Archive for July 24th, 2011

“文学少女”と神に臨む作家<上/下> // Bungaku Shoujo to Kami ni Nozomu Romancier Part 1&2

Beware of spoilers: I will try to keep them to a minimum, but if you’re concerned, proceed with caution.

 Bungaku Shoujo to Kami ni Nozomu Romancier [Part 1+2]
 Literature Girl and the Novelist Who Faces the Heavens(Off-Hand TL)
 … (No Official English Title Released)
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-13: 978-4757741737 | 978-4757743717
発売日: 2008/05/09 | 2008/09/11


From now on I will, like the pierrot hide my sadness and smile.

Sometimes I will, like the ghost long in desperation, like the fool be decisive, like the fallen angel, be smeared with disgrace, but even so I will hold the moon and flowers in my heart, and like the pilgrim heading to the holy land, keep walking.

And so, I will become an novelist who faces the heavens.


So, this is the second series I’ve ever completed. (First if you consider the fact that the Suomus series isn’t officially “ended” but on infinite hiatus.) The first book in the series was the first book I read that while struggling through it in Japanese I was glued to the pages half the time and literally couldn’t put it down. (Except every 10 seconds to look for another word in the dictionary of course D:). Now I’ve grown used to Mizuki Nomura’s style, and I read these two books in less than half the time it took me to read the first (which is also the shortest). It’s been quite a long run.

My favorites of the series personally veer toward the beginning, but that’s probably because my favorite characters of the entire series are Hotaru and Chia, and the first two books deal most intimately with them. Still, the finale is more polished, it doesn’t forget any character in the series, is much more complicated, and we can tell finally that Konoha has finally put his foot forward and moved a few centimeters in the right direction.

At any rate, this series of books I know I will read again, and quite possibly again and again, and there aren’t many books I can say that about.

Prominent Characters:
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
琴吹ななせ Kotobuki Nanase
・Konoha’s Girlfriend, Library Assistant and Tsundere
櫻井流人  Sakurai Ryuuto
・Tooko’s “Little Brother”, Womanizer, Likes Dangerous Women
櫻井叶子  Sakurai Kanako
・Ryuuto’s Mother, Acclaimed Author of “Immoral is the Gate”
天野文陽  Amano Fumiharu
・Tooko’s Father, Kanako’s Editor, Yui’s Husband and Reader, Has Tooko’s Eating Habits
天野結衣  Amano Yui
・Tooko’s Mother, Fumiharu’s Author, Friends with Kanako Since Middle School
須和拓海  Suwa Takumi
・Ryuuto’s Father, Womanizer, Introduces Yui to Ore-rugeiyu
竹田千愛  Takeda Chia
・Bright and Cheerful, Masked “Shinitagari no Pierrot”, Ryuuto’s Girlfriend
朝倉美羽  Asakura Miu
・Konoha’s Childhood Friend and Former Writer, “Doukoku no Palmier”
芥川一誌  Akutagawa Kazushi
・Konoha’s Sincere, Upstanding Friend, “Tsunagareta Fool”, Miu’s Caretaker
姫倉麻貴  Himekura Maki
・Artist, Furious Princess, “Gekka wo Daku Undine”, Power over Ryuuto


The finale. Interwoven with André Gide’s “Narrow is the Gate”

At first it seems that all of the problems around Konoha have finally dispersed and he’s able to experience a calm, normal life, and a budding relationship with his girlfriend… but he has a bad feeling about something. Ever since the holiday break Tooko has been acting strange, and Konoha can’t shake the feeling that she’s going away. Well, of course, she is about to graduate, so she will be leaving, but…

Tooko tells Konoha that she wishes that Konoha writes another novel one day, so she can read it.

Konoha refuses; after all the people he has hurt by writing, including himself, how could he?

Meanwhile, Ryuuto turns nasty. He starts doing everything he can to tear Konoha and Nanase apart, and urges Konoha to write again, manipulating him and throwing him into whatever situation he thinks might force him to reconsider.

Konoha’s former editor Sasaki comes as well to try to convince Konoha, but after he refuses Tooko finds out and breaks down in front of Konoha. “Why won’t you write?!”

Tooko keeps fading away, and as Konoha chases after her he begins to stumble upon Tooko’s family circumstances. In an effort to find why she and Ryuuto are so insistent on him writing, and to find a way to
keep Tooko from disappearing, he looks deep into story of Ryuuto and Tooko’s parents’ lives. He reads Sakurai Kanako’s semi-autobiographical “Immoral is the Gate” and is horrified, but what is real and what are lies? Is this really what it means to be an author!?

“You’ll never become an author.”
“And you were the one that showed me my dreams!”
“Are you going to run away again?”
“Tooko’s going to disappear!”
“If that’s what it means to be an author I…”
“Now It’s my turn to show you that people can change.”
“Why won’t anyone kill me!?”
“Is it really the right thing? To head through the narrow gate?”
“If I’m going to die, I would like my death to become material for an author.”


Evaluation / Rating:

A finale should tie everything together and explain most lingering questions. I like Nomura explains Tooko’s inhuman-ness, which is in fact very similar to how she treats Maki… There were a good number of twists and turns and I fell for a number of the traps, but really the best part of the novel is the vague and still yet unclear nature of the relationship between Kanako, Yui and Fumiharu, and the meta-element of the nature of writing fiction. Sure that meta-element is all over the series, but it’s particularly strong here, as instead of trying to piece together emotions based on authors in the past and “literature-transference”, Konoha has to delve into the emotions of an author/character still living – and we still don’t get a perfect picture.

If you’re thinking of trying your hand at writing, or already are – it’s got quite a perspective lined up for you.

I said that I wanted a couple of things to happen in this book, and none of them did. None of them did, and yet I was still convinced that it ended the way it should, even though it was almost completely opposite of what I wanted. Simply put, that makes good fiction.

I feel like I should write more and delve deeper into how all of this is pulled off, but there’s so much pulling from previous volumes (I even had to look back and remember some details), that I don’t really think I can do it.

If you’ve made it this far in reading through this series, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a good ending.

If you’re interested in more, there are short story collections, and two spin-off sort of series – one that takes place during Konoha’s senior year, starting with: 文学少女見習いの、初恋 and one that features Tooko as an editor after she has graduated from college, starting with: 半熟作家と文学少女な編集者.

Overall: 9.8 | 9.81
Subjective Ranking: 1st,2nd,8th=7th=3rd,5th,6th,4th
Objective Ranking: 8th=7th=2nd,3rd=5th,1st,4th=6th

Really, the only volumes in this series I could say I didn’t absolutely love were the 4th and 6th volumes, but even those were very well done and are still some of the best light novels I’ve read so far.

Concept: 9.9 | 10
Someone once told me that the harder a story is to summarize the more it deserves to exist. The “story” section was very hard for me to write because well, I can’t even set up the story that well at all in short. It’s something you have to read.
Pacing: 9.9 | 9.6
Both have excellent pacing, better than the books before, but the 8th has a little bit of a slow down.
Plot: 9.8 | 9.8
Very intricate. Not quite as heart wrenching as some of the others in the series, but very good nonetheless.
Characters: 9.7 | 10
Every character gets some development. Kanako is a very interesting character, Chia shows her stuff and I can finally be proud of Konoha (somewhat), Ryuuto’s behavior got erratic enough to spin my head and Tooko has a lot of (somewhat subtle) development.
Writing Style/Flavor: 9.8 | 9.8
It kind of annoys me that I didn’t write some quotes down as I was reading for the end of the “story” section. D: The higher than usual score may just be because I’ve gotten ever more used to Nomura’s style, but I dunno. To know I may have to re-read from the beginning.
Illustrations: 9.8 | 9.9
The “higher-than-usual” reason is probably the same as above, but I think Takeda Miho’s improved anyway. You can tell by looking at the covers and seeing how they move closer to the characters. Anyway, excellent.