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by Sigusawa Keiichi

published by Dengeki Bunko


In direct contrast to the off-kilter Kino no Tabi, Alison is a straight-up adventure book. "Adventure" in Japanese fiction has a distressing tendency to mean 'ordinary person enjoys cliche ridden plot, readers cry.' This seems to me to be missing the point of adventure fiction. Adventure fiction should be about extraordinary people doing impossible, or at least improbable things, having a very good time doing them, and the plot be hanged.


Alison, for example, is a 17-year old air force pilot with a personality designed to get herself in and out of trouble without her ever really noticing the difference. Her very presence is enough to caught plots to generate around her, and she drags the male lead, Will (pronounced Vill) along with her. Quite a lot of airplane stealing, world saving, bold-faced lying, and occasionally intense shooting follow. (The Alison series is particularly notable for making every single bullet seems as intense as the average action movie shoot out.)


The characters feel real enough that even that standard Japanese archetype, the clearly romantically linked main characters who never quite manage to get around to admitting that, seems fresh and enjoyable. The book does suffer a little bit in the world-building department, with the world being a little too obviously designed to fit the book's half-baked plot, and the later novels start very slowly, but by the time you finish you will no longer care.


There are three Alison novels; the third was split into two volumes for no damn reason at all.

Andrew Cunningham

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