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!
Title: “A Certain Magical Index (To Aru Majutsu no Index)” series
Author: Kamachi Kazuma
Series?: Yes, currently completed at 22 volumes. There’s also the “Railgun” spin-off series (which is at 10+ volumes in manga form), which got its own anime, and a spin-off sequel of the same universe of both, “A Certain Magical Index: New Testament” which is currently at 6 volumes, and a bunch of short stories all over the place.
Officially licensed & translated?: No. Not yet! But hopefully soon?
Fan translated?: Yes! Everything mentioned above is available at Baka-Tsuki.
Anime?: Yes! Two full seasons plus one film that should be out sometime in 2013. There’s also the “Railgun” spin-off anime series and mini-series, too. FUNiMATION has licensed the first “Index” season and the “Railgun” seasons for distro in North America, so be sure to check them out. You can also watch them streaming on the FUNiMATION app on your interactive TV or on their youtube channel for free. Hopefully they’ll be licensing the rest depending on the popularity of the first two series (as of February 2013).
Manga?: Yes! Two, the “Index” main series and the “Railgun” series – the latter of which is currently being translated and published by Seven Seas/Macmillan in North America under the title “A Certain Scientific Railgun”. Their translation is REALLY good, so I highly suggest you check it out!
Summary: Toaru Majutsu no Index is set in Academy City, a technologically advanced academic city located in western Tokyo which studies scientifically enhanced superhuman students known as espers who develop powers. However, within this world of scientifically developed super-abilities exists an underground world of magic and occult connected to the religious institutions of the world. Kamijou Touma, an unlucky boy who happens to be one of the many students within Academy City, possess a mysterious power in his right hand known as the “Imagine Breaker”, an ability which allows him to negate all forms of supernatural powers, whether they are magical or psychic. One day, he finds a young girl hanging on his balcony railing named Index. She is a nun from Necessarius, a secret magic branch of the Church of England, and her mind has been implanted with the Index Librorum Prohibitorum: 103,000 forbidden magical books that the Church has removed from circulation. Their encounter leads him to meet others from the secretive worlds of science and magic.
Kamijou Touma’s unusual power places him at the center of conflicts related to both science-based espers in Academy City and magicians. As Kamijou Touma tries to help and protect his friends, he learns that the people he knows are not as they appear and begins to attract the attention of magicians and espers alike as they try to unravel the secrets of Academy City and Index. (via Baka-Tsuki)
Why?: I really resisted getting into this series, and ironically enough, it was the anime of its spin-off, “Railgun”, which actually got me sucked into the universe. Now this is one of my favorite LN series, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can think of “Index” as the magical part of the universe, whereas “Railgun” is almost purely science-based and awesome. It’s a really big universe where anything can happen, and the comedy is great, too. Much in the vein of “Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian (Dantalian no Shoka)”, if you like libraries, magic, and girls with libraries inside of them, this is definitely the book for you. And even if not? Try it anyway. You may just like it.
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!