Books: I Could Never be a Succubus

January 26, 2024 · 0 comments

By Shelley Pallis.

The story of I Could Never be a Succubus begins with a striking Gotterdammerung, as a bold hero and an evil demon lord fight for their lives in a burning castle. But this is not one-on-one, the hero is the leader of a stereotypical party of adventurers, and the adversary soon realises that the lynchpin is the powerful sorceress who is flinging distracting illusions at him. He directs all his evil powers at killing her, but even as he delivers a mortal blow, the plucky witch (incongruously called Liz), manages to land a game-changing blow on him.

With a wrench not unfamiliar in light novels, we are suddenly at a magical high school, where a student called Lisalinde excels at all the wizarding classes. She is a popular girl in the school, until the fateful day when a visiting party of adventurers addresses the student body, and she asks their leader for his underpants.

Liz, for it is she, has lost her memory. Which means she has no recollection of her dungeon adventuring days, or indeed of the source of her powers, which turns out to be a distant, demonic ancestry. Somewhere, deep down, Lisalinde the straight-A student is descended from a succubus, and she is kind of horny.

Once again, thank you, Japan, for taking these paragraphs places nobody could have predicted. I Could Never be a Succubus by Nora Kohigashi manages the remarkable achievement of crashing Harry Potter into a bawdy session of Dungeons & Dragons, imagining a heroine who suddenly discovers that she cannot help the erotic feelings bubbling inside her. Kohigashi’s comedy is a winning satire on teenage angst, crossed with a little Zennial hobbyism, as a girl with a vague past in dungeon-bashing finds herself struggling to manage overwhelming hormonal desires.

Sadly, it also suffers the afflictions of many a light novel – placeholder names, hand-wavy world-building, and an authorial inability to stick to a single register. So, sometimes we have Liz’s first-person account of her tribulations, and sometimes an omniscient narrator pops up to deliver massive and unnecessary infodumps. Nevertheless, Liz is soon back on the adventuring trail, joyfully reclaiming her slutty roots as a girl who just can’t get enough, and putting it to use in a series of encounters where she snogs, strips and sashays her way into an erotic adventure.

However, her adventuring chums don’t see it quite the same way, and repeatedly head off her activities in order to stop them becoming the opening scenes of a porno film. I don’t know about you, but I think succubi should be allowed to do what they do best, otherwise it’s just a frustrating series of set-ups for sex scenes that never happen!

Roy Nukia’s translation is oddly eloquent, going far beyond what I assume to be a relatively low pay grade to employ terms like “pitch-black”, “atavism” and “astir”, all in the service of a story that very much hopes to be Carry on Dungeoning, but repeatedly relies upon the reader to imagine what might be just about to happen. Which is all very well, but I can do that at home.

I Could Never Be a Succubus is published in English by J-Novel Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The latest news, articles, and resources, sent to your inbox weekly.

© 2020 Anime Ltd. All rights reserved.