Light Novel Review: TaiCheat Volume 1

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


It’s a fantasy rom-com with topics that spell drama but ultimately dissolve in comedy. Don’t expect anything remotely serious, everything in TaiCheat ends in something ridiculous. The setting isn’t what you’d usually expect, you’re basically with the “dark side” that the protagonist tries to turn into the good side. Also, the harem in this series is super pro-active, whether that’s a turn on or not depends on your preferences.

Difficulty


TaiCheat is of average difficulty – if it weren’t for the sh*t ton of names and locations you’ll have to cope with. You might even wanna keep a list if you’re not comfortable with that; I’m not kidding.

Difficulty 6/10

Translation Where?


Nothing that I know of. It’s also a fairly new series.

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

Before you read the summary, a warning from me: I don’t take notes before I write summaries. The sheer amonut of events, people, and locations in this novel made summaring TaiCheat incredibly difficult to a degree that I can’t promise accuracy. I might even have mixed some stuff up here, there’s just too much going on. So take this summary with a grain of salt.

The prologue is simply an introductory chapter for you to see all the heroines and the “antagonist” assembled. It’s about our protagonist, Tsunenobu, already holding the position of emperor and watching the battlefield through something like a magical monitor while being surrounded by all the heroines. His troops are being pushed back by the opposing party, lead by a warrior clad in all black, Masato. Eventually, Masato kinda fails because of a trap that Tsunenobu set for his army, but the prologue ends without any real conclusion there.

Chapter one marks the “real” beginning. Tsunenobu finds himself waking up in the middle of a magical circle. He was summoned there by Paola, a young – let’s say – mage, and her grandfather Muzio, who’s really spoiling his grandchild but contrary to that treats Tsunenobu really coldly. Paola is an energetic and pure girl who’s acting really close with him from the start. First, Tsunenobu doesn’t believe he’s in a fantasy world, so Paola tries to convince him by summoning a dragon. Anyway, they need a stand-in for their emperor, who got cursed and is now a vegetable, and Tsunenobu happens to look exactly like him. Sensing the danger, Tsunenobu declines, so Muzio tells Paola to utilize her manipulation charm that she was ought to cast on Tsunenobu when they first summoned him. It turns out, however, that she cast that spell on herself, so that Tsunenobu can command her; her logic being: why should anyone be able to command the emperor? The emperor’s the one to command. And so Tsunenobu has an order for her: To be send back where he came from. But apparently all that does is arouse her, since she doesn’t have the power yet to perform the ritual again for a month which means that even if she wanted to, she can’t fulfill the order – which apparently causes the “command spell” to tickle her in all the right places. Remember the dragon? Yeah, it apparently decided to come back and now lays waste to the tower they’re in. The result being, that Paola and Tsunenobu end up on its back, while she is kind of able to control and fly it, Tsunenobu gets a view over his new home for a month – the capital of Gloria with a huge-ass castle and hundreds of thousands of inhabitants.

They fall off the dragon and crash into some kind of orphanage, and in front of someone who looks like a nun and turns out to be some kind of fanatic who was awaiting their savior who’s told to come falling from the sky. Apparently, they crashed into the poor part of the capital and seeing all the starving children around him, Tsunenobu decides to take on the job as emperor and promises to make it right for all of them.

Gloria is actually a huge country on their continent. In the past, they conquered, plundered, and/or annexed countless smaller countries which led to their current size and power. However, for over a hundred years there hasn’t been much of an improvement on any side, everyone’s just minding their own business and is in for their own gain, consequently leading to the country going slowly but surely to sh*t. That in combination with their rather violent past and resulting grudges from other ethnicities and/or neighboring countries leads to a rather unstable state. The ones attacking Gloria aren’t necessarily the bad guys, is my point. Anyway, in the past, Gloria was reigned by a very capable king who expanded their borders and formed alliances with various other countries to assure dominance. Muzio’s telling all of that to Tsunenobu while they’re walking through and by literally dozens of treasure chambers, all of them filled to the point of bursting. The ressources are there…

Tsunenobu now meets his ministers. Apparently, an alliance of 14 countries is attacking. However, the ministers aren’t concerned at all, they’re just savage tribes, they say. They already sent Gilberto Tessarini with a million soldiers over to deal with them. Rather than that, it’s hunting season and they really wanna go shoot something. After Tsunenobu made sure, that his ministers are as uninterested into Gloria’s state affairs as they appear to be, he tells them to go on a hunting vacation for a month. Of course, Muzio begs him to not ruin the country since it looks to him as if Tsunenobu’s doing just that by sending all the ministers off.

Tsunenobu returns to his room, pondering on what he should do. Before long, Paola enters; in a maid uniform. She offers His Majesty some juice, in a glass, sandwiched inbetween her boobs. Why? Apparently her friend Kyala suggested to do so, since that would surely make him happy. Tsunenobu wants to see that Kyala, hence Paola leads him to her. Kyala is actually a small girl from, errr, the beast race, I guess? She’s got… fox ears and a fox tail, I think. Animal stuff, anyway. She’s a very sleepy and slow person, but a genius nonetheless. In charge of innovations, Kyala shows Paola and Tsunenobu crystals which would theoretically allow for the transfer of information like voices even if the holder couldn’t use magic. Tsunenobu immediately feels reminded of the internet and is able to grasp the general concept of what Kyala is trying to tell them, that in return surprises Kyala since she doesn’t recall Her Majesty to be any bright. However, there’s a catch to Kyala’s version of the internet: Erecting the necessary nodes that would produce and/or forward the magical power would cost an insane amount of money. Tsunenobu, however, is unfazed and authorizes the construction.

Surprisingly, Muzio is also excited to hear about those plans and helps getting everything in motion. Only problem is, it costs a looootta money. Anyway, before long there’s two typical “websites” running: A platform where you can ask questions and people answer (yahoo questions or whatever equivalent there is in your country), and an imageboard like chan. The imageboard seems to be the dark side of the “internet,” while the Q&A community’s the light side. Asking most of the questions is Paola, mostly dumb questions at that and using her real name on top of that. Tsunenobu is still trying to recruit a bunch of capable folk to help him out, so he tries asking how he could achieve that. No replies. And no replies after asking it daily for a week. Apparently, Paola’s known cuteness and beauty are the things that net her the attention to get replies (the internet in a nutshell), so as a last resort, Tsunenobu tries to post the question under his, errr, “real” name – as the Emperor. However, the topic is getting moderated and deleted, followed by a call from Kyala. She isn’t amused since it doesn’t sit well with the position of emperor to ask questions there, so she tells him to please not get desperate. Tsunenobu agrees and begs her to tell him just one thing: The identity of a user named “Lorenzo,” who answers most of Paola’s questions in astonishing detail and with profound knowledge. Kyala hesitantly hands out the information.

“Lorenzo” turns out to be his “real” name, as the user indeed is logging in from the Elven ambassador’s, Whatshisname Lorenzo’s, villa. Tsunenobu and Paola travel there, and are shown in by the maid. Before the ambassador himself turns up, his daughter, Beatrice (henceforth called the way she insists to be called, “Bice,” an Italian name, so you’re probably pronouncing it as wrong as I am :P), is the first to greet their royal guests. She seems quite fond of the Emperor and tries to sneakily bring up a  political discussion, but her father, Lorenzo, arrives. He sends his daughter away, since women have no business with this kind of political conversation. And so Tsunenobu asks Lorenzo about the replies and begs him to help the empire out. However, Lorenzo first and foremost refuses to help the empire since there’s a treaty between the Elves and the empire to not intervene with each other’s business, and he also states that the great, great Elves have no need for those crystal-ball-computer-thingies the empire handed out to all of its citizens. Dejected, Tsunenobu and Paola leave. But their carriage is being stopped by Bice, who gets aboard and begs Tsunenobu to take her with them. She states that she’s the one who answered all of Paola’s questions and that she’s deliberately using her father’s name so that nobody thinks that she’s a woman which would automatically make the things she has to say be disregarded by men, since in their society women are ought to do women stuff like cooking ‘n getting babies ‘n all. Bice eavesdropped on them and wants to help His Majesty out. Tsunenobu’s overjoyed to take her in and appoints her Prime Minister, basically one step below himself. Bice, too, is overjoyed that she can now do meaningful stuff with her knowledge and thus begins her attitude of always wanting to throw herself at Tsunenobu – what a kinky, kinky elf.

Before long the elder ministers come back and with them ambassador Lorenzo, who doesn’t want his daughter to serve the empire – or in any official position whatsoever. The elders also object because of the treaty. However, the treaty doesn’t state that an individual person couldn’t interact with the other side, it’s more of an “the respective country’s governments in the narrower sense” shouldn’t intervene. Still, Lorenzo wants to marry his daughter away to an Elf, as is custom among the Elves, and even a fiery speech from the emperor himself about how everyone should seek their individual happiness and that the empire desperately needs reforms doesn’t affect him. Only when Bice tosses Lorenzo a letter from her mother, that she was told from her to give to her father in case he throws a tantrum, makes Lorenzo break out in sweat and ask the emperor to take his daughter under his wings. The elders get persuaded by Muzio who got his hands on a book from one of his underlings that had kept detailed record of all the payments and whatnot which are going on within the government, and it kinda looks like the ministers were getting a lot of suspicious payments. So now that the ministers drenched in sweat also agree that the empire totally needs reforms and that Bice would be great for that, we’ve got a Prime Minister.

Three months or so after he’s been summoned, Tsunenobu adjusted and now lets Paola ask the questions online that he wants to ask, since she’s getting the replies. However, he’s really bummed out since he feels kind of useless. So far, Tsunenobu himself couldn’t do anything, it’s all Bice and Muzio who’re doing the reforms and keep everything running, so he wonders whether he should just go back to his own world and leave everything in their hands. All of a sudden, he sees a new question turning up on the site. Of course, it’s from Paola, and she’s asking why her emperor-oniichan (she’s literally the little sister of the “former” (kinda ded) emperor Tsunenobu is the stand-in for) is more with another girl (Bice) than herself these days. One of the replies is by Bice herself, who suggests she should get used to calling her onee-san from now on, since she’s gonna make the emperor hers (of course she isn’t saying it as directly as that, since she’s still writing under the name “Lorenzo” and not as herself). Anyway, Tsunenobu thinks about it and agrees that, due to work, he indeed spent more time with Bice than Paola. Whatever, he decides to take a bath, and there, Paola appears out of nowhere. She wants to wash his back, but he commands her to contain herself. However, then Bice appears out of nowhere. So now Paola has to contain herself while Bice makes her move on the emperor. During the course of their “conversation” he mentions that he doesn’t think he brings any talents or qualities into the empire that would qualify him as emperor, Bice, however, states that him realizing that he needs competent personal, looking and finding those, and caring about the empire and its citizens are the best qualities they could wish for in an emperor. Well, the usual skinship stuff continues and eventually Tsunenobu faints from lightheadedness.

He wakes up in bed together with Paola and Bice, surprisingly that’s not the main focus in the this scene, though. Instead, there’s a commotion down in the yard. His guards are restraining a girl who demands to see the emperor. Tsunenobu tells them to step aside and hears the girl out. Apparently, the “Alliance of 14 Countries” (the same guys from earlier, see above; henceforth referred to as “The Rebellion,” huehuehue) which started attacking the empire a while ago is winning on the eastern front despite their much fewer numbers.

So Tsunenobu consults with Muzio. The girl’s family name is “Sterling,” and apparently the Sterling family name has been dishonored to an extent that being in the presence of the emperor alone is considered a grave sin already. The reason is that the girl’s father, Lord Heinrich, was the brother of the king of a country named Igdral. A guy named Alexandro declared war against that country in the name of the empire five years ago. Heinrich was told to stand his ground against the imperial forces, but since they outnumbered them, like, one to a hundred or so, he immediately surrendered under the condition that his men and the citizens wouldn’t be hurt. As a bonus, Heinrich was taken in as a, I dunno what the correct term is, “guest general.” To the king that looked like treason, so he had his nephew, who served under him at the time, beheaded. The “war” should’ve ended before it began due to the empire’s overwhelming numbers, but a “princess knight” named “Rosalind” appeared and her outstanding prowess with the sword earned her the right of being considered as one of the – another term I won’t guarantee it fits – “Seven Heroes of the Goddess” (Setio Prinsa?). It’s a legend that once a great evil befalls the continent, seven saints blessed by the goddess would descend and save the world. And so Rosalind is now also known as “Venelissa” (Princess of Storm). And so Igdral goes on even though Heinrich Sterling should’ve made it so that it would be an easy task, Rosalind defended the country almost singlehandedly also due to the soldiers now thinking they’re fighting a losing battle (despite their numbers). And the Sterling family are the ones who are blamed for all of this (also as a safety net for the empire so that they’re not being blamed for the strategic incompetence in this war). So now the Sterling family is considered a family of traitors, had their land confiscated, Heinrich died from a disease three years ago, and his daughter – the girl from before – Hildegard is now the successor to their name. Anyway, Tsunenobu orders Muzio to take countermeasures and to refrain from treating Hildegard badly or he’s gonna tell Paola some nasty rumors about him…

Take the last paragraph with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of stuff crammed into just a few pages and it doesn’t seem perfectly coherent to me, so I might’ve understood some party wrong. The big picture should be alright, though.

Tsunenobu is wondering how the Rebellion manages to win against the Empire so much. Coincidentally, Bice pays him a visit. Apparently, the enemy commander just uses a lot of smart strategies, like ambushing and surprise attacks at the right time. The enemy commander’s a young man named “Masato Hourai.” He’s a survivor of  a royal family of an eastern country which had been eradicated several decades ago. He then lived in a rural town. At the time it was attacked by bandits, he picked up his sword and fought them back. That brought about the attention of the earl, who ordered him to be taken away. However, the villagers protested and called to arms. Chances of winning were slim, but thanks to Masato’s extraordinary tactics, they won against the earl’s troops. Long story short, they stormed the castle and killed the earl. That was two years ago. Since then, Masato seems to have forged alliances across the continent and now they’re attacking the Empire.

It dawns on Tsunenobu: Masato Hourai sounds very much like a Japanese name. Maybe he or his ancestors got summoned to this world too? And maybe he is the skilled protagonist that Tsunenobu can’t see in himself.

Well, Paola now pays him a visit and wants to give him a massage to relieve his stress (‘soft thingies touching his back’-stuff). Kyala joins too, since they like him so much (wanting to become his concubine much, *sigh*) and they’re worried about him, they wanted to relieve his stress. Realizing how much his surroundings care for him, Tsunenobu decides to give his best regardless of whether he’s the protagonist “of this story” or not and wants to pay the eastern front a visit.

In the meantime, Tsunenobu lets Paola ask that people at that yahoo-ish website how to beat golems. Apparently, erasing their inscriptions would be enough to turn them back into clumps of dirt. But then they’d have to use fliers to attack the golems and that’d mean the famous “Princess of Fire” could counterattack with her dragon. So another user suggests digging huge pitfalls, which – according to their perfect calculations – would take several tens of thousands of men to do in like three days. Which the other users laugh about.

Visiting the eastern front, Tsunenobu meets up with his dude in charge over there, a man named “Gilberto Tesalini” (or so). Asking him whether he knows why they keep losing, he says that it’s because the enemy is fighting so cowardly with ambushes and whatnot even though they do their best to charge in head on like real men. Yeah.

And so Tsunenobu takes advantage of his huge ass empire and gets a few ten thousand men over there to dig up dem pitfalls. Sure enough, the golems fall into them and are done for. But before long, there’s word that the fleet of the Princess of Water appeared in the Rubic river. A close Imperial fleet faces them, but gets destroyed by the Water Princess’s powers (manipulating water, duh) and her faithful maids in swimsuits.

This time, Paola has an idea: You gotta fight the Water Princess on land, not on her territory (water). Basically, drain the huge ass Rubic river. And that’s what they kind of do: They clog the Rubic by putting confiscated merchant ships end to end horizontally. Using that as a foundation, they build a bridge across the river. Once Natalia arrives, she tries to destroy the bridge that’s blocking her way, of course. However, it’s surprisingly sturdy. On top of that, the same kind of bridge suddenly appears behind them too, and the water level’s diminishing. Reason being: There are several tens of thousands of mages on those bridges and repeatedly cast ice magic on the river to freeze it. Now that Natalia’s stranded, the Empire’s news spec ops arrives to counter the Seven Heroes of the Goddess. They’re called “The 12 Star Princesses.” And they’re about 108 (wo)men strong. But only about thirty could make it this time. Anyway, they’re selected princess knights from across the empire and their purpose is to defend it. However, they’re not strong enough, so they pop a specific item that boosts their prowess. Natalia laughs it off as one wouldn’t be enough. So a few dozens of popping sounds later, they popped like fourty or so of those buff items each, and start brawling and overwhelming Natalia and her crew. Frustrated and close to defeat, Natalia suddenly gets teleported away from the ambush. Apparently, the same thing’s happened on the eastern front. So they enemy’s retreated into safety or rather was retreated through some unknown teleport magic. To make matters worse, Lord Ferrero (who was that again?) denies passing rights to the Imperial forces and seems to have gone rogue.

And so Tsunenobu checks on the internet whether there’s any good ideas how to get through this crisis. Let’s make it short: There aren’t. Basically, they’re saying that this is the end, might as well just throw a big End-of-the-Empire party, ayyylmao. Tsunenobu thinks about it for a while and… decides to throw a nation-wide feast.

Of course, the internet goes apeshit wondering whether the emperor’s just given up, but they like the idea and party hard. For that reason, merchants bring all kinds of treats and liquor from all across the country into the capital. During a banquet, in which Tsunenobu barely manages to dodge the bullet of embarrassing himself by dancing with Bice (he’s apparently just as good a dancer as you and I; this is also weird because Bice doesn’t know he’s just a double, only the old geezer and Palo know he’s not the real emperor and Bice knows the old emperor was a great dancer since dancing’s part of his education), he’s asked to join into an urgent meeting. Thanks to Kyala, they were able to smuggle in one of dem magic drones and can now listen in to Ferrero strategy meeting. They’re in a frenzy since the feast in the capital drained all the resources out of the surrounding regions and barely leaves enough for the citizens to live by. That means they can’t uphold a huge army to marge on the capital – which was Tsunenobu’s plan. While some arses in the meeting demand that they strip the citizens off their food and kill any resistance, Masato – also present – simply demands 1000 soldiers to march on the capital. After a bunch of ridiculing and “if you fail, you better just kill yourself, eastern peasant boy” and Masato clearly stating that they can ridicule him but better refrain from ridiculing his country of origin, the Storm Princess and cousin of Hildegard, Rosalind, insists to join her comrad on his march on the capital. Another fun fact about Masato: It seems he’s a very persuasive guy who does even turn people who almost hate his guts into his allies for “no specific reason.” Just a hint that there might be some kinda magic involved. Or he’s just silver-tongued.

I’m not quite sure whether Tsunenobu suggested it or Hildegard insisted by herself, but anyway, she wants to be the one fighting Rosalind. He hesitates for a second, but then agrees and takes one of the legendary swords the Empire ransacked out of the vault and bestows it onto Hilde. She panics and says that she wanted to fight her square and fair, but since the Storm Princess governs over the wind anyway, he wants her to be on as much equal footing as possible. Tsunenobu also clearly states that he doesn’t want her to fight to the death, he knows she’s proud and that knights have that honor thing going on for them. However, he wants her to promise him that if she can’t beat Rosalind, that’d she return to his side safe and sound, even if that means abandoning the legendary sword he just gave her. He also appoints her to be a member of the 12 Princess Knights whose purpose is to guard the Empire. She’s in awe for a moment but finally agrees.

The Imperial Forces – with huge numbers – are awaiting the 1000 rebels. As they arrive and Rosaline – as expected – pretty much blasts through a lot of them, Hilde faces her and the fight begins. Even with the legendary sword, Hilde doesn’t stand a chance against the Storm Princess. However, after hesitating to finish Hilde off, as she’s about to do it, she suddenly can’t move. Reason being, she’s in an extremely strong magical binding. It was cast by one of the other 12 Princess Knights that Hilde is now part of. When Rosa confronts her about these underhanded methods and her already tarnished honor, Hilde simply shrugs it off that she realized that she doesn’t care about her honor or anything anymore, all that matters to her now is to devote her everything to the Emperor. The Imperial Forces are victorious, but there’s no sight of Masato.

Tsunenobu pays a visit to Rosa in the dungeon. As it is custom in various hentai animations, she’s behind bars and in shackles. Her magic has been sealed by the 12 Princess Knights, so she doesn’t pose an immediate thread anymore. To top it off, Paola’s cast that “subjugation” magic on her. Not to listen to Paola’s demands, but she – again – made it so that Rosa has to listen to anything the Emperor, Tsunenobu, demands. And so he asks where Masato is. Of course, Rosa resists, which leads to the typical sexual tension or whatever it is building up in her due to the subjugation magic doing taking its toll. Interesting details they’re getting in the process is that Rosa and Masato aren’t lovers, and that Masato is doing all of this for the sake of his little sister, since she’s fatally ill and only a very special elixir could heal her, whose ingredients are very rare and after the Empire conquered just about everything pretty much impossible to get, so he needs to smash the Empire to get the ingredients out of them – he also wants to restore his country, of course. Another fun detail: Hilde is by Rosa’s side during the interrogation, like “you should also submit yourself to the Emperor as I did and experience the joy” ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Anyway, Rosa’s getting a bit cheeky and Tsunenobu a bit impatient, so he repeats “Tell me where Masato is” about 30 times over, which is pretty intense considering the subjugation magic and breaks her resistance. Masato split up from the main forces and went on his own, he didn’t even tell Rosa what he was planning since he had a feeling somebody was listening in on them – what a perceptive dude.

Tsunenobu sends Paola, Bice, and Kyala out of the capital, since he’s worried about their safety. Everybody and their mothers is at the castle to protect His Majesty. Tsunenobu decided to stay since he deemed it safer within castle walls than going into ambush territory. Of course, the guards are thoroughly checking everyone’s identity and only let well-known personal near the emperor. There’s a commotion. Apparently, Masato helped out a maid who gave him her uniform as thanks. So he’s in the castle. In a maid uniform. There’s no need to go into the fight details, so I’ll make it short. Masato’s finally spotted, does fight his way into the throne room nonetheless and manages to deal with an overwhelming number of guards. As he’s about to finish his final slash to behead Tsunenobu, Paola dashes out of a hidden passage behind the throne and throws herself at her “Onii-chan.” That word makes Masato hesitate, which is enough time for reinforcements to arrive. The reinforcements being basically everyone of the 12 Princess Knights (over a hundred, remember?), all of the royal guard, a bunch of cooks, maids, you name it. The Throne room’s pretty crowded and everyone’s on top of Masato and quite frankly, stepping on each other’s toes. Anyway, even Masato can’t deal with this clusterf*ck and is subjugated.

Subjugated in front of Tsunenobu, Masato is now interrogated by the emperor on his throne. Tsunenobu says that he knows about Masato’s little sister and asks Muzio whether they’ve the elixir. They do. Like, more than 70 or so of ’em. So Tsunenobu gives him one and another one just in case. Masato’s baffled but shortly after rants on that he won’t forgive the Empire because they stole his country’s treasure and whatnot Tsunenobu, again, asks Muzio whether they’ve the treasure. Muzio brings it to him, and it’s just some golden thingy or whatever, being dragged into this huge mess because of all these minor items Tsunenobu snaps and throws that golden sphere thingy into Masato’s face, tells him that he never gave a f*ck about these trivial crap items to begin with and to GTFO. And so the – now totally confused – Masato his removed. Next is Ferrero. He surrendered after Masato was captured. A traitor to the throne, he should be beheaded. However, Tsunenobu states that he won’t do that because of his achievements for the Empire. Ferrero insists to make it up to Tsunenobu, but after hearing his reasons for forsaking the Empire (an elf – and a woman on top of that – as Prime Minister is ridiculous, too many reforms, too much change, and that improvised magic “internet” thingy just a toy and waste of money, so he thought the Empire on the decline), Tsunenobu insists that Ferrero resigned as the Lord of whatsitsname (’cause too old and stubborn for new ideas), and that Hilde would get land in his territory as a sign of gratitude.

We’re basically in the epilogue and the internet’s all for the new emperor. Though some state that he’s so different from the old stuck-up one, that he might just be an imposter, people simply say: “Who cares? This one’s better anyway, lulz.”

The volume closes with Paola coming into Tsunenobu’s bedroom saying that the old geezer said she should have the emperor’s children and such, only to be followed by the others heroines entering his bedroom and announcing that “the real fight” only just started – the fight of who’s to become his first wife.

Conclusion


Volume 1 Cover

You probably read the summary and were like, “Yeah, you pasted the summary of all four volumes by accident.” No, I did not. Volume 1 of TaiCheat (gotta love my shorthandles) has a lot going on. Like, a ridiculous lot.

Let’s start with the story. Tsunenobu, a dead-ordinary highschooler gets summoned into another world and becomes the Emperor just because he happens to look like him. That alone is okay, point is though, that the Empire is in decline. Rebels everywhere, outdated legislation, “outdated” politicians. TaiCheat‘s story has a lot of charming points to it. For instance, Tsunenobu – not a bad person himself – finds himself to be the emperor of an empire that basically ran over the continent not too long ago; they were the aggressors, the invaders. So there’s no playing the “We’re the good guys, cheer for us”-card, the empire’s just getting what they had coming. Even legendary, godly forces by the name of “The Seven Heroes of the Goddess” incarnated to bring the evil Empire to its knees. However, the young allies Tsunenobu surrounds himself with aren’t evil by heart either, everyone’s basically just paying for their ancestor’s sins. So one aspect is, that the Empire isn’t necessarily in the right here.

Another funny aspect is that, well, he’s the leader of the Empire. They got lots and lots of ressources, so Tsunenobu doesn’t really struggle in taking action, he’s got money and manpower in abbundance, so he can just overwhelm the legendary heroes with ridiculous meassures like digging several meters deep and wide pitfalls overnight.

The world itself is well-depicted, in my opinion. There are lots of countries involved, you get a good feeling for who they are and what they want, same goes for the different races. Although, there’s one thing I would’ve liked to see more of: While the story takes you to a bunch of different places within the empire, you don’t get an all too well feeling for the capital itself. It’s said to be huge, but you’ll visit more battlefield than streets within said huge capital, you get no idea what’s going on in there. However, it is forgivable considering how much is going on in this novel, a chapter of Tsunenobu roaming the streets with his entourage would’ve been nice, though. Maybe establishing a few landmarks like a pub full of weirdos or something.

It’s also not all just love, peace, and harmony in the Empire. People are prejudiced against women, racism is hinted at, but doesn’t play a major role yet, and the old ministers don’t like to see change, corruption, of course, is abound. All of these topics don’t take a course for the dark, though. They’re tackled by Tsunenobu in a light-hearted, humerous, and “knight in shining armor”-kind of way. For instance, he’s looking for a prime minister by his side, who’s competent and open-minded enough to reform the outdated legislation. He finds himself a candidate in a young, elven girl nicknamed “Bice.” However, her elven diplomat dad doesn’t want elves to get involved with the Empire’s business and the Empire’s geezer ministers want neither reforms nor women in the government. The solution is simply Bice’s mother apparently coaxing Bice’s father into letting her do as she wants and Paola’s granddad revealing he’s got dirt on the geezers (corruption). So now Bice is all over Tsunenobu, problem solved. TaiCheat‘s a comedy, not a drama.

Regarding the characters, Tsunenobu stays flat as a pancake. You know he’s a plain ordinary guy with neither special abilities nor superior intelligence. And that’s it. Personality-wise, he’s a nice guy who wants the Empire to be just and the people to be happy. Well, his “hollowness” does allow for easy immersion, I guess. The other characters do have more depth, but still remain shallow. Bice is a very proud elf, Paola a naive dere-dere loli, Kyala an always sleepy, pokerfaced genius loli, Hilde an overzealous knight who wants to prove her worth. Only Hilde gets some kind of proper background as to why she’s doing what she’s doing. The character with the most depth is probably Masato, the “antagonist.” I say “antagonist” in quotes, since he wants to free the continent from the Empire. Anyway, you get to know the story of his life. Basically, Masato is the kind of character who would be the protagonist in other novels: Smart, strong, charismatic. But this isn’t “other novels,” you’re in for the “Dark Side.”

So the characters, apart from Hilde to a certain extend and Masato, stay shallow. TaiCheat will, however, not lose when it’s about numbers. I didn’t count, but the numbers of characters introduced in volume 1 is easily 20. It’s ridiculously high and hell for someone like me who isn’t good with names. There’s a bunch of heroines, lords, heroes, cooks, captains, you name it. But it’s not just characters, there are also numerous places you have to keep in mind to make sense of what’s happening. All of them are important, so they’re not just fillers to fill in blanks. This also applies to the pacing: There are no fillers. There’s always something of interest happening, it’s amazing, really. No event drags out to fill pages, it’s just the most interesting stuff and the story moves on. It might be ever so slightly overpaced and could’ve used like maybe one of those “roam the streets of the capital” chapters I mentioned above, but that’s hairsplitting.

The perfect fantasy novel, then? No. TaiCheat has one major flaw, and that’s the heroine’s attitude. They’re clinging to Tsunenobu to a ridiculous degree and basically tell him to pop their cherries right here, right now. It really leaves the impression of Tsunenobu having a harem of prostitutes, they’re probably meant to leave a pro-active impression, but the way and extend to which they’re seducing him is ridiculous. In general, the way the heroines behave and their getup look like an ensemble of the author’s wet dreams. A fox-eared (?) loli in nothing but an oversized shirt, a naive dere-dere loli with big boobs… It kinda hurts to see. On top of that, Paola – as a character – makes no sense to me. The former emperor seems to have died from a curse and Paola is his little sister, she’s all over Tsunenobu and full of energy even though she loved her brother and he died, like, weeks ago? Maybe I overlooked something, but this is super fishy.

All in all, TaiCheat is a fantasy rom-com with an interesting approach that turned out to be far more interesting than I originally thought after seeing the overly sexualized harem the author decided to go with. I came looking for copper, and I found gold.

Rating 8/10

 

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