We’ve finished a pretty nice year for light novels in English, with over fifteen official releases as well as a lot of exciting announcements. For this post I will go over some of this year’s highlights as well as a couple related personal achievements. And then maybe take a look at what 2015 holds for us?
First, here are the light novels that were published in 2014:
It’s a pretty good haul, and next year already has an even higher number of volumes announced to release (see right sidebar for the planned schedule). Perhaps more significantly, it’s nice to see light novel series are being released to their completion. Book Girl finished its main story with volume eight, while Vampire Hunter D and Spice and Wolf continue to steadily approach their conclusions as well.
This website was created shortly after Yen Press announced its new light novel imprint Yen On–arguably the biggest news for English light novels this year. With the titles Sword Art Online and Accel World acquired not long beforehand, Yen Press went on to announce licenses such as A Certain Magical Index and DanMachi, as well as a hardcover release for the horror novel Another (previously only available in ebook format). In June, license announcements were made for Kagerou Daze, The Isolator (Absolute Solitude), and Sword Art Online: Progressive. And then in August, Log Horizon, The Devil is a Part-Timer, No Game No Life, and Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race were also announced for future release. Quite a few titles to look forward to!
Luckily Yen On hasn’t been the only publisher releasing light novels this past year. There was at least one light novel published by Viz Media (Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams), Seven Seas (Alice in the Country of Diamonds), Vertical (Attack on Titan: Before the Fall), and Dark Horse (Vampire Hunter D). Most of these were single-volume entries, but it’s nice to see at least some activity from each of these companies. It will be interesting to see if any of them will make a more concentrated effort in the years to come.
One piece of interesting news was the release of a Hollywood film based on the light novel All You Need is Kill. The name was changed to Edge of Tomorrow, and pretty much everything about the characters, setting, and plot were changed as well. I finally watched it on DVD a month or so ago, and overall felt the film worked okay as a popcorn action flick. The book is much better in my opinion… but none of you are surprised by that, right?
There were also a couple video game releases I think are worth noting for light novel fans. One is the pictured Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax, which released in Japan in November for PS Vita and Playstation 3. Though it was not localized in English (and most likely won’t be), it is a fighting game featuring many light novel characters that you can easily play without Japanese knowledge. I haven’t delved too deeply into my copy of the game, but it is a fun diversion with a lot of small details fans would get a kick out of.
The other game worth noting is a game that was released officially in English (or “Engrish,” as it were). Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a digital-only PS Vita game that can be enjoyed by fans of the franchise, and this title will likely be followed up by the upcoming sequel Sword Art Online: Lost Song.
This past year also included quite a few anime titles that were based on light novels, including Golden Time, Log Horizon, Tokyo Ravens, Black Bullet, Chaika: The Coffin Princess, Mekaku City Actors, No Game No Life, Nanana’s Buried Treasure, Free! Eternal Summer, and When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace. Upcoming titles for 2015 will include the likes of Durarara!!, DanMachi, Sound! Euphonium, Oregairu, and likely many others.
To wrap up this post, I’ll mention a couple personal LN achievements for the year. One is the online release of a light novel of my own: I’m (Sort of) an Expert on Ghosts, which was put up for free just before Halloween. You can still give it a read if you wish–or at least look at the nice illustrations by hachikuro.
The other small achievement is this website, which I mainly put together for the sake of there being an active database somewhere on the internet devoted to light novels released in English. I hope the site has been useful for everyone at least a little bit–and perhaps even introduce some of you to a few new and interesting books to read. There’s still more work I need to do to complete what I have in mind for the database, but it’s coming along slowly but surely. Soon every entry will have a suggestions section as well as links to reviews–and I also want to include some illustrations for what series I can. And in time perhaps I will come up with other things worth adding to each page…
Feel free to make any suggestions of your own for the site, and I will see what I can do to improve things here for 2015. And if there’s any other piece of light novel-related news from this past year you wish to mention, be sure to do so here!
Have a nice 2015, and happy reading!