Tag: Comedy

Light Novel Review – Do You Want to be Normal?

Light Novel Review – Do You Want to be Normal?

What do you get when you have a protagonist who’s curiosity gets the best of him, becomes the vice-president of an all but normal club, and has to learn how to deal with a robot-like girl? Throw in a few comedic anime tropes, a small cast of diverse characters, and an awkward, budding romance, and you’ll get this nice little light novel.

Do You Want to be Normal? is an original story by Koji Kojou, with beautifully done cover art by Mei Lin. The story follows the high school life of William Jackson, your below-average, good-spirited protagonist who gets ridiculed by other students for being easily emotional. After seeing a poster for an after-school club called “The Normal Club,” he has his first conversation with the smartest person in their grade and a beauty to the eye, but was far from “normal.” Alyssa Silverstein, otherwise known as “Alyssa the Alien” by her schoolmates, is an emotionless, monotone, high school girl with a rather robotic personality. Always looking for what is considered to be the “social norm,” she ropes William into various experiments and trials in order to gain a better understanding about what it means to be a normal. Along the way they manage to gather a small group of people to help expand the club, conduct group activities, and help each other truly find themselves and what “normal” means to everybody.

Don't You Want to be Normal - Koji Kojou
(Source: Amazon.com)

Right off the back, Kojou establishes that the main theme in this comedic, anime-style story is what it means to be “normal.” Across eleven chapters in this one novel, we see William, Alyssa, and the rest of the Normal Club go through a number of different trials and situations to help one another grown as a person. Each chapter is broken up to parts, acting like different scenes and events, which helps control the pacing and overall speed of the novel. This allows the reader to get a little bit of everything while they’re reading it: comedy, awkward tensions, some background history, the whole nine yards. And with the way it’s written, it actually works quite well when the reader wants to visualize everything as if it’s an actual anime that can be viewed online or on television,. Kojou’s use of common anime tropes and events doesn’t make it feel like some old run-of-the-mill light novel or anime that follows the exact same story plot in the exact same order. Each character helps create each scene and event that goes down, making everything feel cohesive and unique to the story.

That being said, there are a few things that shift the story in a strange direction at times. Without diving too far into the plot, there is one specific moment where we see William take action against something. And although the story was leading up to a dramatic point, what William does and how quickly he came to that point felt a bit out of character and rushed. Another moment is later in the novel when we’re introduced to another character. Even though the character is mentioned and does make an appearance, from the way the novel was set up, this one character doesn’t feel necessary. They could have been used just to provide more background information on the overall setting of the school, but from a plot point, they didn’t really add anything to the story; they felt like an extra that needed to be in a scene. Some may like what happens, while others may agree about it being a bit strange at points, but the best way to find that out is by buying the book and reading it for yourself.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Do You Want to be Normal? The story was well-rounded light novel. By putting a spin on common tropes and anime characteristics, Kojou created a small world inside of a book that could have easily felt like it could happen in the real world or have been a small series online. And you never know: maybe you’ll have a new outlook on what it means to be “normal.”

Do You Want to be Normal? Is currently available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle formats. If you want to learn more about Koji Kojou’s works and latest projects, follow him on his Amazon Author page and on Twitter. For more artwork from Mei Lin, check out her Twitter and Instagram pages.

100 Word Story – Large Foods (Finale)

Sarah’s high heels clacked against the sidewalk with every step. I couldn’t help but sigh when I saw the total bill at the bottom of the receipt again.

“Jesus,” I groaned, “this is gonna eat a hole in my wallet.”

I felt Sarah’s nails dig a bit into my upper arm as we spoke, “… I’m sorry for getting out of hand.”

As much as I wanted to be angry at her, I had no right; I said some pretty nasty stuff too. With a heavy sigh, I kissed her forehead, “I’m sorry, too.”

“Do you mean it?”

“I do.”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Large Foods (Part Four)

We didn’t look at each other for the rest of the night, eating our food in silence. Whenever the waiter came over to check on us we spoke for ourselves, never acknowledging the other. It was the same way when we ordered more food and desserts: no eye contact, no communication.

As I was eating my way through my steak, that’s when I came to the realization, “Holy shit, everything’s being charged to my card…”

After a never-ending war of silence, I looked at Sarah and said “You’ll have to chip in on the bill.”

She sucked her teeth, “Cheapskate.”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Large Foods (Part Three)

There was a strange silence between the two of us after airing out some small grievances. Aside from the loud chatter from the other patrons around us, the only sound we made was the clang from silverware hitting our plates.

Wanting to reach a common ground, I began to speak while I moved a meatball around with a fork, “I think we took things a bit further this time.”

Sarah glared at me, “It only started because you said my ass was big.”

“It’s true. It’s not my fault that everything you eat goes straight there.”

“Fuck you, tiny dick!”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Large Foods (Part Two)

The waiter brought us our food, most of what’s on the platter going over to Sarah’s half of the table. Steak, baked potatoes, macaroni and cheese, the works—all of that was just for her. All I had in front of me was just a simple plate of pasta and a side of breadsticks.

“Do you really plan on eating all that, woman?” I blatantly asked.

“Think I can’t?” she replied.

“With that big mouth, it’s possible.”

“Too bad I can’t say the same thing about your dick.”

“Wait, what?”

“It’s too small to even fit in my ‘big mouth.’”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Large Foods (Part One)

“I can’t decide on what I want to eat. There’s just so many different options to choose from.”

Sarah kept looking at the menu while I was already talking to our waiter about what I wanted. “You can go ahead and put my order in. My wife will need a few more minutes.”

The waiter nodded and headed for the back of the restaurant. I looked at Sarah, her face being hidden behind the menu.

“There’s just too much,” she laughed. “It’s like it gets bigger every time we come back here.”

“Too bad your ass has the same problem.”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Annual Check-up (Finale)

I stepped out of the clinic, using my hand to block the sun from getting in my eyes. The crisp air filled my lungs as I walked towards the train station, wanting to go home.

I blended into the early afternoon rush crowd, swiping my card to get through the turnstile. I saw my train approaching the platform and I weaved through everybody to grab a seat for my long ride home.

As I rocked with the motion of the train, I got an email on my phone: “Don’t forget to schedule your appointment for next year.”

“… Adulting sucks.”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Annual Check-up (Part Four)

I kept looking at the bandage on my upper arm, a growing warmth and itchiness taking over on the injection site. I tried my best to scratch through the soft padding of the bandage, “Damn, this sucks. Now I’m gonna be sore for the next two days.”

With the doctor gone, I picked up my bag and headed through the waiting area. As I walked down the hallway, I caught a glance of the blonde young woman again as she passed by; she was shaking, holding a paper in her hands.

Must have tested positive. Feel kinda bad for her.


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Annual Check-up (Part Three)

“Everything’s normal—weight, heart rate, height, blood pressure—it’s all good.”

I gave the doctor a slight nod and smiled, “That’s good to hear.”

The doctor smiled back, looking up from her computer monitor, “Any issues you’ve been having? Any pain, symptoms of illness, soreness?”

“No, nothing.”

“That’s good.” The doctor looked at her monitor again, reading off my medical records. “Looks like you’re due for a flu shot. Want to get one now?”

My heart beat instantly soared at hearing about that, the horrors of needles burned in my memories. However, my mouth spoke lies, “Sure, let’s do it.”


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Annual Check-up (Part Two)

The blonde young woman next to me tried to start a conversation even though I was clearly not interested in talking, “Hey, hey. Four-Eyes!”

Annoyed, I decided to play along in the hope that she would subside. I closed my book and looked at her, replying, “What?”

“What cha here for?”

“Just a yearly physical, making sure I’m in good shape.”

Her eyes widened and shimmered with surprise, “Lucky! I’m here to get tested.”

The sound of her being tested grabbed my attention, “Tested? For what?”

“Chlamydia. My boyfriend got it, and I know it wasn’t from me.”

The fuck?!


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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100 Word Story – Annual Check-up (Part One)

There were at least two dozen people already seated in the waiting area; there were dozens of chairs out, neatly arranged into patterns and locations that made it seem divided—the elderly had their own section, followed by adults in their forties, the early adults to high twenties, then the teens and children stuck together.

It took a moment for me to remember my own age; I almost reached for the I.D in my wallet just to verify. With a shrug, I sat down in the “designated” section for early adults.

With a sigh, I found a seat, “Adulting sucks.”

 


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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Manga Review – Futaribeya: A Room for Two – Volume One

Manga Review – Futaribeya: A Room for Two – Volume One

High school is the moment in everybody’s life where they start to learn about themselves and what kind of person they want to be. From meeting new friends and forming long-lasting bonds, to having to struggle with balancing academics and a personal life, those last few teenage years can be quite stressful. At least most don’t have to deal with the awkward situation of sharing a boarding room with a complete stranger.

In Futaribeya, that’s how it all begins: awkward.

An original story and art from Yukiko (@aoiyukiko) and published by TOKYOPOP, Futaribeya: A Room for Two is a simple, light-hearted, slice of life comedy that follows the life of two girls entering high school. When the sensible, level-headed Sakurako Kawawa eagerly begins unpacking her stuff in her assigned boarding room, her roommate enters, and is thrown for a loop. The stunning, attractive Kasumi Yamabuki strolls in without a care and changes out from her pretty street clothes into nothing but a t-shirt and underwear, and starts lounging around the house. To anybody, this would be a strange first meeting, especially when you realize that you’ll be sharing a room with this person.

On the surface, the story follows a common plot found in your typical yuri comedy: two girls entering high school are forced into circumstances where they’re always near each other, both inside and outside the classroom. Having opposite personalities would cause some kind of conflict between them, eventually opening the door to similarities and leading to developing romantic feelings for one another. With Futaribeya, it has this plot, but on a much more simple level—and that’s totally fine. Sakurako is the responsible one of the pair, always making sure that the room is well-kept and organized, cooking for the both of them. Adorable, bubbly, and friendly, she’s the complete opposite of her roommate. Often complimented for her beauty, Kasumi is the lazy food glutton. Usually seen with some kind of food or snack in hand, she’s always taking it easy, whether it’s wrapped in a blanket, sleeping on her desk, or hiding under a kotatsu. Early in the plot, you learn about the main reason why she has a part-time job: to buy more food.

Futaribeya_Vol1_Cover
(Source: TOKYOPOP)

Seeing as how this is the first volume in the series, most of the volume is used to set up the overall feel and vibe of the story, giving insight into the backstory between each of our protagonists, fleshing out their usual school life with friends and grades, and the various kind of interactions that occur when they’re home. Yukiko uses a nice, cute art style to portray everything, switching between the detailed, well-done shading seen in most manga, and changing to the big head, solid-black eye comedic use of chibi style. Even though the art style switches fairly often, it doesn’t diminish from the overall enjoyment and story; it’s actually a nice touch to the simple comedy manga. However, between chapters we are gifted with additional illustrations and drawings of the pair, depicting them in various situations. At the end of the volume is an afterward from Yukiko, thanking the reader for picking up the manga and doing a small Q&A.

Overall, Futaribeya is on the lighter side of the yuri spectrum, not pairing the protagonists in explicit and suggestive moments. It’s more focused on the comedic side of two high school girls rooming together. Taking that into consideration, this review is focused on volume one, so it is possible that those kinds of moments could pop up as the story continues. If you’re looking for a nice comedy, this would be a good read to pass the time.

Futaribeya: A Room for Two is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Right Stuf Anime, and other book retailers.


Copyright © 2019 by Luka Tatsujo

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