Namidare Rekka has a very unusual birthright. After his 16th birthday, he will be drawn into many different stories. Each story has a heroine, and each story depends on him to be the hero. On his first day of high school, a strange uniformed girl that only he can see shows up. She claims to be from the future and claims that his rescuing of many heroines is going to cause serious trouble for the future.
It's not long after this encounter that his troubles begin. His childhood friend Satsuki invites him somewhere, possibly to confess her feelings for him. However, before she can, she's kidnapped! Rekka wants desperately to help her, but he finds himself being tossed into various sci-fi and fantasy worlds, each with their own heroines in trouble. Will he be able to get back to Satsuki? Will he be able to save all the others? How can he really tell the consequences of his well-meaning actions?
*Note: will refer to the title as Ore Little Apocalypse for short. Also, I haven’t read the manga but I really doubt it rectifies its shortcomings.
*Warning: there may be some small spoilers amongst this review.
Well, it’s been a while since I felt enthused enough to write a review on a book (or anything, really). The last time I did, it was because I felt a series wasn’t getting the attention it deserved; but this time, it’s because people should know just how much this novel ‘does right’ before tearing down all the hard work it put into setting up this shipwreck. Well, shall we
set sail then?
Ore Little Apocalypse is, at first, what seems like a unique take on the harem genre. The synopsis goes that our protagonist, Rekka Namidare, is on the eve of his 16th birthday when he hears (from his papa) that he is part of a special bloodline wherein he’ll get caught up in other ladies’ “plot lines” as a ‘last resort of the universe’, so to say, to possibly end their dilemmas positively. The stories he gets caught up in range from trivial to outright epic (the stories, not the writing - not to be confused). There’s a catch though: an AI has travelled from the future to monitor and inform our protagonist that, “you’ll bewitch so many heroines without decisively choosing anyone that you’ll create the apocalypse”, and thus she has been sent back in time to “aid” him in settling down with ‘someone’ - anyone, really.
Right from the moment our protagonist hits 16 years old - as warned by his father - Rekka experiences many inconveniences as he gets thrown around the cosmos aiding various damsels—and thus where the story begins to unravel its own setup.
Ore Little Apocalypse starts off its first volume rather strong. For one, it’s conceivable how the maidens he encounters would find him interesting or endearing. He’s not portrayed as overly thick, overly courageous, or even remotely strong, but he endures and finds a means of helping every person he comes across whether he wants to or not - and that’s one of the strengths of this story early on. That is, he doesn’t have a choice in whether he helps or not but inevitably finds himself connected to the ladies he meets, thus setting up a plausible motive for him to go out of his way to help. The story for the first volume has a rather comedic and “indubitable” way of resolving plots which leave the reader satisfied. This ONLY perseveres as the common plot device for the first volume, as it isn’t long before we find ourselves with a protagonist that’s headstrong about arbitrarily helping every single person he comes across. This is the beginning of the unravelling of our series setup.
Rekka enjoys the company of well-designed characters in the first volume, but by the second volume that is no longer the case and the weaknesses of the plot’s formation start to ooze out as we tug our hair from their dais. The story’s structure - as you would have gathered by now - had a neat formula to it to keep itself in check: AI puts pressure on Rekka to resolve the common complication with harems - that the females involved seem complacent with their position of ‘futile and unchanging scenery’ to Mr Alpha-X. Rekka is immature, young, and inexperienced, so it makes sense that he’s hopeless and reluctant to “pick a lifetime partner”; but, as his deeds accrue, more and more females begin to fight for that position on their own during his idleness and indecision. His ‘special trait’ forces him to get involved with more and more women, and thus builds towards tension and anticipation in the audience. That’s the basic system to adding weight on the overused and unresolving genre of the Harem.
It’s a great premise and I really wanted to see how this slight deconstruction of the Harem genre would go—except, by volume 2, it was evident that nothing had changed...
What was initially a good starting set of characters suddenly expanded with a bunch of characters that had no weight (mostly) yet had seemingly found our “hero” to be as much the shining beacon during their meagre interactions and distresses. It followed the same template as the first volume, but this time the fancy for the protagonist made very little sense, both to the reader and in consideration of the characters themselves - thus beginning the convolution of the core system in place.
The next step to ruining this system was a shift in the storytelling methods. Where, before, most devices fell into place and were buffed around the edges with comedy to allow for a smooth and steady stream in our Rekka finding his way to both solving the puzzles in each story whilst winning a place in our heroines’ hearts, we are now confronted with a flawed, naive, and ‘masculine’ protagonist that arbitrarily takes upon himself to “fix” everything whilst heavy-handedly imposing himself on our female ‘extras’ (may as well be with their terrible depth - we knew the antagonist better in this volume than them). His huge flaws meant nothing but to gush over, as evident to the audience; his predicament of avoiding conflict between his babes seemingly irrelevant by this stage as they all assist him ‘woo’ yet another gal right in front of them; and his puzzle-solving being reassigned to one of his, what we may as call, minions...
You can imagine, as a reader, that you’d downright feel as though you were being made fun of. This isn’t to mention the numerous other inconsistencies I was pulling my hair forth due-to. By about 3/4ths through the 2nd volume, I had to stop reading. So, let’s sum things up:
-The premise and general storyline is rather good for what it is (both in the sense of when it’s doing its deconstruction thing and when it’s plainly doing the harem thing). The overall plot is fun and creative, and it evidently has a lot of potential. Perhaps the author finds their marbles in later volumes? Well, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to offer a full review to that cause.
-All that matters for LNs/etc (novels, essentially) is that the art is frequent enough to cover for significant characters, scenes, and imagery whenever it may be hard for the reader to imagine such themselves. Ore Little Apocalypse does so at most the core junctions and character introductions, so I can’t complain. It’s a little sketchy at times, and the MC is a little uninspired, but there isn’t much else to complain about here.
-Absolutely the worst part of this novel/series. The MC does backflips in logic halfway through what I’ve read, and his intelligence is extremely inconsistent. This is frustrating as it betrays our expectations quite frequently. The first set of side characters are amazing examples of good characters, but it’s almost like the author gave up trying after that. Perhaps it gets better? Ha, let me know (though if that opportunity arises, the most I’ll offer after this elaborate warning is solace in the time we’ve both wasted).
-I wasn’t joking when I said I was tugging on my hair... The first volume was pretty fun though. Just a shame the MC is a wet-noodle through-and-through.
Overall? Don’t do it to yourself unless this is one of your first harems and you’ve got the patience to learn through this elaborate ‘How Not To’ guide of a novel.
There’s many areas of ‘plague’ that I just couldn’t cover in this review without spoiling the other first 2 volumes, so as much as I’d have loved to have delved into the inconsistencies in the story writing (and they’re not hard to spot, either), I’ll be sparing any readers here from what would become a choir of tongue-clicks of frustration.
Ore Little Apocalypse is a step in the right direction for anyone who’s a fan of harems (though, if like me, a little bored with the lack of creativity and closure or debriefing apparent in the genre currently), but it seems we’ve still got a bit of a wait before someone gets the revamp of the genre just right. ... Till then, I really suggest you read something else.
Thanks for stopping by~ Ore Little Apocalypse, Overall 4/10