A Super Robot Story
Inhabiting a new body and another's life after an impossible event, Lyle has to live on a different Earth. With new parents, and even the world itself, having plans for his future, there are no easy decisions on this path.
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DO NOTE THAT THIS STORY HAS BEEN GIGANTICALLY IMPROVED SINCE THIS REVIEW. AS SUCH, FEEL FREE TO CONSIDER IT OUTDATED. BASICALLY TAKE ALL THE NEGATIVE STUFF AND DOWGRADE IT, ALL THE POSITIVES AND UPGRADE IT.
Okay, this story has be sitting on the fence. On one hand, it's flawed, very much so. On the other, it has potential, lots of it. Uniqueness too. Those two sides form a teethering balance, one which sways between the two as the story goes on. While leaning heavily towards the former early on, it tips toward the latter as the series goes on.
I don't want to say it. You prolly don't want to hear it. I'll say it anyway; It gets better.
If I'm blunt, I'll say this; ASRS is very confusing early on. Oh, there's a plot and it's coherent, but much of it lacks context. The overarching plot, which is realized by the reader over time, is that the MC is trapped in a video game he often plays. Most of the story is, of course dominated by mechs, mech customization, and mech battles. They get better as well.
One thing I felt was lacking was, say, solid rules regarding what mechs can and can't do. Much of your stuff, while not half-bad, seems to have been thought up on the fly. I would know. Been there, done that, wrote a whole damn book with it.
It works. That's what my distinct opinion is. It's not anything remarkable, or so flawed you can't read it.
One thing, though. Your chapter breaks, to indicated scene switches, seem to only be a single space more than usual. I'd advise using a symbol of some sort to make them easier to spot. So, instead of guessing at skips, they'll actually know.
Yeah, this section could use improvement. It's readable, and not as bad as some of the stories I've seen. But good grammar always gets more fans. Some quick things I noticed.
- More often then not, you use exclamation marks (!) or periods where you should use question marks (?) instead.
- Some run-on sentences. If it feels too long, it probably is. My rule of thumb.
Just these at this point. Your grammar has gotten slightly better over time, so your improving.
Again, your cast is serviceable, but could use work properly flesh them out. In particular, lore, backstory and some characterization is lacking. We know very little about the actual world, it's people and their stories. The side characters unfortunately feel flat, aside from their names. Tsune/Lyle is lacking at times too. My advice is to take him/her, and add flaws. Take a online character sheet, you can Google them, and fill it out, get a very clear, in-depth image of them. Their favorite foods, what they're bad at, moments from their childhood they remember, future goals, etc etc.
Do that for the side characters as well. And add descriptions. Stuff that people notice and remember, like contrast. Stuff like; Wears a perfectly clean suit, but the underneath of their nails are dirty. Was a buzz cut flat enough to land a helicopter on. Try descriptions like those.
Critique and Advice:
• Get a cover; This is one thing I recommend for every RR author who doesn't have one. It doesn't need to be a perfect fit, but anything with a cover gets more views and readers than without one. Even if it's just a giant, robotic middle finger, put it on. Covers are also required if you want a chance at reaching Trending, where your story will gain the most exposure. So, getting a cover is a win-win either way.
• More context early on; During the first chapters, I was VERY confused. Was Lyle from Earth? A future Earth? Another world? This is something you could clarify in the first chapter, and make the read much easier for people, instead of having them constantly guessing at things. As I got further in, there were more and more instances and things that were expected to make sense, but didn't.
• Talking thoughts out loud; I find this severely cheapens the effect of a scene when a character talks their thoughts out loud. I'd recommend just removing the quotation marks and just having them think it instead of holding a conversation with thin air.
• Okay, just this. What kind of world would have mechs and whatnot, but still sell packs with random things in them? Or are the mechs simply virtual reality things I was seriously confused at that point. Explain more into stuff like that. Some readers may know what this is about, but other won't.
Don't get me wrong here. This story has some good ideas, and a unique premise, but it needs work to become what it really wants to be. There aren't all that many mech stories here on RR, so it should stand out a bit, if it plays it's cards right. Get the basics, like a cover and interesting sypnosis. Re-write the first chapter to flow smoother and give more context. (I know it sucks, but those first chapters are what will convince readers to stay for your hard work in the later chapters.)
Form the basic core of the story. Try making it clear what the story is building towards in order to get people to stick around for more. Flesh out your characters. Try looking up some witty dialogue/banter tips if you want something fresh.
Do that, and you'll improve. None of us are born great writers. We have to learn and improve.
After the first story arc of A Super Robot Story, which is Chapters 0 to 7, I can safely say this story needs a lot more work in the beginning to keep readers going.
The setup is good—a pro gamer in the real world is transported inside the game he plays as a teenage girl who enters a mech-battling academy. Then proceeds a whole lot of mech battling.
But the first story arc has some dramatic mistakes that currently keep it from being much of a recommendation for me.
My first note is that Chapter 0-2 ends up being emblematic of the problems with the early parts of the story; a long time span passes in the matter of these disconnected scenes that don’t give us a sense of place or progression. It’s difficult to feel in the moment in these scenes, and the fact they are jumping forward in time so much makes that fact very clear. While Chapter 0-2 is a bit of a bonus, this same problem holds true for the following chapters. These chapters take place over multiple years of time and our protagonist, the recently gender-swapped Tsune, doesn’t detail this passing of time in a way that flows. She’s been in this world for years, and is yet still unfamiliar with her body, still uncertain about her family and her entire existence... It’s very weird.
That all takes a backseat to the mech-battling action though, of course. We came here for super robots destroying each other, and that’s what we get. The author is clearly most interested in this aspect of the story, and puts a whole lot of attention into fleshing out the worldbuilding aspects of the mechs and the fights themselves. It makes the genderswap, isekai, and teen drama aspects of the story sometimes feel a little superfluous, but I imagine they may become more relevant as time goes on.
However, even with all the fighting and detail, the biggest and most fundamental issue with the story so far is that the writing style is quite poor. There are some odd formatting choices (like using “” quotation marks for inner thoughts), but the real issue is in the prose itself. It’s barebones, it lacks personality or description, and it has some truly puzzling syntax sometimes that reduces clarity and makes it harder to enjoy any given scene, even the fights.
Take this passage for example:
Holding down the fire trigger made the hand automatically align the machinegun barrel with the pilot's sight. Seconds later, a burst of rounds left the barrel and a stream of smoking shells smashed through nearby tree branches as they fell.
Sure, these are two grammatically correct sentences. But actually parsing them and figuring out what they mean is a bit of a challenge. And the extremely passive nature of it, focusing on the individual parts of the mech, reduces the clarity even further. Something as simple as, “She held down the trigger. The sights aligned—and the mech fired a burst of rounds into the trees,” or something like that, would be significantly better already.
With the writing style like it is and the lack of flow and cohesion between scenes, it means that most of the content of these chapters needs to be more significantly edited, perhaps even completely rewritten, in order to deliver the story that deserves to be told.
I am aware that the author has been making strides in edits recently and is steadily improving the story instead of adding new chapters. I'm very excited about that! If the story sees these major changes through, I think it has the potential to be a big hit on Royal Road (why the heck are there so few mech stories anyway?), but right now as it stands, you will have to be a bit dedicated to read through to get to the juicier parts of the story.
Whirring servos and ringing steel dominate the sports scene of the future. Mech fights are in, and Lyle is one part gifted designer, ten thousand parts avid enthusiast. His talent with schematics earned him a spot on an impressive “metal” team, pitting real mechs against each other rather than limiting the carnage to virtual space.
His career, however, takes a shot in the wing when his team leader, a man who Lyle thought of as a close friend, pressures him into a shotgun resignation.
It was a cold equation. Ratings were on the fall and Lyle stood in a prime position to be a scapegoat. The realization doesn’t make it burn any less.
With the world crumbling around him, Lyle retreats into the realm of video games, where his bad day veers off into the bizarre. He gets sucked into a parallel dimension mirroring that of the game, one packed full of super sentai mechs and cheesy one-liners. The titans see construction, utility, and militarized use, especially against the deadly mecha monsters that appear without warning or mercy to lay waste upon humanity. To make things worse, Lyle migrated into the body of a teenage girl!
While Lyle, now Tsune, remains ecstatic at the prospect of indulging in her literal dream world, she has to struggle against school life, new parents, dysphoria, and the teensy little prospect of ending up dead on some godforsaken battlefield should she graduate. A Super Robot Story is a sci-fi gamelit piece that promises to push Tsune’s knowledge and sanity to their very limit!
Full disclosure. I love sci-fi. I love mech fights. The thought of larger than life killbots taking swings at each other speaks to the inner me that screams “Gatti!” into a blazing nebula overhead. Seerica’s story let me indulge. The mech designs are cool and get displayed with enough detail for readers to be enamored with figures like the animal combiner Griffon or the ethereal tech-based Bloom. A Super Robot Story pulls from several schools; you’ll see tanks alongside walkers, and machine guns next to chainblades.
Given the story’s choice of setting, there’s no pressure placed on the suspension of disbelief, allowing Seerica to bring endless guilty pleasure to the table. Combat is high-strung, ridiculous, and most importantly fun. At the same time, Seerica uses the scenes to lend credence to Tsune as a character. We aren't told that she’s an ace, she acts like one. She utilizes practical lessons from the academy and experience from her past life as Lyle. An early moment sees her go to ground and feel the vibrations through her cockpit to determine the position and orientation of an opponent hunting her. This little moment is one of many that makes A Super Robot Story feel like watching Aldoah.Zero or reading a Battletech novel. Seerica does the genre justice in this regard and their efforts are well worth praise.
Outside of the arena, character establishment and interaction is just charming. Tsune and her classmates feel like real people with real woes. Several miniature social subplots are juggled, enough to forge a connection to the main cast and satisfy people who like slice of life segments.
The story has a fun, light tone. The world is dangerous, but Tsune’s bumbling nature and the narrative's attention on her and her peers’ social gaffs make it feel all inviting and pastel-colored.
There are issues at play though. Several issues.
To get all of the gold advertised above, readers must break through text that requires several editing passes. Minor roadblocks include missing words, odd phrasing, and basic grammar/formatting errors.
On the more severe side, some scenes just don’t work. We get imagery and beats that lack proper setup, making things feel jumpy if the picture resolves at all. The actual scene logic is fine. Pristine almost. If events were broken off into their simplest form and delivered as bullet points there wouldn’t be many holes. The problem lies in the delivery. Some ideas aren't given enough meat while others get pressed too close together to flourish, sometimes within the same paragraph. This leaves the story feeling incoherent in some places even if that isn’t the case.
A Super Robot Story also suffers from anemic language, that is to say, several bits don’t do anything but draw the reader out of the story. Whether it be due to passive voice, beige prose, or stretches of text don’t hit readers in any of the senses save for sight. Combined with the previously mentioned problems, Seerica’s fine piece of art is forced to run with two broken legs and a single crutch that’s far too short.
In its current state, A Super Robot Story will have a hard time appealing to a general audience. It’s the writing that needs work, not the tale.
I want to see it succeed, and I do think it has the potential to do so. I don’t even have much to complain about from a non-mechanical standpoint. Sure, Tsune’s parents seem distant and almost flat but that’s because Tsune’s situation requires her to spend a lot of time away from home. This is before you even consider the fact that flat for Seerica has more color than some of the characters I’ve seen from top-rated stories on RR. Some readers may also find that the world feels a bit cliche if they aren't in love with the genre and the works it drew inspiration from.
If you put a gun to my head, I’d say that the length of the academy arc bummed me out a little, but that's mostly because I wanted to see Tsune and her team on the field.
My honest advice for Seerica would be to find an editor or several beta readers that they trust. I can tell that A Super Robot Story was made from a place of passion, it deserves to be polished so others can see that as well.
Above all else, I hope that Seerica will continue writing and remember to stay awesome.
This is part of a series of reviews where I read the first 50 pages of the book and give a verdict on if I wish to continue reading.
EDIT: This review has been updated to reflect substantial edits made by the author
A Super Robot Story can at times be frustrating to read due to weird stylistic conventions ' ' For dialogue and " " for thoughts continues to confound me. Requiring occasional re-reading of entire passages after realizing a particularly line was not said aloud.
However, revisions have tightened the plot & taken a character who originally felt flat and uninteresting and given them personality. To the point where I was able to get invested in their story. Chapter 0 - 4 has a fairly slice of life feel, with a plot that slowly meanders forward, but where progression occurs it is fairly interesting.
If you like Mecha you won't be disappointed with the mecha aspects of the this novel, and with the revisions you won't be disappointed with the MC either. Give it a shot.
The author has invested all of the mechs with loving detail. The planning and construction that occurs in the story is detailed and thoughtful. The descriptions of the various mech's that exist and their place within the world is interesting. And the mech fights are demonstrated to the reader with loving care and attention.
If you love mecha, the mecha parts of the fiction won't let you down!
Character) You've done a great job giving a clear and consistent character to Tsun/Lyle. Especially in contrast to the way it was prior to revision, her character really shone.
Least Favourite Part:
Style/Errors) As mentioned above, the stylistic choices regarding going dialogue versus thoughts. 7 chapters in and I'm still not used to it and have to keep reminding myself of which parts Tsun is saying aloud vs thinking.
Additionally, there are nigilling little grammatical issues that pop up from time to time. Resign papers is a particularly teeth grinding one for me. These sometimes manifest in awkward sentences or, in the aforementioned case sentences that feel like broken English.
Accurary) Since you've decided to encorporate elements of puberty into your story I wish you'd look over one of those puberty charts that shows the common age ranges for certain developments. It feels like everything has been shifted to be late. A minor problem, but for me is was the proverbial sliver you can't get out, in terms of annoyance.
It's not a perfect fiction, but the reading experience is enjoyable and the cliff at the end of chapter 5 certainly has my attention. I'm eager to see where the next 50 pages take this. In my first review I said if you: "insert either a strong introduction to the central conflict or explore the characterization of Lyle/Tsun more and you've got a significantly more compelling story to complement the mecha elements." And you've executed the latter admirably, and I think the story is stronger for it. If you're looking for an interesting mecha fiction, stop your search and start reading.
Reviewing this story frustrated me greatly because the good elements are VERY good, but the bad elements (mostly stylistic) made it difficult for me to read it. I would still recommend reading it, but if the author would rewrite this novel for clarity it would be absolutely amazing.
-The author's love for robots and description of the robot battles is top notch.
-The MC's skill and growth arc is believeable and very good. Her character is a bit blank, but her development and thought process is both interesting and organic
-This novel is stylistically difficult to read. I often didn't know what was being said or by who.
-The novel often required the reader to have some knowledge of what is going on in universe that has the potential to leave the reader in the weeds as they try to piece together what is happening and why.
Stylistically this novel is well below average (which is a shame because I enjoyed most of the other aspects of the novel). I struggled to read as far as I did because I would have to consistently reread passages to figure out who was speaking, if they were speaking or thinking, where paragraphs ended, and oftentimes what descriptions or idioms were meant to say. If this were fixed/improved this would easily be a 4.5 to 5 star overall novel.
There were a couple grammar mistakes, misplaced words or misused idioms. Nothing enough to greatly detract frommy enjoyment but they were very much there.
The worldbuilding, combat, and development are all top notch. The mech battles are well written. The weapon design is very well done. I really was engaged and I do want to read more.
This should almost be split into two parts. The character's growth as a pilot is very good and something I enjoyed greatly. The character's lack of personality and the over description of her physical features left me a little unsettled.
Cool story about robots.
The first chapter might be a bit confusing but after it gets better when you understand the context of the story. There is a lack of such stories in RR, which is why I suggest you read it and support it!
Give it a try.
Seerica's A Super Robot Story is an engaging tale of what life might realistically be like for a mecha fan who wakes up in what initially seems to be a world of his dreams where mechs are real and are integral in protecting humanity from fearsome monsters.
The story is replete with the expected mecha battle scenes that fans will look forward to. These are described in painstaking detail but the story doesn't end there. Equal importance is given to the slice-of-school-life story of a student who, mecha enthusiast though they may be, needs to work their way up the rungs of the pilot ladder. No instant-competence here, Tsune/Lyle put in a lot of hard work to make it, growing greatly in the process.
To my own surprise, I actually found myself really enjoying those slice-of-life scenes. In fact, watching Lyle grow into and come to accept his new identity as Tsune is what I enjoyed most out of this story. Surprising because as an action junkie, I thought it'd be the mecha scenes that would hook me and keep me interested.
I believe this is for a few reasons. Firstly Seerica really knows how to tell a compelling slice of life story that is both fun, engaging, and relaxing to read. The other reason is because I feel the action scenes try to bite off a bit more than they can chew. What does that mean?
Each scene is described in painstaking detail as the author walks you through the motions that the pilot takes, which in turn causes some corresponding action on the mech itself. This breaks down a bit when the pilots are engaged in complex maneuvers, or Tsune uses an innovative weapon readers aren't normally familiar with. The clinical level of detail on the minutia of who pulls what lever and how the mech's upper body reacts vs its lower body, serves to kill the fight's momentum, taking the emotion out of it. The result is that some fights require a few readings to understand what is going on.
My advice here would be to trim the fight scenes down to their very core components. I understand that actuating levers and getting the inside scoop on what the pilot is doing is part of the appeal for mecha stories, but glossing over some of the details in the interest of maintaining pace may actually both keep the adrenaline flowing as well as let the reader fill in what is happening with their imagination. So long as certain key cues are inserted in the right places.
That said, some maneuvers definitely need an explanation on account of their complexity and I here think using the right analogies to something familiar can really help out. The author gets better here as the story progresses, but I think it could still use further refinement for clarity. Analogy is a powerful hammer and sometimes it can do more harm than good.
The grammar didn't impede my enjoyment for the slice-of-life scenes, but I think better phrasing and framing of the action scenes will go a long way towards clarity, and I think sentence construction and flow can really help guide the reader from one thought to the next there.
The strongest point of this story are the characters, especially the protagonist Lyle/Tsune, and this is where things shine. While I haven't read many gender switch stories, this one was very well-executed and realistic. I found myself understanding and rooting the protagonist and enjoyed watching them develop from a boy who denied reality to someone who started walking down the road of embracing both aspects of their personality.
Thanks for the read! Overall, I enjoyed this one.
I gave this an overall 4 1/2 because the premise was interesting. A sort of story that merges transmigration with... uhh... Trans (Gender Bender Tag) and a passion for giant robots. I've read up to the current finish, chapter 28 for what that's worth, as I don't usually bother to adv. review something if I've only read about five chapters. It took me a bit longer to read than I thought it would but I enjoyed it.
It's interesting to note the differences from chapter 0 to chapter 28 in style. The dialogue becomes less clunky and the author begins to focus more on the MC and their current situation, which they slowly get a handle on. They use different formatting as explained in the readers notes on Chapter 0 to indicate internal dialogue vs speech vs speaker announcements.
Once I got used to it, it wasn't a problem. I can, however, see how it would throw people. I'm a little curious why the author chose to do it that way, like, I wonder if it was an experiment and now they feel locked into it? Something to consider if/when a story polish period comes along.
There are typos and mistakes every now and again. Some of the errors are just words that the spellchecker missed because the author might have meant to say 'attach' instead of 'attack'. Not a big deal. Pleasure novels are written for pleasure and mistakes happen.
As mentoned I liked the concept of a gender bend where the person goes from one world in one body to another world in another body. With Giant robots. If anything, currently I think the author needs to swerve harder into both things. Talk more about struggling with a different body/hormones/social identity and then just drop feet first into technical mecha battles and giant freaking mechamonsters(which are a thing). The story is in the budding stage where characters are explored and the world is built, so there's still time for that. Bring on the super awkward "I STILL LIKE GIRLS BUT I'M A LADY UGH" or the "I THINK I LIKE BOYS NOW" feelings. Interlaced with more "hold on social life, there's some godzilla mecha #&@^ going on outside, time to roll out." Those are just like, wishes from me as the reader though so...
The Characters were... distinct? It kind of threw me in the beginning because the protagonist comes off as kind of the underdog despite the fact that they have every reason to be advantaged in their new situation(game world knowledge, mechpertise, solid family background). It's nice that they are easing into the world cautiously though instead of just running around headshotting mechamonsters right off the bat. The parents are hilarious, though I felt a little bad for them. The friends/classmates are... wow. Certainly their own characters and not just a supporting cast of 'we follow the MC around and make them look good'.
BTW - as a reader, I hate Aery, there I said it. Her character is fine, her motivations are fine, she's fine as written and doesn't need to be changed, but boy do I despise her. Which I gather is somewhat on purpose.
TLDR: Take some time to work through the different formatting and you have a story about a person who loves giant robots thrust into a world where they get to join an academy devoted to the study and development of robots; which is a lot of fun if it is your thing.
A Super Robot Story
The premise is unique in that there's not much mecha stories on here so as L Nimbus previously said... it has a lot of potential! I certainly agree on that part! Now to the review!
'Our protagonist is a young man that loves super humanoid robots... and he wakes up in the world of his dreams!' Super robots exists! He's definitely going to get the chance to operate one that's for sure! I love that idea, it certainly appeals to the hearts of young men and ladies alike. I spent a considerable amount of my childhood playing Super Robot Taisen on my Gameboy so I'm probably one of the targetted demographic so heh. Seriously, Super Robots! Go take a look at it!
Now it's not all fun and games though, there's certainly more than what appears in the initial surface, some tension and events that I'm clearly enjoying but I won't tell because you'll enjoy it once you read it, so go ahead and take a look~ (Which is different from the one below)
You've read the tags right? It's a gender bender story so young man wakes up as a girl. I actually like that bit, for the hilarious bits and also how our protagonist is seeking to retain his identity pre-arrival to this new world.
Seerica formats differently than what most readers are used to. Author can perhaps change it, or the readers will have to get used to it. It was a bit difficult at first to read through, but once you delve through the story... it'll be much much easier!
The narrative flows neatly although shifting scenes can be quite confusing and sudden. It improves though!
Updated the style score, because just because I wasn't used to the formatting... doesn't mean it's bad, unique!
Quite adept in the verse of grammar, hardly noticed any typos although some tenses could be improved in the former parts. As someone fairly familiar with mechas, I can imagine the descriptions nicely although there are instances where perhaps an explanation or further describing things would be beneficial! Would definitely love a glossary for first time mecha story readers!
The protagonist underwent something life-changing, and it's fairly nice seeing things through their perspective. It seems whimsical, fun and carefree in their perspective as they start living in this new world that they consider their dream. Perhaps it's because they're not here to save the world from a certain imminent doom so I find the character quite pleasant and relaxed to read about. There are things that will change as the protagonist learns more about the world and faces his inner turmoil but it doesn't swamp you down. I like the protagonist and the other characters too! Not as well-developed but certainly endearing!
Update: The characters are well-developed! Go, go, go! I like them and once you read more, you get more sights on the characters.
I also have some ships *cough* but let's not discuss it here.
Great work Seerica! I'll definitely read more of this work!
Love the cover!
Isekai + Gender bender + Mecha. I have to say I at least haven't come across this concept before. It is an interesting mix that demanded a read, and although the story of Tsun or Lyle is an interesting one, it does suffer from a few issues...
Style: The style is a big limiting factor to the story's entertainment value. The prose is simple and easy to read and the descriptions paint a vivid picture of the world, but some places, especially during action scenes, it becomes confusing, as if the picture the words are trying to convey, isn't coming across. I had to stop a few times to properly imagine the scenes, even then, I was still confused in places...
Grammar: The grammar is not a problem here. There are no errors that stuck out too much or hindered my reading experience...
Story: A bit difficult to get through the earlier chapters. There's almost no tension or anything, particularly interesting happening. But the later chapters do get intriguing with the shadow of the story coming through...
Character: Well, Tsune, or Lyle, whatever you call him or her, they are a big problem in the story. In the starting few chapters, they lack any shred of motivation or drive. Their inaction and lack of agency are more prominent because we only follow her throughout those chapters, with the only other character introductions happening because of plot points. It's very hard to have a living, breathing world that way. The problem does get solved in the later chapter, with more character interactions and even the mc getting a proper personality(her inner struggle and identity crisis is portrayed very well), it's still a big hurdle to overcome the earlier chapter's stagnant flow...
Overall, this story has a lot of potentials, but it does need a lot of tightening to make the content more concise. As it is now, it still has enough good qualities to keep you reading...
(Disclaimer: All of this is my opinion and mine only)