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Light Novels: Seitokai no Ichizon v01

seitokai 1Full title: Seitokai no Ichizon – Hekiyou Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku 1
Author: Aoi Sekina
Illustrator: Inugami Kira
Label: Fujimi Fantasia Bunko
Year of publication: 2008
Pages: 270

I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book.

In 2006 there was a light novel series called Material Ghost, which was runner-up for Fantasia’s Novel Prize, and marked the debut for author Aoi Sekina. It may have been very good, but I will never find out. After what he felt was a rather grave series about suicidal people and ghosts, the choice was made to take a lighter, happier direction with Seitokai no Ichizon. It seems to have worked, because the series burst in at #7 on the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! 2009 list, and after a couple of manga adaptations, it will now be animated and broadcast on October 2nd. The illustrator responsible for the various inserts and covers is a lady called Inugami Kira, who’s also been making games and drawing the H2O manga adaptation. No doubt the idea is that the reader should feel an attraction toward the girls’ designs, but I got stuck wondering why everyone has cactus hair.

Seitokai no Ichizon is — in the words of the author himself — a gag 4-koma light novel series, written as a meta-novel. That means the fictional characters in the book write a fictional novel about themselves, including fictional afterwords, followed by the real afterwords. The brunt of the book is made up of individual chapters of around 25 pages each, where the five main characters sit in a room and discuss various topics chosen by the student council president. These five are: student council president Sakurano Kurimu (cute loli type), secretary Akaba Chizuru (cool beauty type), vice-president Shiina Minatsu (sporty tomboy type), accountant Shiina Mafuyu (sweet and shy type), and finally the guy who’s decided they will all be part of his harem — vice-president Sugisaki Ken (perverted otaku protagonist). So far all he’s getting is tsundere reactions.

seitokai 1 p35Excited yet? You shouldn’t be, because Seitokai no Ichizon is utter crap. I’ve racked my brain for a book I’ve read in my life that was less entertaining than this, and I came up blank. As previously noted, it’s primarily a comedy, and I require one small thing from comedies: laughter. This book failed to deliver every single time, line after line. It’s 270 pages of painfully lame jokes, where the author is pitifully trying to be funny, and all you can do is cringe at how insanely bad it is. Getting through an entire novel like this is a feat to be proud of, but there’s no reward at the end, just an empty feeling of having wasted hours on filling your mind with vacuum.

They say a really good book will make you think, lingering in your mind as a tiny seed, generating new ideas. In that respect, Seitokai no Ichizon is perhaps a masterpiece, because it’s the first time I’ve felt forced to truly contemplate what makes a joke funny. Not that it led anywhere. In the end, all I can say is that appreciation of humour is very individual, and this novel didn’t work for me at all. It shares a surprising amount of elements with Nishio Ishin’s ongoing anime adaptation — harem, otaku-centric humour, focus on dialogue — but where Bakemonogatari is outrageously hilarious and witty, the attempts at jokes in Seitokai no Ichizon fall absolutely flat. In part it’s probably because the author never manages to be clever, instead resorting to straight references to popular titles like Suzumiya Haruhi and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. This blatant way of pointing at something that’s genuinely good, in the hopes that recognition itself will be enough to be funny, reminds me of the catastrophically awful Hollywood film Epic Movie.

Admittedly the meta-bits don’t help, because I generally loathe that kind of comedy. While the addition of the president’s written comments at the end in theory could serve to bring the novel another dimension of understanding and emotional connection to the protagonist, in reality it just comes off as being a rambling apology for how terrible the book has been. As if the character’s good-hearted modesty would excuse how boring it is to read. Sorry, Aoi-sensei, your tricks don’t work on me; I still hated this book.

Amazon link: Japanese

September 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm
28 comments »
  • September 23, 2009 at 8:46 pmGuille

    so….
    you hate the light novel?

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:16 pmRyouichi

    Probably the most I got out of this post was the paragraph following the page count. >.>… I read the first few paragraphs afterwards but ended up doing a tl;dr.

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:23 pmRemy

    I get the feeling you don’t like this novel for some reason…

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:24 pmAvisch

    Humor can be subjective.

    I lol’d a few times at the translated manga. Though media adaptation is a strange thing and thus it’s quite possible I could share Patrik’s opinions if I had read the novel.

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:35 pmPablo-kun

    I hated this book. <– So you hated it, that means now you don’t.

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:42 pmRizz Rustbolt

    So how do you feel about the novel?

  • September 23, 2009 at 9:52 pmGame8910

    so you liked it?

  • September 23, 2009 at 11:51 pmAlphaEtOmega

    TL:DR
    Minus the first paragraph.
    Which leads me to the same conclusion as everyone else above.
    ‘So how do you feel about it?’

  • September 24, 2009 at 12:12 amrub

    this series is full of japanese references, without proper knowledge of japanese culture and current topics you wouldnt understand it anyway

  • September 24, 2009 at 12:21 amcurious one

    @pretentious ass rub
    I’m pretty sure that if Patrik knows enough Japanese to read the book, he knows enough about Japanese culture to get the jokes. Either the book truly sucks, or it just wasn’t his cup of tea.

  • September 24, 2009 at 12:26 amseltzer

    I’ll take 2!

  • September 24, 2009 at 12:34 amMainimi

    I lol’d a few times with the translated manga, nothing special, certainly not on the level of genshiken, but I found it at least funnier than lucky star, wich made me sleep. I would give the 1st chapter of the manga a 7/10

  • September 24, 2009 at 1:02 amMearex

    books, BOOKS! oh god the nightmare, BOOKS!!! WHY MUST IT BE BOOKS??!!

  • September 24, 2009 at 1:51 amShin

    Yet, you wrote about it…. Well, at least it got some recognition.

  • September 24, 2009 at 3:08 amX

    I actually just read the first chapter of this in the manga, it showed quite a promise because of the fact that the protagonist is fresh in wanting a harem, and no he isn’t the side character, but the main character. I thought that the first chapter was quite funny in its own way, not the references of course, there are only a few series that makes references work, for me it was Hayate no gotoku and Bakemonogatari. I thought that this serious would go with plot of having the main guy make the girls in the student council fall in love him and make a harem ending. Though I read the raw chapters 2-4, and you are right about the meta-novel part, Patrick, dam it was confusing!!!

    I actually didnt get it at first thinking that it might be some related plot, but then again it happened chapter after chapter. Sighs, it would’ve been better off if they made the story so that the main guy who is aiming for a harem, would actually go and do it, not this story telling crap. At least that wouldve been refreshing, I mean it’s been a while since they release that kind of series, ie. School Days.

  • September 24, 2009 at 3:57 amKaitune

    I read the first chapter of the manga, and it is quite funny in a weird way. Then again, the story might work better as a manga (or the mangaka manages to work visual with the plot better than the original writer works the plot with just words. Not that novel isn’t the way to go, but many kind of plots work a hell lot better with just visual. On the other hand, there are also pieces that work better without the visual. It is just about finding suitable media.) I would have to read the next few chapters to judge it better though.

  • September 24, 2009 at 4:25 amSean

    if you really hated the book you should’ve atleast wrote i hated this book 21 times

  • September 24, 2009 at 5:29 amUnknownVoice

    shitty this novel is shitty.

    Did you hate it?

  • September 24, 2009 at 6:01 amMearex

    it’s not that i hate the book, it’s that i can’t get my dam hands on it.

  • September 24, 2009 at 10:03 amuis

    THE MOST TSUNDERE REVIEW I EVER SEEN!!! lol…

  • September 24, 2009 at 6:10 pmviral

    It’s going to be an anime this fall, right? Will you watch it, Patrik? :P

  • September 24, 2009 at 6:16 pmPatrik

    viral, yes, I watch at least one episode of all anime that comes on TV.

  • September 25, 2009 at 8:10 pmkLuTcH

    I love how this racked up 22 comments in under 2 days.

    gg @ mmlca

    *Note: I loved the LN, you’re just different

  • October 2, 2009 at 5:05 pmMarcus Bigguns

    Do you some of you ass monkeys think the novel and the manga are the same? I’d make a list of converted novel to manga that weren’t even close to each other. And one being way the hell better than it’s counterpart. Now to the list, oh nevermind I done did lost interest.

  • October 4, 2009 at 5:51 pmQui

    Hmm, I haven’t checked out the light novel. I did check manga and animated version. I think it’s all about the type of media presentation is used. I couldn’t imagine how successful this would be in light novel format. I think perhaps this would work better in manga style or as an animation. So there are probably many reasons why this guy hates book. I agree with Kaitune.

  • October 4, 2009 at 5:54 pmYuto

    I think the anime producers troll topics like these. Ep1 of the anime keeps pointing out “Difference of Media mediums”. ROFL

  • February 6, 2010 at 1:42 pmqiang

    ..wow i m amaze how many ppl hate this novel. i never read the novel myself, only seen the anime, i have to say the anime is on par with suzumiya, freaking awesome, i will give it 9.5/10. the manga is alright.

  • January 3, 2011 at 5:05 amO.O

    hmmm
    u hate this novel????
    well the anime was really good in my opinon – better than haruhi if u ask me… but maybe its because i watched haruhi in the haruhi order. havent read the novel yet but i would like to. the characters are fun and the referances are funny, and a lot of ppl like this book too. though, i do realize that a lot of ppl dont like it either. did divine stop blogging this anime btw