A new year has arrived, and I should take the time to put together a recap of what happened in 2016 for light novels in English. Which is a lot! There were quite a few light novels released this past year.
- Accel World — volumes 6-8
- Another Episode S/0
- Asterisk War — volumes 1-2
- Attack on Titan: Lost Girls
- Baccano! — volumes 1-3
- Black Bullet — volumes 3-5
- Boy and the Beast
- Brave Chronicle
- Certain Magical Index — volumes 6-9
- Devil is a Part-Timer! — volumes 4-6
- Durarara!! — volumes 3-5
- Goblin Slayer — volume 1
- Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash — volume 1
- Irregular at Magic High School — volumes 1-3
- Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? — volumes 5-7
- Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria — volume 1
- Isolator — volumes 2-3
- Kagerou Daze — volumes 3-5
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes — volumes 1-3
- Log Horizon — volumes 4-6
- Monogatari — Bakemonogatari volume 1
- My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World — volume 1
- My Favorite Song: The Silver Siren — volume 1
- My Little Sister Can Read Kanji — volume 1
- My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected — volume 1
- Naruto Secret Chronicles — volumes 2-3
- Naruto True Story — volumes 1-2
- No Game No Life — volumes 4-5
- Occultic;Nine — volume 1
- Overlord — volumes 1-2
- Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race — volume 3
- Psycome — volumes 1-2
- Re:Zero — volumes 1-2
- Rising of the Shield Hero — volumes 3-6
- Seraph of the End – Guren Ichinose: Catastrophe at Sixteen — volumes 1-3
- Spice and Wolf — volume 17
- Strike the Blood — volumes 2-4
- Sword Art Online — volumes 7-9
- Sword Art Online: Progressive — volume 4
- Tokyo Ghoul — volume 1
- Vampire Hunter D — volumes 23-24
- Violet Knight — volume 1
That makes 82 books in all, if I added everything correctly. Last year I counted 49 books, and the year before that was 18. So things have definitely picked up over the last couple years! Seeing these numbers now, I can understand a little better how this blog was taking more out of me the past year, ha ha. I’ll try to keep up with all the entries in 2017… And I still want to add more content to most of them. I’ll see what I can work out.
Big News from 2016
- In February, Bakemonogatari was licensed by Vertical. The story will release in three volumes. (The first one came out last month. Be sure to join the open forum discussion!)
- In April, three light novels for Tokyo Ghoul and three more for Naruto were licensed by Viz Media.
- In April, Japanese publisher Kadokawa announced its new partnership with Hachette Book Group (which owns the Yen Press and Yen On imprints). Yen Press is now jointly owned by Kadokawa and Hachette, as Kadokawa purchased a 51% stake in it.
- In April, Vertical announced audiobook releases for Kizumonogatari and Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City. These are now available on Audible.
- In May, Goblin Slayer, Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, and Konosuba were licensed by Yen Press. Goblin Slayer‘s first release was in December. The other two will begin in January and February, respectively.
- In May, Cross Infinite World was launched with their first release of My Favorite Song: The Silver Siren. An English release for The Violet Knight was also announced, the first volume of which released in September last year.
- In June (I think), Nisemonogatari was licensed by Vertical. That will release June this year.
- In July, Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers was licensed by Yen Press. The first volume will release in April this year.
- In July, The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku was licensed by Seven Seas. This one-shot will release in May.
- In August, a light novel for Seven Deadly Sins was licensed by Vertical. This one’s out in May too.
- In October, J-Novel Club was launched with weekly releases of Brave Chronicle, My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World, My Little Sister Can Read Kanji, and Occultic;Nine. Not long afterward, they added Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash and I Saved Too Many Girls and Caused the Apocalypse to their lineup.
- In October, Decapitation: The Kubikiri Cycle was licensed by Vertical. This is the first volume of Zaregoto, which was previously released by Del Rey in 2008. Look forward to this updated translation in a couple weeks.
- In October, Your Name and Another Side: Earthbound were licensed by Yen Press. The novel for Your Name will arrive in English in May.
- In November, Sound! Euphonium and Magical Girl Raising Project were licensed by Yen Press. Watch for both of them in June this year.
- In November, J-Novel Club added The Faraway Paladin and Mixed Bathing in Another Dimension to their lineup.
- In December, The Empty Box and the Zeroth Maria was licensed by Yen Press.
- In December, J-Novel Club added How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom and Paying to Win in a VRMMO to their lineup.
We have about ten new series/titles to look forward to in 2017, and there will likely be more to come. Good luck keeping up with them all!
Site Plans for 2017
First, a look back at the goals I made for 2016:
- Add more information for the LN entries — partially completed (I still have a lot more I want to do actually…)
- A recommendations page for newcomers to light novels — completed (collaboration with Justus R. Stone, Frog-kun, August Hail, Melody, and Sean)
- More editorials, collaborations, and interviews — there were more than the previous year, I think
- Another summer reading program — completed
- A post on various LN publishers in Japan — completed (collaboration with kuuderes_shadow)
- A post on Japanese novels translated in English (not light novels) — I didn’t get around to this; I’m probably not the best person for such an article anyways though
For 2017, I’d like to continue finding ways to improve the site and encourage more discussion of light novels. I don’t think I’ll write up any specific goals this time, but I am open to suggestions.
I think I mainly just want to read more books (and write reviews for them, of course). But I would really like to finally get the database to the level of quality I want for it. I’ll just keep at it the best I can.
14 thoughts on “This Year in English Light Novels 2016”
I finished 22 of those released last year and finished 42 total light novels (including books from other years). I don’t know why I find them so addicting, but it’s been a lot of good fun trashy reading.
42 books read in a year is fantastic! Feel free to share which ones were your favorite, if you wish.
It’s not an original feeling but I really enjoy SAO. That Shield Hero and Baccano! are my three favorite series. However Faraway Paladin may have taken the number one slot, we will see how it holds up after volume 1, but the first one was just great. Also Occultic;Nine had a better than average prose style and some great tension.
If I had to pick a single favorite volume this past year it would either be SAO 7 or Faraway Paladin 1. If pushed to choose between the two, I’d go with Paladin.
Thanks for sharing! It seems everyone reading Faraway Paladin is really enjoying it. I’m not sure how much I can add to my own reading backlog, but I’ll still keep this one in mind.
I look forward to the article on other translations of Japanese novels. I love light novels, but have been looking for other Japanese novels to try and don’t know were to start outside of Haikasoru (which I have read some of) this should be helpful.
Here is a great site with reviews of Japanese novels. I’ve been turned on to some great authors through Kathryn’s site and while I don’t always agree with her opinions , her reviews are always well written and insightful.
I’d still like to put something together at some point. There are a lot of classics worth looking into, and plenty of modern works that would be of interest to many readers here I imagine. Vertical has published quite a few, actually: http://www.vertical-inc.com/books.html
Thank you both so much.
You’re welcome! Though I haven’t contributed much for the moment, I can for sure say we have a lot to come on the site!
Side note, but if you like mysteries I can’t recommend “Devotion of Suspect X” highly enough. Very slow paced, but a great book and what got me into Japanese lit which in turn got me into Light Novels which in turn got me into Japanese language learning. So the quality of that book had a big effect on me!
Thanks for the recommendation! I’m always looking for great mystery literary works (probably something you can see with my reviews) and will surely give a look at it!
Not that anyone asked, but I’ve been wondering why I like SAO as much as I do. After thinking about it I believe it’s because Kawahara’s books work thematic elements harder than most light novels. All the action and story comes from the characters and the outer adventure always mirrors their more important inner struggles. I think it’s far harder to write that than people think. Paladin does it really well too. Yes, the book is about a big adventure but it’s really about the psychological effects of being a shut-in and how even if you grow out of it later, the effects linger.
I think many or maybe even most Light Novels are just adventures. The stories exist for the sake of the action. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s what makes them such fun and easy reads however I really dig it when there’s that extra layer of meaning. Makes it another layer of compelling.
You’ve probably read The Isolator too, I think? I thought Kawahara did a great job with what you were talking about there, having the characters’ psychology clearly tied to the action of the storyline.
Since you like strong themes, I have to ask… Have you read Book Girl? You must read it now, if you haven’t. ;P
Isolator is great too! I can’t quite get into Accel World and Progressive is fun, but I think it’s less thematically dense.
I have the first Book Girl on kindle but haven’t read, I’ll bring that up in the queue- thanks for the advice!