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 9 Light Novel Choice: “Spice & Wolf” series by Hasekura Isuna
Title: “Spice & Wolf”
Author: Hasekura Isuna
Series?: Yes! 17 volumes that were published between 2006-2011.
Officially Licensed & Translated?: Yes, by Yen Press, who’s been doing a great job with it!
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! Two seasons of anime (which have been licensed and distro’d by Funimation in NA) and two OAVs, which, at this point, are not officially available in NA.
Manga?: Yes! Ongoing, 8 volumes in Japan as of March 2013, and has been licensed by Yen Press here in NA. They’re also doing a great job with the manga series too!
Visual Novels?: Yes! Two! For the DS, and sadly, they’re not available outside of Japan (unless you can read in Japanese). I haven’t played them, so I can’t tell you what they’re like, but I’d like to in the future. Don’t know what a visual novel is? Go here for more explanation.
Summary: The life of a traveling merchant is a lonely one, a fact with which Kraft Lawrence is well acquainted. Wandering from town to town with just his horse, cart, and whatever wares have come his way, the peddler has pretty well settled into his routine-that is, until the night Lawrence finds a wolf goddess asleep in his cart. Taking the form of a fetching girl with wolf ears and a tail, Holo has wearied of tending to harvests in the countryside and strikes up a bargain with the merchant to lend him the cunning of “Holo the Wisewolf” to increase his profits in exchange for taking her along on his travels. What kind of businessman could turn down such an offer? Lawrence soon learns, though, that having an ancient goddess as a traveling companion can be a bit of a mixed blessing. Will this wolf girl turn out to be too wild to tame? (via
Why?: This one has a special place in my heart because it talks of a huge cultural shift within humanity, and though it isn’t strictly historically based, I feel like it gives us a possible window as to how the church and the pagans kind of fought each other as Christianity took over as the dominant religion long ago. This book is so much more than this blurb makes it out to be, and you get to see that in later volumes of the series. This series has a little something for everyone, and I think that everyone will find something to enjoy within this series. I know that was the case with me. There’s a lot of heart, and a lot of love in this series that’s not necessarily romantic, and is generally just a really fun fantasy read. Highly recommended!
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!