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 10 Light Novel Choice: “Drrr (Durarara)!!” series by Narita Ryougo
Author: Narita Ryougo
Series?: Yes! 11 volumes so far since 2004 and it’s still ongoing as of April 2013.
Officially Licensed & Translated?: No. But the manga, which is a pretty faithful adaptation of the novels, has been licensed by Yen Press, and they’re doing a great job with it, and Aniplex USA has the anime out here in North America too. Hopefully the novel licensing can’t be too far away.
Fan translated?: Yes – by a WHOLE lot of people, including Baka-Tsuki. They have a master list of who’s been working on the series thus far at their page for the series here.
Anime?: Yes, one season so far (26 episodes). Hoping for a second one sometime soon. The anime is available in NA through Aniplex USA.
Manga?: Yes, one series, currently being translated by Yen Press in North America. Four volumes total.
Summary: Mikado Ryūgamine, a young boy who longs for the exciting life of the big city, moves to Ikebukuro at the invitation of his childhood friend Masaomi Kida, who he has not seen since he was young, to attend Raira Academy with him. After meeting Masaomi at the train station, they both set out at night to the streets of Ikebukuro. Masaomi warns him about people he doesn’t want to cross in the city: like a violent and superhumanly strong man, Shizuo Heiwajima, an information broker, Izaya Orihara, and a mysterious gang known as “The Dollars.” After running into some of the side characters, Mikado witnesses a local legend called the “Black Rider”, who rides around Ikebukuro on a black bike that occasionally brays like a horse and also rumored to have no head under its helmet. The “Black Rider” is Celty Sturluson, an Irish dullahan who is in Ikebukuro looking for her stolen head. The narrative follows all of the characters equally, showing how their lives intersect, creating a greater plot-line from what each character knows about a common incident.
Why?: I was always wondering what had spawned the original story of the “Headless Horseman” – and I got my answer here of all places in the legend of the Dullahan, being rebooted into the story now known as “Drrr!!”. This is one of Narita Ryougo’s many light novel series (seriously, he’s nearly as prolific as Nisioisin when it comes to sheer creative output in novels per year), and it’s one of my favorites from him. He’s a fantastic storyteller, and there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes that always never fail to make me laugh. Yet there’s a lot of feeling and pathos, and it’s generally on the whole really balanced in all technical areas – my favorite kind of book. This is definitely one of his more daring series, and I’m so glad it’s not over yet. Hoping it gets licensed soon. Definitely one of my favorites, and highly recommended!
Are you a light novel fan? If so, which ones are your favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!