It took a lot more time and effort than I was planning on, but I’ve finally managed to complete all the entries I had in mind for the light novel database on this site. There are sixty entries for you to peruse, and hopefully the information I’ve gathered and organized will prove helpful for some of you! I know it’s already been helpful for me–I’ve learned about quite a few light novel series I never knew about before, many of which sound like just the sort of stories I’d be interested in.
Though I’ve finished what I consider to be the heart and central feature of this site, I do intend to keep things relatively active here. Entries will need to be updated of course as new volumes and series are released, but I also plan to share any news related to light novels I can find. Not to mention, there are surely some light novels I’ve missed that will need entries–and I will need to make some decisions regarding a few of the gray areas I came across while deciding what entries to put together:
- Japanese YA novels translated into English — For example, much of Viz Media’s Haikasoru line of novels. Some of them I’m unfamiliar with, and they might be considered light novels (particularly if they include illustrations). I will have to research the books some more, and perhaps decide to include more for the sake of exposing anime/manga fans to other works they’d be interested in. Perhaps a single page spotlighting most of these would be helpful.
- Ebooks from Digital Manga — The vast majority of these appear to be short single-volume yaoi titles in digital formats (main exceptions being Aria the Scarlet Bullet, and Yashakiden). I may decide to create one large page dedicated to most of these. (About thirty titles?)
- Fan translations of light novels — This site is intended to focus on official releases of light novels translated by publishers for English release. That said, I know many of you would be interested in finding fan translations of series that never officially make it out of Japan (in which case, a quick internet search should land you at least a couple large sites). I probably won’t make entries for these light novels, but I may decide to write reviews at least for the stories I read.
- Light novels from outside of Japan — There are a number of works written in languages other than Japanese that follow the general style of light novels. For example, 1/2 Prince is a series by Taiwanese author Yu Wo, which has since been fan-translated into English (and given the author’s blessing). There are also a number of original English light novels to be found online, and I would be glad to give them some recognition. I will need to research some more first.
Moving on, here’s something interesting I found when I looked at where the site’s views are coming from:
As you can see, the site has been receiving visitors from many different countries. Almost fifty of them, to my pleasant surprise. It’s made me note that when light novels are translated into English, it’s making the stories available to readers not only in English-speaking countries–but to anyone who can read English anywhere. I will have to see if there is anything I can add to the light novel entries to make the books easier to find for those living in various part of the world. (I have been suggested Book Depository for a site that offers worldwide free shipping? I will have to see what light novels are there.)
And now for some random facts on the light novels I’ve made entries for. First, let’s see what genres are covered:
- Adventure – 8
- Comedy – 7
- Drama – 6
- Fantasy – 9
- Horror – 5
- Mecha – 5
- Mystery – 6
- Romcom – 5
- Sci-fi – 8
Of course, there are generally multiple genres blended together for these books, but this at least gets the basic idea across that there is a nice variety to the light novel stories available in English. Plenty of good books particularly for those who like sci-fi and fantasy though, as most of those listed in adventure, horror, and mecha will have supernatural elements as well.
For publishers, the biggest ones are Tokyopop (21 entries), Yen Press (8 entries), Viz Media (7 entries), Del Rey (6 entries), Dark Horse (6 entries), and Seven Seas (4 entries).
- Completed series: 33
- Single-volume entries: 15
- Ongoing series: at least 5 (Spice and Wolf, Vampire Hunter D, Sword Art Online, Haruhi Suzumiya, Aria the Scarlet Ammo)
- Upcoming series: at least 3 (A Certain Magical Index, Accel World, DanMachi)
- Oldest entry: Guin Saga (began in 1979)
- Most light novels in English: Vampire Hunter D (with 20 so far)
- Author with most entries: Nisio Isin has four (Zaregoto, Death Note: Another Note, xxxHolic: AnotherHolic, and a story in the Faust anthology)
- Most common translator: probably Andrew Cunningham, who translated at least seven of the entries into English
On the topic of translators though, that was definitely the piece of information that was hardest to find for all the entries I put together. It’s something that rarely gets put online at all it seems, as I almost always had to spend quite a bit of time searching through many websites for a name in some obscure blog entry, Ebay listing, or library database. I believe only two entries featured the translator on the cover: the Naruto stories, and the Rurouni Kenshin novel.
That said, there were at least nine entries I never found a name for at all. If you happen to own one of these books, could you flip to one of the first few pages and find the translator’s name? I need this bit of info for Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Faust, Full Metal Panic, Good Witch of the West, Missing, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Onegai Teacher, and Pita-Ten. (A comment here or in their respective entries is fine.) It’s probably not something most visitors here will be concerned about, but I like to give credit where it’s due.
That’s enough of my rambling; I’ll go ahead and end with bullet points of some of the light novels I hadn’t known about, but are now at the top of my wish list and to-read list:
- All You Need is Kill
- Good Witch of the West
- Kitchen Princess
- Twelve Kingdoms
- Welcome to the NHK
So many books–so little time, as they say. ;)
What novels have you learned about and plan to pick up? I’m curious to hear what catches everyone’s interest, so please leave a comment. Also, feel free to offer any suggestions or ideas for this site in general. Anything that should be added to the light novel entries? (For example, links to reviews, perhaps? Or an “if you liked this book, you might also like ____” suggestions?) And anything in particular you’d be most interested in from me? (My own reviews of light novels? Editorials on the light novel industry in general? Interviews? Wacky top 10 lists? Posts on anime based on light novels? Author or illustrator spotlights? Open discussion posts for specific series?) Let me know what you have in mind.