No Point, Not to be Read.
So Kadono Kouhei writes the Boogiepop series, and everything he writes is set in the same world -- even the things that aren't are linked in clever ways. The Boogiepop novels feature a sort of formless menace known as the Towa Kikou, or just The System. As the Boogiepop series entered double digits, the head of the Towa Kikou was revealed to be a soft spoken man with so little personality people frequently failed to notice him until he spoke -- and when he spoke, he spoke in riddles. His name was Oxygen, and he could see the strings of fate. But Oxygen was dying, and searching for his replacement. This was an immensely tedious subplot for several volumes -- only one time was it ever the focus, and that novel is the single worst book in the series -- and it had an annoying habit of showing up in Faust short stories, even providing a key driving force to Beat's Discipline.
Oxygen himself was, by nature, a cryptic cipher -- a man who spoke only in the half-baked, deliberately obfuscated philoso-shit Kadono previously had the sense to keep confined to the writings of a fictional author that other characters occasionally attempted to understand. Plots caused by him or involving him never seemed to add up to much, and the Boogiepop novels were noticeably better when Kadono stopped trickling in half-assed arc plots and wrapped that storyline up.
In this book. Written for a completely different publisher. For a completely different audience. And in a way that would make absolutely no fucking sense to anyone not already a huge fan.
I dunno, maybe it's just me, but given a shot at doing a big hardcover prestige volume that's also supposed to be a fucking children's novel, I'd probably try to do something with as little continuity as possible, with a big, meaty hook, and interesting characters. I'm not sure the book is actually all that continuity heavy -- Oxygen is just a crazy dude in the part, Teratsuki is just a dude that died and left secrets behind, the armed robbers may vaguely mention how they used to work for Diamonds but it doesn't matter if you don't get it...but Kaleidoscopes brief appearance is pretty inexplicable, and the epilogue -- where fucking Suema Kazuko takes over the god damn Towa Kikou -- is utterly baffling even though (or especially because?) he doesn't mention her name.
But even ignoring the continuity heavy shit, the novel is simply BAD.
The entire front half of the book is loaded with fucking endless baffling conversations with Oxygen, and even when there are armed robbers and treasure and halls filled with mirrors and shit later on, every fucking decision a character makes winds up flashing back to yet more fucking Oxygen prattle he mercifully failed to dole out the first time around. None of which adds up to anything worth a damn, because all the characters are completely uninteresting, something I didn't actually think could ever happen in a Kadono novel -- even the truly appalling Zankokugo Jiken had some decent character moments, where this has fucking none.
As if the relentlessly uninviting slog of a main text wasn't bad enough, he's randomly decided to preface each chapter with a bit of summary taken from a shitty tokusatsu TV show one of the characters once starred it. Not only is this clearly the most mind-bogglingly cliched piece of shit ever put to fucking film, not only do the brief plot excepts often fucking end on cliffhangers ("only to discover...") that are never resolved, but the fucking things don't even have the courtesy to provide some sort of meta-allegorical parallel to the actual events. I was literally unable to perceive any mother fucking reason for them to be there at all, except to prove that Kadono is capable of some of the worst prose ever turned out by mortal man.
I was really looking forward to digging into the three Mystery Land novels I bought years and years ago -- I wanted to read them all in a row, and I'd even planned on making a feature on the old wiki version of Eastern Standard. But after two of the worst books ever written by truly great writers, I don't know if I have the stomach to see if Otsu Ichi fucked his up this god damn hard too.