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 3 Light Novel Choice: “The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu)” series by Tanigawa Nagaru
Title: “The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu)” series
Author: Tanigawa Nagaru
Series?: Yes, currently at 11 volumes and counting.
Officially licensed & translated?: Yes! By Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Group) in North America – but check the wiki page to see where it might be available in your area if you’re not in NA.
Fan translated?: Yes! It was until it was licensed by LB by Baka-Tsuki. Then they dropped the project and let the LB translators take over.
Anime?: Yes! Two seasons, two spin-offs, and a movie. The two seasons and the movie are available in NA through Kadokawa Pictures, but not the spin-off as of February 2013. The spin-offs are ONAs (Original Net Animations) and can be found in Japanese on the web.
Manga?: Yes! The main series plus two spin-offs. The main series and the first spin-off (The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki) are available in NA through Yen Press in English. The second spin-off has not yet been licensed for translation.
Summary: Haruhi holds the fate of the universe in her hands . . . lucky for you she doesn’t know it!
Meet Haruhi – a cute, determined girl, starting high school in a city where nothing exciting happens and absolutely no one understands her.
Meet Kyon - the sarcastic guy who sits behind Haruhi in homeroom and the only boy Haruhi has ever opened up to. His fate is now tied to hers.
Meet the S.O.S. Brigade – an after-school club organized by Haruhi with a mission to seek out the extraordinary. Oh, and their second mission? Keeping Haruhi happy . . . because even though she doesn’t know it, Haruhi has the power to destroy the universe. Seriously. (via goodreads)
Why?: It’s hard not to recommend the “Haruhi” series – it’s ridiculously fun, silly, yet it goes into very interesting territory for sci-fi. At its core, “Haruhi” is lighthearted, but also goes to some dark places, so I’d say it’s fairly balanced. It’s definitely a force to be reckoned with as a franchise – the books alone have sold at least 4.5 million copies in Japan ALONE, and while it’s been seven years since the first season of the anime launched, it’s still going strong as a very popular series. I’m hoping for another season or two (though if they pull the “Endless Eight” arc out again I’m going to scream), or maybe a movie, because “Haruhi” is a familiar place to me. It was one of the first LNs I read in Japanese, so it has a dear place in my heart. Definitely recommended if you’re just getting your feet wet in the light novel pool.
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!