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.


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.


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

So Takana and Sanae have spotted Mysterious Beauty X and Kazuhiro and makes a dash for them. Kazuhiro knows there’d be no explaining, so all he can do is run for it – with Mrs. X. He gets into a taxi with her and takes off.

Sanae soon catches up to Takana who’s on the verge of tears. But Sanae manages to calm her down and suggests that there must be a reason to it. They decide to track the two escapees down and call Sanae’s maid for that sake. So Takana flips her mobile to Sanae, who catches it and puff, it’s broken. Tough luck. New plan, Takana runs after them and Sanae looks for her maid to then catch up with her. God knows how they plan doing that without any means of communication.

After Mrs. X tried to be all lovey-dovey in the taxi and the middle-aged driver’s quite enjoying it, they get off at a family restaurant quite far from where they departed. It turns out that Mysterious Beauty X is, in fact, Saotome’s little sister, Rinne. The reason why she did all this is that Saotome’s about to get famous and her actual face (or more like body (gravure shoot)) will be published in an anime magazin, hence otaku fans who don’t want “used goods” (google that). She has to be pure, or else: riot. So she plans on being Kazuhiro’s girlfriend instead and tell everyone it was so from the beginning, since they look quite alike – but not quite enough. Also, everyone in class already knows Saotome and Kazuhiro are together, so hm. Her plans being full of holes aside, the main point is that it’d be for the better if Kazuhiro and Saotome broke up. And for some reason (uuuh), this outcome doesn’t feel too okay for him. Now, Kazuhiro’s still pretty tired from all that’s been going on that day (it’s still the day of the showdown at Sanae’s from volume 3), and this whole issue doesn’t really provide him with peace of mind, so for now he decides to take a leak.

Before I go on, a few points on Saotome’s imouto: she’s basically in love with her Onee-chan, is short-sighted, wears goth loli clothes, is pretty childish, doesn’t have too much between her both ears, and wants to protect her Onee-chan’s career with all she has. Another detail regarding Saotome’s photo shoot: the pic is described to be quite stunning – more so than any other pic in the magazine, so the chances of her fame skyrocketing are quite high.

So, while Kazuhiro’s “busy,” a pretty upset girl calls out to Rinne and approaches her – Takana. Problem is, though, that Rinne is so shortsighted, that she can’t make anything out but that there’s a girl who talks on and on about why Saotome (Rinne) has dragged away Kazuhiro. And so Rinne’s thinking is that there’s only one thing more harmful to Saotome’s career than having a boyfriend: having her boyfriend being taken away by some other girl. Hence she does what she can to clarify that Takana should go to hell and Kazuhiro’s all hers. This upsets Takana greatly, and while she forms the fork in her hand into something resembling a ball, Kazuhiro’s back but tries to keep out of sight. But he comes up with a way to get out of this whole mess, he pays up, drags Rinne away and tells Takana he’ll explain everything later. Of course, Takana tries to get on their heels, but the staff holds her back since she hasn’t paid up for the stuff she’d ordered in the meantime.

After some running, Kazuhiro and Rinne sit down in some so-so, cheap-looking maid café (not “Sweet Drop”) that he hasn’t been to before. Once the cliché maid café rituals (oishikunaaare) are done, they talk a bit more about who that girl just now was. And in the end, Kazuhiro manages to explain everything in a satisfactory manner (she’s just his childhood friend, yadayada), although Rinne’s still slightly suspicious. When Rinne takes a bathroom break, a big hand grabs Kazuhiro’s shoulder: it’s one of Sanae’s Arnold Schwarzeneggers (the young Schwarzenegger). He seems to be a regular at the maid café they’re in. Friendly but resolutely he suggests that Kazuhiro should step out for a bit, someone has business with him. Waiting in front of the café are Sanae and her maid. First of all, Kazuhiro needs to save his neck and convince Sanae that he hasn’t betrayed her with the Saotome-lookalike. That being done, he can also convince her that the person he dragged away wasn’t Saotome, but her little sister, Rinne, and that he basically blocked her kiss. Now that Sanae’s finally calmed down for real, she says that he protected his first kiss for her, and since Kazuhiro has to “keep up the act,” she keeps her fantasies going which eventually leads to her wanting to kiss him. Right before it happens, he denies her, though, with the most horrible shilly-shally excuse I’ve read yet (something along the lines of they both have to think about their relationship and be totally sure before giving away their first time (kiss, of course) – that sounds like something you’d say before breaking up with someone, what the eff?).

And so, Sanae drives off to see Takana, who’s still in a bind at the family restaurant. After Sanae’s paid up for her, they sit down and have a talk (and order some more). Takana tells Sanae what Saotome dared to spout out and it’s said that she’s not really angry with Kazuhiro, since she believes in him and he’s always got his reasons. However, Sanae tells her that Kazuhiro said it wasn’t Saotome but Saotome’s little sister. Yay, all settled.

Kazuhiro himself has only one problem left now: Arnold’s still around in his moe anime t-shirt that looks way too weird on someone of his figure, and there’s another girl in goth loli clothes waiting inside the maid café for him. A servant of Sanae + another girl = not so good. In the meantime the narration switches to Sanae and Takana, who meet in the family restaurant that Takan’s hostage in (since she can’t pay up). And so Sanae helps her friend out and they sit down for a talk. After thinking that it was Saotome who snatched Kazuhiro away, they come to the conclusion that it’s indeed been Rinne, her little sister, who’s simply all grown up by now. A short moment of relief later, the topics shifts to summer vacation soon to be starting, which means… Saotome can’t see Kazuhiro as there’s no school, Sanae can hardly see Kazuhiro since they don’t have part time all week to begin with and their schedules might even fall out of sync, Takana… lives next to him. Who’s got the upper hand here should be clear. And so Sanae suggests to go overseas – with all the girls. But of course Takana just can’t and stuff, and Saotome isn’t present but there’s this anime she’s gotta voice, Sanae should just go and enjoy herself, but that she can’t without the others, ohoho. Anyway, they decide to make sure Rinne does nothing stupid and get a hold of the two of them, after all.

When Kazuhiro steps into the maid café again, Rinne’s nowhere to be found. A maid tells him that she stepped outside the emergency exit earlier, and so he pays up for the both of them and goes looking for her. And she’s at the emergency stairway indeed. She went there since the bodyguard’s silhouette looked very imposing and she thought something was wrong. From the emergency stairs she could well survey the situation. Well, more like eavesdrop since she can hardly see without her glasses on. And so yet another drama starts as Sanae tried to kiss him before and she overheard it all. Somehow talking himself out of it by utilizing Saotome’s name again, they decide to get out of there already, since the Arnolds (Fun fact: One of the Arnolds’ names reads “Komando.” Always forgot to mention that.) all of a sudden start to look for them again, which isn’t a good omen. There’s also a tiny situation here where Kazuhiro takes Rinne piggyback as her shoes are way too loud on the stairway. On that occasion he grabs her buttocks “by mistake.”

Kazuhiro decides to escort her as far as he can since she’s a middle school girl, it’s dark, she’s no glasses with her, looks like a gothloli, and doesn’t know where she is. Need any more reasons? On the way, however, she needs to go to the bathroom, again. Since she’s about to leak already, there’s only one option in that godforsaken place they are: a love hotel (winkwink, foreshadowing/drama incoming, winkwink). And so they take the cheapest room for the smallest amount of time and what’s with Rinne? She only faked having to go to the toilet and wants to pop Kazuhiro’s cherry as she’s even fonder in her believe that he’s just a playboy after having experienced his exchange with Sanae before. However, she bursts into tears before long and Kazuhiro can talk her out of it by telling her that Saotome would indeed be happy if she knew that Rinne helped, but not like this. And so his virginity’s saved. Oh joy.

After Rinne’s off to Saotome’s apartment to tell her how great a boyfriend (cough) she has, Takana literally bumps into Kazuhiro and wants to beat him to death until the keyword “imouto” falls, pacifying her to Kazuhiro’s surprise. The volume closes with the (now?) four girls having a tea party in Saotome’s apartment (the three others bump heads in front of Saotome’s apartment when she comes back home from work) foreshadowing the summer holidays issue.


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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