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 8 Light Novel Choice: “Book Girl (Bungaku Shoujo)” series by Nomura Mizuki
Title: “Book Girl (Bungaku Shoujo)”
Author: Nomura Mizuki
Series?: Yes! 16 volumes, plus 4 short story collections. It’s finished publication, and is no longer in serialization.
Officially Licensed & Translated?: Yep! Yen Press is doing a fantastic job and releases somewhere between 2-4 volumes a year.
Fan translated?: Yes – by Baka-Tsuki, until it was picked up by Yen Press. It’s now “abandoned”, but there are other language translations (Viet, for example) that are still going on through them for this series.
Anime: Yes! One movie, and 3 OAV (original animation videos – one-off stories). As of April 2013, it has not been picked up for distro in North America.
Manga?: Yes! One manga series per book, by several different publishers. You can get more information at the official wiki page here. It’s still in publication/serialization within Japan as of April 2013, but has not been picked up for US/NA distro as of yet.
Summary: For self-styled “book girl,” third-year high school student Tohko Amano, being the head of the literary club is more than just an extracurricular activity with minor perks. It’s her bread and butter . . . literally! Tohko is actually a literature-gobbling demon, and instead of the less palatable option of water-soaked bread, she opts to munch on torn out pages from all kinds of stories. But for Tohko, the real delicacies are handwritten stories. And to satisfy her gourmet tastes, she’s employed (aka. browbeaten) one Konoha Inoue, an underclassman who has retreated from writing novels after his experiences with getting published at an early age. So day in and day out, Konoha scribbles away to satisfy Tohko’s appetite. But when, one day, another student comes knocking on the literary club door to seek advice on writing love letters, will Tohko discover a new kind of delicacy to whet her voracious appetite? (official synopsis for book one via Yen Press)
Why?: One of my absolute favorite LN series EVER (possibly because I’m the human version of Tohko), “Bungaku Shoujo/Book Girl” is a wonderful series because it contains so many things. Mystery. Romance. Magical Realism. Tough stuff issues. It goes to a lot of dark places that other LNs don’t in terms of real problems in the lives of young adults, and I admire Nomura for doing that. It’s not easy getting some of that into publication, especially in Japan. It’s written beautifully (I’m currently tackling the third book in its original format) in both Japanese and English (seriously, GJ, Yen Press!), and will definitely suck in anyone who tries to read it. HIGHLY recommended, guys. Seriously.
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!