I Got Trapped In a Fantasy World As A Literal Anime Girl And I'm Really Not Taking It Well [Light Novel Format]
- Traumatising content
[Participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge. Arc 2 revisions pending.]
Things didn't really start off all that weird, but boy - that sure didn't last.
I opened my eyes, and I really wish I hadn't.
I was a literal. Honest-to-god. Cel-shaded anime mage girl named Alice. With dark blue hair, purple eyes, a stupid ahoge, and a complete and utter lack of stature or athleticism.
Worst of all? This girl Alice was supposed to be some sort of magic prodigy. And well, I woke up here with none of her knowledge and expertise so I guess I'm a fraud.
My family - the Liddell family here is broke. We're about to lose the house, and there's no food on the table. Alice coming of legal adventuring age was supposed to be the family's big break.
All the expectations in the world were heaped on me, and my airhead of a sister Lorina has dragged me off to deal with all kinds of bowel-clenching, terrifying situations. One deadly scenario after another after another.
...Why can't life just be simple?
I'd hoped to leave the devil in the details, i.e showing not telling, but I will state this in the opening comments.
There is definitely a lot of nonsensical Isekai zaniness. There is cringey anime comedy. Lorina is presented as tone deaf, pushy, and annoying with no respect for the MC's boundaries in arc 1. These choices are intentional.
I will say that this is a character-driven story with a heavy emphasis on character development, functional magic, and worldbuilding, and a heavy dose of horror despite first impressions. Please read the opening chapters with the intentional isekai comedy cringe in mind.
With that said, enjoy! As always, I appreciate any and all constructive feedback. This is a writathon project, and most of the work is in a second draft state as of November 27th. Now that the Writathon has ended, I'll focus on getting the prose from Chapter 4 and on to the quality of the later chapters.
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Ok, as someone who’d read the story up to chapter 20 originally and then caught up with the Arc 1 revisions today, I’m going to put up a rating/review in good faith based on where I think the story is headed. It’s my opinion that this piece is criminally underrated right now in RS and in the reviews section here.
The author clearly cares about this work a lot, and according to their author’s notes, they added over 4000 words to address the shortcomings the first arc had. I see them communicating actively in both the comments and forums with others to revise and improve the work.
It’s not perfect yet, but the improvements are night and day. I truly believe this story has potential to reach the levels of isekai classics such as Mushoku Tensei if the author keeps working at it. The ideas and talent are there, and I’ll use the advanced review format to give my thoughts on the current version, as of November 25th.
Hopefully my review will encourage folks to give this story a shot, and if they don’t like it as it is right now, I think the author will polish off the edges eventually. I can kind of sum it up right now as:
“Arc 1 had poor writing and grammar/formatting/structure, now it has decent writing/worldbuilding and excellent grammar/formatting/structure.
Arc 2 has brilliant writing, ideas, and worldbuilding, but mediocre grammar/formatting/structure.”
I’ll start an advanced review with the style.
STYLE: Ok. This element is the most important one to talk about in my review. This is simultaneously one of the most brilliant and creative light novel styles I’ve seen, as well as some of the most jarring and painful. I don’t feel the current reviews reflect the stylistic choices very well so I’m going to try here.
So, the reviews have been all over this now. The author plays with a lot of isekai tropes for laughs early on as a hook, which as one other reviewer has touched upon, just isn’t an effective hook for what the story is.
The author presents us with a stock fantasy world with D&D-like magic systems, four demon generals, and a demon lord. There’s your typical adventurer’s guild and all the other isekai tropes, and a lot of stylish flairs such as steampunk hoverboards.
But what’s really effective with this deliberate design is the foreshadowing the author puts forth for the anime world the MC has found herself in.
Since the author put up a prologue that they seem to have taken down that foreshadows/showcases this, I think it’s important to talk about this.
Please DM me if you’d like me to not talk about this in my review.
The greater demons and archdemons of this setting are reality-warping eldritch abominations that change the freaking art. Think uncanny valley CGI on the lower-upper tiers, to outright Madoka Magica or Robot Chicken cutout art which is played for all the horror you can milk out of 2.5-dimensional anime characters. Whenever they show up, tension ratchets up for your favorite characters and the stakes go through the roof. That storytelling / stylistic decision is what blew me away and it’s something I haven’t seen any author on this site do yet with an isekai.
The author fills the story with typical anime illustrations from Novel AI for original character designs, which you would expect for a Light Novel format such as this.
As of the current arc though, they’ve created demons from MidJourney best described as your worst sleep paralysis demons from night terrors, with thousands upon thousands of words describing the sheer tension and terror these entities bring upon the world.
One thing that the author has just begun to touch upon is that the power of friendship and willpower is an actual, functional magic system in this world and a force multiplier. The author did this to make fantasy classes like bards and dancers incredibly useful in this world and it’s explained in a way that makes sense. I look forward to seeing what the author does with these mechanics.
Characters: This story’s introduction is fast-paced, wacky, and the characters are underdeveloped. Yes, that is true. The pacing can be seen as ‘too much’ if you start and stop there. The reviews from others about the MC are out of date now, and the author has taken feedback from the reviews and clearly fleshed her out with a full (vague, gender-neutral) background in the opening chapters that plays a critical role in explaining her thoughts and decision-making.
The fast-paced, confusing, and disjointed experience reflects the MC’s experience from being thrust into this world. She is often hungry, sleep-deprived, confused and frustrated at being jerked around from the get go. Even after the revisions, the writing isn’t as good as it gets in arc 2 and the dynamic is still very jarring. I get a strong sense that the author is struggling with how much information to reveal in the early chapters. The first version was extremely light in the worldbuilding and Alice’s internal monologue, and the author focused way too much on using the isekai zaniness to hide and misdirect away from several important Chekhov’s Guns and macguffins. That’s been greatly improved.
For some constructive criticism, I do think chapters 7 through 9 still need to be fleshed out a lot more, but the author will probably get it done on a second revision.
For what’s actually going on here in the opening, the author seemed to frame it from the beginning to reflect two characters acting rationally with the information that they have only to have it lead to friction and conflict, and subsequent consequences and character development that really speaks to excellent character writing.
Unless I’m mistaken, the body the MC wound up in is a genius, prodigy mage that was intent on joining an elite adventurer group. The second she wakes up, she is dragged along by her body’s sister, who is pushy, irritating, and tone-deaf to her sister’s protests and complaints. She doesn’t listen to the MC for a second, and literally has the physical strength to force the protagonist to come along for an adventure. The early zaniness and dynamics between the MC and her sister is also played seriously and deconstructed. Slapstick moments hide very notable key plot and character moments behind wackiness, and were caused by both emotional stuntedness and complications from the isekai experience. By the time I’ve caught up with recent chapters, Lorina has gone from one of the most grating and annoying characters I’ve seen to one of my favorite characters in any isekai, and I’ve read/watched a lot of isekai.
Story: I’ve talked a lot about style and characters, but the story is really the strongest point of this fic.
Unfortunately, it’s going to suffer from fundamental issues and lose a lot of people just because of how it’s structured. Arc 1 is effectively an 11-chapter prologue just to get to the real meat of the story. Even after the author expanded the early chapters with worldbuilding and character development, it still isn’t ideal.
The main thing I want to focus on here is that there IS a payoff in the early dynamic between Alice and Lorina, and it is realistic and well-written in hindsight but it’s grating and insufferable when you’re looking at it with fresh eyes. It also reflects a recurring theme throughout the story. It’s less of a deconstruction and more of a rationalfic in that sense, but they overlap. @the author
The characters will never do things just for the sake of it. It is always rational and makes sense from their perspective. Emotional stuntedness and callousness are not just allowed to be and result in yelling and screaming and tearful makeups or falling outs. Villains are not allowed to monologue and will be cut off mid-sentence by a tactical ambush by the protagonists, and they are in turn also viciously pragmatic and tactical. The heroes are never allowed to just power up even though it’s ostensibly an anime, and the ‘elite’ adventurers always show why they’re elite rather than just through informed attributes.
By the second arc, the story goes from thin with next-to-no character writing and worldbuilding - to a well-paced, vividly described, and emotionally impactful isekai with an incredible launching point almost instantly. There is a quick pivot in arc 2 towards economics, family dynamics, crafting, and the MC grappling with her identity, and characters that were just caricatures and silhouettes to life instantly.
The author knows their stuff when it comes to writing real human relationships, as well as trade and geography, and it’s starting to show through in the writing.
Grammar: I didn’t understand why I was so annoyed before, but now that the author has cleaned up the first arc, it’s very evident. In the original draft, punctuations were missing, words were repeated, conjunctions were missing, run-on sentences popped into my face out of nowhere, and even entire paragraphs were double-pasted. That has been completely cleaned up in the first arc, but I started seeing them again in arc 2 while re-reading the story. The current version of arc 1 shows what the author can do with technical writing. Chapters 14 and on still need some cleanup.
Diving straight into it, it reads like a typical cringe comedy anime. I casually watch anime so I'm familiar with a lot of the tropes referenced, but I can see it being a wtf/surrealist fic for those unfamiliar or those who watch more serious anime like AoT or vinland saga.
The main issue imo is that it has a pretty drastic tonal shift in chapter 10. This is way too deep, as it'll put off those who were hooked by the whimsical, low-stakes nature of the first chapters, and those who prefer more serious fics won't read what's essentially a 9 chapter prologue to get into the real story, when instead they could read something else that fits their tastes.
Had to address this upfront, now to get into specifics.
Style: The writing style suffers from the disjointedness i referenced above as there's essentially two different styles on show. The first half (chapters 1-9) is much more airy, slice-of-life, and it goes hard on the anime tropes (even with side characters randomly giving exposition). This would be fine if that was the whole story but then it shifts from chapter ten onwards to a more dramatic, sombre style (that tbh I prefer) with much less focus on the anime stuff. It's kinda schizophrenic in that it feels like two different authors writing one fic, but I guess that was the intention
Story: The strong point of the fic imo. Yeah it takes 10 chapters to get to the meat, but once it does it reveals that the world is lot more complex than first indicated and the tension really ratchets up. More characters are revealed, we get a glimpse of what could be possible in future arcs, just generally gets better all around, to the point that I'm now more curious about the world the MC woke up in.
Grammar: Didn't notice anything wrong with the grammar.
Character: Alice is supposed to be a fish-out-of-water MC, as in we're exploring a land that's as new to her as it is to us, but you barely get that imo. She acts like a native that really did get her memory wiped instead of someone from the real world who woke up as an anime girl. She rarely references her previous life, if ever, and doesn't make any personal comparisons that give insight into how she lived before. The most we know is that she was an only child on earth, and unless there's some narrative reason for it, it makes no sense that she would barely think about her home life (especially 18 chapters in) considering how stressed and vulnerable she's felt in the story so far. The side characters get fleshed out quite well in comparison imo, it really feels like they have their own lives and relationships with each other outside of the MC
Overall, I'd say skip to chapter 10 and 11 for a better example of what this fic is about and to see if it fits your tastes, because the first arc isn't really an effective hook for the type of story this is turning out to be. I personally prefer the second half and would recommend it based on that, but the first bit will drive people away unnecessarily imo or draw review bombs from people who feel misled
Trapped is an ambitious novel with some creative ideas. That is it's greatest strength, but also one of it's primary challenges to it's readers. The light novel/anime aesthetic that is being deconstructed is intended to be lightweight, easily accessable, and often aimed at children of all ages. The trope deconstruction genre also (but not always) tends to be light and cheerful. Beware of Chicken would probably be the best example of that on this site, for all that it's parodying Xianxia. Konosuba would be a good anime example of this as well. (NB: Konosuba was a light novel first.) Of course, the other, more famous and more pertinent example of anime trope deconstruction would be Madoka Magica which is not at all light or easy.
Trying to find your own balance between Konosuba and Madoka Magica is always going to be a tough challenge. Do you lean into the light, slapstic subversion using caricatures for charicters, or do you really dig into the psychology of your charicters, the awful reality of their unreal world and the inevitable damage it does to them? I really credit PizzaPizza for having the ambition to try for both.
The charicters, other than the MC, are stock types found in most adventure anime. They have stock personalities, motivation, aesthetics, the whole bit. The MC, finding herself powerless in a surprisingly lawless world and forced into combat, retreats from the world and the people around her in a totally comprehensible way. Imagine, for example, if Preistess noped out of the entire adventuring business after Chapter 1 of Goblin Slayer. You would completely understand why, right? The MC's growth arc is steady and understandable, though opinions can vary on the pacing.
The tension between real world common sense and shonen anime world common sense is what drives most of the charicter development and, to an extent, the plot. There is a very nice touch in some later chapters where a breakdown in local reality is depicted as a change in art style, which is a great way to address unspeakable Lovecraftian horror.
Unfortunately, it is that same tonal tension (and review bombers, more on them at the end) that has been the biggest challenge for the novel. A tonal shift is often necessarily a stylistic shift. The difference can be jarring. I believe, given the subject of the novel, that the jarring, the sense of disorientation, is deliberate on the author's part. It is a totally valid authorial choice, and a very tough one to land sucessfully. I don't know that PizzaPizza does land it sucessfully, but they make a very creditable effort. Later chapters are much easier to read, as the MC more fully commits to the world she now inhabits.
All in all, this is a well written and ambitious novel written under the immense time pressure of the Writeathon. It does present the reader with some initial challenges, but as other reviewers have pointed out, it is worth being patient through the first few chapters. The story develops well.
PS. Review bombers are the moral equivelent of restuarant patrons who leave a religious tract disguised as a twenty dollar bill as a "tip" for their waitress. If this is something that brings you pleasure, I sincerely encourage you to reflect on your life and the choices that brought you here. And find a better hobby.
I read all the other reviews since this’ll be the first time I did something like this, but I’ll try to put my own perspective on this.
Style: There’s nothing I can critique about the style. The tonal shift others pointed out around chapter 10 seemed well-transitioned, although that might be because I had already been spoiled about it. Nevertheless, I’d say the author cleaned up the friction there. However, take this opinion with a pinch of salt, as I personally quite like anime/light novel-esque style novels and regularly read MTL, so I’m probably a little biased here.
Story: As others before me have iterated time and again, the MC’s lack of agency does get a little annoying, but I feel that such a thing can’t be helped in a setting like this. In fact, I’d almost expected her to shut down for longer given the hellscape she’s thrown into.
She seems to have a basic grasp on anime and its logic (or lack thereof), and she needed to quickly figure out the foundational principles of the world she's thrown into.
What I’m saying is that every world has its taboos and common sense, and with her original’s memory being wiped, she has to relearn everything again. It’s dangerous to assume something will happen based on logic proven in their past world/life.
This kind of thing needs both time and curiosity. She has the latter (being competent in STEM), but the former is wholly lacking.
Pulling herself together in only a few days is completely logical.
Not everyone can take this kind of thing in stride, especially since given all that she knows she basically replaced the fantasy world’s equivalent of Albert Einstein.
The Alice from before that everyone around her knew was a veritable savant when it came to magic, nearly attaining the title of archmage (which while we don’t know what this achievement entails specifically, from the context it should be a big deal), with her sister having full faith in her capabilities. She has none of that, only able to tap into that power unconsciously through what I can only imagine as the “muscle memory” cultivated by the original Alice.
Imagine the imposter syndrome someone in this situation will face.
However, she becomes far more assertive later on, and I suppose it makes her mewling worthwhile. Rather than spiraling down a depressive cycle, she breaks out of it, showcasing that her failures had merit and that she learned from those experiences. It is nice to see Alice truly tap into her true potential, even if out of self-loathing and as a direct result of her decisions blowing up in her face.
Grammar: I’d say my grammar when reading has been nuked from MTL, so my opinion here is pretty much invalid. Despite this, the story was very fluid. All that matters to me is that it flows well, and the fact that I didn’t have to scrutinize the paragraphs at all is enough for me.
Character: The dynamic of Alice and her sister was done well in the early chapters, showcasing clearly and contrasting Lori’s assertiveness with Alice’s meekness, while also toning both down from their extremes as they got a better grasp of each others’ boundaries. That evolution continued even after the introduction of a copious amount of side characters that would join them in their party. (it also marked a pivotal step in Alice’s change)
Next, because the party was already well established and had a history together, we don’t really see them explored as deeply as that of Alice and Lorina yet. Still, I expect that to change as the story progresses.
Already we are seeing sides to the other party members in the second arc, and they are distinct enough (not just in appearance) that I can tell them apart decently enough.
It was alright. The situation as described is a typical fantasy isekai world, the turning point being, it has an anime-style and anime-logic.
The idea itself is good, the execution in my opinion lacking. The first other character and the MCs sister pretty much shows how 'wacky', 'quirky' and 'weird' she and the new world are, by for example transforming into a chibi and talking with her sister in a very weird way, which is maybe supposed to be funny? The dialogue sounds very unnatural to me and forced to show that, 'hey, the MC can't remember anything, here is the sister referencing multiple past interactions and how the MC doesn't remember them' haha, so quirky, at least that was my impression.
At best I can say that it seems as if it would perfectly fit into the dozens of low-quality anime that are getting produced lately. There are a few high quality pictures too, showing the MC and Lori for example, but even then, this isn't an anime.
After having read a bit more, I can say that it isn't entirely terrible. The problem in my opinion, is with the style which very much goes the generic anime angle. The grammar is perfect, but it has a generic anime quality with nonsensical interactions and comedy, yet I don't believe it surpasses that.
With that I mean its fine. It can be read if you don't have anything else to read and you might laugh a bit if you like this kind of slapstick humour, but a high-quality story it is not, simply because of how it is written.
The best compliment that I can give this book is that it reads like an actual light novel. Like something I'd pick up off a shelf here in Japan.
Style: Follows a light novel format—simple as that. The author even points that out in the title, so if you read it expecting any different then that's entirely on you. Personally, I enjoy it. It's fun, light, and easy to follow.
Story: As of where I am, the story is pretty standard. The main character wakes up in the body of a young girl. Though, we don't get clarification whether they were a male in their previous life, so if you're wanting for a genderbender story then you'll be left guessing. That said, this young girl, named Alice, is a mage. A talented one, apparently. Issue? The main character doesn't retain any of Alice's memories, so she's quite clueless. I really like the premise behind this and it allows for great and steady character progression. There seems to be a lot to the story yet to unfold. I get the feeling that it won't be entirely straightforward because I can see building blocks for something more. Definitely something to look out for.
Grammar: Nothing to ruin the reading experience, in my opinion. I'm not so nitpicky that I'd gripe over minor things, so if I can read the exposition easily then it's all good to me.
Character: Yes, they're quite tropey...but what do you expect from a light novel? I quite enjoyed the characters and their interactions because the book doesn't advertise itself as something its not. I came in here expecting a light novel and I got just that. There are times when the main character lacks a sense of agency, I agree. And it can feel like she's too accepting or easily understanding of her surroundings. That may bother some people, but I'd also hate it if she was constantly moaning and complaining, to be honest. I wish we got more information about her previous life, but I'm sure the author rectifies that later on.
Overall, the novel has potential. I'd hate for people to read it expecting something it isn't and then reviewing it badly because of that. It's a light novel, and a pretty good one.
The story so far is pretty solid. The horror in the initial chapters is somewhat subtle. I can say that unless you know what to look for you might mistake this as a comedy at first. The part where the MC gets drugged and becomes competent is hilarious. The loss of autonomy and the subtle mind control influence is especially sinister.
5/5 so far. I will be following this closely to see how it progresses.
If you're reading the title of this story, looking at the cover art, and thinking to yourself: "I love anime and isekai and this sounds like a funny, entertaining story I might enjoy, but what if the rumors are true and it pivots into some kind of existential horror story after chapter 9?" then put your worries to rest. This story is exactly as advertised.
I understand what readers are saying about that, and I'm not sure if the author made structural changes before I read it, but for me, any narrative transition around chapter 10 is subtle at most and actually a welcome development at best. I never felt misled or baited and switched; the story has a natural progression and it is going in the direction it needs to go in.
Style: There are some redundancies (i.e.: "...pondered thoughtfully") and occassionally some information feels like it appears on the page in the wrong spot (should be part of an above or below paragraph), but the pacing is good and the formatting is delivered in little bites that allow for easy scrolling. There are images included in (almost) every chapter, and overall the experience is enjoyable.
Story: The story is that the MC wakes up as an Anime girl named Alice in an anime world with all the tropes and trappings that you would expect to find there. The author does a good job really pushing this line of thought to its extremes, leading to some genuinely funny moments. It's a great premise with a ton of possibility.
Grammar: The grammar is fine. Some sentences, while not grammatically "incorrect," could use a once over for clarity; there's a better and simpler way to say certain things.
Character: I took the most issue with the MC's development, or lack thereof. After the first few chapters, the novelty of the MC having woken up in an anime body wears off, and we're left wanting something else to fill up the character's internal conflicts. But nothing really manifests. There are external conflicts (with other characters--namely Lori--and with obstacles that arise) but not really any interior conflicts for Alice to work through. This leaves the character feeling somewhat two-dimensional, which, if I didn't know better, I might think is a deconstructionist commentary on the two-dimensionality of cartoon characters, but also which, if it is, there's not enough evidence of to be convincing.
I've read further and as some others have noticed the tone changes wildly from around chapter 10 onwards. There is suddenly a greater emphasis on action and element of horror. I would suggest anyone considering this story to get to at least chapter 13 before making up their minds.
The story has no preamble and immediately dumps the main character into their new anime fantasy world. Rather than being a blank slate, the main character takes over the life of another person and has to learn and deal with this other person’s pre-existing relationships. It’s an interesting problem since not only do they have the mystery of how they got there to contend with but also all the baggage that their previous bodies host was carrying.
The characters go from stereotypical anime to more grounded when chapter 10 hits when people's lives are on the line, characters like Lori become more serious, the "Alice-chans" get dropped, and Alice herself acts as any normal untrained person would when thrown into life threatening danger.
The grammar is okay with only the occasional mild error such as using too many dots for ellipsis. It might benefit from having a grammar checker go over it in the future to avoid missing these mistakes.
The style is very short and dialogue heavy which is to be expected for a cozy slice of life story that focusing more on character drama. This style somewhat continues after the chapter 10 tone change although the prose does improve.
An airy light hearted opening for about nine chapters before things switch gears into a more serious high-fantasy action with a touch of horror.
This is a spoiler-free review.
I would like to preface this review that this story is in a genre I have never read, nor am I a fan of anime, so reading this I was very much in a new range of experiences.
What happens when all your worries about life suddenly disappear and you find yourself in a wholly different place without the weight of the real world? Well, this story has the answers.
In my opinion, this story has two dynamics at play. It has a good command of the English language. Word usage, vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation were on point. As I read I knew that the Author knows what he/she is doing. On the other hand, the story, characters, and the plot is lightweight and not too serious. And I think it's done on purpose. Not every story needs to be serious and heavy and dark.
Grammar & Style:
Chapters are a good length, not too short or too long. Nicely digestible length in my opinion. I could not see any grammar, or punctuation mistakes as I was reading, but then again I read fast and don't pay too much attention to every word but more to the entirety of the story, so nothing to criticize there. This is a well-written and well-edited story without mistakes or strange punctuation.
In general, though this is not my type of story in the slightest, but because of its very good technical quality, it is very well readable.
As a little aside: I also like the added visuals in the middle of the chapters. It very nicely gives added atmosphere to the story and a mental picture of where the action is going on.
Some considerations: I would try to name chapters, or maybe the important ones. It draws the readers in and gives some context to what's going on. Secondly, maybe reduce the use of adverbs to maybe two to three per chapter. But this criticism is just so I can say something critical, it didn't bother me in any way. Just something that caught my attention.
Character & Story:
While at first the characters we were introduced to felt a little flat, it improved the more I read on. Especially in the beginning and because action moved so fast and with little weight to what happens in the world. But I think this is done on purpose, so I cannot count that as a fault of the story, more of a personal opinion. Like I said in the beginning - this is a lightweight story, and the characters and plot reflect that.
Character and location descriptions are very well made and again, it shows that the author knows what they're doing.
The negative I would bring out here is that for me personally, the plot had little weight from the beginning chapters that I read. Luckily, though it works out better the more I read.
I give an additional Gold Star because 9/11 is pivotal for the Main Character's backstory!
This is a simple, feel-good story that is written well, with a pleasant pace in the later chapters and good use of language. It is also technically well-realized.
I would recommend anyone to read this who has an interest in this genre of literature.