Last year Berserk of Gluttony was the joint winner of the most wanted light novel license in the AUKN: Readers’ Choice Awards. Since then the series has been licensed for release by Seven Seas and today I’m here to find out if it lives up to the hype!
The story follows Fate Barbatos, who was born with the magical skill Gluttony. This skill leaves our protagonist with a hunger that he just can’t satisfy and with no remarkable talents to his name, Fate makes ends meet by working as a gatekeeper for the city he lives in.
However, one day Fate and his fellow gatekeeper Roxy end up attacking a pack of thieves, which results in Fate killing one of them. Afterwards, he’s surprised to find that his base stats and skills have all risen and has the shocking realisation that this is a byproduct of Gluttony. With this, perhaps Fate could make a living as an adventurer and finally take control of his life instead of barely getting by.
The following day, Fate goes hunting for a weapon to help him find monsters and comes across a sword known as Greed. This sword is sentient and said to choose his own master and after discovering Fate has the Gluttony skill, is more than happy to become his companion. With Greed in hand, Fate hunts goblins and gains more power from their souls – as well as extra abilities.
However, Gluttony has a downside. The more Fate feeds it, the more the skill wants to eat and eventually goblins won’t be enough to satisfy it. Unless Fate can continue to fight stronger and stronger monsters, he’ll soon find himself in a state of starvation where he’s liable to lash out at those around him to feed his appetite.
While experimenting with his skill, Fate stopped being a gatekeeper, but instead began working as a servant for Roxy (who belongs to an important family). Unbeknownst to Roxy, Fate holds romantic feelings for her and wants to make sure no harm befalls her, so he’s more than happy to work under her. The problem is that his peaceful life almost certainly can’t continue while Gluttony requires stronger sustenance.
While this first volume of Berserk of Gluttony is focused on setting up the world and characters, I do enjoy the dilemma Fate is almost immediately put into. He finally has a rewarding job working under Roxy, but having Gluttony means he’s going to have to throw it all away sooner or later. Other series would have spent at least one more volume with Fate ignoring this before finally moving onto the next stage of the story.
Perhaps the one drawback of this set-up is that Fate has gone from zero to hero in a flash. If Gluttony giving him the ability to gain higher stats and better skills weren’t bad enough, Greed is an incredibly fearsome blade that won’t lose to anyone. This takes most of the tension out of Fate’s fights, especially earlier on, but as he fights stronger monsters, skills and stats won’t be enough to prevent him from dying an untimely death. He needs to work on his fighting style and general tactics to make sure he has what it takes to survive in this world.
The other downside is that the book doesn’t do a particularly good job of justifying why Fate doesn’t just tell Roxy about his skill. To us readers it’s clear that Roxy likes Fate a great deal and I’m sure she’d be more than willing to keep him working for her while also working around the fact he needs to go off to fight strong opponents occasionally. Whenever the topic comes up, Fate hand-waves it away by saying he doesn’t want Roxy to see him differently, knowing his power comes from killing others, but that just isn’t convincing enough for me. Hopefully, sooner or later Roxy will find out herself, eliminating the issue.
Like many popular light novel series, Berserk of Gluttony was originally a web novel series and its author Isshiki Ichika’s first published work. The web novel format works to the series’ benefit since the book is cut into relatively short chunks, which means you can pick it up briefly and get your fill of Fate’s story. Ichika doesn’t linger too much on world-building or fighting monsters, which keeps the reader engaged with the story. Both Fate and Roxy are likeable characters too, even if they will feel familiar to people who read a lot of light novels in this genre.
I can certainly see why people were excited for the series to be licensed for the English market. While it’s not doing anything particularly unique, what it does offer keeps readers invested and wanting to see more. I’m certainly on-board for Volume 2 to see what happens between Roxy and Fate. Some readers will also be relieved to find this isn’t an isekai, reincarnation or harem series either, even if it does take plenty of influences from those genres.
As previously mentioned, Berserk of Gluttony comes to the West thanks to Seven Seas (who also publish the manga adaptation) and has been translated by Hengtee Lim. The translation reads well with no issues to speak of. The release itself includes colour pages and has an embossed logo on the front, which makes it feel like a high-quality release. Illustrations for the series have been handled by fame and these are nice, although rarely have any backgrounds behind the characters which is a shame, especially since the characters themselves are quite detailed.
The series is on-going in Japan at 7 volumes. Seven Seas are releasing Volume 2 physically in April, but if you read your light novels digitally then you can purchase Volume 2 right now.
Overall, Berserk of Gluttony is off to an interesting start. Even if it’s not going to be for everyone, it captures the things many of us like about the fantasy genre well. If nothing else, the author has a goal in mind for the protagonist and I’m looking forward to seeing if and when we’ll reach it.