Archive for March 31st, 2011

“文学少女”と繋がれた愚者 // Bungaku Shoujo to Tsunagareta Fool

 ”Bungaku Shoujo” to Tsunagareta Fool
 Literature Girl and Chained Fool (Off-Hand TL)
 Book Girl and the Captive Fool (Official Title)

著:野村美月 (Author: Nomura Mizuki)
画:竹岡美穂 (Illustrator: Takeoka Miho)
ファミ通文庫 (Famitsu Bunko)
ISBN-10: 4757730845
ISBN-13: 978-4757730847
発売日: 2007/1/4

English Translation by Yen Press: [link] (Not Yet Released at Time of Posting)
[Release Date: July, 2011]


In short, I loved the second book in the series that I wanted to go ahead and start reading the third right away. So, I did. (As soon as I finished most of my ridiculous mountain of work I had this month D:) I guess this review is preemptive in a way, because the English release hasn’t come out yet. I hope I don’t spoil anything for anyone, and I hope you all go out and get this book because it’s great :)

Well, that means 5 more volumes of 文学少女 Bungaku Shoujo and 3 more of 文学少女見習い Bungaku Shoujo Minarai (which have a different narrator and are after Tooko graduates) left. Too bad I only have one more volume D:

Prominent Characters:
???s are either given names never mentioned or those that trigger spoilers.

天野遠子  Amano Tooko
・The Literature Girl, Head of the Literature Club
井上心葉  Inoue Konoha [Narrator]
・Former (Female) Author “Inoue Miu” and Tooko’s Writer
芥川一誌  Akutagawa Kazushi
・Konoha’s Classmate; Sincere, Level-headed, and Upright
更科    Sarashina ???
・Girl Who Claims to be Akutagawa’s Girlfriend
琴吹ななせ Kotobuki Nanase
・Pure Tsundere
竹田千愛  Takeda Chia
・Bright and Cheerful “Shinitagari no Piero”
五十嵐   Igarashi ???
・Akutagawa’s Upperclassman and Former Archery Club Member
鹿又笑   Kanomata Emi
小西繭里  Konishi Mayuri
・Two Girls from Akutagawa’s Past
姫倉麻貴  Himekura Maki
・Artist, Head of the Orchestra Club, Superintendent’s Granddaughter
朝倉美羽  Asakura Miu
・A Girl from Konoha’s Past, Konoha’s Writer

Story Overview:

Tooko finds books with pages cut out of them, and immediately vows to find the culprit! Surprisingly, she does, and as punishment forces him to join in on the literature club’s set play production for their school’s cultural festival. After Konoha quickly dismisses Tooko’s plans of flipping and tumbling about the stage, they decide to do a rendition of Yuujou (友情) “Friendship” by Musha-no-Kouji Saneatsu (武者小路実篤).

But the trouble has just begun. Something is troubling Akutagawa; he starts sending mysterious letters, and rushes off without warning. A girl who claims to be Akutagawa’s girlfriend starts contacting Konoha. The vandalism resumes, violence mounts on the school grounds.

The character relationships in Yuujou overlap those in front of Konoha at almost every angle. How can anyone resolve the tangled mess of ties in friendship, love and obligation?

Evaluation / Rating:

The second volume: “文学少女”と飢え渇く幽霊 (Bungaku Shoujo to Uekawaku Ghost) is probably the best of the series I’ve read so far, and yet for a few reasons I would put it at the bottom of the list. The first volume I think I still enjoyed the best because of the sheer novelty, but it’s really getting hard to put one of these volumes up above another. This volume: “文学少女”と繋がれた愚者 (Bungaku Shoujo to Tsunagareta Fool), is a bit of a hybrid between the other two. The formula is a lot closer to “文学少女”と死にたがりの道化 (Bungaku Shoujo to Shinitagari no Piero) with its many character connection angles, but does employ more characterization, but not as much as Ghost. The first half is interesting but feels sub-par, but then the second half flies by in an instant, and in the end gives you information that completely overturns your notion of what was happening before, so much that – well, I want to read it again already.

Characterization is strong this time around. It shocked me almost as much as Konoha when Akutagawa first opens up. The letters are more cryptic this time around and the plot of the story is clearly separate from Musha no Kouji’s “Friendship”; it deals more with similarities in the relationships between the characters in Fool, and the characters in “Friendship”. Like in the first volume, almost every character finds him or herself in a roll in the story, but they often switch roles back and forth, adding layer upon layer upon layer the interconnections which define each person. If you’ve seen the movie you’ve spoiled a few points already, but there are a couple of shocking revelations about Miu in the book. Kotobuki takes a more active role and grows beyond the “token Tsundere”. Whereas Ghost had an incredible amount of characterization given to “temporary characters”, most of the characterization this time around is focused on the main cast. I was glad to see Chia again, and though her role is small, she plays a wonderful antithesis character and contributes well to critical points in the plot. It is interesting to see her after her character has been sort of “revealed” since the first volume.

This book is apparently very very “Taisho Romance”. I have not read any Taisho Romance, but Fool was very gripping emotionally. The theatrical enactment was extremely well written and the atmosphere was overwhelming; Tooko really did work her magic this time around; I broke a person record in reading speed as I flew through those pages.

They explain the plot of “Friendship” relatively well and relatively early in the book, so I don’t think there’s much of a need for me to go over it, so I’ll go ahead and leave it here.

Overall: 9.6
I’m not in much of a position to judge one of these books above the other, because they’re all excellent, but in terms of best: probably 2nd, 3rd, 1st volumes; in terms of my personal preference, probably: 1st, 3rd,?=2nd. But it’s really hard to put them in any sort of order.

Concept: 9.8
(Not quite a 10, but extremely almost there)
Pacing: 9.5
(I absolutely flew through the second half, and the first half wasn’t bad either)
Plot: 9.5
(There are so many layers, so many layers… ; even if some plot twists were predictable, I second guessed some of them and was taken by surprise on a few others)
Characters: 9.7
(Most of the stereotypicalness seen in the first volume has since melted away, delving into each character more; Kotobuki has gone from TsunTsun to DereDere; Konoha feels slightly more relatable)
Writing Style/Flavor: 9.7
(Much improved from the last volume; not that it was ever bad to begin with)
Illustrations: 9.5
(A perfect match for the author’s flavor)