Touno Mamare

Tagged: Author

Pen-name of Daisuke Umezu (1973-    ), a Japanese author whose work sits in playful opposition to many tropes of Pulp fiction in the 2010s. Originally posted in serial form online in 2009 as by "Marmalade Sand", his Maōyū (Maō Yūsha – literally, "Demon King and Hero") series begins where most stories end with the confrontation of a human hero and a demon overlord at the culmination of a fifteen-year war. The characters, however, recognize that they have more in common than a simplified account of their conflict might allow, and join forces in to remove the inequalities that led their peoples to fight in the first place. They embark upon a sustained effort in Cultural Engineering, improving irrigation and farming methods, revitalizing local economies and initiating fruitful efforts in social outreach, with the ultimate aim of promoting mutually beneficial trade between the two powers. The story thereby functions as a commentary on Fantasy world-building, along the lines of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (1996) by Diana Wynne Jones or The Flying Sorcerers (1970 If as The Misspelled Magician; 1971) by David Gerrold and Larry Niven, but also on the redemptive potential of Technology along the lines of Walter M Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz (April 1955-February 1957 F&SF; fixup dated 1960 but 1959).

The impetus towards allegory is strong, with many characters simply identified by blunt, place-holder names like Young Merchant and Elder Sister Maid. There are also, perhaps inadvertently, echoes of the rhetoric of Japan's own post-war experience, in which, after fifteen years of conflict, the nation was occupied and radically restructured by the Allies from 1945-1952 (see History in SF). In a sop to the local tradition of Light Novels, the "demon king" turns out to be an attractive red-haired woman who only wears the accoutrements of power in order to be obeyed. She subsequently goes undercover as "the Crimson Scholar", a wandering consultant, while her heroic ally often dresses up as emissaries of evil in order to scare local villages into complying with schemes for their own betterment. The original prose books were not translated into English, although a 2013 Anime and several Manga versions have been, sometimes using the alternate title of Archenemy and Hero.

Originally uploaded in 2010 to the ebook site Shōsetsuka ni Narō, before being retroactively released in print form, Touno's Log Horizon series begins with Isekai no Hajimari (2011; trans Taylor Engel as The Beginning of Another World 2015). A Planetary Romance in which 30,000 real-world gamers are mysteriously transported into the milieu of a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, it fast became a touchstone of self-aware, recursive fantasy for a generation inured to the presence of alternate worlds in its lounges and bedrooms – see also, for example, Kugane Maruyama. The digital form of the originals has accelerated and magnified variorum issues, with the author occasionally updating and refining the electronic versions, thereby rendering the later print forms, and their fixed English translations, arguably less "preferred" texts. The novels were also adapted into anime and manga forms, and achieved a different kind of fame when their author became the much-publicized subject of a massive tax demand in 2015. Forced to pay 30 million yen (roughly US$250,000) in back taxes for the print versions of his books, Touno became something of a cause celebre, not so much for misfiling his tax returns, but for earning such a substantial amount in the first place from a mere author's profession. [JonC]

Daisuke Umezu

born Tokyo, Japan: 25 August 1973

died

works (selected)

Maōyū

Log Horizon

  • Isekai no Hajimari (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2011) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Camelot no Kishi-tachi (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2011) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • The Knights of Camelot (New York: Yen Press, 2015) [trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Game no Owari (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2011) [in two volumes: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • Game's End (New York: Yen Press, 2016) [in two volumes: trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Akiba no Machi no Nichiyōbi (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2011) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • A Sunday in Akiba (New York: Yen Press, 2015) [trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Yoake no Maiyoigo (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2013) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • Lost Child of the Dawn (New York: Yen Press, 2016) [trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Kunie no Ōgon (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2013) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • Gold of the Kunie (New York: Yen Press, 2017) [trans of the above: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Hibari-tachi no Habataki (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2014) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Kanami! Go East! (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2015) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • Kanami! Go East! (New York: Yen Press, 2017) [trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Noosphere no Kaikon (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2014) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
  • Krusty, Tycoon Lord (Tokyo: Enterbrain, 2015) [Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]
    • Krusty, Tycoon Lord (New York: Yen Press, 2019) [trans of the above by Taylor Engel: Log Horizon: pb/Kazuhiro Hara]

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