By Ryusen Hirotsugu and fuzichoco. Released in Japan as “Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja” by GC Novels. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Wesley O’Donnell. Adapted by Adam Lee.
Sometimes I take a flyer on a book that has a premise that sounds meh and am happily surprised… but not always. Sometimes it just presses all the wrong buttons. Sometimes it goes ways I’d rather it didn’t. Sometimes it’s just Not For Me. This is different from a book being actively bad, where I have no idea who it’s being written for. She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man (which, spoilers, I did not care for) has a very defined audience. It’s for gamers who enjoy fantasizing about their game becoming real. This is old hat by now in light novel land, but the webnovel for this series came out almost 10 years ago, so it may be suffering from “I came after all my imitators”. It loves discussing mechanics of the game and how they’ve changed. It enjoys having fun with gender confusion, which can be quite interesting, but is written here from a very “guy” perspective. The battle was OK. It’s just… not my thing.
To be honest, I should have known where this was going when our protagonist takes the name “Danblf Gandador” as his wizard character. I think we’re supposed to mock this, but… In any case, one day he spends an evening designing an alternate character skin of a young, cute girl, then passes out. When he wakes up, he finds that he’s now in a world that resembles his game… but in the body of the cute girl. Fortunately she still has all of Danblf’s skills and powers, but she’s going to have to do some careful lying in order not to get found out… especially since 30 years have passed since she was online last! Now calling herself Mira, she spends the rest of the book trying to find other gamers who may also have been trapped here (there’s quite a few, though we only meet two here), taking out the odd lesser demon with her overpowered summons, and dealing with how to use the bathroom or get dressed now that she’s a cute young girl.
For propriety’s sake I’ve tried to avoid mentioning it in reviews before this one, but dangit, Japan has far too much of an obsession with young women wetting or about to wet themselves. There’s a reasonable explanation in this book – Mira is getting used to being a girl AND being a non-game character, so isn’t really thinking about toilets till it’s almost too late – but it still reads like a fetish and I hate it. Other than that, if you read the plot description and thought “this sounds an awful lot like In the Land of Leadale, you’re right, it does. This definitely came first, but sorry, I read Leadale before it, and it comes off second best in most areas. One thing I did like was the camaraderie between the gamer characters once they’ve reunited – they really do seem like good gamer buddies, and it reads naturally. The big battle was also pretty good, with a nice scary cockatrice. I just… wasn’t enthused about much of the rest, especially the cast’s tendency to want to either dress or undress Mira as if she were a mannequin.
If you’re a gamer who enjoys this type of genre, there’s a lot to like here, and I think you’d enjoy future volumes of the series. I’m not that, so I’ll be stopping here.