ll find yourself looking at the clock as the picture, and not on the characters themselves. I think it adds a lot of dark ambience to the series itself.

FINAL VERDICT – 9/10

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria is a psychological mystery book filled with great characters and overarching story line, that is sure to keep your mind busy while reading. It’s very taxing on the brain, yes. Requires a lot of thought, yes. But, it provides a lot of fun, enjoyment and, what’s the most important, feeling of satisfaction when your inner prediction comes into fruition. If you’re a fan of such genres, Hakomari is sure to entertain you, and you’ll find yourself right at home. If, however, you prefer some more action focused series, this isn’t the one you should be lenient towards. It focuses on the narrative more than it does on the action part, so it’s always best to prepare for it. Overall, it’s great series with outstanding story telling and characters, and if you start reading – you won’t be able to stop yourself.