God created this world on Monday and abandoned it on Sunday. As a result, people are no longer born, and the dead no longer dies. “Gravekeepers” are the last miracle on this earth, able to put the dead to the eternal rest.
Ai is a new gravekeeper, acting in place of her late mother. She and her newfound companions travel the tragic world in order to “save” it.
Volume 1-5 (shown above) covers only what happened in the anime and clarifies the ending that got everybody saying ‘huh?’ I’ll write an explanation on what happened to D and Alice at the end.
The earlier volumes had the strongest plot and themes, while later it’s still cool but breaks down into something… I don’t know, strange?
Kaminai’s strongest point is that it’s one of the most unpredictable stories. The author sets up a world that is so unstable that it’s impossible to guess what’s going to happen next. Kaminai has an original concept, it’s rare to find something where you don’t go ‘hey I’ve seen this somewhere before’.
Volume 1 covers Ai leaving her village, and it’s exactly the same as the anime, aside from that it goes into deeper details on Hampnie Hambart kicking Ai around. The plot is strong, as expected of an opening volume.
The second volume was most memorable for Ulla and Kiriko, but the novel was so meh. I was expecting some expansion of what was presented in the anime, but that volume was really thin and barely has any extra details. To me, the Ortus chapter was my top favorite arc of Kaminai and it’s quite disappointing. The characters weren’t memorable either.
The third volume, I skipped entirely because it’s the least memorable portion of the story.
The fourth volume was not in the anime, as far as I remember. It’s about Ai and her gang climbing some kind of tower that stretches into space. It was a strange read. The prose was very stylish, but it was still easy to follow what was going on. Many twists and turns. Alice really shone in this volume at the end. What really threw me off was how D was the last boss of this volume, and what she did doesn’t line up with the next volume.
The fifth is what happened in the final portion of the anime. This is where the novel really helped understand the anime. Ai x Alice is really strong in this one, and it was a good read.
So here’s what happened at the end. (spoilers, scroll to the bottom if you haven’t seen the anime.)
Class 3/4 has been looping the same days for 14 years, as we all know. Anyone who got killed would get ‘reset’, and so sometimes people who knew that they’re stuck in an endless loop would get killed. That was why Alice took so long to escape that world.
D was not the one who died. She could only recall her memories to that point, that’s why she thought she was a spirit because she was dead. Alice actually died saving her, throwing her inside the classroom and falling out himself. He was buried. That was why D, whose real body was still inside the loop, appeared as a spirit outside, while Alice gained a body outside because it was Class 3/4’s wish.
Alice and D kept taking more and more people inside to destroy the loop. However, those people instead became part of the loop. They also tried killing everyone in the loop to no avail, since everyone would just revive.
Finally, with Ai’s help, they destroyed the loop by making everyone in class 3/4 recall what happened, meaning that Alice would disappear. Alice was prepared for that, and said goodbye to her as we saw. However, Ai wished that Alice would still live as she left the loop, and so brought Alice outside.
EDIT: And sorry, I misunderstood the ending. The final pages of vol. 5 said something along the line of Ai being the only one that could see Alice, but the author meant in the loop, because they were the last ones to leave. And I thought that when the author said Ai ‘brought a man back to life’ he meant it figuratively when he meant it literally. So, Ai brought Alice, flesh and blood and all, back to the real world.
So there’s the Alice that died and got buried, and the Alice that continued to live because of class 3/4 and Ai’s wish.
Overall, it is an imaginative light novel, but some volumes feel unnecessary, even for the sake of world-building. Kaminai is already up to volume 7 in my country, and I guess I have to go buy the rest of them now. See you later.
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