By Shippo Senoo and Nidy-2D-. Released in Japan by Kodansha. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Andrew Cunningham. Adapted by Dayna Abel.
I’ll freely admit, I had not originally planned to read or review this at all. We have come to a point in the North American light novel market where you simply can’t read absolutely everything. And that cover made me say “Oh boy, another masturbatory aid for teenage boys!” But I had a gap in my schedule before Yen’s March light novels hit like a bat to the head, and I thought “OK, I guess.” In the end, it balances out that I’m pleased that I read the book, and I’ll likely pick up the second (and final) volume. So I’m here to tell you about why yet another book with teens in powered suits at a magical academy is something that you might want to take notice of, rather than, say, Infinite Stratos, or Seirei Gensouki, or The Asterisk War, etc. And I will also warn you that my first impression of the book is ALSO very true. If you’re reading this book, hope you like endless descriptions of boobs.
So once there was a hero. He was a bit headstrong and stubborn. He fought to save the Earth from hideous tentacle monsters (who thankfully only want to eat humanity, not do anything else with it) and he sacrificed himself to take out the evil queen monster. Unfortunately, she’s not quite dead. So he’s reincarnated back into the world as a young man and resolves to get stronger and try again. The big problem there is his new self has virtually no magical aptitude. Fortunately, he runs into his old teacher, who also happens to be the headmaster of the magical academy for awesome magical students. She trains him in fencing, martial arts, and the like to the point where even though he has virtually no magic, he can still beat most everyone. When he arrives at the school, he joins an elite unit, learns to actually use teamwork (something his former self was bad at), and falls in love with his sempai, who is also the little girl saved by his former self right before he died.
I’ll start with positives. Hanabi, the heroine, is not the sort of heroine I was expecting when I picked up this book – cool, hands off, tsundere, constantly yelling at the hero, etc. She’s a bit battle hungry, actually, and falls in love with Kuon faster than he does with her. He’s 13, by the way, which makes this relationship a bit “ergh” (she’s 18), but nothing seems to happen beyond making out. I also liked her best friend, who is a standard character type, but it’s one I like. Honestly, by the end of the book I was thinking that some of the cast were going to die – it gets fairly brutal at times. Now for the downside… well, you saw the cover. The color illustrations merely exacerbate it. Hanabi is a walking pinup and the author and illustrator want you to know it. Kuon thinks about her breasts all the time. It gets very aggravating for anyone over the age of 19. Oh yes, and our hero has no magic aptitude – except that he can STOP TIME. Which is apparently a martial art? I dunno.
So I liked the character relationships and plot enough to read more, but unfortunately, the fanservice and the questionable romance mean we once again have a light novel that I can only recommend to its intended audience. Teenage boys, go get it.