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NICOSERIAL

A lot of ambition, but sometimes things get ‘lost-in-translation’

By nippoten, author of Entirely Presenting You

Jul 24, 2017: Yokaishiteru is actually one of three serials on the site (with a fourth to come soon). This will be a general review/impression of what I’ve read.

The three serials are as follows:

Yokaishiteru – A story about a group of troubled girls as they form a school idol club.

Checkboxes – A story about a girl who tries to ‘save everyone’ before she dies. (That’s in the description) Set before Yokaishiteru.

Akuma no Imouto – A story of demon siblings who own and operate a bar that’s a popular hangout both for mortals and demons, and the secrets that are shared among patrons.

The first thing that struck me about the stories is that they’re anime inspired. Or, to put it more clearly, Japanese-media inspired. These serials wear their inspirations on their sleeve. From the settings, characters, the way the dialogue flows, mannerisms, in-jokes, it’s all very up front and apparent. If you are really not a fan of what are essentially Original English Light Novels, you might not get past the first chapter of any of the three serials. However, if you are at least familiar, you might be able to find something enjoyable. The writer clearly knows their stuff, and can easily flip typical ‘anime’ tropes on their head.

As far as general impressions go, the three stories are okay. The characters are varied and distinct enough to find at least one you’d want to follow, making me want to click ‘next chapter.’ Dialogue can be awkward at times, mostly because the writer is trying to write as if it’s a translated light novel. Characters usually ‘tell’ more than ‘show,’ and reading out ‘chan’ ‘kun’ and ‘senpai’ in English can be distracting.

There are some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout, though. In Yokaishiteru, the main character is a demon, having learned human culture through watching television, yet refused to believe that the French language was real when she heard it for the first time. And, it’s clear that each and every character has a detailed backstory, with little clues and hints sprinkled throughout every chapter (though heavy-handed sometimes). It’s clear a lot of thought and effort went into these serials.

The three serials are fine on their own, but being clumped together on the same site, by the same writer, presents a few issues. For one, Yokaishiteru takes place in the same school, but some time after Checkboxes. Know that it will come with some huge spoilers for Checkboxes, and a few off-handed references to events that are only relevant if you’ve read that serial. It’s not too distracting, but I would still probably say start with Checkboxes, its plot is more intriguing, and feels more focused.

Secondly, since there are so many serials, each serial is rotated in terms of updates. Meaning, if you catch up to say, Akuma no Imouto, and you only want to read that, you’d have to wait almost a month until the next update. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but it’s something to keep in mind as far as being a reader goes.

All in all, what’s here is interesting to follow, and it’s easy to tell that the writer has a lot of ambition. The writing itself is decent, so if the writer can shed some of the Japanese influences that color their work, and focus that ambition into a single serial, I think we’d have something worth revisiting every week. As of right now, it’s at least worth a look.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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THE LEGION OF NOTHING

An Old Favorite

By Malacai, member

May 2, 2016: I’ve been reading this web serial for a few years now. It was the first, or close to the first, story of this format that I’ve read, and it’s still really entertaining. I’ve even gone and reread it a couple times, and it continues to intrigue.

Style: The story is written in 1st person, which works mostly because the main character is analytical yet spacy. He does go into detail about people’s powers, some wondering, but a lot of stuff that is really nuanced, like emotions and descriptions, he describes them succinctly and matter-of-factly. He does seem to have a slight problem empathizing, but it doesn’t seem to be debilitating. And he doesn’t seem inhuman, just slightly detached.

Story: We’re following the lives of the grandchildren of some WWII superheroes. Thus, we go into having to deal with old villains, creating an identity with respect to their predecessors’, as well as typical teenage stuff of figuring out what they want to do. There’s lots of action, but also fiddly stuff about the structure of a team and how to decide what to do without depending on just heroic instincts. There’s lots of fun, and lots of serious parts without much death or gore. When there is death, it is dealt with seriously and not really dramatized or downplayed.

Grammar: Not much to say here, other than the author doesn’t have many grammar errors, and responds to reader comments on them.

Characters: The characters are very well developed, even if that isn’t that obvious at the beginning. The main character’s lack of introspection and awkwardness in social interactions leads to a slightly slanted view of others, but everyone’s motivations, goals, and personalities shine through their actions and words. Also, they remain consistent, even where they grind against others’.

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THE LEGION OF NOTHING

I had a blast

By Whyknotzoidberg, author of Hotfoot

Nov 11, 2015: This serial is fantastic. It brought back memories of great shows like Avengers Assemble, or Justice League Unlimited. Like them, it knows how to have fun, but it still have some mature themes and solid action. It also was reminiscent of the Marvel movies of recent years, but still had its own distinct feel to it.

Anyways, lets start with the pros: The characters are great. The story has a wide cast of memorable, fun, and compelling characters, and does a great job at keeping everyone in the spotlight, and not putting older characters on the sidelines when new ones show up. The fight scenes are pretty good as well. They are usually intense, and some of the best ones really give you a "back against the wall" feeling. One of the strongest parts of this serial however, is the narration itself. Nick, the protagonist, is snarky, and genre-savvy which really really ads to my enjoyment of the other strengths of the serial. I don’t laugh out loud when I’m reading often, but this series of novels has managed it multiple times a chapter.

Now, for the cons. At a certain point, I felt that the silly level had skyrocketed and it annoyed me. I felt the main character wasn’t taking life or death situations as seriously as his teammates, and I began to lose interest in him. Thankfully this changes, but still there is a significant portion of the book where I wanted to slap Nick as hard as I could. Also, like the marvel movies I previously mentioned, the story struggles with villains. You don’t really get a chance to know them, and they get replaced so quickly that you just stop and go, Why should I care about Baddie of the Month? He’s only got a few chapters left in his lifespan anyway. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between Honestly, I only really like a few villains and I constantly finding myself hoping they DONT get killed or stopped just so the story can have better quality enemies.

Now, those complaints were very minor, and didn’t really keep me from devouring updates nonstop for a few weeks until I was caught up. They also dont keep me from eagerly awaiting each Tuesday and Thursday, and falling into a deep melancholy when I know that I have to wait five days for the next update at the end of the week. In short, read if you like your superheroes fun yet human, your fight scenes stylish and intense, and your dialogue snarky, The Legion is for you.

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