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

After the stuff that happens in the first few pages of the book, Kamui faces off Kaguya.

He injects something into himself and proceeds to block all her attacks with something he calls “Void.” Before long, Kaguya draws her weapon, a sword, and shoots some beams at him, he basically becomes one with the Void, “teleports” behind, and checkmates her, hence securing his victory over the academy’s #1. And then he drops unconscious as he injected too much.

After seeing a dream about how he was turned into a Solcian, Kamui wakes up in a familiar hospital – namely the one he was turned into such a person artificially. And Dr. Itoraji greets him too, the (of course female) doctor who did the “operation.” Once the author’s satisfied with showing how much of a pervert she is, the perspective switches to the protagonist’s first real day of school. For launch, his lovely sister pushes a nabe (yes, nabe, google it) on him and he’s set to go. People in class eye him hard and to make matters worse, Kaguya’s seated right next to him. To make matters even worse, he forgot his textbook and has to share Kaguya’s with her.

Later, Tsuzuri and Unyu (great names), classmates of his, come see him. Unyu’s the energetic, twintailed, idol-like character, Tsuzuri’s the pokerface’d, quiet character. They want to have a talk with him and hence he follows them to the rooftop. It turns out that the school’s more or less divided in two parties, the ones belonging to or favoring the Hoshinomiya Family, so basically the school council president’s, and those who, well, don’t. This is simply important since it determines who’s “in charge.” Anyway, to celebrate their friendship, Unyu offers Kamui her hand. Bad thing is, she only does so since her ability allows her to implement some sort of parasite into the other person she touches and make it explode when saying a certain word out loud. After begging for mercy, she makes the cute bunny on Kamui’s hand go boom, but it was just a joke to begin with and the bunny does hardly any harm. It’s her way to warn him that he shouldn’t just go and trust anyone in this academy, shit’s dangerous and stuff.

Kamui’s little sister visits for launch and makes a scene since he gave some of the nabe away – to a girl to boot with (Tsuzuri). After that fanservice, it’s time for practice battles. Kaguya’s a lone wolf as you might expect and Kamui doesn’t know anyone all too well yet. Since said battles are 2on2s, they end up together. But since Kamui sneaked an unintentional compliment in here and there, Kaguya’s not as hard to handle as he thinks anymore. The 2on2 ends up to be against Tsuzuri and Unyu – Tsuzuri’s powers turn out to be some wiggly, slimy thingies that shoot out of the ground and can be controlled by her at will. Kazui, however, forgot his injections and gets beaten up without a chance; Kaguya manages to win the 2on1.

Inbetween stuff, Kamui also lets Kaguya know that he fights to get some special Bell thingy in Solcia which is known to make one King of Solcia. He, however, wants it since it’s also said to work miracles. And since his older sister was a treasure hunter who’s gone M.i.A. in Solcia (he wants to bring her back) and his little sister has been turned into a Solcian (wants to turn her back), he needs that Bell. He does all that stuff as he wants to pay their father back his kindness (he’s adopted, see translation). Anyway, they have some more 2on2s in which Kamui always ends up protecting Kaguya and suffering some injuries in the process, and she ends up growing fonder and fonder of him. Eventually, she asks whether he wants to team up with her and go to Solcia. She also wants to find the Bell, but only find it not own it, so she doesn’t mind him using it then. There’s one person who doesn’t like that at all, though – Ageha, his little bro-con sister. She challenges Kaguya to a duel. So we finally get to see, what Ageha’s ability is, it’s being her older sister, Hotaru! As her older sister’s ability was to transform her mind into various Spirit Birds, the second she was killed in Solcia, she left her body and pretty much had to find another body to not die for real, and said body was her little sister’s. Alas, she couldn’t see her murderer. After fighting her and stating that Kaguya and Kamui don’t have enough strength and experience yet to go after the Bell, she gives them their OK anyway, since reaching the top 5 is still ways off for him and since Ageha herself can’t find, she’s no choice but to give in.

You’ll get a bunch more scenes where it becomes quite apparent that Kaguya is falling or already fell for Kamui (early morning training, etc.) but the next important scene is when he gets visited by the student council president and company. Her company consists of the typical diligent ladykiller boy and a seemingly cold, ponytailed girl with a wooden sword, who’s weirdly in love with the prez and drowns in her own delusions now and then. So they’ve got something to discuss with Kamui and want him to tag along. They drive to a café on a hill with a nice view and after hearing the story why the prez always has a pretty big stuffed lion with her (I don’t care), a bunch of terrorists raid the café and want to kill the student council members. Their motivation is to push the Solcians back to Solcia again to make Earth great again; ’cause Solcians duk deir jawbs (dei dk dea jo). Let’s commend them for trying, but in the end they get beaten up in a flash. All but one of them who seems to belong to another one of the Big Families (the prez is a Hoshinomiya, first name’s Haruka, by the way)… who then gets beaten up in an instant too, meh. However! Yet another one remains, that Kamui beats up in a flash, since it seems like they left that one over to test him. After the incident, Kaguya bursts into the café, seemingly out of breath as she’d run after the car which took the student council and Kamui up the hill. Then, Kamui gets to know that Kaguya’s actually a bastard (hoho) and not a pure child of one of the big families, which more or less lead to her being banished. Her mother seems to have died by the hands of the Hoshinomiya Family. Finally, the student council president wants a decision from Kamui: join her in the quest to find the Bell or stick with Kaguya? Kamui picks the latter.

Now that Kaguya’s probably all dokidoki, she suggests that they do some shopping (Kamui needs new drugs) on Sunday. You can guess all the blushing as it sounds like a date. Of course, Ageha isn’t quite as amused upon hearing that, but Hotaru takes over and lets Kamui off the hook in exchange for taking a two hour long bath with Ageha at a later point (I remembered that). After having gone through the love hotel district with Kaguya on Sunday and the mandatory bunch of misunderstandings while doing so, they reach Itoraji’s lab. Kamui’s master introduces herself by not wearing anything but her white coat and grabbing Kaguya’s boobies. In the end, though, she gets quite seriously and suggests Kaguya and Kamui should watch out since if classmates saw them, they’d surely think they’re on a date, while they insist they’re only doing the necessary shopping as partners. Furthermore, Itoraji thanks Kaguya for having turned Kamui into someone who doesn’t only have eyes for his family, isolating himself in other matters, but now also having the leisure to get close to someone like Kaguya. Such a good master! By the way, Ageha’s on the move too, Hotaru didn’t keep her from tailing the two since it… seemed interesting to tail them.

The “date” itself goes by the usual clichés; “say aaaan,” “oh no, a bunch of our classmates,” “there they are again, gotta hide in the changing booth that Kaguya is in right now.” At some point, Ageha loses track of them and ends up in some backstreet where an unknown Solcian seemingly randomly attacks people, for instance Unyu and Tsuzuri (said classmates that were about to spot Kaguya and Kamui). And that’s pretty much it for the date!

Next day, Kaguya gets taken in custody since the aggressor from the day before looked just like her and even wore her crescent moon necklace. However, Kaguya herself hadn’t been wearing it that day. To make matters worse, Unyu had seen “her” attacking Tsuzuri in that backstreet. And so expulsion from school is looming.

Before long, Kaguya is being sent to the confinement room, and Kamui tries to persuade his classmates, that it certainly wasn’t Kaguya who did that stuff the day before. Alas, no one really listens – except for Unyu and Tsuzuri. They promise to help if Kamui’s that certain that it wasn’t Kaguya – Ageha also promises to help if she can – but Kamui’s already got a plan. Kamui goes to the student council room and tells them he wants to join them, right now. So they decide to call in a school assembly, the prez’ bodyguard girl whose name I’ve forgotten thinks that that smells fishy and decides to stick with Kamui which isn’t all too great for him, since he can’t go and see Kaguya like this. Meanwhile, Kaguya’s idling around in the prison cell when suddenly an envelope gets pushed through from under the door. It’s from Kamui saying that the prez was the culprit and she has to take matters into her own hands and kill her – the lock suddenly disappears. Kaguya heads for the student council room to kill the prez. When Kamui and his watchdog pass by the room, they notice that Kaguya’s seemingly broken out, but Kamui notices the note and immediately heads for the student council room.

In there, prez and Kaguya have a little showdown, right when they’re about to exchange their strongest attacks, Kamui bursts in and sucks away both of their attacks with his sucky powers (see what I did there?). Of course everyone, especially Kaguya, is quite confused, but Kamui already kinda knows what’s going on and heads for the assembly ground where the aforementioned assembly’s about to take place. The prez states to Kaguya that he’ll be fine since he’s so powerful as he belongs to a specific Family which is… cliffhanger. There, Unyu goes on the stage and says, that she managed to place one of her bombs on the criminal from the day before that she can detonate within 300 meters and that she’ll blow him up in 3… 2… 1… aaand then they see the real culprit dashing out the school grounds. Kamui takes up pursuit. The culprit runs to something that looks the hideout of the terrorists that attacked them in the café before. Since the “normal people” are kind of in his way, Kamui’s about to take a shot to take care of them, however, Ageha appears to save her husband in distress, and so Kamui heads up the stairs to where the culprit’s gone to. Aaand it’s that fox-faced vice-president guy from the student council, who simply wants power. His power is to copy other’s powers (duh) and to even look like them, etc. He has a pretty darn long showdown with Kamui, which Kamui, of course, wins in the end by using a certain dagger-ish shortsword which belonged to the First God Family (can’t quite recall whether they had a name or this actually is the term used, I recall the author using these kanji at least), and Kamui is a successor of that mightiest Family.

On his way back to the school, Kamui first meets Ageha, who demands her reward – two hugs and later bathing together (promised way back). And then he goes see Kaguya, they basically just renew their promise and then a little dokidoki, easily-misunderstood exchange.

After waking up (passed out from exhaustion due to the final battle), Kamui notices that the perverted doctor is sleeping with him in her underwear – just wanted to point this out once, she always does that, by the way. Anyway, in school he gets called by the student council, arriving in the student council office, Haruka tells him that he ranked up in her “things that I like most” list to rank 2 (rank 1 is she herself), and that he’ll be the new vice president. When she’s about to get all lovely-dovey with him (“I want to know more about you”), she gets dragged away by her perverted watchdog (I think her name was Rei, *cough*, I’m not good with names) and Kaguya barges in too. In the end all pull on either of Kamui’s arms because “he belongs to them.” Harem.

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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