Friday Night Lights: Week 1

fridaynightlightsHey, everyone! Welcome to the launch for my newest feature, Friday Night Lights – a feature exploring Japanese light novels that I love and I hope you enjoy, too!

What is a light novel, you ask? Check out my launch announcement post here for details. Basically, you can call it YA lit for Japan, though that’s not entirely accurate. I’ll be using the same terms for genres as I do in my Manga Monday segment, so if you get confused, go here for clarification on those terms.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get to our first featured light novel for this feature! Remember, if my choice of the week has been fan translated, if it gets licensed for your area/territory and goes on sale? Please buy it and support the original artists!

Week 1 Light Novel Choice: The “Monogatari (Story)” series by Nisioisin

"Monogatari (Story" series by Nisioisin. Above: Book 1, "Monstory (Bakemonogatari)"

“Monogatari (Story” series by Nisioisin. Above: Book 1, “Monstory (Bakemonogatari)”

Title: “Monogatari (Story)”

Author: Nisioisin (Nishio Ishin)

Series?: Yes, currently with 13 volumes and 1 short story collection. It’s still being serialized and published in Japan, though it’s due to end sometime later this year (2013) or early next year (2014).

Officially licensed & translated?: No. Not yet! But hopefully soon?

Fan translated?: Yes! Three volumes (Book 3: “Woundstory (Kizumonogatari)”, Book 6: “Catstory: Black (Nekomonogatari: Kuro)”, Book 7: “Catstory: White (Nekomonogatari: Shiro)”) are available through Baka-Tsuki, with more on the way along with one that’s almost complete by Anonymous (Book 1: “Monstory (Bakemonogatari)”.

Anime?: Yes, three seasons (“Monstory (Bakemonogatari)”, “Fakestory (Nisemonogatari)”, and “Catstory: Black (Nekomonogatari: Kuro)”), plus one film that’s slated for release for Summer/Fall 2013 (“Woundstory (Kizumonogatari)”. The first two seasons are available as imports through Aniplex USA on BD, but no DVD release as of yet. The other two are not yet available in either territory (US nor JP – as of February 2013).

Manga?: Not that I know of (as of February 2013).

Summary: Bakemonogatari centers on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who is almost human again after briefly becoming a vampire. One day, a classmate named Hitagi Senjōgahara, who never talks to anyone, falls down the stairs into Koyomi’s arms. He discovers that Hitagi weighs next to nothing, in defiance of physics. Despite being threatened by her to keep away, Koyomi offers his help, and introduces her to Meme Oshino, a strange middle-aged man living in an abandoned building, who cured him of being a vampire. Once Koyomi helps solve Hitagi’s problem, she agrees to become his friend, and later his girlfriend.

As the series progresses, Koyomi gets himself involved with other girls each afflicted by a different “apparition”, including the ghost of a child called Mayoi Hachikuji, his underclassman Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku, a friend of his sisters, his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa and his own younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi. To deal with the spectres, Koyomi counts with guidance from Oshino and later from Shinobu, the same vampire who attacked him, now with the appearance of an eight-year-old girl and living within his shadow.

Most heroines have an item which symbolises their spectres, such as Hitagi’s stapler – the claw of a crab, Mayoi’s back pack – the shell of a snail, Suruga’s arm – the arm of a monkey, Nadeko’s big hat and baggy jacket – the head and skin of a snake, and Karen’s yellow suit with black stripes – the colors of a bee. Although incorporating elements of fantasy, horror and sometimes action series, it primarily focuses on conversations between characters, containing a fair number of parodies of other series as well as Nisio Isin‘s trademark word play and metahumor. (via wikipedia)

Why?: Actually, I became a fan of this author through his “Zaregoto” series (this will be featured later on in coming weeks – two volumes were translated in the US then suddenly dropped), and friend of the blog Saa, an equally rabid Nisio fan, told me to try out the “Monogatari” series. So I did! And it helped that the first season of the anime was also running at the same time. I managed to find a few volumes at my local Book-Off used, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. The word play can be a bit difficult to read sometimes, but most of it is pretty understandable and it’s hilarious. And I love anything with meta humor. This is one of my favorite LN series, so be sure to check it out! It’s really fun, and has some incredible monsters within it.

Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!


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