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: Dengeki Bunko Magazine


Score: 9.151 (scored by 1815 users)
Ranked: #22
Popularity: #327
Members: 9,721
Favorites: 663
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

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.

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