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<League of Legends of Battle System>

Hey guys! It’s Shanks here and I found a doozy of a novel for us to look at together. Honestly, it was pretty hard deciding what kind of novel to go with for our first Rise Crew Reviews. I jumped between terrible romance novels to bad cultivation novels to plain smut. Then I was thinking, maybe I can learn something from the wise sages of the past? So, I went and searched for old esports novels until I landed on this one! Today, we’re going to check out one of  the predecessors to Rise–⁠League of Legends of Battle System.

The genre is esports. A relatively new genre? But really, it’s in the same category as regular sports stories. We’ll probably see elements like the protagonist wanting to be the very best, forming bonds and building friendships, and a big tournament arc the story is building up to. The formula is pretty overused by this point. But what matters is the execution, right?

So without further adieu, let’s get into the synopsis: 

“A no name passers-by, time and again the ultimate operation, a perfect mvp. He is the league’s number one master! Long-term dominate the national dress, Hanbok first! He hoisted all the king, abused professional players, eventually led the team to win the world championship, become the first ray of League of Legends! All this because of the emergence of a magical system!”

Dev: Okay. First things first. What does Hanbok mean, Shanks?

Shanks: No idea.

Dev: What does it mean in Chinese?

Shanks: It sounds more Korean than it does Chinese.

Dev: This is a CN webnovel, right? That means this is translated from Chinese, not Korean.

Sietse: The first sentence is clearly a diversion. The real information comes from the third one. There we learn that our main character sees himself as Hanbok the first. My guess is that he’s going to build a dynasty of people wearing national dresses. He will be hoisted up as king and abuse every professional player standing in his way, which is easier because he doesn’t need to pull his pants down; he just has to lift his dress up.

Shanks: I went and actually searched for the raws. Hanbok the first is a mistranslation for the Korean server, but this works too. I actually like it better this way. Matches the underlying theme of all the popular esports novels these days.

Dev: That’s what we’re missing in Rise. We need a real Yaoi element. Lin Feng is a nice shounen protagonist, but we need a spicy yaoi chapter between Nightsong and Daybreak Hermes. Or Ouyang and Liu Yue. That’s how we’ll get all the fujoshis to come read Rise!

Shanks: I could totally see a BL ship going between Ouyang and Liu Yue. The admiring kouhai and the uncool senpai trying hard not to show how uncool he is!

Sietse: We already have Shanks x Devs. Why would we need Ouyang and Liu Yue, or Nightsong and Hermes? Let’s just focus on the love that’s right in front of us here. On that note. Lin Feng dating League. Hear me out. League of Legends is the magical system. It’s come to life and blesses those it deserves worthy with its special touch. Guess it has to be male for a yaoi scene, sooooo LoL is male.

Dev: Why are you such a weeb, Shanks? God damn. Every time I try to pull the anime out of the novel, you ram it right back in. Like putting a chicken up a turkey’s ass for Thanksgiving. No one wants to eat a dead bird violated by another dead bird!

Shanks: We’re derailing here! Synopsis! Focus! What were we on again?

Dev: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So what I’ve gotten from this synopsis is that Hanbock over here was basically a nobody who played League of Legends all day. And then something happens that gives him a magical ability. I’m guessing he’s either transported into the game as a Champion or he’s got some way to see into the future or something like that. And this allows him to become the number one best player in the world, because he’s a filthy cheater.

Sietse: Plot armour isn’t cheating. Crowning yourself Champion is. And that’s clearly what’s happening here. Why else would he have to crown himself King first? And then he makes his servants call him the First Ray. Heck, going by webnovel logic, he bought the magical system in some dingy shop in a backway alley. Actually, it probably happened in a scene where someone else pointed out just how useless the item is—

Dev: Stfu Sietse! We’re supposed to be reviewing the novel here. Not writing another one of your shitty stories. Also, you guys remember when the idea for this was that we platform interesting novels or stuff from translation history? Now we’re just talking shit about Hanbock and this novel.

Sietse: Idiots can’t even get the name right. It’s Hanbok the First. Not Hanbock.

Shanks: In short, Hanbock the First Ray gets a magical system and becomes the best League of Legends player in the World. At least, that’s what we’ve gathered from this poorly translated synopsis. Let’s see if our guesses are right by reading the first chapter!


Chapter 1 – One Thousand Purchase System:

Shanks: Should we do a read along?

Sietse: I’ll read—

Dev: In 2016, Jiangcheng in March was lukewarm, an occasional breeze brushed by—WAIT! I corrected that. Let me try again:

“In 2016, Jiangcheng in March was lukewarm, occasional breeze brushed, but also make people feel a touch of comfort.”

Dev: I think this is a Haiku!
~Devshard proceeds to clap his hands while reading the first line to count syllables~
Dev: Look! 5-7-5!

Shanks: IT IS A HAIKU!

Dev: So what is Jiangcheng anyway?

Shanks: It’s a city in China. I think it gets mentioned in the next line. See:

“Jiangcheng is the provincial capital of Jiangsu Province, located in the eastern part of China, is a very prosperous city.”

Dev: Well. That’s helpful. I like that they take the time to set the stage for us in this whole thing. We know the year. 2016. We also know where we are, which is Jiangcheng. And we now know where Jiangcheng is in China. I can picture it clearly.

Shanks: I have never heard of Jiangcheng in my life.

Dev: I’m more Chinese than Shanks now, clearly.

Sietse: It’s a very prosperous city, Shanks. Shame on you. I’m sure your parents are greatly disappointed in you right now! Didn’t you get basic geography in elementary school? Also, water is lukewarm. Maybe this is an under the sea city. I never got underwater geography, maybe Shanks didn’t either… This might not be entirely on Shanks after all.

Dev: Right. Before Sietse continues writing another original story that we’re not supposed to be doing here, let’s get to the next line of this riveting story.
Shanks: I, uhh, got curious and Googled Jiangcheng. It’s not a city. It’s a district in a small city in the province of Guangdong. Prosperous my ass. It’s a fucking tier 3 Chinese city. That’s where all the old people go to die.

Dev: NEXT LINE IN THE STORY! THIS ISN’T A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EPISODE ON THE PROVINCES OF CHINA! NEXT LINE:

“In the east of Jiangcheng, a private room built in the early nineties, a young man, aged about 18, is lying in bed staring blankly at the not-so-damp ceiling.”

Dev: I really like how well this sets the stage. We start out in China. Then it narrows down to Jiangcheng. Then we focus in on the east of Jiangcheng to a private room built in the early 90s. You just don’t see that kind of descriptive setting in webnovels any more. I literally don’t know the last time we talked about a building and described when it was constructed. But moving on from that…

It concerns me that we’ve got a youth who is “approximately” 18 and he’s lying in bed staring at a not-so-damp ceiling. Why is the ceiling wet? Is this a case of powe—

Shanks: Power jizzing. That’s why the ceiling is wet. Why else would you be staring at the ceiling blankly? It’s that post-nut clarity.

Dev: Fun fact. Many cultures and forms of meditation utilize the post-coital state of clarity to enter into meditative trances. The entire discipline of tantric practices is based on that fundamental principle. Because you exert a lot of energy and all that, when you finish your body is in a state of total relaxation. And your mind is also calm. So you nut and then meditate to keep meditating longer. It’s a whole thing.

Sietse: It’s not so damp. No one said it’s wet. Why is it wet in your mind, Shanks? Also, that’s some pretty big distance against gravity he’s making there. What colour is your ceiling, Shanks?

Dev: We looked this up, Sietse! Turns out that the world record for long distance ejaculation is 18 feet. Shanks and I tried Googling to see how he trained himself to get it that far, but we’ve been unsuccessful in finding any information. My personal theory is based on the fact that the prostate has a muscular and membranous portion. I think our… champion over here used a series of smaller and smaller rubber bands to force his prostate to contract against greater pressure during ejaculation to get it super swol. And then he took the rubber bands off and unleashed his seminal kamehameha.

Sietse: Let’s just assume the ceiling is dry… And painted white, with normal paint. Why does it always have to get so dirty? Let the young man ponder on his age. Maybe his parents abandoned him and he really just doesn’t know.

Shanks: Alright, moving on—

Dev: You’re just going to jack the job of reading the chapter from me, Shanks? Without even asking? What an asshole.

Shanks: Alright alright, can I read the next line, Devs? I already did it once. Thought you were cool with it.

Dev: Now that you asked politely, sure. You can take the next line, Shanks.

Shanks: Okay! Moving on for real now. Here’s the next line, where we find out more about our protagonist:

“Zhang Huan, a young man, is a freshman at Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology. As a result of his early studies, he is now 18-18 months old.”

Sietse: I guess the one question we’re all wondering here is what 18-18 months means, and how his studies got him to this age. And what in the world this age is. My theory is that his science study led to him creating a wormhole project that transported him into an alternate reality with at least 19 months in a year. In an attempt to keep up with how old he is in Earth years, he started adding the number of months to his age. That makes him in his late twenties in Earth years. He’s an old man.

Shanks: I see no years in that line. He’s clearly “18 – 18 months” old. That’s simple math guys. He’s 0 months old!

Sietse: A little baby. We get to be there when he utters his first words! I wonder what they’ll be. Mom? Pops?

Dev: I’m starting to understand why basic undergrad classes that deal with math are so difficult for you, Shanks. He’s clearly 18 years and 18 months old. Or 19 years and 6 months old, for those of us that follow the normal 12 month calendar. ORRRRRRRRR… Wait. I think Shanks might’ve been onto something here. Maybe this is a math riddle, but he got the math incorrect. He’s [18 year  – 18 months] old. Or [18 years – 1.5 years], which leads us to him being 16 years and 6 months old! That’s where the early studies part comes in! He’s a Dougie Howser type character!

Shanks: Is that why there was an “approximately” earlier? Anyway, we’ve also completely glossed over the fact that we’ve been introduced to our protagonist and who he is. He’s Zhang Huan, a young man and freshman at Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology!

Dev: Very vital information, I guess. I’m wondering what happened to Hanbok?

Sietse: He isn’t Hanbok the First, yet. This novel would be kind of short if he already was the man/trap/king/First Ray he’s going to become. We’re here to watch his journey, not look at the finished product.

Dev: Sure! I guess that makes sense. Even though we’ve had a geography lesson and a math lesson in the first three lines of this novel and very little about League of Legends. Let’s go to the next line, Shanks!

Sietse: He’s just making sure you’re worthy of his story.

Shanks: Sure!

“Watch System …”

Dev: What?

Sietse: Here comes his super power! He can look under hot girls’ dresses!

Dev: What?

Shanks: …Yeah. I don’t know. Onwards! Maybe our answer lies in the next line! Go for it Sietse! You should read next!

Sietse: If I really have to. I mean… Uch. Fine. Here I goooooo.

“Zhang Huanping not learn at the moment, but love to play the game, that game is the most popular league of heroes.”

Sietse: Not learn at the moment sounds like he’s skipping his classes. And then the next part has me thinking he’s spending all his time playing video games. More specifically, League of Heroes. Whatever that is.

Dev: I think it’s saying that Zhang Huanping… wait. Who is Zhang Huanping? I thought our protagonist was Zhang Huan who is eventually going to become Hanbok? Anyways. So this Zhang Huanping guy, he doesn’t know it yet but he’ll eventually come to love playing the game League of Heroes. Which is the most popular game at the moment. I think. I could be wrong here though. Maybe Sietse is right and it means that he isn’t studying, and instead spending all his time playing League of Heroes.

 Shanks: Maybe that’s Zhuang Huan’s full name? I’m not sure. Let’s find out in the next line!

“Not long ago, Zhang Huan Gang played a League of Legends from an Internet cafe. In his middle of the mind, there appeared a weird ‘viewing system’ that enabled him to easily see through the fog of war in the game and observe the movements of players in the game and all eyes.

In addition, he can see the next five seconds with the ‘war system’, refresh again after five seconds, and then continue watching. If within five seconds of change, it will immediately refresh, rather than wait until five seconds to refresh.

And when the observation system possessed later, Zhang Huan clearly feel a lot easier with his brain, thinking ability rose a.”

Sietse: Random perspective shift. Now we’re following Zhang Huan Gang. And he’s playing League of Legends. So we’ve got three characters now. One lays in his bed and stares at his not so damp ceiling, the second loves to play the most popular League of Heroes, and this third one plays League of Legends. Is this a novel with three main characters, or do we get a rare insight in the head of a schizophreniac.

Dev: I’ve figured it out! Zhang Huan Gang refers to Zhang Huan and his Friends! His “gang”. His crew. His buddies. You know? Wait… the next sentence goes into what happened in his mind. So maybe Zhang Huan Gang is another character? I’m genuinely confused right now. But I don’t care. We know there’s a Chinese youth who jizzes onto his ceiling and likes playing League of Heroes/League of Legends. And now he’s got some kind of ESP that lets him see beyond the Fog of War in the game…

Oh. And he can see five seconds into the future. I have no idea what all the refreshing is about. My head hurts now. Devshard out.

Sietse: What if the guy on the bed is having a mad shroom episode and dreaming all of this? And he’s just seeing double, so he’s giving each version different names to tell them apart. That’s also why he thinks he can see in the future.

Shanks: I’m legitimately surprised you guys could parse all of that. What the hell does the whole refreshing five seconds mean? I have no idea. Also, he’s feeling easier with his brain? Was he uncomfortable with his own brain before? Maybe Sietse is right and he’s completely shrooming out

Dev: Shrooming out? Damn,  Shanks. That’s some hardcore druggie talk from you. Anyone actually ask you to do drugs with them before? Or offer you shrooms? Cause I’ve known you a long time now, buddy, and I definitely would not share my drugs with you if I decided to partake in such recreational activities.

Shanks: Yes, actually. When we were having pizza right before Godzilla. I refused, of course. I’m a good boy. But what does that have to do with the chapter?

Dev: … sure. I’m sure someone got shrooms and wanted you to get high before watching Godzilla. Totally believe that. Seems completely plausible. But anyways, Sietse and I can parse all of this together to come up with what it means because we have to do this with your translations every single day. REKT!

Sietse: Kinda wanna see Shanks getting high on shrooms to be honest. I tried to get him to try some drugs last year, but he kept refusing. Such a buzzkill.

Dev: Wait! You and Shanks walked around Amsterdam looking for a drug dealer? Really? That honestly sounds hilarious. I would pay money to watch a YouTube show of that. Just you guys walking around shady corners, freaking drug dealers out and confusing the shit out of vice cops.

Sietse: That’s the most retarded shit I’ve ever seen from Devs. No, dude. We’d go to a coffee shop, which you can find on nearly every corner of the big cities, and buy some drugs.

Shanks: You can’t blame Devs, Sietse. He’s American. His only experience with how people deal with drugs recreationally is watching people getting arrested on Cops. And Reno 911.

Sietse: Fun story, I had to process two guys who had 3 kilograms of weed plants stacked in their car. That’s just a bit more than legally allowed. But they were clueless about that and didn’t even think the cops would notice 3 fucking kilos of the stuff. This wasn’t packaged. These were full plants.

Dev: Devshard is a doctor. Who frequently deals with people who are overdosing in the ER, or thrown at the ER by the cops because they were high on the streets. Devshard also has to play the fun game of “Intoxicated or schizophrenic or in acute psychosis?” every single time these people come in. In summation, Devshard’s experience with drugs, drug dealers, and recreational drug use is far more extensive than a few TV shows. Oh! Fun fact! I threw 58 stitches on a drug dealer who got stabbed multiple times during a robbery or drug deal gone wrong or something like that. Nice guy. Super chatty while I was suturing him up. Unfortunately, I listened to none of it because I was concentrating.

Shanks: Fun story! A whole bunch of em. But I think we’ve forgotten why we’re here. It’s to review this novel, guys! So let’s move on. But I think if we keep going line by line, it’ll take forever for the readers to get through the first chapter. How about we fast forward and only comment on some of the funnier excerpts we find? We’ve got the basic setting down already, anyway.

Here, found one! A few paragraphs down! He’s back at it again!

“After the end of his teammates have sent to add a friend’s request, but Zhang Hwan did not have time to take care of them, go straight off the machine, hurriedly returned to rent a rental house not far from the school.”

Sietse: Our buddy Zhang Hwan… is having an identity crisis. He keeps coming up with new names. But this version of him, after winning a League game, has to get off the machine to rent a rental house. I’m just, so confused as to why he needs to hurry. Somehow, this seems to imply that this game got him the money he needs to rent a house. Why else the hurry? He’s late to rent, but finally got the money! So now he’s on a mad sprint to get a good place. In fact. What if the guy looking up at the not so damp ceiling is this Zhang Hwan after he bought a house? And that with this new house, he also got his first name change! From here on out, his name will just keep on evolving, until we get to the ultimate version: Hanbok the First!

Shanks: Interesting theory. But I can’t help but feel like we’re writing fanfiction here, at least that’s what trying to parse this story is making us do. I was with you up until the buying house part. But I think you missed the most important part. The not so damp ceiling! In his excitement from renting a new house, he jizzed ont he ceiling!

Sietse: We finally have an explanation for the jizz on the not so damp ceiling! EUREKA!

Shanks: Alright, alright, let’s read the next excerpt.

“Really blessing dependencies ah, just got the watch war system, Ah directly dropped a thousand, it is difficult to become the money is used to buy the system fails?” Zhang Huan sat bitter in the bed to think.”

Sietse: He bought the system! I called it! He bought the fucking system! He went to some dingy shop in a backway alley and bought himself this watch war system! Devs saying I was making this shit up… HA! After working on Mad Snail with Shanks, I’ve learned to channel my inner webnovel. I’m really good at guessing what’s going to happen next. Shanks and I would play this game in Rebirth Thief. I’d come up with some weird story and then a couple of chapters later and Shanks would say that’s too crazy. Then a couple of chapters later, we found out I was right all along. That was when I peaked.

Shanks: I was so confused by that line that I had to actually look at the Chinese. He didn’t buy the system. Zhang Huan is saying that this situation is a mixed blessing. He got his cheat system, but he also lost a thousand bucks. So it’s like paying $1,000 to buy the system.

Sietse: I don’t see how what Shanks says changes anything. He’s one grand down and now has the system that will magically fix everything. Kind of like Dwight buying the magic beans from Jim.

Shanks: I would chuckle at your reference. But I’ve never watched The Office before. But before I get flamed for not watching The Office. Next excerpt!

“Zhang Huan is typically less than despised father and mother, do not admit defeat, put it nice to say there is a character, ugly is a silly hang.”

Dev: I got this! Alright. So Zhang Huan isn’t like his Mother and Father. He despises them mildly. He doesn’t admit defeat like they do and perseveres in the face of obstacles! To put it nicely, he’s got way more character than they do. And because he’s got such great character, he doesn’t hang with ugly bitches. He thinks that’s silly. BOOM!

Shanks: Alright, so do you want to know what it actually says? I know you’re proud of your MTL-fu, but I think you may be stretching things here. Just a liiiiitle.

Dev: That’s what it actually says! Look, this is basically a word scramble. I unscrambled the words like a World War 2 era codebreaker to find the hidden meaning! The pearl clutched deep inside the oyster’s mouth!

Shanks: Okay, so what it actually says:

“Zhang Huan wasn’t depersate enough to call his parents for help yet. He wasn’t going to give up. To put it nicely, you could say he had character. To put it bluntly, he was a dumbass with no idea what to do.”

Sietse: Well, there we have it. A great Shanks original translation! And good for Zhang Huan! He doesn’t go to his parents to beg for money! He just plays Leagues and does shrooms all day, then complains how he never has any money and how unfair life is. Which, in his words, is having character. Shanks is onto something here, Zhang Huan is a dumbass.

Shanks: I’m really liking this segment where we have Devshard parse bad MTL in deep philosophical musings. But I think we should start wrapping things up. So, last one!   

“Because smart people know that rainy day, there must be a car to the mountain that is self-deception.”

Sietse: Smart people know. Rainy day. Car mountain self-deception. If you aren’t smart enough to understand that, then uhhh… You’re one of us. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the fuck this is all about. But it sure sounds deep. Then again, a lot of things sound deep when you’re high on shrooms. This main character is a mental nutcase I worry.

Dev: I fancy myself a bit of a philosopher, so I can say that this is a truly profound sentence. There is deep wisdom here. Possibly Buddhist in origin. You guys need to understand that there is profundity in the simple. Whenever we have a rainy day, or some kind of terrible circumstance or obstacle, there is always a mental vehicle waiting for us. A car, if you will. Or a train of thought that quickly takes us to and lets us get lost in an illusion. Some way that we deceive ourselves about how we can turn this bad situation into a good one. Or how we can find our way out of this… tribulation. That is the mountain that is self-deception. A personal and mental Erebor, if you will. And the higher you go up this mountain, the most distant you get from reality. Until you’re standing at the very top, and the only way to get back to the real world is to jump off and plummet down to the Earth. But no one has enough stones to jump from that high up.

Real talk, that one line redeemed this entire chapter for me. There’s enough thought in that one sentence that I could meditate on this for months.

Shanks: The actual translations–⁠

“Smart people plan ahead. Only idiots believe in, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there .””


Concluding Thoughts:

Shanks: So in summary, we’re introduced to the protagonist of the story, Zhang Huang/Zhang Huangpin/Zhang Huang Gang/Zhan Hwan, who is a 18-18-month freshman student in the Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology. He’s a League of Legends addict, who gained a special ability when playing a League game one day. It allows him to see through the fog of war and see 5 seconds into the future in a game. He’s poor and can’t afford rent. Oh, and one thing that we didn’t get to is that his only friend in school is another student called Lin Feng.

I’m kind of sad that we didn’t get to it. But there’s not much we could’ve worked with besides, “Oh, look! His best friend has the same name as the protagonist in Rise! Maybe they’re the same person!”

Sietse: My concluding thoughts won’t be about the novel, but of the guy translating it because I think Shanks has touched on the story enough in his summary. The guy who translated this was someone learning English and doing it in an interactive way. As much fun as we have poked at his translation, I do think this is a great and fun way to learn a new language. I kind of wished he’d kept going, so that we could watch him improve. According to Shanks, this guy wasn’t using MTL to translate either. He was really trying and for that I give him big kudos. Dude, keep on rocking! At the end of the day, that’s what most of us in this webnovel translation scene are doing. For me personally, it’s really cool to look back at the first ever chapter I did together with Shanks and then fast forward to now. There’s such a big difference between where we came from and where we are, and that’s really cool and rewarding to see (even though Devs likes to say we haven’t improved at all; but who cares about that, right?).

Shanks: I’m curious if I would have picked this novel over Rise. Probably not. The whole cheat system that lets you see five seconds in the future and the fog of war rubs me the wrong way. I know it’s fiction and meant to be a power fantasy. But the protagonist is just cheating his way to victory.  There’s no difference between him and a scriptor/hacker basically, except that he can’t get caught. I’m interested in reading a few more chapters to see where the author takes this concept, though

Sietse: To add on what Shanks is saying about the dude cheating. It’s going to become pretty damn apparent he’s cheating somehow. The game devs might not be able to prove how he’s doing it, but they’ll know he’s doing it. Everyone will know he’s doing it. So I don’t doubt for a second he’ll be banned from the game. Boom! Game over! Fin!

Dev: Alright. I take issues with this sort of plot from a foundational perspective. Because there’s no actual conflict in it or growth. I’m not entirely surprised that the translator for this novel dipped out after five chapters, setting translation quality aside. The plot and premise for this novel is flawed. No one wants to read the story of how a guy who has a cheat/hack/magical gift manages to use that gift to get to the top of a competitive game. There are limits to how far that can go. What happens next to build tension? He’s in the middle of an important game and the cheat system stops working? The game developers catch onto the fact that something is abnormal about his performance so they ban his account and he has to start over from the beginning? Or maybe he finds someone with the same exact magical cheat as him, so there’s an entire game that happens with two players playing five seconds into the future the whole time?

The problem with this cheat is that it creates a very boring introductory phase while he’s climbing to the point where he’s facing players who are so good at League that they can beat him even with his cheat. He’ll be playing games that he actually cannot lose at for hundreds of chapters, which will bore readers. At that point, the author’s going to end up in a corner where he’s gotta do something to keep interest and build readership. So he’s going to upgrade the cheat from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. And then he’s going to have to keep falling back on that crutch. Eventually, he’s going to end up at a point where the upgraded cheat now sees an entire game into the future. And that’s when he’s only at the Challenger level. He’s going to finally end up at the World Championships against a Faker-type character and see three games into the future when he’s playing the first game.

No tension, no real conflict, and the cheat item gets to a point where suspension of disbelief is completely broken. That’s the problem with this entire story. It just isn’t well thought out enough to be executed properly. Which leads back into my point about this translator giving up. Even if his English was flawless and he could actually translate, this story would not have gotten any traction. Or retain a readership for the long term.

There are just too many flaws with this story to make it viable. You could make the argument that it might’ve had a chance back in 2017 when there weren’t so many novels around. But even in a market with high demand and low supply, this one just does not meet the bare minimum standard to survive.