Light Novel Review: Alchemist’s Nirvana Volume 1

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


It’s a more-or-less typical fantasy-battle light novel. Everything female in this series pretty much forms a harem for the protagonist, it hasn’t got much ecchi-like contents, though.

For: People who like fantasy-battle light novels.

Difficulty


I can’t say anything more than “average.” Putting the ability names aside, you’ll need an average vocabulary to get through this series. The world building text blocks are especially rough, so you’ll probably need a dictionary for those – understanding what a book’s all about can’t hurt, after all.

Difficulty 5/10

Translation Where?


There’s no translation that I know of.

Translation: Nope.

Premise


Kamui’s (not blood-related) sister Ageha got turned into a Solcian, more-or-less against her will. And so Kamui enrolled into an academy which utilizes a ranking system of which the top 5 combatants are granted voyage rights into Solcia. Kamui’s goal is to obtain a certain bell-like artifact, which does make its possessor King of Solcia – and even has the power to grant wishes. Using said artifact, Kamui wants to turn his little sister into a normal girl again. On the day of his enrollment, Kamui has to directly face his first opponent in a placement tournement during the school ceremony – to make matters worse, Kamui, the lowest-ranked freshman, has to face Kaguya, the current ace of the academy.

Contents


NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!

The Whole Damn Thing

Conclusion


Volume 1 Cover

A fantasy-battle-harem series. I was once more reminded of why I don’t like this genre, but I do promise to be as objective as I can be. The order of things might be a bit weird, bear with me. Also, I’m dead-tired, don’t expect an all-too-deep analysis.

How are the battles? Yes. Yes, let’s put this first. How are the actual battles in this series? I’ll be frank with you: I already don’t like battles to begin with. To make matters worse, this novel does everything in the battles that I hate. First of all, blabbering. Kaguya, the main heroine, shoots laser-ish thingies. Those should at least be fast. Yet, we get another lengthy sentence while the freaking lasers travel through the air so that Kamui, the protagonist, should probably be able to just walk outta their way. Why do you do this, author? Why not talk first then shoot? Or shoot first then talk? Second, talk your archenemy stupid or the other way around. The final battle is really a joke. The antagonist has the crushingly upper hand, yet he’s like, “I’m just after power, but show me your best shot, ’cause I might win if we go on like this, huehuehue,” talks way too much when they should be fighting and eventually loses for being an idiot. That’s such bad writing that it makes me cry, really. If you’re writing a showdown, don’t make the characters explain every freaking attack to your opponent, think something up that doesn’t feel so unbelievable forced. It really hurt to read the battles and, honestly, I skipped a large portion of the final battle.

How are the characters? Standing for themselves, the characters are solid. I like the variety of characters presented, they’re far from deeply developed, though. You got your tsundere, pervert, idol, reserved girl, ojou-sama, another pervert, deredere bro-con. The characters themselves don’t feel forced and work out fair enough. I do have one complaint: right at the end, during the epilogue, everyone’s way too much out of character. But I do have one really good thing to point out too: the protagonist, Kamui, is someone who actually doesn’t have all those combat powers, he’s basically a cheat among all the wizard-ish people in this series. I like this point since it carries potential in contrast to the usual protagonists that are the “same kind” as anyone else. Yet, there’s one really bad point too, namely…

How is the character development? Sadly, the author doesn’t seem to know how to develop characters in general, and how to pace it in specific. Kaguya goes from tsuntsun to tsundere within, like, ten pages or so. She hates his guts, and suddenly she’s all over him. And actually, Ageha is one of my most favorite characters in this. In case you’ve read the few pages we translated, and only those few pages, you should wonder why, because she’s quite terribly written in the beginning. Later, her lines seem much less “heavy” and work out more nicely, which makes her a nice, colorful character, a typical, entertaining bro-con. When I started reading the novel and Ageha is just immediately full-throttle bro-con with hardly any introduction and whatnot, I hated her, really. The author takes a lot of potential out of this novel with his crappy character introduction/pacing/development, the editor must’ve been drunk or something.

How’s the plot? Uhhh, to be honest, this volume only amounts to an introduction. If you read it and think about it, the problem that’s resolved with the final battle is literally introduced (!) when you’re around 75% done with it. So there’s no big idea to this volume other than introduction and world-building.

How’s the world-building? It’s fairly okay. All the explanations and stuff could’ve been more entertaining to read. Basically all of it is just plain narration that feels like “There were five families, they didn’t like each other, the end,” and it’s confusingly written. Personally, I didn’t like the way the world was described and all, but I did like the picture it eventually drew. We’ve got our academy in which the protagonist needs to rise up to the top 5, we’ve got a totally unknown world where artifact hunters are roaming about, we’ve got a bunch of families whose relationships could result in interesting political intrigues, and so on. Alas, the – sorry – crappy storytelling doesn’t quite persuade me that the author can actually make something out of the generally good ideas he has.

How’s the stuff outside the combats? I put this point separately since it’s a strong point. Surprisingly, the author seems to be quite good when it comes to character interaction and sidestory-ish stuff. The way, characters interact is really feasible and entertaining to read. To top it off, the sidestory stuff flows extraordinarily good and thanks to the natural characters, I enjoyed them a lot. A lot more than the battles. In my opinion, the author’s strongest point by far is his harem management within the seemingly “filler” stuff. So this volume got priorities backwards for me: the stuff I usually tend to skip – the fillers – was what entertained me the most.

And hence this volume made me somewhat want to buy volume 2 for two reasons: the characters and fillers. The battles feel forced and bore me as they don’t provide anything fresh and/or new. The character development/introduction/pacing is crap, but since the majority of characters has already been presented, it should be fine in volume 2 (hopefully). I’ve been past the dry world-building and could hope for betterment in volume 2. Reading the next volume would look like this for me: read -> battle -> only read last page of a battle for the outcome -> repeat. But we’re talking volume 1 right now. Unfortunately, I was bored for the longest time, and even though the characters and fillers really entertained me greatly, more than half of the volume didn’t. I’ll give the volume a 6 for its good intentions. And then a 7 after all because I don’t trust my objectivity when it comes to battle stuff. Don’t expect too much innovation in this, it has “mass market compatibility” written all over it. Last note: the illustrations are terrifyingly good!

Rating 7/10

 

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