Ranked #2
Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria (Novel)

Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria

Alternative Titles

Synonyms: The Empty Box and the Zeroth Maria, Hakomari
Japanese: 空ろの箱と零のマリア


Type: Novel
Volumes: Unknown
Chapters: Unknown
Status: Publishing
Published: Jan 7, 2009 to ?
Authors: Mikage, Eiji (Story), Tetsuo (Art)
Serialization: None


Score: 9.151 (scored by 2263 users)
Ranked: #22
Popularity: #263
Members: 12,353
Favorites: 853
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.

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Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria, or The Empty Box and The Zeroth Maria, tells the sinister story of Kazuki Hoshino, who is almost madly attached to his everyday life, and his antagonist Aya Otonashi, who suddenly transfers into his class—for the 13,118th time. She majestically announces to "break" him, without paying heed to anyone else around them.

This is but the start of a dark roller coaster ride that turns the two against themselves, the people around them and the one who may be god. Read on as their relationship slowly changes and they go against their most basic values in their struggle against the world itself.

(Source: MU)


Hoshino, Kazuki
Kirino, Kokone
Mogi, Kasumi
Oomine, Daiya
Otonashi, Maria
Usui, Haruaki

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Jul 20, 2013

--This review is intended for those who plan to read the novel therefore, it is free of spoilers--

"Kazuki Hoshino. I’m here to break you. This is my 13,118th 'School Transfer'. Even I can't help but get annoyed after so many. So for a change, I'll proclaim war." Those are the words that the kuudere Aya Otonashi proclaims to our dumbfounded protagonist in the start of the series, and surely, this line not only perplexes the characters in the story, but us as well.

The simple setting of a 13,118th school transfer is enough to pique your interest as this is something that is obviously uncommon. read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Nov 24, 2013
HakoMari's story is one of the most 'cult' light novel story I have ever read, throwing mainstream out from the window right away.

It made me scream like a fangirl.

The story is about Kazuki Hoshino, a boy who very much treasures his normal 'everyday life'. An everyday life, which is no longer normal without he himself realizing it when he met a mysterious transfer student Aya Otonashi.

-- Story : 9/10.

HakoMari's genre is somewhat a combination of fantasy and mystery. The story, like I said, avoids today's light novel mainstream and cliche plot. It's not a stupid boy-meets-girl-then-continue-to-meeting-harem-member. It's a boy-meets-girl-then-reality-went-to-shit kind. read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Jun 25, 2014
This is a masterpiece. It is truly unbelievable what the author has managed to do with so very little. Hell, the first volume takes place nearly entirely in the same location and you don't care. The story is THAT compelling. If you are looking for a good story, one that gives you something that makes you want to keep reading, read this.

It has plot twists like no other story I've ever read. Plot twists that you don't see coming, but make sense. They make such perfect sense you can't believe you didn't realize it yourself.

I would only start if you have time to spare read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful
Oct 7, 2014
This review for those who intend to read but hesitate. This Novel without flaw is the masterpiece psychological Novel. If you love smart character if you love thriller if you love battle of wit, this novel is the best fit for you.

Story 10/10: Masterpiece, why? Because without flaw everything explain in detail, the way the mysteries revealed is outstanding. When you start reading the first volume you might a bit confuse but don't worry, the more you read the more it make sense and everything come to place.

Art 10/10 Well this is Novel, so there not alot of art but that little art they shown read more
I found this review Helpful  Not Helpful

User Recommendations

For those of you who wander aimlessly seeking for something similar to the thrilling story of the Death Note series, well, you're in luck because Hakomari not only fills that void, it expands it. In other words, in my opinion it's even better than Death Note in terms of complexity.

While there are countless dissimilarities between the two, I'll focus on the similarities which I'm sure would cause Death Note fans to try this series...
Hakomari captures Death Note's thriller and mystery aspect not through the battle of impeccable prodigies, but through an extremely intricate plot built layer after layer in each volume. Actually, we get a battle of wits in all of the volumes, but this is not what makes Hakomari stand out of the rest of novels/manga, it is the plot (or the premise) through which the characters move, in other words, it is the premises (the universe/world) of the novel.

While I have completely no idea how Eiji Mikage composes his plot, reading through the volumes with give you an idea to how the architecture of this novel is constructed. The author lays the framework and a rough conclusion of a volume before filling out the details of the story, that is to give him some sort of guide (a premise if you will) for his plot.

He rarely contradicts the premises he set unless you are hairsplitting/nitpicking enthusiast. Every turn or event in a volume is connected to a premise set forth or declared in a previous volume (in other words, everything that would happen, happened for a reason, and isn't of plot convenience) and the conclusions at each volume surprise you as it unravels Mikage's masterful play of plot lines.

While the main difference between Death Note and Hakomari is the romance aspect, I'd say that If you liked DN, there's a very high chance of liking Hakomari since every twist leaves you surprised and impressed.
I happened to stumble upon this because it had the same translator, little did I know I was looking at something quite similar to Hakomari, yet complete different.

The obvious similarity is of course the mystery aspect, which I'll elaborate on.
What we have are uber-normal males who are forcibly dragged inexplicably by a certain beauty into a mystery by mere circumstance.
Unlike Death Note where we are most of the time spectators, both Hakomari and Gekkou involve the reader in trying to figure out the plot. Hakomari tries to wrap everything up, leaving no instance unexplained while Gekkou prefers to leave a lot of aspects for the reader to decide (Gekkou is somewhat disappointing due to sudden shifts that sometimes connect poorly).

With regards to the theme, Hakomari retains a constant dark ambiance while Gekkou retains it comedic aura throughout the series. At the end of the day, Gekkou remains as quite an odd and interesting read.
Right off the bat, generally speaking they both have a grim, heavy atmosphere with hints of despair and hopelessness at times. Besides that, they both deal with wishes and dealing with the results/consequences of those wishes. A happy normal everyday
life is broken by said results/consequences.
There are further similar points but I'll refrain from mentioning them to avoid spoiling anything.
"A cornered rat will bite the cat"
No other sentence would have fittingly yet succinctly described what the two have in common.

Human nature is such that when pushed to a tight corner, they terminate all perceptions of fear and focus on eliminating the source of it. That is to say, they would do anything to protect their existence in the least if it were threatened. But what if you haven't cornered a rat, but rather... a Lion.
This is what they have in common. Liar Game has a genius whose talents is constantly pushed to the limits, while Hakomari puts common folk on the spotlight, except for a single person who displays his full intellectual prowess on Volumes 3&4.

I will mostly be focusing on the similarities between Liar game and the 3rd and 4th volumes of Hakomari since they are similar on so many levels, but I'll have you know that these similarities can be extended to whatever volume.

The overarching theme for both pieces is of course the mystery, and what's good is readers can participate in it. Red herrings are intrinsic in all mystery stories, but both have different ways of using red herrings. Hakomari is flawless in its use of it, meaning all red herrings are true while in Liar Game, I would often encounter red herrings which would have been illogical backtracking from the outcome.

The plots are presented as puzzles - the characters are presented with do or die situations that they must overcome in order to return to a semblance of their normal lives. Liar game deals with it directly, its reasoning resembles "pure logic" more than anything else while Hakomari deals with it in a more subtle yet intricate way. If it couldn't get more similar, you'll come to a point where you'll come across a game about conquest (alluding to kingdoms) and domination/control.

Both pieces would often feature a cunning play of deception, strategy and counter-strategy.
Liar game has a rather naive conception for its premise while Hakomari has a more down-to-earth one. Both have their shares of cliche but you can't help but disregard them because the plot offers way more.

Even if Kamimura Yuuka is a manga and Hakomari is a novel, when I read Kamimura Yuuka it's always reminds me of Hakomari. The role and the relationship within the female lead, the MC, an innocence, even the real culprit are all alike. Kamimura Yuuka = Otonashi Maria Shirasaki Shuushi = Hoshino Kazuki Hiruma Takechiyo = Usui Haruaki Inchou = Kasumi Mogi The MC firstly realize that his day feels like the same, and there he met the female lead. The difference is that Kamimura Yuuka is more hyperactive than Otonashi Maria. But overall, these series give almost the same atmosphere about the origin of the world. And Kamimura Yuuka has much more fanservices rather than Hakomari (Of course, novel doesnt have an illustration).
Similar theme: about a boy and a beautiful yet mysterious girl who fight people who misuse double-edged magical devices; boxes in Hakomari and relics in Tsukumodo. Both have dark atmosphere, plot twists, interesting character developments, etc.

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