Light Novel Review: Shurabara! Volume 4

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? (copypasta from volume 2/3 *tehepero*)

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

Difficulty


Hmmm, tough to judge this time. It very much depends on whether you wanna understand every word or are fine with the gist of it. If the gist alone is fine with you, it’s a 3/10, else a 5/10. I’ll pick the latter just in case.

Difficulty 5/10

Translation Where?


There’s no translation of volume 4 that I know of. You’d have to try and find some manga adaption and stomach that.

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

Conclusion


Volume 4 Cover

It was pretty tough to get a proper cover picture of this volume – so I didn’t. I did my own and judging by the proportions, I failed splendidly. I probably took too much off its height, but since there are no visual anchors I could go by, I had to improvise. Well, act as if it doesn’t look off.

I always just a fourth volume as the trendsetter. Usually, light novels are designed for three volumes. If the second doesn’t sell well enough, three will wrap the story up already. If it does sell decently, there are more volumes to come. Therefore, the fourth volume shows what direction the next “arc” is going to go into, since we’re beyond the “failed before it really started”-point.

In case you’ve read this volume yourself or read the summary you might’ve realized one thing: at the end of volume 4 not even one day has passed since volume 3. Worse even, it’s still the same day it’s been at the end of volume 3. So can 250 pages depicting a couple of hours entertain? Hm…

How’s the plot? Let’s start with the worst part right off the bat, the plot. What’s the point of this volume? It basically introduces Saotome’s little sister, Rinne – and that’s it! You get the usual meddling with the other harem members, but there’s just no big idea behind the whole volume. At least we have some nicer events like Sanae’s entrance in front of the maid café or Takana’s proposal in front of the love hotel, but that’s not enough to carry the reader through 250 pages. This volume is just stuffed with side events where the others girls hint at their feelings for Kazuhiro, and Kazuhiro himself just goes from uninteresting place to uninteresting place with Rinne and talks about pretty uninteresting stuff with her. It’s not flat out boring since Rinne does have her funny moments (dispute with Takana, “I have to pee,” love hotel scene) and the Arnold gang doesn’t fail to entertain, yet the stone never really gets into rolling and it’s stuck in a slice-of-life kinda feeling.

How are the characters? Sanae and Takana do have their moments but fail to really shine since they’re too passive throughout the volume, they’re more in pursuit than on the hunt. Saotome is the one worst off this time, all she gets are side stories with her being busy in the recording studio – this isn’t a bad thing though, since she’s been in the spotlight a lot in the past few volumes. However, Takana and Sanae don’t get enough action to make up for what they were lacking in volume 2 and 3. There are no new facets to any of the old harem – not that I really noticed, anyway. The new character, Rinne, does a solid job. She doesn’t seem unique enough to give the harem a push, though. I can’t really tell what she’s supposed to be. Sis-con? Airhead? Maybe the author just wanted a new member in the harem who doesn’t really know about the interrelationships between the characters so far. Be that as it may, she had about 250 pages to make a stance and her mark, but failed doing so. Rinne leaves me with a lot of questions, not how or what questions, but simply why.

How’s the comedy? Decent. It didn’t make me laugh but it made me smile a few times. There’s a bunch of nice ideas in this (the Arnolds and the dispute with Takana), but the comedy’s lacking drive and impact just like the plot. It doesn’t feel forced at any time, though. That’s a good thing.

Putting it all together, volume 4 took way too long to tell what it wanted to. The story would’ve felt better if it was cut down by half, like this it just dragged along. I don’t see why it was necessary to introduce another character either, the others aren’t even fully fleshed out, yet we’ve got another shallow character on the stage. I hope there’s a big idea behind Rinne that I just fail to grasp yet, else the harem just bloated up for no reason. Volume 5 seems to be a “beach” volume. I expect nothing but fanservice, to be honest. Not that I mind that but please make it interesting and don’t drag it out without need. In conclusion, this volume’s the weakest one so far and alas confirms my worries that the author might’ve lost inspiration already. It’s very similar to volume 2 and still can’t connect to the interesting dynamic that volume 1 once created. Instead, we’ve got yet another character who needs her screen time to not seem redundant which means that the other members have to get less screen time to make up for that. I’ve a bad feeling about this. Due to the lack of point and impact and thanks to the nice slice-of-life and okay-ish flow, it’ll get a 6.

Rating 6/10

 

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