NISIOISIN Is At His Best When Writing Mysteries

So my first interaction with NISIOISIN’s writing, like many, was with his Monogatari series. I’m up to date with the English releases of Monogatari and after more than ten volumes, I’ve grown attached to the way in which NISIOSIN crafts his stories. So attached in fact, that I’ve sought out some of the author’s other works.

For AnimeUKNews a few months ago I got the chance to review Vertical’s first omnibus volume (volumes 1-3 of the Japanese release) of Katanagatari, which I found to be fairly similar to Monogatari in terms of how its written. Nothing really happens until the end and it’s very comedy driven. Ultimately I think I’d been hoping for something more, especially after reading the second season of Monogatari. 

The second season of Monogatari is special because almost every book is narrated by a different member of the cast. This works out well for NISIOISIN because it shows off his abilities as a writer at great length because every story is so different. Some characters are more serious than others, some are purely comedic and some treat their tales almost as mysteries. It showcases NISIOISIN’s ability to dip in and out of various styles and do them all justice and I guess that’s what I wanted to see more of and ultimately ended up seeking out.

While reviewing NISIOISIN’s other works I was vaguely aware of the fact he’d once written a Death Note novel – Death Note: Another Note – The Los Angeles BB Murder Case. Now I’m not the biggest fan of Death Note’s manga, but I have read it all and enjoyed it for what it was so I decided I’d give the novel a try. I bought it before Christmas and it sat in my pile of books for awhile, but this week I finally got around to giving it a read and I realised how much I like NISIOISIN’s writing all over again.

Another Note takes place before Death Note itself, although it does assume you’ve read Death Note and know what happens to L. As the full title of the book suggests, it’s a murder mystery story and as readers familiar with my work probably know – I love mystery novels. After all, my favourite book this year so far is Eiji Mikage’s Masquerade and the Nameless Women. 

Anyway, what I found from reading Another Note is that NISIOISIN tells a mighty fine mystery. Unlike in Monogatari and Katanagatari, the story of Another Note was always moving and making progress. Most crucially for me, I never worked out the twists and turns until I was meant to. The book is very well written and it was satisfying to figure out the answers just as the protagonist did. The book leads you in the right direction and gives you just enough to reach a conclusion before the main character does, leaving the smugness of being right and cheering when you realise you solved the problem in a similar way to the protagonist (as all too often I reach the answer in a roundabout way and get disappointed by the actual route to solving a puzzle).

I’m really glad I gave Another Note a chance, but it does frustrate me how little of NISIOISIN’s work can be read in English. I’m not necessarily talking about the popular series like Monogatari and Zaregoto, but all the one offs. Surely among them there are more gems like Another Note that would keep me turning the pages and refusing to put it down. Some of the Monogatari books share in this quality, but I’d love to see NISIOISIN unchained from the mountain of franchises and instead write some more one-off mystery novels. He has a talent for it. In fact not just mystery novels, I’d love him to take on a variety of different genres that perhaps aren’t fantasy or driven by comedy. I guess some of this probably already exists in Japan, to which I can only hope that the English publishers license more of his work to bring over. At least until my ability to read Japanese has improved to the point where I can work around the problem.

Anyway this has been a long post to say that Death Note: Another Note – The Los Angeles BB Murder Case is a great read and if you like NISIOSIN’s work (and Death Note) it’s definitely worth a look to see how good his writing is when he’s not busily talking about panties through Araragi-kun.

Reading Log: February 2019

It’s time for the second instalment of my reading log! I’ve managed to commit myself for more than a month, so things are looking good. The rules I laid out for myself in the first month can be found here. With that said, let’s found out how I’ve done this month!

Manga:

  • Dreamin’ Sun volume 8
  • Behind the Scenes volumes 4-5
  • Cells at Work volume 1-4
  • Heaven’s Design Team volumes 1-2
  • Tokyo Ghoul:re volume 4-6
  • Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World volume 1 – review
  • Anonymous Noise volume 12
  • Tokyo Tarareba Girls volume 4-5
  • I Want to Eat Your Pancreas volumes 1-2 review
  • Record of Grancrest War volume 1 – review
  • Fire Punch volumes 1-2
  • I’m standing on a Million Lives volumes 1-4
  • Infinite Dendrogram volume 1
  • Lofty Flower, Fall for me!! volume 4
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime volumes 2-4
  • Land of the Lustrous volume 1
  • Mushishi volumes 1-6
  • Animeta! volume 1
  • Shortcake cake volume 3
  • Ao Haru Ride volume 3
  • Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition volume 4
  • My Solo Exchange Diary volume 2

Light Novels:

  • Welcome to Japan, Ms Elf volume 1
  • Kokoro Connect volume 4
  • Der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight volume 3
  • I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level volume 3
  • Re:Zero volume 6
  • In Another World with My Smartphone volume 13 (no I don’t know how I’ve survived 13 volumes either…)
  • Koimonogatari – review
  • Woof Woof Story: I Told You To Turn Me into a Pampered Pooch, Not Fenrir volume 1 – review

This month my reading has grown for manga, with having read 41 volumes compared to 24 last month. With less J-Novel Club titles rolling over, my count for light novels has fallen with only 8 read this month compared to 19 last month. At this point I’ve gotten through the backlog of manga I was given for Christmas with only light novels left, but I did buy the Kodansha humble bundle which gave me a lot of books to read! My birthday is also coming up next week so my to-read pile will probably ballon…

Currently reading: The Devil is a Part Timer! volume 9 (LN)

In the pile of shame (all light novels atm):

Death Note: Another Note
The Devil is a Part-Timer! volume 10
Re:Zero volumes 7-8
Re:Zero EX volumes 1-2
Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams

Why I Forever Search for the “Wow” Moments in Manga

Okay first off it has been forever since I’ve posted on Curiosities. All of my work goes on Anime UK News now, so I guess I lost the need to write posts here because anything relevant usually fits there. This time I have something a little bit more personal to write though and something I want the ability to look back on for myself.

Without realising it myself, I’ve always been a bookworm. I love games and anime a great deal, but if I step back and look at my hobbies it’s safe to say that the majority of my time is spent reading. I read a lot of on-going manga series, 102 at the current count, and I sometimes get into a rut and wonder to myself why I do this. Why I follow so many; what I’m looking for; what I’m searching for. The answer came to me today unexpectedly.

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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Volume 3 – Light Novel Review

Is it Wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon volume 3The more I read Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? the more I truly come to appreciate the series despite the somewhat awful choice of title. Author Fujino Omori comments that the third volume of the series finishes off what he regards as the first part of the series’ story, and with that in mind I think it probably is the most fitting end you’re going to get for this section of our tale. Continue reading

Your Lie in April Volume 3 – Manga Review

Your Lie in April volume 3Your Lie in April undoubtedly became one of my favourite things when the anime aired last year and so I’ve ended up starting to collect the manga both out of curiosity and the simple fact that I want to support the series as much as possible. For such a musically driven show I was always wondering how the original source managed without the music, but three volumes in and I’m still as deeply in love with Your Lie in April as I was watching the anime.
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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? – Anime Review

Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon poster
I went into Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (or DanMachi as I’ll be referring to it as from here on out), is a series I wasn’t expecting to get very attached to it. Our story revolves around a young adventurer known as Bell Cranel a 14-year-old boy hoping to become a hero, save the girl, and have a harem of sorts around him. Wait, no, that’s the novels…

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Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 – Manga Review

Tokyo Ghoul volume 1With Tokyo Ghoul I was interested in the series from the moment an anime adaptation was announced, but knowing that the anime went for an original story in its second season made me want to read the original manga all the more. Cue much excitement when Viz Media revealed that the series has been licensed for an English release and eight months later I happily have the first volume in my hand to flip through.
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Realistic Shojo and Why It’s Important

My_Love_Story_manga

Watching a recent episode of My Love Story I got thinking about how realistic and down to earth the series is being. Sure there are most certainly a few things that are a little on the crazy side, but for the most part it’s doing better than Kiss Him, Not Me for example.

Of course most of us read manga and watch anime and don’t really expect or want it to be down to earth and completely realistic, but in some ways I think it’s important to have a few series that break the trend of being completely sakura blossoms and overblown teenage feelings. Lets take a favourite series of mine, Say I Love You as a perfect example of what I’m going for here. The story is focused on shy Mei who has never really had any friends and certainly isn’t thinking of dating, but when she meets Yamato that slowly changes and the two of them must work through their problems, very real problems that couples have, if they wish to stay together. What makes this better is that the manga, given it has more time than the 13 episode anime, deals with a lot of problems that everyday kids go through at one point or another. I appricate the series a hell of a lot for this, especially author Kanae Hazuko who is heavily writing from her own personal experience.

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Tales of Wedding Rings Chapters 1-10 – Manga Review

Tales of Wedding Rings

It has to be said that I am a massive fan of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and it quickly became one of my favourite stories, so when Crunchyroll announced that they had the the latest work from author Maybe I was definitely excited. Tales of Wedding Rings might only be 10 chapters in but already I can see some brilliance shining through in ways that only Maybe seems to be able to capture.

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