It’s not immediately clear what the hell is Oeufcoque for this non-French-speaking person, but once you realize it is suppose to be like œuf à la coque, then, well. I had a hard time taking the book seriously after knowing the main character is named after Balut, and was literally because people thought she was like the delicacy she was named after. It was small graces like my ignorance of French that kept my beliefs suspended from collapsing, as I don’t know how I could have reacted.
Sure, it’s the same kind of lame name schemes some other anime/manga/light novels have gotten away with. I don’t hate on Magic Knight Rayearth because they use car maker names, for example. In fact I think I prefer it in that particular way–when the names are just names and are not some kind of extended metaphor about the psychology of the characters. It makes me laugh when Mr. Boiled wants to cuddle with Soft-boiled, and Ms. Balut has a bone to pick with Mr. Shell. It seems just ridiculous to take these names seriously. Later on when the soft-boiled, half-bromance triangle came into focus, I just basically stopped taking it seriously.
On the other hand, it works well when the psychos Boiled hired were named after different kind of conditioning on meat. So there you have it.
Balut would have made an excellent Range Murata heroine; the character concept fits his style to a tee. Too bad it just wasn’t meant to be.
As to the book itself? I don’t really think it stands up to scrutiny despite being a character focused piece meant to guide us through an array of futurist moral problems while entertaining us on a more basic level. Read it for the Hollywood-inspired action and drama, and for characters that you care about despite their mutilated backstories and charred personalities. In fact, it’s best to read it; I’m not really equipped to discuss the nuances of it, although I suppose some could be said of breaking down casino gambling into the pieces of math and human social behavioral study pieces. Unfortunately that is also exactly why most SF/urban fantasy readers might find a quarter of the book totally out of place. Still for one I am glad they didn’t quite walk down the well-trodden road that the likes of Hideyuki Kikuchi has made a good living out of, even if Ubukata has a foot in it anyways.
On the other hand, Ubukata does have a very interesting, almost pacifist message in it. One that made me appreciate Heroic Age even more. And once taken into account, it makes the casino pieces much more amusing, especially as proxy for violence. So (as expected) you could have this half-boiled egg product in more ways than one.