(Shitsukoi no Junbi o Onegaishimasu)
by 浅倉 秋成 (Akibari Asakura)
Author: 浅倉 秋成 (Akibari Asakura)
Japanese Level: JLPT N2
Genre: Mystery(?), comedy, romance(??), light sci-fi(?)
English Summary (Translation by Japanese Talk Online)
“I can’t go out with you… Because…you see…I’m really a magical girl.” — A high school girl lies to reject the boy who just asked her out. But then he vows that his love is stronger than the human and magical worlds?!
She wants to lie but he just won’t give up! Love and lies tangle together until they build up in a giant wave!
An insignificant, earnest love story turns is the calm before the storm of a series of events. A foreshadowing love story that goes around and around!
Note: The blurb for this novel is a little misleading. My impression originally was that this story would be about a girl caught up in the lie of her being a magical girl to reject a guy, but that was only a tiny part of the story…
Why You Should Read 失恋の準備をお願いします
Shitsukoi no Junbi o Onegaishimasu is an absolutely barmy novel. It classifies itself as a mystery, but there it’s really not like most other Japanese mystery novels. It doesn’t have a serious mystery with an in-depth narrative. Instead, it’s a series of bizarre short stories that all interweave with one another (not that anyone but the reader realizes). With each escapade being crazier (and somewhat unbelievable) than the last.
I wouldn’t say any of these short stories are “mysteries” either, because they’re too short. They never have a chance to present some “mysterious” question to be solves, only really strange challenges for the characters to somehow deal with. But I guess they fit Japanese definition of ミステリー enough to win a few mystery literature awards.
Each chapter is told from a different perspective and involves 1) someone of the opposite sex, and 2) a ridiculous plot. Such as a girl who pretends to be a magical girl to avoid a long-distance relationship with a boy; a boy who decides to play detective with a lie-detecting doll and gets dragged into a couple squabbling; and a girl who has to help a boy who’s pheromones are so strong every woman he meets falls for him. And more!
These all culminate into one final chapter that jumps between every character with threads from past events intervening in a complex series of even weirder situations. Honestly, the last chapter was my least favorite, but it at least gave a satisfying conclusion.
The situations are (as you may have guessed) completely ridiculous and unbelievable, but the way characters react to one another made each story play out in my head like an over-the-top J-drama. Which might not be for everyone, but I found it to be a really fun!
Why Japanese Learners Should Read 失恋の準備をお願いします
This novel is incredibly easy to read. Not because the Japanese is “easy” (which is relative) but because it flows well with about 70%-80% of the stories consisting of conversations. Each scene flows incredibly smoothly as characters interact and react to one another. And the over-the-top drama-esque narratives just add to the page turning experience.
Japanese level-wise this would be a comfortable read for people with roughly JLPT N2 level Japanese. There are some N1 words and kanji, but not many. The grammar is about N3-N2 level because of the conversational nature of most of the text.
The only trick would be the incredibly large cast of characters. The novel gives hiragana for the characters once, so if you forget someone’s name you either have to try and remember where they were first introduced, or look their name reading up online. I wrote every character’s name on the white site of the obi and used that as a bookmark.
If you’re interested in giving this a try I suggest checking out the first chapter, which you can read for free on Bookwalker! Read 失恋の準備をお願いします chapter 1 online for free!
This is a really weird but fun novel that’s perfect for those who are looking for a relatively quick entertaining and silly read.
You really have to suspend your disbelief though when it come to a lot of the ridiculous things that happen. But I think if you can manage that, then you’ll likely really enjoy this novel!
Then again, if you want a more serious mystery novel, then I suggest 六人の嘘つきな大学生 by the same author. I haven’t read it myself (it’s on the list) but I hear it’s really good!
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