Toctoc, Kadi here.
It's taken me a while longer than I hoped, but here is the first web novel review done. The first among... an alright number, I hope. I'm still taking recommendations, details can be found here, I've gotten a few interesting ones already.
But now, without further ado...
The Swazik Futuer - The Outcome of Good Intentions
Alt.: Princess Swazik Tale - The Whereabouts of Good Will, スワジク姫物語 ―善意の行方―
Author: Tomato Sandwich (トマトサンド)
Official Tags: Reverse Harem, Otherworld, Spiritual Possession, Princess, Comedy, Yuri, Genderbender/Sex Change
Length: 68 medium-length main chapters
Status: incomplete, irregular updates (was inactive for >6 months before an update last week)
Other: has 2 chapters as a doujin manga adaption, one of them scanlated
Our unnamed male protagonist finds himself in darkness, heading towards a voice calling for help. When he wakes up the next time, he's in the body of a princess Swazik who was just saved from drowning. No idea about her circumstances, who to trust or who to ask for help, he decides to roll with it, act with princessly refinement and grace and see where it takes him.
What he doesn't know: the princess he is now? Swazik was Princess Mayhem/Brutality/Barbarism (pick one), spoiled, violent, hair-trigger-tempered and maid killer. Literally. How will he/she deal with her scared maids? How will maids and family deal with their all-new princess? Slowly, "Swazik" discovers who "she" was, but will she make it in time to avoid a fatal misstep? And how will "she" face the future as Swazik?
Swazik - Princess Mayhem. Was recently possessed by the male protagonist. Used to be brutality incarnate, now wouldn't hurt a fly. Almost Alice-grade fluffiness.
Misha - Hardcore lesbian maid and playgirl. One day noticed just how cute her tyrannic mistress actually was.
Anise - klutzy maid and Misha's main lover. Probably the most scared of the princess of them all.
Faytaar - Siscon brother prettyboy prince. Pours cheese and sleaze all over Swazik at every opportunity, much to the latter's consternation and our entertainment.
Leo - Faytaar's best friend and prettyboy. Mysterious and cool(TM).
It was probably Swazik Futuer that made me consciously realize for the first time how hilarious comedy based on difference in information is. On one hand, we have the protagonist, Princess Swazik, who's tame as a kitten, wouldn't hurt a fly and tries to act out our modern-day Disney Princess. On the other hand, we have the maids in particular who have learned to fear and loathe their vicious mistress in the past. As serious as that sounds, the result is great comedy. Tomato Sandwich strike a pretty good cord with it, but doesn't let it go stale.
That leads us to the second of Swazik's strengths: Pacing. Before the jokes get old or the status quo gets boring, the story takes another step or reveals another detail of Swazik's past. At the same time, it doesn't feel rushed or lacking in detail. If you ask me, the pacing is just right.
Which leads us to the third important point about Swazik: It's tagged as comedy, right? I've praised its comedy, right? Yeah, don't get tricked. It's a tragedy. And it's awesome. It doesn't aim to make you as miserable as it can, but the jabs hurt nonetheless. As with the comedy, the amount is dosed just right. Swazik will make you laugh, and she'll... well, she might not make you heartless bastards cry, but she will give you feels.
A big part of that is thanks to the characters. You'll learn to understand them, if not like them. They all have their motivations for what they're doing. Yes, even the over-the-top siscon Faytaar. And there is no simply evil character. Hell, I dare say there is no evil character at all, just people with goals and grudges. Some just end up on different sides of the lines drawn, whether they like it or not. And as important as such character setups are, they make the cast realistic and emotionally connectable after all, I think they are much too rare in web novel culture. That makes Swazik Futuer an even rarer gem among the myriad of stories out there.
Now, for all the praise I'm heaping on this, I'm particularly vague regarding the details spoilers, aren't I? Well... this is one of those stories you need to experience first hand. You need to go through reveal after reveal and find out yourself. Spoiling it would ruin most of the fun, so I hope you can understand why I'm hesitating to give meaty spoilers (personal dislike for those aside). And if you can't like it for the vegetables I offered you here, maybe, just maybe...
Good comedy, good tragedy, great pacing, great characters... you know how the first point I made about these reviews is that I wouldn't translate them? For Swazik, I'm considering breaking that point. On the first review. Hell yeah. Yes, I like it that much. And no worries, I'll get some more Alice Tale updates out beforehand, rest assured.
Fluffiness: Almost Alice-grade. No, really, Swazik is ADORABLE. Dibs?
Tragedy: Sweetest Pain, just enough to want more
Pacing: I wish other authors would learn from this
Prose: who cares, it's not like we can judge it appropriately
... I'm taking suggestions for other Random Criteria, too. Gimme something good. Or hilarious. Or both. I don't care.
P.S.: Oh, right. The other link.