Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1, written by Buncololi with illustrations by Kantoku and translation by Alice Prowse, follows a pervy, narcissistic middle-aged man’s fight to live a peaceful life. From Yen Press, the light novel is about Sasaki, whose world upends when he purchases a Java sparrow named Peeps. Peeps is no ordinary bird. So, before you know it, Sasaki is navigating his life in Japan and another realm full of magic, royal intrigues, and monsters.
Though the tale ends with a twist, Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 drowns the reader in Sasaki’s lifeless first-person narration. An entertaining account about a man getting magical powers from his talking bird devolves into a story more disturbing and less engrossing.
Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 Has A Creepy Lead
There is a lot about Sasaki in Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 that sends off warning bells. The biggest is how he, a middle-aged man, lusts after little girls. Sure, it is not overt, but his preference for girls is clear. His preoccupation with youthful appearance is one flag. The way he describes these girls is another. Little comments like wishing a teen sat near him as he played board games make you hope for his arrest.
Instead, thanks to Peeps, who is a person from another realm named Starsage, he gains magical powers. Regarding women, all he references is a previous regrettable experience in a brothel when he got an STD. As such, decided to avoid women. This does not excuse his obsession with girls creeping to the surface.
Sasaki’s Narration Is Also Boring
After Sasaki learns about the other realm from Peeps, they agree to head over there to sell goods from Japan. That is when the tedium sets in. You expect a book with royalty, magic, monsters, and psychic organizations to be a page-turner. But Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 errs with Sasaki’s narration.
When he is not talking about young girls, he is talking about what items to buy, the strain on his finances. Rinse and repeat for over a hundred pages. Yes, that might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I rarely struggle with finishing a book—I have read Stephen King novels (he is one of those authors where you have to survive fifty tedious pages before it gets interesting). But this light novel was an ordeal to get through.
Does It Get Interesting? Sure, Until It Doesn’t Again
There are momentary parts that pick up the pace. Sasaki sees two people in Japan battling using magic, and he intercedes to help the girl. Keep in mind, Sasaki is not altruistic. Instead, he fears the impact witnessing a murder would have on his mental health. There is a narcissism to Sasaki. The teen girl, Miss Hoshizaki, who Sasaki mistakes for a woman, forces him to join their organization to track other psychics with dangerous abilities. It is unclear where the other magic users got their abilities from. Perhaps they received them from another realm as Sasaki did from Peeps.
After that brief spurt of entertainment, it drags again till there is a slugfest between psychic groups. The only other interesting time in the story is toward the end when Sasaki and Peeps return to Baytrium in the Kingdom of Herz and wind up participating in the war between Herz and the encroaching Ohgen Empire. Stakes become a life or death situation, and Sasaki thinks fast on his feet, but again, seeing his thoughts, you do not root for him. The surprise in the final pages felt less surprising since, given Sasaki’s obsession with young girls—the story would have his middle school neighbor obsessing over hooking up with him to excuse his character.
Not Enough Entertainment
If you go into Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 ready for a magically good time, you will leave deflated at hearing the innermost thoughts of a pedophile. Tame or not, Sasaki is not a person you want to read about, cheer for or know. While interesting on occasion, having Sasaki narrate the experience harmed the story. So, this is not a lead character you are happy to travel alongside. Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 is the monotonous droning of a guy who thinks about little girls too much when he is not shopping, worrying about his finances, or complaining about an STD.