When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, Vol. 1

By Kota Nozomi and 029. Released in Japan as “Inou Battle wa Nichijoukei no Nakade” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tristan K. Hill.

So, Andou is awful. I feel the need to get that out of the way straight off, because I’ve already been told that folks thought I would drop this book because of him. I get it, they’re not wrong. He’s cringeworthy. Yes, by the end of the book you realize he has an empathetic core and is thinking more than he lets on, but that does not stop you from having to read about him making speeches or creating nicknames or drawing dragon tattoos on his right arm. This is a series about how embarrassing you were as a teenager, and it is going to rub your face in it. (If you were not like this as a teen… let’s face it, you probably never finished the book, did you?) Throw in the fact that this is one of those “you’re licensing it NOW?!?!” series (the anime came out seven and a half years ago) and you have a really high bar to clear. That said, I did finish it.

The literature club consists of chuunibyou Andou (pardon me for avoiding his first name), wannabe writer Tomoyo, childhood friend and “normal girl” Hatoko, literal 10-year-old Chifuyu, and club president and BL fan Sayumi. Six months ago they all suddenly acquired incredibly cool superpowers… well, incredibly cool except for Andou, who can create black fire in his hand that doesn’t do anything. Andou is sure this means that they’ve been chosen to fight in an amazing series of light novel-style battles. But… six months later, all they do is go to club and use their powers for mild, meaningless things. Why on earth did they get them in the first place? Does it have anything to do with Tomoyo’s brother, a man who can actually out-chuuni Andou? And can they save the literature club from being shut down?

Not gonna lie, this series is mostly known for one scene from the anime, and I read it wanting to read that in prose form. Unfortunately, it’s not in this first volume. The weak parts of the book, apart from Andou, are the parts where it reminds you that it has a real plot it’s going to try to do. The real plot is boring and you don’t want it to happen. Not a good sign. That said, when the kids are sitting in the club shooting the shit, discussing tropes and cliches and baffling poor Hatoko, that’s when the books become fun. This is one of those “have your cake and eat it too” parodies that also tries to be the thing it’s parodying, but I like it more when it’s making fun of shonen manga, or Index, or any one of a dozen other series namechecked in this volume. I do also really like all the club members apart from Andou, though it never is explained why a 10-year-old is hanging around a high school club room.

If you watched the anime, like “chuuni” novels, or enjoy mocking cliches, you will enjoy this book. For others, can you put up with a man who has a good heart but who also makes you wish you were reading anything else?

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