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 Mushoku Tensei

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PostSubject: Mushoku Tensei   Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:26 pm


Online light novel about a NEET who dies and is reincarnated into a magical world with his memories and then tries to live a better life than his previous one. It's pure wish fulfillment and the translation is inconsistent(Inconsistent names, leaving out many terms untranslated for the sake of it, TL notes not catching the references, so on), but the overall ideas presented aren't bad, and the author doesn't get carried away in just writing things to feel good. The protagonist Rudeus is extremely strong and cool, but never overly so. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, he's always reminded of his loser 30-year-old NEET self previous life, and
he does genuinely try to improve. Earlier on in the novels it was about seeing how strong Rudi can become, how far he explores the magic system in this new world, and how he interacts with a new society. Soon it becomes an adventure with clear goals and motivations though, which is also fun in it's own right. It's actually a rather fun read. And a long one too, and still unfinished. There are good comedic moments, erotic situations, and even tearjerking ones, may not be good literature, but it's certainly fun.

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PostSubject: Re: Mushoku Tensei   Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:49 am

This summer I have embarked on the path of reading.
I've read a lot of silly stuff.
Mostly silly japanese web light novels with iffy translations,
I had to turn my mind off often.
Mushoku Tensei was my favourite among them.
Of course in the end I didn't finish my actual studying...

Anyways, moving away from mushoku style writing and back to my own walls of text for this. Reincarnation and/or transporting to magical world is a pretty common theme in japanese web novels lately it seems. The "let's become a novelist" thing that is going on right now over there seems to be filled with them. After all, wish-fulfilment is a good stimulus for a writer. I think though that when reading things like that it is sometimes good to overlook the wish-fulfilment alarms of embarassment going off and read something for what it is. If you do that you can find the quality of the work.

Take something like Arifureta for example which goes wish fulfilment completely transparently. It is shameless enough in what it is doing that it becomes readable and somewhat fun if you turn multiple intelligence alarms off, but it's a one-off thing, not something you'd follow as a genre, rather it's something you read once as a singular experience.

Mushoku Tensei is opposite to such works in that respect. It is well written, in the sense that the writter knows what he is doing. I remember cases of completely ignoring flags he set himself, but generally what happens, happens for a reason, and the story always progresses in an interesting way (which is writter 101, but let's say that during my reading adventure I saw a lot of things and my perspective broadened).
The reincarnation part does seem like wish-fulfilment, but it's also a lot more than that. I often see a setting like that being there just for that reason and the character then transforming into a whole other person with no connection to the original reincarnated/transported person, but that's not the case here. It is an integral part of the main character and it more often than not affects his relationships with other people. You never forget that he had 34 years of life before the reincarnation throughout the story. In addition, the threat of simply going back to his other life is also brought up at certain times. It's not a struggle of returning, but a struggle of staying and living right to make up for his wasted life.
Again, writter 101 (which again I have missed seeing elsewere), but the other characters are interesting themselves with distinct personalities of their own (unless their part is too small, of course).
Dialogue is also well written and you'll find comedy everywhere. There's a massive ecchi part in the story, but rathen than ecchi service, it's more ecchi comedy, and a funny one imo (unless it somehow arouses you, iunno what works for you, at least it doesn't do it for me).

Some things to note is that it may be a bit too raw as the web novel has a lot less poritical correctness restraints to it. For example, the nerd boy inside jokes can get, as I said, a bit too raw for many a reader's palate. The time at which sex happens may also be an issue, at least it would be if it was not a web novel. On that note, it should be 15+, the sex is not described as far as I remember (again, not for arousal purposes, at least that's how I see it). And whenever it happens it feels like it contributes to relationships or dialogue or comedy or story, unlike a certain novel I read lately where they would just fuck at the end of the day just because the writer could write it, over and over, in length describing how it got to it (why am I wasting my time with that book again?).
Another thing to note is that, although the story is usually told from the MC's point of view, it will sometimes shift to other characters (often to view him from the outside since it's hard for a writer to do that with first person narrative), and when that happens, it will be pointed out with "*character* point of view" above it, which is often a sign of an amateur writer imo. Take it as you want. But I can see the reason with that style of writing that tries to be short and to the point, can't drag it out to gradually bring it to attention.

As I said, it was my favourite summer read. Perhaps oregairu would be above it if I hadn't watched it and it had more volumes to read, but I can't tell. Maybe, maybe not. Obviously LMS trumps all, but I ran out of chapters this summer. I recommend it to male otaku, others may have some issues, but for those who don't, it's a really fun read, and the way it's written, I don't think it's possible to tire you. Overall, I'd say some shamelessness is necessary when writing, you have to reveal yourself to an extend since that's where you are pulling your writing from, and when you hide, all sorts of points turn bad. When you try too hard to also hide the reader's own shamelessness from them, it also turns bad unless they are really young. So drop some shame when you write. Mushoku does that and it is turning out really well.

P.S.: I'll probably detail my summer reading adventures in another post btw.

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