Light Novel Review: Clockwork Planet [Volume 1]

30 years after the Earth died, a single man by the name of “Y” recreated the world. This particular blueprint in which the world was filled with countless gears was named “Clockwork Planet”

And now 1000 years later, Naoto Miura lives his life as a normal high school student and gear enthusiast. One day, a box falls from the sky and destroys his apartment. Inside the box is a beautiful yet inactive automata girl. He dedicates himself to fixing her before his house falls apart. Fortunately, Naoto finishes the repairs however at the same time, the ceiling collapses.

The next thing he knew, he was in the arms of the active automata girl. Before falling unconscious, the girl asks…

“Are you perhaps the one who repaired me?”

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Clockwork Planet is an fantasy action light novel series where our main characters live in a  recreated world powered by gears. Maintaining this mechanical Earth is done by skilled clock engineers and machine technicians. With genius intellect and talents, our protagonists fight against the organizations that stand in the way of their uninhibited ideals and desires. With this first volume of Clockwork Planet, the light novel establishes the situation of the world in its first half, and defines the beliefs of our characters in the second half.

This volume mainly introduces the main characters and how they came together with their goals and objectives. This is somehow related to how they apparently became terrorists in the prologue,  but by the end of the volume, the events aren’t linked up to what happened in the beginning.

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The world of Clockwork Planet is its strongest highlight for this volume, and yet, it’s weak in its introduction and presentation. The concepts in Clockwork Planet are interesting, such as how the impact of gears have on the environment and the complications that occur whenever something insignificant like a small screw can possible destroy a city. However, the volume has a tendency to info dump paragraphs to summarize those plot element. While I can accept it for giving necessary information for the reader to understand, some particular cases could have been done more fluidly through actions and dialogue. I don’t mind reading definitions of the different types of “Guild positions” but surely I don’t need one on Naoto’s and Halter’s background.

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Naoto Miura is a clock fanatic. He is much more interested in their machinery rather than the interests of his peers. This leads him to be seen as quite the oddball to others, but of to no concern of his. What’s more concerning to him, is his lack of formal education to pursue his interest and the fact that a box crashed on his house. However, he forgets all about it when he discovers the girl of his dreams inside the object, an mechanical automata. Naoto is simple-minded when it comes to his concerns: RyuZU. He purely just wants to be with her and will put her before anyone else, even if he himself is included. Regarding the plot, Naoto appears to be going with the flow in regards to the main conflict, with his own troubles being a side effect. If it wasn’t for his exceptional ability of hearing and RyuZU influencing him, Clockwork Planet might have been two completely different stories: one about the relationship between him and RyuZU and Marie’s fight against the world.

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RyuZu is the mysterious automata that Naoto encounters in the box, saving him from the collapsing ceiling. We are given information on her based upon what the light novel gives us, but the real highlight is her relationship with Naoto. She is bound to Naoto via a master-slave contract but if you add in a overwhelmingly harsh and cruel dialogue, you have her exterior personality. As the volume progresses, she begins to warm up to him in her own thoughts but she still gives him the savage treatment externally. If I were to describe it, it would be a literal switch to go from Tsun-mode as soon as RyuZU starts talking, to Dere-mode deep down inside.

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Marie Bell Breguet is the other genius of our main protagonists, and her strong performance in the latter half of the volume makes up for the slow beginning. Having graduated as valedictorian from multiple universities and achieving the clock technician rank “Meister” at age 13, she certainly has the personality of a very proud and yet irritable individual. Practically being a queen, it’s her ideals and her attitude towards the world that push her forward, even at the hands of political conspiracies and death. She goes through the most development in this volume, suffering through the harsh circumstances set upon her to a clear conviction of her beliefs and principles.

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Vainney Halter, mostly referred to as Halter in the light novel, is the secretary and bodyguard to Marie. He acts like a teasing babysitter and is the comedy counterpart to her. Not much development happens to Halter in this volume but he stands as Marie’s mentor and aid. When he’s not provoking Marie, helping her out, or complaining about the situation, he does say some pretty good lines from time to time.

“Well if it’s adults debating, you’re probably correct.

But if it’s between kids, isn’t it alright to agree with a brat’s view like a kid?

This uncle’s job is to wipe the butts of a kid.”

The illustrations were drawn by Shino, the same illustrator who did Lance N’ Masques and Sunday Without God. The characters stand out in terms of visuals, and paired up with that loli-esque character design for three of the main characters, it certainly does. Both kinds of illustrations have deep details; examples being RyuZU’s dress design (and her Mute Scream form), the distinct expressions of the characters and the refined linework.

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Clockwork Planet is an apocalypse story where our main characters pursue their own selfish desires while having to clean the mess of the government and organizations as an force stopping them. It starts off slow in the beginning, familiarizing the reader with Clockwork Planet’s unique plot elements. But by the halfway mark, the plot begins to move forward with our main characters as they begin to realize their goals and their determination to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

Rating: Recommended – Highly Recommended


Author: Yuu Kamiya and Tsubaki Himana

Illustrator: Shino

English Publisher – J-Novel Club

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