Entry updated 29 September 2020. Tagged: Author.
(? - ) Writing name of a Japanese author of Light Novels, whose most prominent works have bloated into serial fixups across other media, particularly Manga and Anime, with underlying themes arguably ill-suited to their low-brow venues. His first work, Kanojo wa Megane-HOLIC ["She's a Spectacle-HOLIC"] (2008-2009), exploits the elision in Japanese everyday usage between the female pronoun ["kanojo"] and its common substitution for "girlfriend", thereby implying that one of the female characters who gain Superpowers through the use of high-tech spectacles is a love interest for the male protagonist. Common to Japanese Young Adult fiction, such a "harem" set-up tends to over-write much of the drama, regardless of what other elements may be manifest in the premise.
Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica ["Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero"] (2010-2013) offered an intriguingly post-modern idea, concentrating not on its protagonist's adventures in a Parallel World, but on his rehabilitation. In an allegory of the thousand-yard stare of many a computer gamer back at the Monday-morning school desk, the teenage protagonist Akatsuki Ōsawa is attempting to re-integrate into Japanese high-school life, having returned from a prolonged quest in the Alternate World of Alayzard. He, and veterans like him, are affecting the mundane world not only with their magical acquisitions and experiences, but also with their companions, since Akatsuki has brought back a live-in girlfriend, Miu, the daughter of the defeated Dark Lord. Uesu's storyline flirts with the patriarchal implications of such a set-up, particularly Miu's grudging acceptance that the new man in her life was duty-bound to murder her own father, and with the likely consequences, possibly inspired by the same year's Tron: Legacy (2010), of the transference of a gamified love object to the real world (see Women in SF). However, as one might expect, the narrative is soon bogged down deeply and irredeemably in Fan Service as the busty Miu bumbles through modern Japanese city life as a sorcerous ingenue.
Uesu reformatted many of the same set-ups for a new publisher in Shinmai Maō no Testament ["Testament of Sister New Devil"] (2012-2018), in which contemporary teenagers conceal their origins as the scions of ancient clans battling in a fantasy realm. Again, Uesu sets up an intriguing allegory, this time of the disruption between life in the Japanese city and a countryside still embedded in traditions and, in this case, fantasy tropes. However, he discards much of this potential in favor of a bawdy comedy in which everyman Basara Tōjō acquires two buxom stepsisters, one of whom is the heiress to the powers of the Demon Lord, while the other is her succubus bodyguard. Undoubtedly, Uesu's output is ideally suited to the Pulp demands of the Light Novel format; the question remains whether he, like Kazuma Shinjō and sundry other authors in the field whose work suggests deeper interests and concerns, does not yearn to escape elsewhere. [JonC]
born Hokkaidō, Japan
- Kanojo wa Megane-HOLIC ["She's a Spectacle-HOLIC"] (Tokyo: Hobby Japan, 2008-2009) [in 3 vols: pb/Shunsaku Tomose]
- Give up! (Tokyo: Hobby Japan, 2009) [in 3 vols: pb/Takanobu Aida]
- Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica ["Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero"] (Tokyo: Hobby Japan, 2010-2013) [in 11 vols: pb/Tamago no Kimi]
- Shinmai Maō no Testament ["Testament of Sister New Devil"] (Tokyo: Kadokawa, 2012-2018) [in 12 vols: pb/Nekosuke Ōkuma]
- Yarisugita Majin Senmetsu-sha no Shichi-dai Tsumiyugi ["Seven Sinful Games of the Overworked Devastators"] (Tokyo: GoHands, 2018) [in 2 vols, ongoing: pb/]
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