One day on modern earth, a large-scale train accident buries many people in a tunnel, including a young university student.
On the brink of death he forms a wish.
But the ones who heard his wish aren’t benevolent gods.
His wish granted, but in a twisted form, he is thrown into a vastly different world.
A hostile world that shows no mercy to the weak and unprepared.
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An interesting concept and world, that sadly feels wasted.
The tone jumps between super cheery, (cute girls being a phrase repeated ad nauseum), and grimly realistic, talking about brothels, human experiments, and s*xual slavery. Not to mention the constant s*xual innuendo and nudity involving teen and pre-teen girls... I know this is common in loli but eww.
Throughout the story Yuki lacks agency, which makes her boring to read. This partially stems from her being constantly treated as a child. She doesn't object to being treated as a child, so you think that the reader should see her as such... except that she is constantly exposed to the very adult situations described above, and isn't reacting as a child would.
The author sets up this interesting concept- adult-male in the body of a child-girl - that looked like it could be an interesting area to explore. You could have an interesting identity crisis... but it never really challenges the protagonist. The decision to take her old memories away seems like a lost opportunity.
In a similar vein, her nature as a monster is an obvious source of conflict - a secret given only to the most trusted friends else she is attacked for her nature - except that everyone finds out quickly and so far nobody has so much as shrugged.
The way these issues aren't a problem simultaneously breaks the immersion (in how unreasonably easy it is) *and* makes the story less interesting. It's a baffling choice.
Taboo Journal has, by a wide margin, been my favorite series on this page for more than a year at this point. A series I would go out of my way to read the second a new chapter is released. Which is why it is presently the story I am the most disappointed in of as well. There is a TL;DR/conclusion in the final paragraph, because this will be long.
The main character of the story is Yumi, who finds herself in another world with the body of a little girl, but while she looks like a human, she is now more of a tentacle monster in human form. (Note, while the story is marked as gender bender as the MC was male prior to the transfer, this is practically irrelevant to the story at large. The MCs personality is entirely feminine, and she loses most of her original memories in the transition. Only occasional references to this backstory are made at this point.) Upon arrival, she has nothing to her name, and can't get into the city nearby her point of arrival. Consequently, she finds herself in the slums outside the walls. As events progress from this opening act, she ends up joining a band of mercenaries as a magician. In the process, she ends up practically adopting a group of girls associated with these mercenaries as her family. The plot largely revolves around these two points, living and working as a traveling mercenary, and fluffy slice of life family with cute girls (with the occasional adult part), plus a thread of self-discovery about the non-human being she has been reborn as. I'm told the latter is a main topic by some commenters, but it appears so sparsely in the story, calling it a tertiary topic is somewhat excessive. She learns early on what she is, with further details spoon-fed to her intermittently by other characters over the story as convenient; it's more her abilities and body from being this new race that she explores.
The story is written in first person, so the reader gets an insight into the thought process of the main character. In this initial period of the opening arc, the MC is portrayed as quite clever, comparatively level-headed under stressful situations and quick to adapt to situations she has not dealt with before. She is also able to rationally consider her situation, and what she should do in the future. When the situation calls for it, she can be decisive and carry out relatively extreme acts like murder, even if she dislikes the prospect, particularly to protect and help those she has come to care for. She does have an airheaded streak to her, but it is not portrayed as a large character flaw, but rather some general carelessness and not being used to her new situation. She tends to trust people too quickly, and smaller matters like that.
This initial portrayal results in an interesting character whose interactions with the world and people around her are quite compelling and makes you want to keep reading. Do not get used to this initial portrayal however, as the MC quickly suffers the most extreme example of character decay I have seen for any character in any story, much less for a main character. The rest of the cast ends up similarly; what starts out as characters with realistic behavior who act, react, and reason in response to the events of the story around them, gradually act in increasingly immersion-breaking manners. More on this later.
The pacing of the story is very slow, akin to a slice of life story, despite the lack of the tag. Several chapters of 4000-5000 words may be dedicated to a single average day. This pacing serves the slice of life fluff, as well as the world building sections very well, but the actual plot progress is often quite hampered by little of real consequence happening over multiple chapters. It must be said that the points the pacing serves are written very well. The fluffy parts are very much fluffy, and the relationships between the characters evolve in a believable and immersive manner, and the characters personalities are brought vividly across. You get a clear sense of their relationships progressing, and how they care about each other. The worldbuilding is generally also very solid, giving the impression of a grand world, despite the limited scope the story has explored so far. While there are plenty of straight infodumps, which can get somewhat tedious at times, there are also some instances where you can read between the lines to get a bit more understanding of how for instance magic operates in this new world. For the more plot-progressing chapters, the slow pace of the writing can be a real pace-killer. Especially combined with the rather slow releases, one chapter a week. It is difficult to maintain enthusiasm for the climax of an arc when it is released over a one-month period, but it is not a major issue.
So, excellent premise, world building, character interactions and general quality of writing. So why the three-star rating? Well, there are several interconnected problems that gradually crop up over the course of the story so far, and they just keep escalating. The first problem is, as I mentioned previously, extreme character decay of the main character. What started out as a slightly airheaded character who could pull herself together when need be is gradually reduced to a complete idiot. I'm not talking funny idiot, or airheaded idiot, but complete idiot, incapable of independent thought or reasoning of any kind. The intelligence she exhibits in later chapters is what you could expect from an extensive lobotomy patient. She does not think to do things on her own, and when she does think, what comes out is the most deranged thought process. To paraphrase a couple fun (read "immersion-ruining") examples from the story:
• "I am about to head into a life-or-death combat situation. I have one supply that serves as both my weapon and shield, without which I am completely useless. Hmm... I don't have pockets. How should I bring it along? I know, I'll let someone else carry it. In the middle of the battle."
• "I am basically useless in a fight, despite working as a mercenary. What kind of magic could I use for self-defense? I know: Indiscriminate grenades. They are a highly effective means of self-defense."
That last sentence of the second example is an actual quote from the MC; I'm sure you can see the flaw in her conclusion. And it's not just strategic reasoning ability that suffers from the character decay. It's every part of her mental faculties. Asked what she thinks when faced with the most obvious political framing plot in history? "It's strange" is her only comment. Asked to try out casting a new form of magic which is obviously just a straight extension of something she can already do? "Uhh... sounds too magical for me". And it just keeps going. She acts like a particularly stupid child but is never treated like one. As an amusing side note, the MC looks like a child, and other characters only have her word for her actual age, so by rights she should be treated like one. But no, other characters around her act as if she is quite intelligent, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
So why did the author basically lobotomize the main character? Well, I can't read the authors' mind, but most likely, it is an extreme case of plot induced stupidity in a badly handled attempt to prevent an overpowered protagonist. Simply put, her most basic magic, as it has been portrayed, is far too powerful; any individual with even a base level of intelligence could use it to conquer the world in short order. To shortly summarize:
The relevant magic is based on the life attribute, which is described early on as being able to animate any material that can support life, that is, anything organic. In the earliest chapters, she uses to create small living dolls, with several properties:
• They are completely loyal to her.
• They possess significant intelligence and can carry out complex orders.
• They can learn skills as taught to them.
• If they are "killed", she can simply put them back together, unless the significantly more resilient core is destroyed.
• They can operate indefinitely without maintenance, food, water or any other resource.
• They are implied to have a linked consciousness and can coordinate with inhuman precision.
• The dolls can use magic to create more of themselves, without the casters' assistance. The only apparent restrictions are that they can only create similar type dolls (in form and size) to the dolls doing the magic, and that these second-generation dolls need the original casters help once before they stop requiring any resources to maintain themselves.
• The dolls can strengthen themselves with appropriate upgrade materials.
Reading this, you probably understand what this magic can do: An ever-expanding nigh-immortal army that requires no supplies to maintain once formed, completely loyal to the caster. Furthermore, a form of mock necromancy: every slain enemy or monster is another loyal soldier to the legion. This potential to singlehandedly create an army is also pointed out in-story as well at its introduction. However, the ability is far too powerful for the scope of the story, sufficing to resolve any issue the story presents with even marginal usage. This is also just the first of the MCs abilities, she has several other fundamental advantages over regular people, or even the magicians of this world.
So, basically the author throws every possible excuse at preventing the MC from making any progress at all: First its minor things, like refusing to use anything but wood for the dolls, which is reasonable, if you disregard that it wastes potentially the majority of the magics' potential. But then it escalates: General stupidity and incompetence is next: (in-) conveniently forgetting key details she was told the same day and being too lousy at logical thinking to make any progress studying her magic on her own. And if it is not incompetence, it's one failed attempt and never trying again. If a solution to the initial problem that caused the failure is found, this is never realized, and no new attempt is made (nor are any possible remedies to a failure ever considered). If it's not missing obvious logic, it's baseless paranoia. If it isn't baseless paranoia, it's failing to learn from previous experiences, etcetera, etcetera. But no matter how stupid the MC is made to be, it doesn't prevent other characters from telling her what to do, so they all must fail to notice the obvious potential of the MCs magic (and other superhuman potentials) as well. And in the end, how is this ability dealt with? Well, as of writing this review, it appears to be by quietly shoving the life magic development on a bus, using the half-assed dolls as they are, and giving the MC a new, more restricted ability to flounder about with instead.
The MCs stance with respect to developing her own abilities makes absolutely no sense either. She wants to protect the people she cares about, she wants to learn to use magic properly, she has everything she could ever need to fulfill this, but what does she do in the end? She gives up on gaining any strength of her own. She is in a perfect position to protect, but she just drops it and decides to rely on being followed around by a bodyguard. Her ultimate role in the mercenaries? Basically, an idol; a pretty face to stand there holding the banner, but otherwise useless in a battle.
And it gets even worse. You might have realized reading between the lines up till this point, but every other character basically contracts the stupid as well. The research-nut magicians? Barely bother with teaching this entity with the potential to use magic beyond any mortal scope anything. Nor do they try out much of anything with her unique abilities. The captain of the mercenary band? Never realizes the potential of the MCs life magic. Also never realizes that the MC is completely ret*rded and assigns her as an officer as part of the idol gig. An officer. In charge of others' lives. This latter part is again a consequence of the MCs decay however: she doesn't think, doesn't act, and is largely irrelevant to the plot, a glorified side character. Her continued relevance in the plot is largely contrived.
And this leads to the last major gripe I have with the story: that basically every character is acting less and less reasonably according to their role and station within the story's setting. Increasing amounts of the plot is brought about by contrivance and sudden left-turns in the behavior of characters. Their decisions and actions no longer appear like things people would reasonably think or do. In effect, the plot is devolving into an idiot plot, a severe issue for a plot-heavy story like this.
In conclusion, Taboo Journal is a story that starts out with an excellent premise, characters, setting, world building, and general quality of writing. The story has a slow, slice-of-life like pacing, with the interactions and experiences of the characters very well fleshed out. After a very strong first arc, the plot slowly devolves into an idiot plot along with the main character. The MC basically has the power to conquer the world from near the start, but the copious amounts of plot induced stupidity to prevent her from ever realizing this renders her a useless, glorified side character whose relevance to the story must be continuously contrived. At this point I would only recommend the story to those who only want to read the slice-of-life parts while ignoring the whole plot, or as a literary study on how badly misuse of plot induced stupidity can ruin a potentially great story.
First, English is not my native language. Second, this is my first ever written review, not to mention the first time I write something more complex than "I speak English very well, my cat's name is Olivia", but then I saw that there are still zero reviews after the following the story for a while. So I am going to be first and try to express my opinion with my small vocabulary, google translate and Grammarly.
If you are not interested in reading my amateurish review then just go and read the story because it's good and not just "hmm that pretty good" good but "I already remember exact time than chapter usually posted and I am waiting every week for it because I want more" type of "good".
I could try to make a spoilerless plot summary but the story's prologue can cope with it better anyway, so again if you not sure about a story just read the prologue and first chapter.
The author knows the direction he wants the story to move and to the end of the first book, he didn't take sudden or worthless turns. I can't remember a chapter that didn't move plot is some way, introduced a character or answer some questions. We constantly keep getting some answers that giving more questions but at the same time giving a fuller picture.
If you expect this to be heavy action type "conquer the world" book than it's not. There some action scenes but mostly story focuses on slice of life adventure based on character interactions. The author manages to keep sugar-fluff overall feeling of the novel despite the dark setting and MC's desperate starting position.
I also want to mark how the author managed to skip generic "WOW I reincarnated in a fantasy world and now wandering around like an idiot" part that it didn't look like MC just waited all her life to be reincarnated.
As I said I am not a native English speaker, all I can point out that there are none serious sentences structure issues and you will not feel like you crying blood tears reading the story. (But you will feel like that after reading my review)
All parts of the book have top quality but it manages to go beyond in characters. All of them even the second plan are complex: cute airhead but caring and sometimes very smart MC, the second main character is responsible and lived through life hardships but managed not to lose a sense of morals and faith in the world. Even the closest thing this story has to comic relief and the next character in the amount of the screen time far more complicated than you think at first, oh how many ages have past since I saw a comic relief character that has something besides, well comics relief.
One of the tricks I use to rate stories for myself is how many times it makes me question the logic of the author like then you ask yourself why character A did that it doesn't make any sense or what is this plot twist from nowhere. And that small amount of questions that I had all were answered and even more even things that you may notice only with a magnifying glass played some role in the book. That is something that distinguishes a good story and the best story.
Thanks to the author for the story, thank you for reading my thoughts if you liked the story but didn't like my review, make a better one, please. The story deserves more attention, professional reviews and cute cover art.
Again thanks for your attention.
MC is just beyond stupid. She's as dumb as log. PERIOD!
Nice setting, OK characters, pretty nice writing style and STUPIDLY DUMB MC.
This is too much. As much as I like whole everything as much I hate MC. Can't bear it anymore. I'm out.
Look at the tags, are they to your liking? Did they perhaps even bring you here? If so, then you are probably going to enjoy this story.
But that's not enough for review, is it? You wanna know more before you give it a try right? If so, then just keep reading.
A) Let's start by selling you the premise, since the synopsis is a bit vague about it (mostly just stuff from the prologue) :
Our MC gets turned into a pink-haired-tentacle-loli-monster and then transported into a fantasy world by some cultist looking dudes. From there on MC pretty much tries to survive among the humans in the slums as future prospects are pretty bleak for a ragged kid from the slums who ain't even human. The story pretty much picks up from there and our MC gets to know people they genuinely want to help, as well as some ideas about their future.
B) Now, I probably owe you some info on our MC, the tags kinda hint at a lot of things don't they?
I already mentioned the whole tentacle-loli-monster thing, but one thing about the whole gender-bender aspect is really worth noting; The MC pretty much loses all memories about themselves during the transfer, and only has a vague recollection about their old world. As such, they pretty much assume a new identity with a new name in the very first chapter, we're pretty much looking at a new person right here. Why am I ranting about this? Well the answer is simple; Our MC is cute, not just a bit cute but the goddamn cutest character in the series! She's more feminine than her love interest (and yeah, well this is Yuri so...).
It's also worth mentioning that our MC ain't overpowered, she has a lot of weird quirks from being a shape shifting-sentient-monster, but also a few restrictions and issues that come with this kind of body. She ain't helpless, but she probably has to get creative with the kind of skill set/affinities she was born with. (And to be honest she's kind of disturbed by the whole tentacles affair and tries to hide it as much as possible)
C) Romance?Yuri?ADULT? What am I in for?
Well, so far it's mostly fluffy and affectionate, this ain't smut. We do however get some progress between the main couple, which eventually leads to some lovey-dovey use of the adult tag. This doesn't look like something that would go down the harem route, however it's worth mentioning that our MCs cute-&-cuddlyness is mad effective and lands her a lot of wholesome affection from other parts of the cast.
D) Enough about the MC, how is the world?
Fairly enjoyable I'd say, though not too different from the common fantasy tropes. The magic system is explained, we thankfully DON'T join a adventures guild and DON'T have the LIT-RPG levels and stuff. The ''original'' pieces of lore/legends are neat and I don't tire hearing about the MCs likely origins/race tidbits. It's also kinda fun to see the MC fail at the new worlds ''common sense''.
E) Conclusion: What do I think about it and should you read it?
I do think there is much to enjoy if you like the Monster/Yuri/Genderbender/Fanatsy stuff. The current 48 chapters are a decent chunk to bite in and start, we already had a few arcs (or chapters as the story like to call them). The release schedule is mostly consistent as well.
I wrote a review because I think this deserves more attention. The story has no cover and is exclusively published on this website (which is kinda young, less than a year even). I hope more people pick it up when they see more reviews.
It's a great story. MC isn't son/daughter of a god that can destroy world so you will see growth of a person in another world. Now there are some problems but author tells us it is because of plot so he/she doesn't want to spoil us. You have long chapters and there is not much cliffhangers but still author can grab your attention so you wont get bored but I wish that the problems I mentioned would get fixed faster because I think it will bore people. Overall nice fluffy and heartwarming story. I recommend to everyone.
This one is an incredibly great story, underrated even.
I'll keep this review short with a pros and cons list
- Really well written characters with distinct personalities.
- The pacing is slow but enjoyable. There's as much slice of life as plot. Its really nice to see how the MC interacts with her friends especially during various plot events.
- Great comedy. One of the best I've ever seen on SH.
- The character cast is not too large (for now) and there's a clear line between major and minor characters.
- Even without the psychological tag, this story is really good at it. It makes all the interactions all the more enjoyable. *fluff* *fluff*
- No LitRPG and the adventurer guild that somehow crosses time and space to establish itself in 99% of isekai series bullsh*t
- Smut scenes are of good quality. Its really rare in this story tho, I'd say there's 1 smut every ~25 long chapters. Not too many that it affects the flow and other aspects of the story. Generally, don't come here expecting a full on smut story as plot and slice-of-lofe are prioritized over smut over 10 times.
- The MC has a rather unique position in the story. In short, the MC doesn't feel like a MC at all. The MC's position in plot feels like a support/side character but the entire story is focused on her. (Might be a con for some)
- The actual plot is pretty generic. However, its made up by all the great points of the story that its still enjoyable.
- The gender bender tag is basically useless since the MC lost most of her past life memories and accepted her new identity basically immediately. Not a big con tho.
- The plot progress is slow. Really slow in fact. If you don't enjoy the fluffy slice of life and character interactions, you might find it unbearable. Personally, I have no problem with this.
- Dumb MC. You can hardly imagine that the MC used to be a 22-years-old university student from her actions, dialogs and thoughts. However, this does contribute to the fluffy aspect of the story. Honestly, the character writing and thoughts would be near perfect if the MC is really a 13-years-old girl. However, that can be done due to very obvious reasons...
Overall opinion: Criminally underrated. Easily one of the better stories on this website. Give it a try for a few chapters. If you enjoy it, you'll love it. If you don't, then drop it. This story is not for everyone but if you find it interesting, then I'm sure you won't regret picking this up.
Edit: Don't expect plot events to be fully explained or have multiple perspectives to explain them. This story entirely focuses on the MC's POV and you aren't supposed to know what the MC doesn't know
Edit 2: Just to give you an idea how slowly the story progresses:
Each chapter has a really high word count, one of the highest I've ever seen in WNs. A 1-week caravan trip with a mercenary band takes an entire arc of 18 long chapters.
A single day of the story can span multiple chapters (up to ~10). It might take an entire real life day of your free time just to read a single day of the story.
Edit 3: Don't go into this story with a mentality of reading a generic isekai adventure story. The MC starts off pretty much as weak as a human teenage girl and stays around that strength for multiple arcs. The amount of action the MC sees can be counted in 1 hand for the first 2 arcs COMBINED and all of the time the MC is protected by other characters. Places where you see obvious plot event flags and etc. would very much betray your expectation.
Edit 4: There are a very few non MC POV chapters. However, they are side-stories serving as backstory for members of the main cast and have no effect on the immediate main storyline.
Tl;dr: taboo journal, as its title implied, is a *JOURNAL*. its not your average isekai adventure of MC getting strong and beating the final boss, or has any tangible goal at all. its a *journal* type story that writes the day-to-day life of the MC and the MC enjoying her life. its basically 75% slice-of-life, 22.5% plot and 2.5% smut. sometimes, a single day in the story spans over ten thousand words across multiple chapters even tho there are no actual meaningful plot. the WN equivalent of watching paint dry. if you're fond of the slow, slice-of-life style of writing, then this is definitely for you. otherwise, give this a pass. this story barely has any tension outside a few events and times. and even fewer actions as the MC never entered any direct combat with anything. you either is not interested in taboo journal or you LOVE taboo journal. give this a try for a few chapters, I recommend you to try reading the first and maybe also the second arc before determining if this is for you or not.
Slice of life often ends up becoming boring and repetitive in long novels because it becomes clear that the plot is not going anywhere. While this story does also have that problem, it makes it feel irrelevant by doing such a great job at the one thing that slice of life is best at, making the reader feel like we're actually in the novel's world by showing all of the small details and mundane activities of the character's daily lives.
The sense of immersion in this novel is the best on this site. It even managed to make me stop caring about the lack of plot, a feat that no others have accomplished.
I was close to giving this five stars. The thing that stopped me is the pacing, which is weird to say after my previous praise, creating that sense of immersion requires a slow pace after all. But sometimes this novel takes it way too far, there are some sections that are a real slog to read...
Still, I do recommend reading this if you have the time.
The novel has been alright so far and I'd recommend it for people that like mostly wholesome content with a bit of action in between. The tags are pretty much accurate- there isn't a lot of slice of life moments (every scene is plot relevant), nor are action scenes a large part of the story. Neither of the commonly mistagged tags are mistagged here.
This is not your standard isekai story written by your standard inexperienced and horny 12 year old. Interesting characters, dialogues, very few grammatical mistakes lead me to believe there was a lot of effort and thought put into this. I wish there were a bit more adult scenes though ;)
Having said that, I want to warn you that this is not actually a genderbender story. Yes, it says so in the tags. Yes, according to the story, the MC was actually an adult 22-year-old guy before he died and got reincarnated. But never once in this story does he act as an adult or even as a man. There isn't a single case of dysphoria, a single case of him being even a bit confused (although, he did wish to become a girl). So, the MC probably already WAS a girl, or a trans rather. The second point is her general scatterbrainedness. She always needs someone to tell her what to do. She never learns on her own. She never thinks about her situation. In short, she never acts as an adult would or should. She is just a very generic 10-year-old girl in every sense of the word. If the story featured a 10-year-old monster girl from the start, nothing would've changed. Absolutely not a thing. So, be prepared for that.
The author should probably remove the genderbender tag and all mentions of the MC being once a man. It feels even more weird here, because the MC (like any other isekaied or genderbendered protagonists) has this incessant need to tell everyone that they're actually an adult and were once a man. I imagine a little girly-girl, acting like a little girl and looking like a little girl, telling me she's an adult and was once a man. It's just weird.
In general, a very cute story featuring yuri and very likeable characters and dialogues. And a very weird MC who for some reason thinks she is an adult.