LN Reading Program 2 — July 24

(pictured: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)
(pictured: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)

For the third week of July's reading program, we will discuss the final third of Psycome (volume 1) and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (volume 1). This is also your chance to discuss the two books as a whole, so feel free to share any general impressions.


How do you feel about the reveal regarding Renko’s character? I felt the story made an interesting distinction between what constitutes one’s personality and one’s nature. Who would you say is the “real” Renko?

The most amusing part of this book to me was probably the way Kurumiya is “defeated” following the rooftop confrontation between Renko and Kyousuke. The unnamed character who is simply referred to as “Mohawk” made for a simple running gag over the course of the book, but here at the grand finale he manages to display a level of masochism strong enough to rival Kurumiya’s sadism… Or, maybe not. But it’s enough to frustrate her efforts against the main characters at least, and it made for a fittingly over-the-top scene of dark humor.

The dynamics of the group of main characters appears established at this point. Where do you think the series will go in general for each of them? How likely do you think the school will be able to train them to become expert killers?

In the epilogue, we briefly get the point of view of Kyousuke’s sister Ayaka. To what lengths do you imagine she will go to find her brother?

How well do you feel the story of Psycome delivered on its premise in general?

(Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash art by Eiri Shirai)
(Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash art by Eiri Shirai)

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

In what ways does Haruhiro grow as a leader over the course of this novel? According to Grimgar, what constitutes a good leader, and what constitutes a good team?

What are your thoughts on Mary’s backstory? In what ways does her experience overlap with that of the other main characters? Why do their reactions differ as significantly as they do?

Most of the third act is devoted to the characters fighting goblins. To be honest, I found it all rather repetitive and tedious, but perhaps for the right readers it could have all been interesting. How do you feel about the action in general for this book? Was there enough variation between scenes to hold your interest? How effectively do you feel the author managed to translate “video game battles” into the written novel medium?

Grimgar curiously introduced many more characters in the last third of this volume, only for them to not really do anything. Where do you imagine the series is intending to go with all of them?

And on that note, how do you feel about each of the main characters? In what ways do you think subsequent volumes may develop their relationships?


As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you'd like to analyze are all fair game.

6 thoughts on “LN Reading Program 2 — July 24

  1. Renko's revelation has made me a little bit more interested in her, though she is really too crazy for Kyousuke for my tastes. I could picture an ending where Kyousuke uses his words to bring some sense into the maskless killing-machine Renko.

    I think Ayaka is willing to do anything to meet her brother and the epilogue proved that. Possibly she will get that detective, Zenigata, who we learned about in chapter 1, to get her into the prison. But based on the epilogue she might be willing to commit a murder to get herself in prison to see her brother. I am not a fan of brocons or siscons, so whenever they meet up I will hope, but very much doubt, Mizushiro sensei will play down that part.

    I haven't really likened to any of the characters, except for Eiri. Though I do enjoy the masochism of the mohawk guy. The only laughs I have had have been at his expense. “Renko Hikawa, who can't do anything but kill. Eiri Akabane, who can't bring herself to kill; Maina Igarashi, who kills by accident.” These 3 combined I think could make for an interesting story going forward. I'm not sure how well it will be executed though, as this debut work hasn't made me too interested by what was going on so far.

    1. I imagine that by the end of the series, *something* will be worked out regarding Renko’s bloodlust. Probably not a full-blown cure (that would be no fun!) but some ridiculous way for Kyousuke to work with her on that…
      I do wonder if the story will go the route of having Ayaka actually willing to kill in order to get in prison, though I think the route with using her brother’s connection with the detective makes more sense. He was brought up but nothing ever happened with him.
      I don’t think I will continue with this series myself, but I at least can say did not dislike reading this first volume. It’s not my cup of tea, but it did what it set out to do well enough.

  2. I’m about halfway through Psycome, so I’ll comment again on this post when I’m done, but I have to say that my favourite thing about it so far is the translation! It captures the zany spirit of the novel so well. Some of the jokes are a bit tedious and unoriginal, but the snappy dialogue smoothed over a lot of the bumps for me. Props to Nicole Wilder – I hope she takes on more light novel projects in future.

    1. The translation is a good one, I’ll agree there. The story would have been much less enjoyable if the dialogue was completely straightforward — there’s a bit more pizzaz in this one. (Reminds me of YP’s translation for Devil is a Part-Timer, in that respsect.)

  3. As per usual I read the entire volume in less than a day (last week). As such this comment is on the entire volume and not just the section covered here. I had originally been a bit suspicious of the series. It certainly wasn’t one that I had been looking forward to. I knew nothing about it outside of the basic concept, which wasn’t one that particularly appealed.

    I found the volume rather more to my liking than I had expected, though. Aside from a couple of awkward moments early on when I was mentally crying out at the protagonist with relatively straightforward ways of if not getting out of his predicament then at least reducing it significantly, the book was thoroughly enjoyable and I’ll certainly keep buying the series.

    My very first reaction to Akabane was “she’s almost certainly the least dangerous person in the entire class” and I guess I was right, although for completely different reasons to what I had thought. She is now my favourite character in the series, incidentally (and was before the reveal).

    The ending was… well. It was going to happen sooner or later. I wonder who will react the worse to her inevitable arrival at the school – Renko (who wants to kill her) or Kyousuke (who would be horrified at the idea of his beloved little sister murdering someone).

    1. I have mixed feelings regarding the protagonist myself — he always seemed to ride a thin line between plain bland and just barely distinct enough to be engaging. I am not sure if he could have been more proactive? I’ll give it some thought before I put together a review.
      I’m generally tired of the little sister with a big brother complex archetype, but I will admit the prospect of her showing up at the school and causing a ruckus for Kyousuke and Renko is an amusing one. I am sure subsequent books will have all sorts of fun(?) there.

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