Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria review

Apr 16, 2021
As someone who considers themselves an enthusiast when it comes to the Mystery genre, be that in books, anime, or games, this LN's story is among the top and one of the few things I have experienced in general that I would confidently call a Masterpiece. There is a review sharker, that has sharked Code Geass and many other series on various accounts that is pretty high up on the reviews the reviews for the series, but I wouldn't think much into it in comparison to the many who disagree, as well as the LN's record for being consistently Top 10 on the LN list on here for years now, even if lists don't say everything. There is naturally going to be a minority who think a good mystery book's just being difficult "to be difficult" because not all things are clear in the beginning, but it ramps up nicely without dragging along it's pacing, and there are always mysteries around the corner despite that. Some answers are complex and the simple ones that exist are buried within it so there's hardly a difference.


One of my favorite things about the series is the way the writer does the order of events and it does not have Chapters, but rather "days". So let's say you just read day 1100 (made up #) and you heavily enjoyed what you've just read. Then deeper into the book the writer may go back to the day before it, day 1099, and suddenly what you read before has an *entirely* different meaning and on top of that this meaning will *make sense*, rather than doing it just for the sake of it. Another cool thing about the writing is, take the first book where the same day repeats over and over. Because of the way the book's written, say you are in this scenario and you start out with a pencil on the right side of your desk every day. Then 100s of days later this pencil is on the opposite side, and it never goes back the same way again. *Nothing* else has changed. A small detail like that will eventually drive you nuts because you'll have no choice but to sit there and go *why* did it happen? How does this relate to the dreadful situation I'm trapped in? And of course this will all go back to *who* is the reason you are there to begin with, as "boxes" are the reason you are there and they are done by a person. They can also only be canceled by the user who granted said wish, or flat out death.

The pacing was also done well and in terms of quality there never a single book that felt like it dipped regardless of the scenario taking place. Each box felt drastically different, and well written to the point where you sympathize heavily with the main characters even if those you don't agree with or don't like. I also really liked how every tag actually made sense. For example it has a "romance" tag but refreshingly enough there was actual, genuine, romance, and this was usually carefully woven into the plot. Not that crap where characters obviously like each other but never ever comes about it and what is done is cute.


There is only so few art in each of the books but what is there is good too look at and appears at the moments it should.


Not only does it have incredible, unique characters, but many are also self aware. For example there are characters who you may think have a view and morals that heavily differentiate from your own. However just because that is the case, that doesn't mean they aren't aware and you can "Naruto talk" them into "realizing" it. Many are smart enough to know what you're talking about, they just made a choice for themselves regardless and that's the beauty of it. It's not a world where everyone's wrong for not agreeing with the protagonists, and this is also why many will leave you surprised or sometimes even speechless, but I was never irritated at the *writer* for his choices. In addition even though technically Kazuki and Aya are the main characters, the cast around them feel very important too. You have to understand them like you do the others to understand the book and even the final ending. Character development is also heavily prevalent, characters will fool you if you think any exist to be generic archetypes. I also really, really liked the relationship between Aya and Kazuki throughout the whole book. That shit felt iconic.


Like many reviews state on here, this series is a Masterpiece to me. I want to be able to list something bad or not as good for the sake of it seeming "genuine" but I can't. I literally loved everything about it and I'm really happy I read it. So much so that I'm afraid of the possibility of it getting any anime adaptations. On one hand if pulled off it could be incredible, but on the other if the pacing is rushed or there isn't enough episodes to do it justice, it could be poorly mispresented.


Overall to this day it is my favorite Mystery LN of all time and I think anyone who's looking for a good series that properly balances horror, mystery, and romance elements should pick this up. You'll know by reading the first Volume if it's something you'd enjoy. If you know of the youtuber "The Anime Man" he has actually done a review on it in the past and apparently greatly enjoyed it as well.


Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria
Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria
Autor Mikage, Eiji