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NisiOisin – Zaregoto Book 2: The Kubishime Romanticist

September 9, 2010

If you think you’re a twisted human being, you probably haven’t met Ii-chan yet.

What to say, what to say about this light novel? I just spent the past hour procrastinating on homework to finish reading this, and by god it was totally worth it. It’s been a while since I last read the Kubikiri Cycle, so my memory is a little fuzzy when it comes to Ii-chan’s character, or perhaps, his lack thereof. Strangely enough, this book’s cast refers to him as Iikun, so I guess I’ll go about using that name for this review.

Title: The Kubishime Romanticist
Series: Zaregoto
Author: NisiOisin (Nishio Ishin)
Page Count: 347 pages

As far as light novels go, Nishio’s works have always stood out to me tremendously. The quirky, almost tangential writing style, the off-beat characters, and the intricate plot twists always seem to draw me in. Nishio’s writing style is pretty casual, yet throws out complex discussions about humanity, morals, and other such abstract concepts. I don’t know about you, but I really like abstract concepts. If I can follow the conversation anyways.

Now I don’t remember too much about Ii-chan from the Kubikiri Cycle, but I don’t think he was this much of a sociopath in the first book. Maybe it’s because Nishio couldn’t risk alienating his readers too much by making Ii-chan look like a deranged maniac, as Nishio needed a fanbase before he could do whatever the hell he wants. Now Iikun, that right there’s a sociopath. I have never seen so twisted a human being in any form of literature, movie, or reality. Now the stereotypical image of a twisted human would probably be along the lines of a homicidal maniac who goes around torturing and killing everybody. But in that case, at least the maniac has the ability to feel as he is most likely led by passions. Iikun on the other hand…well, just look at Zerozaki, a new character introduced in this book who is exactly the same as Iikun, except Zerozaki turned out as a serial killer instead of a passive bystander.

Iikun and Zerozaki. The Damaged Goods and the Human Failure. Two sides of the same coin, and the most twisted, bent up, mangled coin I’ve ever seen. The sheer extent to which they’re mangled is so horrifying and disgusting to a regular human being.

Yet I love every page they take up. It’s like the scene of a horrible disaster, with mangled bodies and destruction everywhere. It’s horrible yet you just can’t stop looking at it!

Anyways.

I seem to be going off on a tangent.

The cast of the Kubishime Romanticist is completely different from the cast of the Kubikiri Cycle. Instead of a island of savants we have a college of seemingly normal students. Now I don’t want to give away too many details of the plot, but it revolves around murders and the solving of. Yet I wouldn’t classify this as a mystery. It is a mystery and follows most of the standard conventions for a mystery novel, but I wouldn’t call it a mystery. I’d call it more of a character study. Anyways, Kunagisa, the main heroine of the first novel, is reduced to a mere supporting role, and not even that. She makes an appearance in the final chapter and has a page or two in the main part of the story. Aikawa Jun, Mankind’s Greatest Private Contractor, has more of a role in this story, albeit a fairly minor one.

All the characters aside from Iikun are developed pretty decently, although I didn’t understand a certain motive until Iikun spelled it out at the end for us. The characters were believable enough, although maybe my subconscious is just so starved for normal characters that the relatively normal side characters were somewhat refreshing. Although I can’t get enough of the main cast’s quirkiness.

The quality of Del Rey’s release is pretty nice. The pages are a bit thin, but it’s fine considering the amount of content, and the somewhat thin pages aren’t much of a distraction or problem. take’s illustrations are as good as they were in the Kubikiri Cycle, although I wonder why the design of a certain college student makes her look like a loli. Not that I have any objections. It is a paperback release, so one must treat the book carefully like most other paperbacks. I noticed a few typos here and there, but the few typos I noticed weren’t too horrible or distracting, although it would’ve been nice if Del Rey QC’d it one more time. They had two years after all. Speaking of which, I hope that Book 3 doesn’t come out in…2012 or something.

In conclusion, if you love twisted and flawed characters and philosophical discussions about nonsense, the Zaregoto series is for you. And mysteries too, I guess.

Rating: 10/10, would read again forever.

P.S. Kunagisa needs more pages in Book 3. ;_;

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