Tabi ni Deyou, Horobiyuku Sekai no Hate Made Review
Tabi ni Deyou is a light novel I greatly enjoyed, and when Cho put up this title for his LN Summer Reading Program, I thought it’s a perfect time to reread it. While I realized it’s not exactly a masterpiece, it’s still a very nice, pleasant read. It is written by Tadahito Yorozuya and illustrated by Houmitsu.
Set in an apocalyptic world, a strange disease simply known as the the “vanishing” has been rampant across the globe. Those who suffer from it had their very existences vanished to nothingness, and while the effect isn’t immediate, it’s slow, steady and constant — like a curse, a countdown to their eventual deaths. In this world where identities are lost, two young, nameless travelers went on a journey to the end of the world.
Tabi ni Deyou is an extremely conceptualized story, and it’s also adapts the “show not tell” storytelling approach, definitely a rarity among LNs. First and foremost, it has great world-building — slowly introducing the world bits by bits by showing you just how much the disease has effected it. How said disease works also isn’t explained in massive infodump expository, but is “explained” by showing us different stages of the disease the characters are already suffering from, and how that influenced their lives. Honestly, there aren’t a lot of things to infodump anyway, most of the story here just involved the two main characters traveling from place to place, meeting different people in each arc and showing how the disease has effected them.
…which is nice. Tabi ni Deyou showed that you certainly don’t need ambitious storytelling and expository to write a good story. Tabi ni Deyou may possess a somewhat ambitious concept, but it’s execution is simple, pleasant and even hopeful. It’s a simple story about finding the meaning of your existence in a world bereft of names, colors and identities — and the two travelers in this story chose to do so by aiming to do the impossible task of journeying to the end of the world. It’s hopeful in the sense that the story isn’t focusing on the dread, but the hope that your existence in this world means something. In fact, I would go a notch further and even label this story as iyashikei. That being said, there’s barely any “plot” here as the story here just revolves around Boy and Girl’s travels, that’s exactly why the ending, despite being so open-ended, is so perfect within the context of Tabi ni Deyou.
Aforementioned, Tabi ni Deyou is a conceptualized story and I definitely like the idea of referring to the characters as nouns rather than names, because if you remember, the story is set in a world where names are forgotten. Unfortunately, the characters aren’t really memorable but they have fun interactions nonetheless. Boy and Girl have a pretty classic “LN romcom” dynamic, while the support characters they met throughout the journey are mostly all down to earth and act like real people. The best highlight though, is also hearing their parts of the story and how the disease effected them. The focus isn’t just solely on Boy and Girl, and hearing stories from other people truly does makes one feel this is a legitimate journey, and this hasn’t even include the fact that Tabi ni Deyou just seems more adept at developing their support characters rather than their main ones.
As for the artwork, I guess it’s decent, if not, a bit dated, dull and uninspiring — the character designs, especially. I mean, I know the boy is called “Boy”, but that is quite the most literal, generic boy design I have ever seen even in a light novel. Some of the other characters are also designed true to their names/nouns, however generic they look. Tabi ni Deyou is actually quite an old novel, released on 2008 — and it really shows in their designs. Though I suppose the simple designs matched the story well.
Tabi ni Deyou is a hopeful, concept-driven story of carving your own identities, finding the meaning of your existence in a world where all names and identities are lost. The two travelers in this story chose to travel to the end of the world, hoping that their futile efforts would leave something behind before they vanish. As long as they still exist, their journey will never end, their story will never conclude — their destinations are never in sight, and perhaps the story is telling us that even unfulfilled dreams can be things people can strive for, and it will never be pointless especially if one gives their best effort at it. After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.
Well, I’ll leave the interpretation for another day. In any case, Tabi ni Deyou is a fine, pleasant read as you can see, and while it won’t be masterpiece-material for me anytime soon, I recommend everyone to read it, as it’s pretty damn good nonetheless.