The Knife’s Edge

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Anime if Anime were Western Epic Fantasy

There’s a lot here that’s actually really interesting. Neat world building, some cool magic, and despite the length of the story it moves along at a good pace. The narrator is great. There is, at the core of the story a good mystery and a solid basic idea.

It’s just not told in a very gripping way. It’s very by the numbers. To give a non-spoiler example, I have no idea why the story kicks off giving us the MC’s blandly tragic story just for him to lose all memory of it very quickly. “And then he forgot his name” is a bizarre choice to me. I’d actually suggest skipping to 1:46:00 right away if you get this book. It doesn’t hurt your ability to understand the story at all and makes Gray a more compelling figure than he is when you know his origins. Just don’t listen to anything before that.

Unfortunately it’s a recurring issue throughout the length of the story. Characters are introduced who serve no real purpose in the plot. It’s got a dumb prophecy that someone apparently decided to keep secret for… some reason. Events transpire and they feel like filler. The final product feels like a draft that desperately needed refining from start to finish.

The characters are the the biggest drag on everything. Most of them are bland and shallow and feel copy pasted from other, better, tales. Most of the characters do whatever keeps the plot going rather than something a person would actually do. Dialogue often goes into a ‘who talks like that’ direction and they contradict themselves within the same scene, like doing something and then saying they never do it.

How much of a problem the other things are, really depends on your tastes.

This story runs on cliches from mediocre anime. I have no idea if it’s intentional. And I’m not just talking in a generic sense. right down to the formula of the story and the way it’s told, it’s all anime cliches. The plot and the telling typically fall into shonen battle manga behavior when it suits events. Characters scream randomly, get enraged out of nowhere, forget things they knew, know things that are conveniently out of the blue. Events area always perfectly timed that people can go into lengthy explanations despite what should be a frantic moment. The MC has cliche internal monologues about what they can/can’t do and then go and do one of those things like the internal debate didn’t matter. Details are revealed haphazardly to get them out of the way rather than allowed to naturally unfold.

I think some of that might not be bad actually if you’re unfamiliar with the Shonen genre. They might even be fresh ideas if you’re more familiar with epic fantasy. Unfortunately I’m quite the anime fan, so I couldn’t escape the groaning sense of derivative ideas, cliches, and poor plotting despite the somewhat novel setting and strong core concept behind the tale.

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