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THESE DAYS,

A Rough Recommend

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Mar 6, 2019: "Appearances can be deceiving" is a very hackneyed phrase, and I regret having to use it, but it’s difficult to summarize "These days," without expressing the sheer surprise of what this story starts as, and what it eventually turns into. I imagine that going too far into detail would be mean-spirited spoilers, but when your story starts as a slice-of-life romance and has a complete genre shift a third of the way in, it’s probably important for readers to know what they’re getting into.

So as I said, the story is about two middle school girls who have begun what is the inklings of a romantic relationship . . . but shortly therein, curious fantastical happenings begin to pop up. Unexpected telepathy, unexplained body swaps, that sort of thing. It quickly ramps up from there in way that can only be described as manga-esque.

"These days," is clearly an homage to the frenetic and deadline-fueled world of shounen and shoujo kids’ mangas, where supernatural events pop up in bizarre places, psuedo-scientific explanations are given for every random event, and the story is constantly hinging on the next cliffhangers. The story is structured in just the same way, with every chapter or two feeling like an issue of a comic book, and the story as a whole divided up into "volumes"— three so far.

The story gets decidedly wacky as it progresses, and luckily it keeps a sense of humor about itself and never goes too self-serious about any of it. This IS a story about girls trying to kiss each other and then being forced to solve supernatural mysteries, after all.

I would recommend the story pretty highly to anyone who enjoys this type of manga-esque entertainment, especially since "These days," is a very quick read, but— the story is in pretty rough shape. The writing in the early chapters is decidedly poor; the prose is egh, the dialogue is sometimes clunky, and the tense changes between past and present without any warning. My hypothesis is that the story was written as a script first, and adapted into a novel afterwards, and a lot of the tense shifts were just remnants of the old version. But either way, the author would do VERY WELL to go back and edit a lot of those early chapters, because it’s a real issue that makes the first third, maybe even the first half of the story really tough to get through.

Unfortunately as well, the story, which very sporadically updates already, appears not to be in very active shape— there hasn’t been an update in over two years at this point, and the story leaves off on an unresolved note. Will we see more of "These days," in the future? It’s tough to say but I sure hope so.

So if you’re looking for a quick read, and you want to power through the very messy early chapters, you might find something pretty enjoyable on your hands. It’s pretty darn fun.

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FOREVER CLONE

The First Seven Chapters

By Letter, member

Dec 16, 2014: Okay, first up, the story’s good; not exceptional, but good. I like the characters and their interactions, although they’re a little predictable. However, my chief confusion is with the setting. A mix of Japanese and Non-Japanese names appear in the story, making it unclear whether this is Japan, America, or if this is even Earth. Not just that, but the reincarnation thing, probably intended as a deconstruction of Sailor Moon’s elements, is, well, also non-surprising.

Basically, my chief issue with the work is that the first seven chapters contain nothing that surprises me. However, again, I’ll repeat that the story is still good, and, again, I liked it.

Keep it up!

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SAGA OF SOUL

Good to see an old favorite on WFG

By MaddiroseX, author of Twisted Cogs

Jan 20, 2014: I’ve actually been following Saga of Soul for longer than I’ve known about WFG, so it’s good to see the serial recognized and hopefully get more readers!

At the start it seems like a cliched "Magical Girl" story; a high school girl gains powers (in Japan, no less), and must use them to fight the monster of the week. What makes Saga of Soul different from your typical Magical Girl anime as that the characters are incredibly clever. The heroine applies a scientific mind to her powers right away, and watching the cliches of the genre get blown away by having rationalist characters is an absolute joy to experience.

I would thoroughly recommend Saga of Soul to anyone, but I’d double my recommendation if you’re a fan of (or even have passing acquaintance) with the manga and anime tropes that it lovingly deconstructs. SoS is a very "smart" web serial, in that the reader isn’t just informed that its characters are rational and logical, but we are shown it in every chapter. Powers are used in increasingly inventive ways, and scientific principles are applied ingeniously. Combine that with well written characters, tense political maneuvering, and excellent action sequences, and SoS sticks out to me as one of the best web serials out there.

In a nutshell, Saga of Soul is a fun, humorous, deep, amazing web serial, and I can’t rave about it enough.

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