[Light Novel] Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou

May 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Posted in Novels | Leave a comment

In the forest where demons roam, a girl appears.
Her forehead is branded with “332”, and her hands and legs are bound in chains. The girl who calls herself Mimizuku, offers herself to the beautiful King of the Night.
She has only one wish.
“Will you eat me?”
The Mimizuku who seeks death, and the King of the Night who hates humans.
Everything begins on this lovely moon-lit night.
— This is a story that arises from the depths of despair, the story of a naive girl’s breakdown* and rebirth.

I have not yet seen a story that is more simple, yet more beautiful, enchanting and captivating than Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou. It’s not just the straightforward story which has only 7 characters in total, but also the language. One could easily believe that this is a fairytale for children, until one reads the plot.

What does it mean to be happy? Or blissful? What defines good or evil? Right or wrong? How does one show care or communicate?

While most people talk about the book in 2 parts, I prefer to see it as the 3 stages of the girl’s growth. When she first entered the forest, she is indifferent to everything. Pain, emotions, the ability to think – all these don’t apply to her. In her narrations, she frequently refers to herself in the third-party speech, as if she does not deserve to have an identity. The author skillfully builds up a beautiful picture of a tranquil sanctuary instead of a demon-filled forest from the girl’s perspective, and we are easily led to believe that the King of the Night’s paintings are even more beautiful than anything we have seen in real life with a few simple lines.

After her memory is sealed, the girl is akin to a new-born baby learning about the world from scratch. Without the shadows of her past hanging over her, she lives what others around her say is a “blissful” life. Showered with love everyday, making a new friend, and receiving a warm welcome everywhere she goes, can the girl truly be considered “happy” without knowing what “pain” and “sadness” is?

With her memories restored, the girl finally knows “happiness”, “bliss”, “sadness” and “pain”, after having experienced all of them. She learns the meaning of tears, how to smile, and what it is like to love. Most readers complain about how boring the latter part of the book is, but this transformation in writing is a reflection of how she knows now that the world is no longer as simple as she viewed it in the past. The magic of the forest has worn off, and she is now a “human” girl with emotions and the ability to think and act. She can no longer return to the naive life she led.

All in all, Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou is a truly captivating book that is hard to put down. The author has written 2 more books since this debut work, and I hope that she is able to maintain this standard of writing. I doubt the atmosphere of the story would be carried over in an English translation, so unless you know Japanese or Chinese, don’t bother.

*In need of a better word for 崩毀

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