Top Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei light novel review
A light novel based on the “battling tops” toy franchise, a smash hit in Japan that came stateside and fizzled out. The premise is simple: two players use spinning tops launched by a rip cord, the tops spin into a ring and bounce off each other, and whoever’s top is the last one spinning is the winner. The light novel takes this concept and builds a hyperactive story around it starring a plucky young “blader” named Tyson. One day after losing a match to the neighborhood Beyblade bully, Tyson meets a mysterious masked man who gives him a special Beyblade, the Blue Dragon. From there he faces many opponents in a series of crazy battles, each more and more outlandish. While it’s clearly designed to cash in on the Beyblade craze, the art is just spastic enough to be enjoyable, and the dialogue sometimes gives a sincere chuckle. The pacing is designed for kids with zero attention spans.
Sono Mukô no Mukôgawa
Futaba, a young boy, is surprised when a girl falls out of the sky and (more or less by random chance) teleports him to a fantasy world, where they meet a wizard in the form of a cute animal, a giant talking cat, the spirit of a city, and other strange characters. It turns out that the girl is actually a magical being, the wish-granting Amaranthine, whom the princes of the realm seek for ambiguous motives. Beyond the Beyond is a mellow, meandering fantasy series with a children’s-book feel. The artwork is a gentle shôjo/shônen hybrid, and although the world around the characters feels unformed apart from the immediately surrounding forests and houses, the situations they encounter are interesting. No relation to the PlayStation game series of the same name.
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