Light Novel Review: Shurabara! Volume 2

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


It’s still a rom-com. It’s still much fooling around and little drama. So if you want something light on the stomach without much impact but a bunch of cuteness, why not this one?

For: The ones looking for some light-hearted rom-com.

Difficulty


The grammar’s as basic as ever. If you had no problems with the vocabulary of the past volume, then you won’t have any problems here either. The setting hasn’t grown more complicated, so the difficulty overall didn’t change. It’s still a pretty easy ride. Of course, it’ll still be hard if your Japanese is limited to “hello”, “where are the toilets?”, “what color are your panties?”, and “how are you?”. But even then you should be able to manage with a dictionary – though it might show some wear afterwards.

Difficulty 3/10

Translation Where?


There’s no translation of volume 2 that I know of. You’d have to try and find some manga adaption and stomach that one.

Translation: No for the light novel.

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

Volume 2 starts off with Kazuhiro waking up on some beach with Saotome. They talk about this and that and ending up with your cliché slip-and-then-almost-kiss scenario eventually. Suddenly, Sanae and even Takana take the stage. The three girls end up quarrelling over Kazuhiro, Sanae summons a private army, Takana takes her battle stance, Saotome… does stuff, and…! Kazuhiro wakes up.

Back in the real world, he goes to school. There, Saotome has a favor to ask of him. She needs reference material for her new role with which she could possibly make it big. However, her character’s someone who reads lot of porn mags. And so she wants Kazuhiro to lend her his. As he doesn’t wanna do that, he’s sent off to buy new ones, then.

Kazuhiro decides to go to a store far away to not run into anyone he knows. Dressed up in a suit with sunglasses ‘n shit, he starts browsing through the reference material. However, Takana and Momono enter, too. He overhears them talking about him – or rather the fake-boyfriend-character-him – and also hears her adding even more ridiculous traits to his character. Thankfully, he can escape a bit later.

He decides to choose another, more glamorous store. But Sanae and Shizuka enter it soon after Kazuhiro had the chance to start browsing again. They seem to want to check up on the store as it belongs to their financial group, but it appears like their true goal was rather to get their hands on some shoujo manga. Sanae starts comparing the shoujo manga’s faithfulness to Kazuhiro (haha) and overall is remembered by Shizuka what kind of responsibility she’s bearing. After the big, strongly built man in a black suit has got his hands on some pink cutie manga too, they leave the store. Kazuhiro has had enough and just randomly grabs stuff, buys it, and leaves.

The next day at school, he hands the mags over to Saotome (on the rooftop, of course). As soon as some more “do you like these mags?”, “are you into glasses?”, and other kinds of hints that she could really like him are done, she explains that the character she’s doing is more of a cosplaying one. And the mags he brought hardly contain that. Kazuhiro sees no use in going himself again and maybe buy something wrong, but Saotome can’t go on her own either. So they decide to go together.

Having the exact same disguise, they meet up in front of another store. When they start browsing through the reference material, Sanae and Takana show up. The other two try to hide to not get busted, and after Sanae and Takana exchanged a few things about their boyfriends (e.g. Kazuhiro), they get what they had come for and leave. Saotome and Kazuhiro also hurry up to get what they came for, pay, and leave for a karaoke box to check the stuff in peace (dokidokis inclusive).

The scene switches to Kazuhiro going to work at the maid café. In there, he’s called to the customer area where all the maids on shift are lined up in white, school swimsuits. Apparently, rivaling cafés have opened in the vicinity and so they have no choice but to heighten their own appeal. They talk about how Kazuhiro might be aroused by all that and what other options – like bloomers – there’d be. A bit of a chit-chat later, Kazuhiro decides it’d be best for him to get back to the kitchen work. However, Sanae appears with a query before long. She wants to know what bloomers are and why exactly they’d be something special. Recalling his “material screening” with Saotome, Kazuhiro’d rather have her investigate on the internet by herself. He seems to have forgotten her bad habit with electronics, so she says she’ll try investigating with a servant at home, then. He pictures her asking Shizuka to do that and then decides to help her, after all. At the end of it all, she asks him whether or not she does arouse him in her white school swimsuit combo’ed with an apron. This is a romantic comedy, hope you don’t expect him to be honest. Couldn’t possibly be that she’s into him, right?

After work, Kazuhiro returns home and finds Takana sleeping on his bed. The “material” he’d bought with Saotome peeks slightly out from under the bed. He does a splendid dive for it and manages to hide it just barely. Takana wakes up and after a bit of an exchange, she tells him that she actually came around to make dinner for him this time. Kazuhiro notices her slightly wounded fingers (cliché much) and remembers that she had been in a book store to buy some cooking book when he was there to buy, ahem, “material”. He tastes it and it’s bad. The one saying it out loud, though, is Takana, as she’s eating it herself. He calms her down by saying that she’s got other strong points and that it’s not like the girl has to be the one who cooks. It’s enough to lighten her mood up and when she rushes to his room to get something (I forgot what), she comes back with a mag in her hands. The sportsgirl-cosplay one, whose models happen to kinda look like her. She tells him to change into his workout gear. He doesn’t have much of a choice and obeys. And so they go for a run. A long, long run to cleanse his dirty, dirty mind. He can’t bring himself to say that he had bought those for Saotome’s sake, since she doesn’t know of Saotome and him to begin with. When Takana’s satisfied with the amount of running, and Kazuhiro basically dead, she stretches him – you might’ve seen that in various anime already: he’s sitting on the ground, she pushes his back to bend him, yadayada. However, she’s being awfully close. Her boobies are hitting him quite clearly and he can even feel two somethings that feel like fingertips on his back – “no-bura”?! While he had already noticed before that she had changed into bloomers (just like in the mag), it’s too bad that he hadn’t been running in front of or besides her – dat view. She asks him what she should do if – hypothetically speaking – her boyfriend was into cosplay but she was more into normal things. After some blabla, she then asks why he actually bought those. He says something like he didn’t really check the contents and wasn’t into that specifically. To be sure, he asks her again: “We’re just fakes here, right?!” And, of course, she confirms. However, she says that he’s gonna have a bad time if she catches him cheating anyway, since that goes for fakes as well as real boyfriends. R.i.p.

In school with Saotome again. She has some big luggage with her. Once they’re on the roof, she starts changing under a blanket and voilà, it’s some cosplay and she starts to swarm him. They’re spotted by some freshmen while doing dirty things there, then talk about this and that, and Kazuhiro asks her why she’s so weird with her “watashi” and “boku” that day. She tells him that she actually always referred to herself with “watashi”, but back when she had her big leading role in an anime, she got stalked – I think even by the same guy as in volume 1 – up into her own house. So she quit that one and started over with a fresh pen name instead of her real name, and invented an alias to act out and grow stronger. The real her isn’t the “boku”, etc. pp., something like that. Lately, she’s actually been in a slump with her acting. Kazuhiro tells her he’ll do whatever he can to help her.

Aaand Sanae again. This time, to mature as a manager, she has given some thought to how to improve the maid café. Stuff like wedding dresses, kimonos, and wearing swim suits under the uniform so that they can reveal more without showing their panties and that’s less embarrassing/dirty then (logic)! Kazuhiro manages to talk her out of it and lightens up her pouting mood by promising to give her a hand in getting better with business stuff, but to take it slowly. So she now wants him to visit her at home erryday and study economics with her. He manages to weasel out of it by saying he’s got school and house stuff to do (read: Saotome and Takana stuff). Sanae accepts it, but reminds him that he stood her up in the middle of the last, well, interview of sorts with Shizuka aswell, and that he’ll have to visit her eventually. She’s docile for most of the part, so if this reads kind of aggressive from her side, that’s not the case.

Another meeting of the three girls. They get together for some chatting and Saotome announces her very likely appearing as the voice actress of the leading role in some anime. She doesn’t want to tell the others what anime exactly (remember: moe rom-com). The other two girls talk with another a bit about their boyfriends, cough, cough, and Saotome, knowing the truth now, listens very carefully and from a whole different viewpoint. Those two girls, though, don’t behave much like Kazuhiro was a fake to them. So her cool is in continuous decline during the conversation until she almost loses it.

A free day for Kazuhiro. No school, no part-time, no training. He can finally… the door rings. It’s Saotome. She begs him to help her with studying her character and to practice her lines with her, since she just doesn’t get it. Kazuhiro is ought to act out the protagonist, which he thinks is just so stupidly dense for not realizing that the girl is in love with him. Yeah, stupid protagonist! He’s, like, so different. She starts to strip and literally act out the scene where her character changes in front of the protagonists and arouses him. Ha. In the middle of it, however, she stops and breaks into tears, saying that no matter how many times she does it, she just doesn’t get how the character thinks. And, well, Kazuhiro replies it’s not her but the author’s fault for writing such weird stuff, cough, cough. She fears that she’s been acting so much out in her life until now, that she forgot how to be a normal girl and hence doesn’t get what how normal girls think. Could she act this out with the male voice actor? If no, then what? If yes, would she be able to like someone normally? Or would she just follow the patterns she learned? After that one incident she had merely been an empty shell who did and said what she was told, and finally had acted out her “boku” self daily. Kazuhiro, however, tells her that it’s normal for people to change and strive to become someone they want to be, etc., and that he’s glad to have met, no matter if “boku” or “watashi”.

Before it gets sentimental, however, Takana dashes into the house while Saotome is still sitting there in her underwear. Time to act. And quickly at that. Saotome hides under the bed sheets and Kazuhiro, welp, messes up a bit and sits on top of her – way to go. There had been no time to hide the cheerleader outfit that Saotome had been wearing and Takana discovers it. She thinks that she had heard some women in his room earlier, since their rooms are facing each other. Remember, neighbors and such. After a lot of excuses which should make things look rather bad for him (that was porn! I was right at it!), he finally comes up with working in a maid café (one secret spilled) and that they’d do those special days with other costumes and he’s the one tending to them. Thanks to the recent girls talk she had with the others, she kinda buys that, and Kazuhiro urges her to go downstairs, he’d make something to eat for her. Saotome uses that opening to escape.

The next day at school, Saotome tells him that the original mangaka had a divine afflatus and went on hiatus to live, errr, pure or so (no kidding). However, the anime producer still plans to simply pick something else then and wants Saotome to voice a character in that one. It’s a action battle thingy and she’s the 3rd most important character; not the leading role but better than nothing. As Kazuhiro and Saotome are more or less jubilating on the roof top, his phone rings. It’s Takana. She’ll visit him at his part-time job, which is bad news since she could meet Sanae there. As if that wasn’t enough, Saotome goes pale all of a sudden. And Kazuhiro soon knows why: Sanae with half a bunch of bodyguards is standing in the doorway, a smile on her face – but her eyes aren’t laughing. What a coincidence, she says.

Conclusion


Volume 2 Cover
Volume 2 Cover

I don’t even need to spoiler anything this time. Since there’s hardly anything happening I could spoiler. Now, if you’ve read the contents and think about it for a second, you should realize that nothing really happened that would matter in the bigger picture. The whole volume feels like a lot of filler and/or simple “slice-of-life”. The inter-relationships of the characters feel very isolated, and overall the potentially interesting thing of him being on and about to get his ass busted is absent for the very vast majority of the volume. It’s basically Saotome -> Sanae -> Takana -> repeat. It’s closer to reading three kinda different rom-coms than one where the selling point is his three-timing.

So my fears have basically proven true. The author does too little with the interesting setting he’s created. Even if the ending does progress things (and he had to, hardly would’ve bought the next volume otherwise), it doesn’t make up for about 200 pages of triviality.

Since the characters and the setting overall still feel fresh and the protagonist has a plausible personality and way of thinking, it was still fun nonetheless. But as the setting and characters will wear out eventually, the author will have to act. It’s not bad yet, but it could get bad rather sooner than later. Anyway, the extend to which I’ll downrate is still very merciful since I had lots of fun with all the stuff they were up to nonetheless, but I’m hoping for more courage and innovative developments (or at least new and/or interesting ones) in the next volume. As it stands, the series is in decline.

Rating 6/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Light Novel Review: Shurabara! Volume 2

  1. The porn mags under the bed, the stereotypical disguise, the cut fingers! It seems like the author did his best to include as many “familiar situations” as possible. When it’s said by a stereotype lover like me, it could be a little problematic. I guess it’s because I’m reading a summary, so the situations seem too close to each other.
    Props to you for writing all that! 🙂 The story is pretty nice for now, if only a bit confused with all the fast switchings. I’d be much less confused if I could see a face instead of reading a name 😛

    • Well, the faces can be easily seen on volume 1’s review, so I didn’t add them again.

      I’m pretty eager to read volume 3, though literally the only scene that built some kind of suspense was the end. And if that keeps up, it feels like 200 pages filler and then one dozen of relevant pages.

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