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 6 Light Novel Choice: “Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)” series by Tanaka Romeo
Author: Tanaka Romeo
Series?: Yes! Seven volumes so far as of July 2012 and is still ongoing.
Officially licensed & translated?: Nope. However, the anime series has been officially licensed by Sentai Filmworks, so you can watch the adaptation legally here in the States when it gets released on DVD/BD soon!
Fan translated?: Yes! FINALLY we’re gettings one, though it’s taking awhile. Only the first part of the first chapter has been translated and posted so far, but it’s better than nothing. TLWiki is doing a pretty good job of things, imo.
Anime: Yes! One season (so far, I’m hoping for another soon), and as I said before, it’ll be available through Sentai Filmworks in NA for sale very soon. There are also some specials that came with the original Japanese release DVD/BDs, too.
Manga?: Yes! Three adaptations’ worth. I covered one of them on a segment of Manga Monday last year, and I knew there was a second in production at the time, but now there are three. You can get more information on them and their titles here. None have been picked up for fan-translation or official licensing as far as I can tell (as of March 2013).
Summary: Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita) is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the human civilization has regressed and mankind keeps decreasing in numbers. The story follows an unnamed girl who acts as a mediator between humanity and the “fairies” who are small dwarf-like creatures attracted by sweets and happy things, but also have the habit to cause trouble to her with their powers in their endless search for amusement.
Why?: I admit I was watching the anime when this series caught my attention. After the first two episodes I ran out to my local Japanese bookstore and bought the first volume. And it’s hilarious. Not too many puns, and pretty easy to read, “JinTai” (as it’s called by fans) is narrated by a girl we only know as “Me” (watashi) or, sometimes as “Sweets” (okashi). We don’t know her real name, and I’m wondering if Tanaka is ever going to give us her name. Seriously. Also, these fairies? You will DIE of laughter. There’s some not so subtle social commentary within this series, too (just look for the fake chickens as CEOs smoking cigars bit), which makes me love Tanaka for doing it even more. With a really original world and characters, “JinTai” is highly recommended, and I’m hoping the novels get licensed for translation here soon.
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!