Twelve Days of DAL (#9): The LN Part I

So today, i am going give my thoughts and touched on things that i found interesting on each volume of this series. Before i get into the books, i am going to talk about some “technical” things first.

Structure wise, DAL dedicated one volume for each featured girl (oddly enough each volume title resembles Monogatari series). This makes it important for the girls personality to be fleshed out as much as possible and have the girls that has been featured also be given development throughout the series once their arc’s over. While Tohka and Yoshino have theirs, the Yamai twins didn’t sadly (well, much at least). Starting from Miku’s arc, the structure became two volume per girl which was a good idea to give the featured girl more time, but it also hindered plot development. The author’s also seems persistent on having five chapter each volume and one epilogue for each end of the arc.

As for the writing, it was written in third person. The quality is pretty standard LN and contain many of it’s problem i.e. too much telling from the narration, short descriptive paragraph, some awkward words, phrase and sentences throughout (whether it’s because of the translation or not i don’t know) and overall rather childish. It really was written for a quick, easy and light read. Though personally, i prioritize seeing how plot development goes, so i don’t mind (much) and not too bothered about the writing which is usually more important for things like thematic exploration and also in a more human-drama focused series (and honestly i am not really into literature :P).

All right, that’s the general thought that i could give, lets get down to each volume.

Oh yeah, there’s maaayyyy slight spoiler, so proceed at your own risk. Also if you noticed there’s missing illustration for the cover of the volume, that’s because i feel it’s somewhat spoiling some reveal just in case you want to check out this series.

Volume 1

DAL v01 cover.jpg

The introduction for the upcoming dating madness. As far as first volume and beginning goes, it was pretty decent. Though personally, i don’t quite like how the LN started out in the most cliche and generic way possible. I know the aim was to surprised reader when the real deal comes up, but what you really need was a good characterization and make your audience invested on the ordinariness or else, chances are high they were already turned off. Anyway, the information needed about the setting and the characters are established quite good enough, while giving some hint/indication on what’s to come (The question of what Shido’s are for example) and the main gimmick was revealed. I laughed quite few times on some of the comedic moment particularly during Shido’s “training”.

My complaint about how the anime adapted the first two chapter into the first episode are already covered in the previous post, but my biggest gripe was during the episode 3 which covered chapter 4 and 5. There’s many original scene and humor as the replacement for the cut content and as the result, the climax of date i.e. Shido’s declaration that he’ll find a way to make Tohka able to live on earth, is lacking in terms of emotion due to poor build up.

Okay i maybe a bit too harsh considering i already gave my piece about the anime. Also there could be just not enough time. So yeah, i’ll just be positive.

Oh yeah, they also cut Shido’s backstory……

Volume 2

DAL2 cover.jpg

Yoshino’s arc and also the most butchered volume. Aside from giving further details about the setting, what Ratatoskr are and how Kotori became the commander (this one’s anime logic though). It also gives foreshadowing on what happened five years ago since it’s the point where Kotori was recruited and Shido’s ability was discovered. The event of this volume also further solidifying Shido’s resolve and giving Tohka development as she became both aware of Shido’s “occupation” and her own feelings/emotions.

Volume 3

DAL3 cover.jpg

Probably my personal favorite volume. There’s tense conflict, Kurumi was quite interesting, more foreshadowing, revelation and hint about the mystery and the ending was quite a shocker. I also liked that Kurumi’s existence challenged Shido’s earlier notion of believe that i’ve mentioned, unfortunately the anime only portray the part where Shido feared Kurumi, while in the LN he’s also doubt about the nature of his job. But Kotori bitchslap him into his senses and said no matter what he thinks, he’s the only one who can stop the killing cycle between Mana, Shido’s recently revealed biological sister and a member of DEM, and Kurumi by sealing Kurumi’s power. Up to that point there hasn’t been a way to eliminate Kurumi permanently. So each time Mana kills Kurumi, she came back alive and go murder spree again, and Mana has to hunt her down again. For each cycle, Mana became more and more desensitized toward killing.

Volume 4

The continuation of volume 3 and i quite liked it. Another mystery was revealed and a new potential villain in the form of Phantom also appeared. I liked the fact they don’t resolved Kurumi’s arc yet because lets be honest, she’s too complex for our MC to handle. It also shows that the series treated the saving the girl business, despite its ridiculousness, as an actual conflict rather than just mere male fantasy shenanigans. Whether that’s actually a good thing or it’s just the series take itself too seriously, that’s up for you to decide because i already argue about it in my previous post.

This volume also mark the beginning where Shido began to take action by himself rather than just being ordered around or being told what to do, though it only happen in the late chapter. It’s small, but it’s nice to see.

Okay that’s all the volume covered in season one of the anime. In the next post, i’ll talk about volumes covered in season two along with some side stories.

See you then 🙂

End Note:

– You can check out the fan-translation for this series on Baka-Tsuki. It’s quite active and up to date. Unfortunately, not all of the side stories was translated yet.

– The dilemma i’ve had about this series is that i don’t know which version (LN or anime) of it should i recommend if anybody ask. I can’t recommend the LN because you really need to get past the writing problem, but i can’t recommend the anime either due to problem i’ve mention in the previous post. Sure the content is questionable, weird and niche as it is, but still……

– You can learn more about the problem of LN writing here and here.

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