By Jin (Shinzen no Teki-P) and Sidu. Released in Japan by Enterbrain. Released in North America by Yen On.
As we reach the end of this book, our heroes are getting a lot closer to figuring out why they have these strange eye powers and what the powers actually are. In fact, they get a lot closer than the reader, as we’re shown parts of a diary that Marie’s grandmother kept, but they get to read the whole thing. Admittedly, we can connect some dots, but I am reminded once more that this is a light novel series based off of a series of songs, and that the intended audience is meant to be familiar with those songs. In particular, Shinigami (Reaper) Record, which introduces us to Azami’s story that is fleshed out here.
Azami is a mysterious supernatural creature – called a Reaper, she seems to also have many traits of a medusa, something which she’s apparently passed along to her granddaughter. Speaking of Marie, the bigger revelation in this book may be just how old she actually is – it’s somewhat startling, particularly given her fairly childlike personality. But of course, when you live alone in a cabin in the woods, there’s not as much chance to evolve or learn. And there’s also Konoha, whose real identity we’ve been able to guess with information from the previous two books, but who looks to be just as different from his other self as Ene is from Takane. Actually, the biggest disappointment here may be Shintaro, who still has a tendency to get dragged along and whine much of the time – indeed, the trip to and from the cabin is an endless stream of irritation from him.
If there’s a larger issue with these books, it’s the length – they’re much, much shorter than the average Japanese light novel, and you barely get into the book before it’s already finished, padding out its page count with lots of character design art and advertisements for the manga. Each of the last three volumes has featured a segment of the main plot and a more serious side story that gives us backstory and hints, but the backstory really is not connecting fast enough for my taste, and some of the things I was most interested in last time (Kano confronting Shintaro in Ayano’s body) is glossed over here, as Kido reassures Shintaro in a way that makes it seem like just a bad nightmare.
This volume was delayed two months, so the next one will come sooner than expected, and I’m hoping that less lag time will allow me to get into it a bit more. It would seem to involve Kano in a big way, so maybe I’ll finally get the answers to my questions. Kagerou Daze is enjoyable, particularly to fans of the multimedia franchise, but I still wish it wasn’t so fragmented. And short – even this review is underlength when I try to discuss it.