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 4 Light Novel Choice: “Zaregoto” series by Nisioisin
Series?: Yes, at 9 volumes. A spin-off series featuring the Zerozaki crime family, “Zerozaki Itoshiki’s Test of Humanity (Zerozaki Itoshiki no Ningen Shiken)” has six. The spin-off series has not been officially licensed for translation.
Officially licensed & translated?: Yes, but only for the first two volumes. For some reason, Del-Rey/Kodansha USA dropped the project and didn’t really talk about it after that. (As of February 2013)
Fan translated?: Yes, volumes 3 and 4, at Suiminchuudoku.net. It looks like they’re going to finish the series from where Del-Rey/Kodansha USA left off. (As of February 2013)
Anime?: Nope. This series and its spin-off has yet to get the anime treatment. But hopefully with the success with the “Monogatari” series, it will!
Manga?: Nope. However, the spin-off series does, with at least two volumes of manga as of February 2013.
Summary: It’s the vacation of a lifetime, a trip to a remote island filled with geniuses–and murder.
On Wet Crow’s Feather Island, a tiny speck in the Sea of Japan, lives Akagami Iria, the exiled daughter of a powerful family. Born into great wealth, she was a princess of the highest pedigree–until she was cut off by the leader of the Akagami Foundation. For the last five years, she’s lived on Feather Island with her maids. But she hasn’t been alone. She has invited the best minds Japan has to offer to come and stay with her.
And so nineteen-year-old college student Ii-chan and his best friend, computer genius Kunagisa Tomo, find themselves as Iria’s guests at her elaborate mansion. Surrounded by fascinating women–a chef, a fortune-teller, a scholar, and an artist, not to mention his own friend Tomo–Ii-chan is feeling a little overmatched intellectually. But the sudden discovery of a grisly murder sends the island into shock. And Ii-chan discovers that he does possess a bit of genius: the ability to discover what is real and what is fake . . . who is who they claim to be–and who is a killer.
Why?: This was my first introduction to Nisioisin’s prose, and even in translation, I loved it. So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that Del-Rey mysteriously dropped the project. Since then, he’s become one of my favorite LN authors, simply because he is just so creative and puts out a ridiculous amount of material year after year. It’s pretty impressive. And while I love the “Monogatari” series more, I’m still reading this one, and it’s fun. He’ll keep you on your toes the entire time, and it’s a pretty great mystery series. Here’s hoping we get a rescue license pick-up by another company or an anime series or both.
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!