Direction: Left to Right
By: Hiroshi Yamamoto
Type: One-Off, Novel
Genre: Seinen, Action
Japan is beset by natural disasters all the time: typhoons, earthquakes, and…giant monster attacks. A special anti-monster unit called the Meteorological Agency Monsterological Measures Department (MMD) has been formed to deal with natural disasters of high “monster magnitude.” The work is challenging, the public is hostile, and the monsters are hungry, but the MMD crew has science, teamwork… and a legendary secret weapon on their side. Together, they can save Japan, and the universe!
No, just NO. This book epitomises how not to write a novel. Which is a great shame as this story had such an awesome premise to it. Indeed i recently read a story called Super Dreadnaught Girl that appears to be based off of this novel, and it does the job so much better.
The actual story behind the book is actually pretty interesting. However Hiroshi never manages to bring the story to life. In fact the story is pretty dead, despite the countless action and intrigue. The characters never have any really feel to them, what’s more you never feel any emotion for or from the characters.
This is a shame since Hiroshi did spend some time developing their personalities, making sure that we as the reader knew each of their distinct personalities. How despite their being stark differences between them, they work well together.
Over the course of the volume we get introduced to their personality clashes, which sadly don’t really have any depth to them. Rather when a character does something totally insane, there’s no real consequence. They spend ages mulling over the fact that there will be consequences, but nothing is shown.
The confrontations, between the team and the Kaiju are certainly interesting, but again there’s no depth to it. They face some rather terrifying monsters, but for the most part they just shrug it off as normal. This is partially true, but it’s also true that the Kaiju are getting worse, hinting at some sort of change.
What’s more is that about half way through we get introduced to a certain Kaiju, supposedly man made, and we should have gotten some amazing story around this Kaiju; however what we get is a rather flat boring story. Even when it’s later revealed that this particular Kaiju is very important, and the story ‘picks up’ it’s flat.
As the truth is revealed and events take a darker turn, there’s no real feeling in the story. Their should have been a lot of tension in the story, yet it never follows through. There’s a particular part where there’s a major terrorist attack on two centres of the MMD, we get some startling revelations, that should have made for some really amazing developments. However again they never really follow through with it. What’s more the resolution is rather lame, handled very weakly leaving you feeling a bit dejected over the way it was handled.
Finally we get the truth, about how it was all heading towards this particular showdown between two Kaiju, the earlier mentioned Kaiju, and the super large MM9. Who it’s revealed is something more than a normal Kaiju. You’d think given this revelation, and the build up, that we’d have a climactic showdown. Sadly all we get is a rather pathetic attempt, what’s more there was no tension again since the outcome had already been talked about.
This climactic battle is over rather quickly, and the touching reunion with the crew is marred by the sudden and weird personality shift of one of the team. This change left me scratching my head and wondering just WTF was going on.
All told this was a rather disappointing story that never really lives up to it’s potential. It’s dull, uninteresting, and cliché as hell. You see the plot twists coming from miles, because they’re revealed long before they make their appearances.
On my second read through (I always read my review stuff through twice), i noticed it had a rather rushed feel to it. I wonder if Hiroshi wanted to write more, but had to cut parts of it out to fit into a page count. if that’s the case he shouldn’t have wrote the book as it is, but rather gone for a short series of two or three books. I do think if he’s done that he could have brought more depth and emotion to the characters
I’ve read a few releases from Haikasoru now, and I’m sadly starting to see a trend in their eBook releases, they don’t give them much, if any Q&A. While the errors i noticed in their releases aren’t major issues, they’re issues you shouldn’t see in an established publisher. For example, inconsistent use of fonts, such as bolding and italics, I’ve seen those turning on and off mid-word. There were also missing words from sentence structures. While this is the norm when you translate from japanese to english, due to the differences in sentence structure. Editors and Q&A would find the issues, and add the relevant word so as to go from engrish to english.
On the plus side of Haikasoru their eBooks are rather cheaper than their print counterparts. For example, this book is £8.99 in print format, but only £5.49 in eBook format.
Overall though I’d say give this one a miss. It has so much potential but never really lives up to it and just left a rather bitter taste in my mouth, and for the first time, a feeling of wanting the time I’d wasted reading it back.