Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria review
I've only read two volumes so keep in mind that this will only be a review of these two volumes. Also keep in mind that the only LN I've read are NGNL (upto V6) and kizumonogatari, and I'll try to keep this review spoiler free.
So you must have watched a lot of TV shows or anime which deal with time loops right? This volume is also that except when you see the genre-Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Romance, School, Supernatural, Psychological, Thriller- quite a lot right? but notice no Sci-fi! Now if you've watched the dreaded Endless 8 of Haruhi or watched the numerous time
leaps in Steins;Gate, you know what to expect. Except it's like Haruhi's time loop where you are told the story from the PoV of Nagato and she's human and everytime it ends like what happens in Steins;Gate. When you don't even know for how long you must observe the same thing happen again and again, not even sure who you can or cannot trust or why this loop was triggered, how long can you keep your sanity how much longer can you try to break free only to be brought back to the same starting point.
Coming to the narrative, it's a first person account usually from the PoV of our MC, Kazuki Hoshino,a completely ordinary high school student who loves idle chatter with his friends and Umaibous, a Japanese snack and his antagonist Aya Otonashi, who suddenly transfers into his class—for the 13,118th time. She majestically announces to "break" him, without paying heed to anyone else around them. What makes this even more involving is the use of multiple narratives. The time loops are not shown in order but rather in a unordered fashion,i.e., you see the 10000th time before you see the 600th. You slowly learn more about the characters and how our MC struggles to keep himself sane, this is all I can say without giving off spoilers.
Now there is very little which can be said without giving off the plot entirely but here goes nothing! Just imagine that you go to school just like any other day but unlike other days the people around you treat you very differently and you notice you're missing a section of memory of a particular time, how would you react? What happened to your classmates, does it have some relation with the time loops or a new phenomenon altogether when the only person you can rely on is your antagonist?
What I liked about the second volume is the fact that you can empathize more with the characters unlike in volume 1. Also this volume starts off with a cliched opening but Eiji Mikage pulls it off very naturally
So if you're an avid book reader and a thriller freak this series is definitely for you! There are good fan translations available online, so you can most definitely check them out.
1. Great characters
2. Great plot progression
3. Multiple Narratives
4. Time loop done right!
1. It's a novel so no pictures(not that it matters to me)
2.Cliched plot outlines
Rating: 9.5/10(rounded to 10)