Review

by Theron Martin,

Seriously Seeking Sister! Ultimate Vampire Princess Just Wants Little Sister, Plenty of Service Will Be Provided!

novel 1

Synopsis:
Seriously Seeking Sister! Ultimate Vampire Princess Just Wants Little Sister, Plenty of Service Will Be Provided!
Ristia, the youngest princess of the True Blood (read: vampire) royal family, was so doted on by her parents and elder sisters that she developed an obsession with having a younger sister that she could dote on herself – and if her father wasn't going to provide one then she would find one of her own! Unbeknownst to her, she was also the most potentially powerful of all True Bloods, which made her probably the most powerful being in the world. That combination led to her putting herself in suspended animation until her little sister arrived, but due to a miscalculation, she wound up in stasis for over a millennium, when the young sorceress Nanami proved able to meet the qualification of being a “little sister” and released her. The world may have changed during her absence, with True Bloods now the stuff of ancient legend, but her goal is the same: Ristia will rescue a human girl and convince the girl to adore her as a Big Sister. However, so convincing a girl without using any form of coercion is much easier said than done, especially when Ristia's powers, which are utterly out of proportion with the new era, can make her come across as an angel rather than the “normal girl” she resolutely claims to be.
Review:

This light novel, which is currently only available in English in e-book form via J-Novel Club, is in some respects a throwback to the pure power fantasy tales which existed prior to isekai titles subsuming the subgenre. As a result, it probably owes more to Vampire Hunter D than any recent title or trend. However, even though both that title and this one involve the legacy of vampires who once ruled the world, the similarities end there. Rather than a dark, stylish action-drama, Seriously Seeking Sister is a cheeky, flippant tale which does go into some dark places but doesn't linger in them any more than it absolutely must. After all, that would spoil the fun.

If the novel does resemble any more recent work then it would probably be Wise Man's Grandchild, in that the protagonists of both are so ridiculously powerful for their settings that they don't have a good conception of scale; what they take for granted on power curve and magic knowledge absolutely isn't normal. However, in this case as well, the similarities don't run any deeper than that. Whereas Shin was a sensible young man who just didn't have much experience, Ristia has the power of a god paired with the temperament of an airhead. She is so staunchly insistent that she's a “normal girl,” despite all evidence to the contrary, that it becomes one of the story's primary running jokes. If she matched off against Ains Ooal Gown from Overlord, I'm not sure who would win.

Fortunately for everyone in the setting, this stupefyingly powerful girl is not interested in ruling the world in the slightest. She has an absolutely one-track mind about seeking out a little sister candidate, and she's absolutely insistent that being referred to as “Big Sis” has to be something that's given rather than asked for or obligated or it doesn't count. The other major running joke of the story is that she so regularly overshoots the mark on setting up the ideal scenarios that the little sister candidates usually wind up calling her by a much more esteemed title instead. She's also incapable in most cases of interpreting circumstances in any way that doesn't fit her pre-existing notions or what she's aiming for, though she also has a kind enough heart that she unthinkingly creates items equivalent to major artifacts as what she considers minor gifts.

However, Ristia is not completely oblivious, and when she does pay attention to details the darker elements can pop up. These have nothing whatsoever to do with her vampiric nature, but rather very mundane evils like an orphanage engaged in sex trafficking and rescuing one 15-year-old girl from being forced to prostitute herself. For all her good nature, she is also quite capable of mercilessly obliterating a foe, with her only hesitation being over whether or not it would make the wrong kind of impression on a girl she's trying to win over rather than any thought about the morality of it. While the story does not spend a lot of time dwelling on these darker elements, it does not forget about them and continues to show their lingering effects on one character.

In fact, her being a vampire is an inconsequential detail for most of the story. One of the only two times it becomes relevant is when the story is exploring its setting's variation on vampire lore: essentially, vampires who have typical vulnerabilities and a constant thirst for feeding are the weaker ones, while True Bloods only have their strength halved in sunlight (not really an inconvenience when you normally use only a small fraction of your power) and don't need to feed unless they want a temporary power bump. In a more interesting twist, those “turned” by vampires are also referred to as “kinsmen” and (in a more common play) have power proportionate to the one who turned them. The other time vampirism comes up is when Ristia finally gets the itch to feed, with the implication being that (for her at least) it's connected to falling in love. The only other world-building aspect which gets developed much is the magic system, though that is a crucial one since this is a magic-heavy story.

Though the book clocks in at 222 pages, only the first 194 form the main story, which takes Ristia through her early encounters with Nanami and then through her encounter with the very shady orphanage. Along the way she auditions several potential little sister candidates and unwittingly does a lot of things that will indirectly have huge impacts on the world as a whole. Because the tech level (and thus probably cultural level) of her time was much higher, she also introduces several anachronistic elements, such as advanced construction features and a maid/butler restaurant where customers are addressed as Big Brother and Big Sister. (To be clear, this is a setting that, at its base, is otherwise probably on the high end of medieval cultural and technical level.) 19 more pages involve a collection of four short sides stories about other antics of Ristia, including one that is exclusive to the digital version. In typical light novel style the text is peppered with illustrations that show a simpler and more cartoonish art style.

In the Afterword, writer Hiironoame mentions that they have a few other novels in circulation with equally crazy-sounding names (The Ignorant and Powerless Girl Rises Up Against The Reincarnated Lord of the Land, for instance). If they are anything like this one then you can expect stories focused more on charming central characters than anything else. This definitely is not one of the weightier reads you might encounter coming out of Japan, but it has enough charm and lack of serious attitude to pass as light entertainment.

Grade:
Overall : B-
Story : B-
Art : C+

+ Remarkably fun for a naked power fantasy, doesn't shirk on the impact of its serious elements
Serious elements can feel incongruous, as does some anachronistic content

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