This Year in English Light Novels 2015

(pictured: Sword Art Online)

(pictured: Sword Art Online)

A new year has arrived, and I thought it would be worthwhile taking a brief look back at how things have fared for English light novels over the course of 2015. In 2014 I counted 18 releases… How many do you think there were in 2015?

  • January: Vampire Hunter D 22
  • February: A Certain Magical Index 2
  • March: Accel World 3, Sword Art Online Progressive 1, Kingdom Hearts
  • April: Log Horizon 1, No Game No Life 1, The Devil is a Part-Timer! 1, Spice and Wolf 14, Sword Art Online 4, DanMachi 2, Time of Eve: Another Act
  • May: A Certain Magical Index 3, Kagerou Daze 1, Attack on Titan: Before the Fall 2
  • June: Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race 1, Sword Art Online Progressive 2, The Isolator 1
  • July: Accel World 4, No Game No Life 2, Log Horizon 2, Durarara!! 1
  • August: The Devil is a Part-Timer! 2, DanMachi 3, A Certain Magical Index 4, Sword Art Online 5, Black Bullet 1, Spice and Wolf 15, Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City 1
  • September: Rising of the Shield Hero 1, Kagerou Daze 2, Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race 2, Strike the Blood 1, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City 2
  • October: Rising of the Shield Hero 2, No Game No Life 3, Sword Art Online Progressive 3
  • November: Naruto – Kakashi’s Story, Accel World 5, A Certain Magical Index 5, Log Horizon 3, Durarara!! 2
  • December: Kizumonogatari, The Devil is a Part-Timer! 3, Spice and Wolf 16, Sword Art Online 6, Black Bullet 2, DanMachi 4

And… I think that’s all of them? I hope I didn’t miss any. Last year I included a picture of all the covers of 2014’s releases, but no way I’m doing that this year. If I’m counting correctly, there were FORTY-NINE new light novels released in English for 2015. Did any of you read them all? I think we’re at the point where such a feat becomes quite the challenge!

What were my favorite new titles that I read this year? Here are my top five personal favorites:

Which ones did you enjoy? I hope everyone has been able to find a series they’re excited to follow on into the next year. (I already have a backlog to catch up on myself…) At the moment I have also begun to read Kizumonogatari but I won’t be able to judge that until I’ve finished.

This past year I also read some older releases (and have a backlog to work on in that department as well…), including a number of fan translations I enjoyed. Some more LNs I read and liked in 2015 included When Hikaru Was On the Earth, Another, Gosick, Kino’s Journey, Mimizuku and the King of Night, The Witch’s House: Diary of Ellen, and (as always) Book Girl.

Memorable Moments from My Favorite 2015 Light Novels

  • (from Durarara!!) Yumasaki and Karisawa threaten to torture a thug using inspiration from light novels — I just found this whole sequence to be hilarious, and it established their characters perfectly.
  • (from Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race) Oz, Break, and Echo infiltrate Gilbert’s date with a noblewoman — it must be read to be believed, and even then you might not believe it.
  • (from Kagerou Daze) Shintaro buys a soda from a vending machine on a hot day — over an entire page is devoted to this, which I got a kick out of.

I realize now these are all scenes of comedy…

Licenses Announced in 2015

  • In January, from Yen On: Black Bullet, Strike the Blood, and Durarara!! series. These have all received 1-2 volume releases already.
  • In February, from Vertical: Kizumonogatari and Seraph of the End series. Kizumonogatari just released in December, and the first Seraph of the End omnibus (covering the first two volumes) will release this month.
  • In March, from Yen On: The Irregular at Magic High School. This was planned to release in 2015 but the first volume was delayed, and is set to release this April.
  • Also in March, from One Peace Books: The Rising of the Shield Hero. Two volumes have been released so far, with the third to arrive next month.
  • In May, from Viz Media: three of the Naruto epilogue novels. The first one (Kakashi’s Story) has already released, with the second (Shikamaru’s Story) to follow next month.
  • In July, from Haikasoru (Viz Media): Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Not a light novel, but still of particular interest to many of you stopping by here, I’m sure. The first volume will release in March.
  • Also in July, from Vertical: Attack on Titan: Lost Girls. This will release in June.
  • Also in July, from Yen On: Baccano!My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected, and Another: Episode S/0. These will all release in April, May, and June, respectively.
  • In October, from Yen On: The Boy and the Beast, Overlord, and Psycome. These will release in February, May, and June, respectively.
  • And lastly, in December, from Yen On: The Asterisk War, Re: Zero, and Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Sword Oratoria. These are all planned to begin releasing this year.

So that makes ten new series that will start in 2016, plus at least three new single-volume works to look out for. That’s quite the lineup, and I’m excited for a few of them myself (namely My Youth Romantic Comedy, but I’m also curious to try out Baccano and Galactic Heroes). What books are you looking forward to? It will be interesting to see if 2016 will see a similar number of new licenses announced, or if things will start to slow down a bit.

Site Plans for 2016

I hope to keep up with the site, first of all? 2015 was a busy year for light novels, and I was rather busy myself for many months (especially this past month). I did manage to review twenty books though, and I’m glad I was able to help put together at least three interviews. I also liked the summer reading program, and will likely try to have that happen again this year. Perhaps for May, June, and July, so I can include Baccano in the mix.

And as always, I am still meaning to add more to the LN entries themselves to improve that foundational aspect of this site. We’ll see when I finally find the time for that, ha ha. In the meantime, feel free to make any suggestions you have for this site in 2016?

18 responses to “This Year in English Light Novels 2015

  1. This has been a great year for English light novel publishing! Yen Press did most of the heavy lifting this year, but I find myself particularly intrigued by Vertical and One Peace Books’s offerings. I’m trying to get my hands on Kizumonogatari, although right now it appears to be sold out at Australian booksellers. I’ll make sure I get a copy eventually.

    Right now, I’m reading the Alice in the Land of Diamonds light novel. It’s interesting. I really want to see more light novels for girls now. I’m also reading Henai Psychedelic and that’s also written by a female author (the author of Gekkou, as a matter of fact) and has a shojo-ish tint. Maybe I’m developing a taste for this sort of light novel!

    You half-jokingly suggested this idea last year, but would you consider accepting guest reviews for light novels you don’t plan to read yourself? I remember you posted a guest review of Rising of the Shield Hero, so maybe you’re open to more of them, especially since the number of light novels being published in English is exploding now and it’s difficult for one person to keep up.

    In any case, keep up the great work on this site. It’s become a valuable resource to me and many other people, I’m sure. Here’s hoping 2016 will be an even better year for English light novels!

    • Kizumonogatari and Rising of the Shield Hero both sold out really quickly on Book Depository, from what I recall. Perhaps that is a good sign for their respective publishers? There is some demand for these titles, at least.
      Alice in the Country of Diamonds is still one of my backlog LNs, ha ha. I picked it up right when it came out, but thought I should perhaps read the manga for that series again as a refresher first (as it has been *quite* a while). And then I just ended up reading other books. >_>
      Didn’t realize Gekkou was written by a woman (or perhaps I simply forgot). Is there an English translation for Henai Psychedelic? The synopsis certainly sounds… unique. (But not unexpected when considering Gekkou’s subject matter?)
      I meant to put up a post for review submission guidelines back in October or so, but got sidetracked with other things. I’ll try to get to that this month! Feel free to email me in the meantime though if you have a review you would like to put up here, Frog-kun. :>

      • I read Alice without reading any of the manga titles or playing the games beforehand. It was slightly difficult keeping track of the characters, but the plot itself was straightforward enough that I could get into it without trouble.

        Unfortunately, Henai Psychedelic doesn’t have an English translation from what I can see. It is definitely rather unique in that it deals with teen suicide and depression, which are things I haven’t seen tackled head on in a light novel since… Book Girl, I think?

        As for reviews, I’ll wait till you’ve put up the review submission guidelines before I throw any content at you. ^__^

  2. I only started reading light novels late in 2014, but in 2015 I really got into light novels, completing 19 books! Got a lot more to read now too, got a bunch of LNs for Hanukkah and still got November’s releases to finish.

    I am thankful to Yen On for licensing so much. My favorite light novel so far, however, has been by an unknown company that was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign, “Time of Eve: Another Act.” Went in a different direction from the movie that I felt was better for prose and a great overall read.

    I hope to see more digital releases in 2016. BookWalker has said they are adding light novel to the global section soon. Wondering if they will be adding Yen On’s current digital selection (which was weirdly in the original announcement but still not available) or some ones they will be translating themselves.

    Thank you for this website. It has been a great resource for me in my introduction to light novels.

    • Congrats on your reading last year! I generally try to read at least two books a month, though it’s not always light novels.
      I love the Time of Eve film, so I really ought to pick up the book some time. Glad to hear it’s a good read.
      I am rather curious about what will happen with BookWalker as well. Perhaps some new LNs in English will surface there eventually? A bit hard to say what their long-term plan is there.

  3. Looks like I bought 34 of the 49. Interesting. To bad Ive only read six of them (Accel World and Part Timer 1 and The Isolator)

    Hoping this year we get Heavy Object and Mokushrioku Arusu licensed

    • Thirty-four! That’s quite the haul. Hope you’ll find the time to read them this year–though if not, it’s certainly nice to have them on-hand at least. I have a few old LNs on my shelf I still need to read myself…

  4. Happy New Year Cho~!

    I feel like the quantity of English LN publishing is a bit misleading. Looking at that long list, almost all of them have either being (1) animated and thus already has a following or (2) have sizable translation/fan communities in English. The number of titles where the publishers take a real risk remain tiny, and possibly LESS than what Tokyopop was willing to risk a decade ago.

    • It’s not surprising that most of the licensed material have had recent anime adaptations. Likewise, it’s not surprising that the titles fans are clamoring for the most are the LNs with recent anime adaptations that haven’t yet been picked up. “It can’t be helped,” as they say. =P I imagine a lot more people read The Martian when the movie for it came out, you know?

      That said, I’m all for “fresh” LNs being brought over. Guess we’ll have to see if people buy titles like Shield Hero or Psycome?

  5. I’d not read light novels before last year, but I jumped in pretty full on, reading 23 of them. It also inspired me to start studying Japanese and I’m five months into those studies.

    Here’s my list:
    All you need is kill
    No Game No Life 1-3
    LogHorizon 1-3
    Kagerou Daze 1
    SAO Progressive 1-2
    SAO 1-5
    Spice & Wolf 1
    Isolator 1
    Welcome to the NHK
    Durarara!!
    Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress 1
    Accel World 1-2
    Shield Hero 1

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