Sword Art Online Progressive 001 by Reki Kawahara

Okay, confession time: I’m not really into Japanese anime and manga, or things like that. That is, until I read SAO, or Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara.

To be clear, there are basically three adaptations of this book. One of them is a graphic novel, but this book, SAO Progressive 001, is a fictional chapter book that’s about 300 or so pages long.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my friends, who are obsessed with Japanese manga and stories. The cover art is really cool, but personally, I just wasn’t that interested. One of my friends, who had read the book cover to cover about thousands of times, allowed me to borrow it. At first I was doubting it, but since the cover looked awesome (I know, don’t judge by a book by its cover! Sorry!), I decided to open it.

And then I pretty much didn’t put it down. The story is centered around the main character, a dark-haired swordsman named Kirito, shown on the cover. Next to him is a fencer, named Asuna. Sword Art Online is a a “virtual-reality” world game, where the player is transported into the gaming world, filled with monsters on each level of the hundred floors of a floating, chambered castle: Aincrad. However, there is no escape. Once you enter the game, there’s no way you can leave it. And the death toll begins to rise. 2,000 players are dead, killed by the monsters in the game.

As Asuna the fencer says, “There’s no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die…”

Kirito meets Asuna in the beginning of the story, and over the events happening throughout the book, they form a sort of friendship. They’re not exactly a team, for they are both solo players, only working to strengthen themselves. But when fighting alone means certain death, will Kirito and Asuna overcome their differences and fight together to survive?

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for high-action, intense combat scenes against bosses, and a story that keeps you hooked in every page. Would you wish SAO was a real-life game that we could play? Anyways, I can’t wait to read Sword Art Online Progressive 002! I’m sure┬áReki Kawahara won’t let me down!

-Katharine L.

Magical Girl Raising Project by Endou Asari

Welcome, pon! My name is Fav, pon!

I am called a cyber fairy. My masters, from the land of magic, came up with a brilliant plan to help save the world by using a famous social game, pon! We will use the social game to find “magical girls”, those given special feminine bodies to help save the world, pon!

We allow boys, girls, and even animals so long as they have the aptitude to believe in magic, pon! Of course, they will be turned into girls whenever they want to use magical powers, pon!

What magical powers, you ask, pon? Well, I just transformed a girl named Kyouki into the magical girl “Snow White”, who can not only run fast, jump high and be super strong, but can also “hear the voices of those in distress.”

Of course, the magical powers all depend on the person, pon. Snow White had always wanted to be a magical girl, even though she had previously thought that they were only in anime and manga. When she became a magical girl, she wanted to save people, hence her power, pon! But there’s girls who believe that ninjas and cowgirls are the best magical girls, pon!

But unfortunately, the magic in the Land of Magic is running out because there are too many magical girls, pon. So, there will a test; those who cannot collect enough magical candies every week will be eliminated, pon!

Oh? You want to know what I mean by eliminated, pon? It’s like it sounds! The losing girl will lose her magical girl powers, which essentially means taking a part of herself away from her, which means that she will die, pon!

Of course, if one girl dies before the week is up, no one will be eliminated, pon!

Oh, and I heard that there will a light novel of the events to come is coming out on June 20, so I know that these girls will provide a great psychological and gruesome tragedy that readers will enjoy, pon!!!!

Er, I mean, it will be a light novel (novella with a few manga-like pages) of sixteen girls who discover the true meaning of magical girls and friendship through enduring tests and experiencing each one of them losing their magical girl powers.

Bye for now, pon!

-Megan V, 11th Grade