Sasaki and Peeps – That Time I Got Dragged into a Psychic Battle in Modern Times While Trying to Enjoy a Relaxing Life in Another World: ~Looks Like Magical Girls Are on Deck~

By Buncololi and Kantoku. Released in Japan as “Sasaki to Pi-chan: Isekai de Slow Life o Tanoshi Mou Toshitara, Gendai de Inou Battle ni Makikomareta Ken” by Media Factory. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Alice Prowse.

This book is a mess. Saying that right off the bat, confident that even those who loved the title will agree. It’s trying to be a mess, after all. I’m not sure what the meeting of the author and their editor was like, but it feels very much like “I have four different ideas for a light novel, but I can’t decide which one to write.” “Why not write all of them?” “Four different books?” “No, no, the SAME book!”. It’s the sort of thing that requires a delicate hand and solid worldbuilding, and the series that comes closest to this, A Certain Magical Index, still can’t quite pull it off a lot of the time. Sasaki and Peeps doesn’t even try, content to simply revel in its mishmash qualities. It does eventually settle into one of its genres near the end, which makes it both better written and less interesting. I think we’re here for the car crash.

Plot 1: A salaryman in his late thirties, Sasaki, buys a pet Java sparrow, Peeps, who turns out to be a powerful macician from another world. Sasaki goes to this world, trading Japanese tech for gold and also learning magic. Plot 2: Learning magic means he gets in the way of a battle (in Japan, he and Peeps go back and forth) between rivals espers, and he is forcibly recruited into an esper organization trying to control those with powers. This goes far less well than you’d expect. Plot 3: His middle school next door neighbor, unnamed but abused and always sitting outside her front door, has a twisted crush on Sasaki that wars with her despair and suicidal thoughts. Plot 4: There’s a magical girl digging in the trash outside his apartment. This is the magical girl on deck from the subtitle, I assume.

Smoothness is not the selling point of this book. Which is a shame, as the last third of the book, which dedicates itself entirely to the isekai plotline, is the best written part, containing several excellent plot twists and a few cool battle scenes. That said, after watching the author and Sasaki flit around like… well, like a sparrow for most of the book, it feels wrong somehow. Sasaki should be a “potato” protagonist, but there’s a certain broken quality to him that shines through on occasion. His treatment of his neighbor like a stray cat that he keeps feeding is at least not as bad as, say, Higehiro, and I appreciate he did call social services, but he’s not helping there either. The book has no real romance as of yet, which is probably a good thing, as the female cast consist of a high school girl, a middle school girl, and two children.

Mostly the main problem with this book is it cannot settle down as to what it wants to be. That’s baked into the plot so it won’t get better, but I thought I’d mention that I think the plot is bad. The plot with the neighbor and the magical girl barely feature in the book, they’re just there as flavortext so far. That said, I may read a second volume, just to see if the author can keep this up. Or to see if the neighbor kills him.

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