Hello everyone! Happy New Year!! Let’s hope January gets this new year off to a better/more hopeful start. With a new month comes new light novel series making their debut! Given that we’re coming out of the big spending holiday season, we still manage to have SIX new series. And interestingly, one of them is not a Japanese title, but rather one of the most famous Korean series.
Starting off on January 3rd, from J-Novel Club, we have a series where mysterious dungeons appear all over modern day Earth! And if we want to keep the planet from being destroyed, we have to conquer them. But, it isn’t all dungeon crawling action. I mean, people have to get paid, right? I think this one sounds cool and I’ve heard pretty good things from people who read the pre-release via J-Novel’s website.
Clear all the dungeons! There are 666 of them and 10 years to do it. If not, the only thing that awaits…is total annihilation. Ezoe Kazuhiko suddenly finds a mysterious underground space in his yard. When he steps into what turns out to be the very first dungeon in this world, he ends up activating the Dungeon System and learns from the mysterious beauty who appears to him, Akane, that the world is doomed to destruction if the 666 total dungeons that will be appearing in this world are not all cleared within 10 years. As countries begin taking measures in response to the dungeons appearing all over the world, Ezoe seeks out companions together with whom he establishes Dungeon Busters Inc., a company dedicated to clearing all the dungeons in the world! The curtains rise on this dungeon-delving epic with overwhelming realism!
Next up on January 4th is another J-Novel Club title. This time, it focuses on high schoolers creating their own game apps. Slice of life and gaming. Who could’ve possible expected those two things to blend? (yes, this is heavy sarcasm)
Past trauma leads Shiraseki Kai to abandon the world of social game development, so he transfers to Maikun High School to start a new life. But on his first day he meets Aoi Nanaka, the president of a low-tier social game club, and finds out that the club is on the brink of disbanding—and is also populated by total weirdos! The programmer, Oushima Aya, is a crazed gacha addict, and the illustrator, Kuroba Eru, faints from the cuteness of her own drawings?! Kai joins the club, which gives them enough members to continue… or so they thought. The student council hands down an ultimatum: “Win a competition against another school or disband!” Now their management talents will really be put to the test. With the skills that he’s nurtured and his new set of friends, can Kai face his fears to create the ultimate social game?!
Our next series makes its debut on January 14th. It’s being released by Cross Infinite World. This new series is about a princess who has her kingdom stolen and is branded a traitor along with her most loyal knight. However, mysterious magic sends her back into the past, where she has a chance to fix things and avoid her tragic end.
Can Magic Change Her Future?
Days before her marriage to the king of the neighboring Sunruta Kingdom, Princess Annabel of Najir is abruptly betrayed by her fiancé and thrown into prison with her magic knight under suspicion of being a spy. After being held captive for months and informed her kingdom is no more, Annabel passes out in a burst of destructive magic, only to awaken as her twelve-year-old self, six years before her political marriage. Armed with knowledge of the dark future to come, she now has another chance to bring about a new fate.
This is the story of Princess Annabel’s second chance at life, and her drive to stop the destruction of her kingdom.
On January 19th we have Yen On’s two new series for the month.
The first title is the aforementioned Korean series. This one has been incredibly popular worldwide in a variety of international and fan-translated releases. It will be interesting to see if this leads to Yen or any of the other publishers bringing more non-Japanese titles, or whether this is just a special case due to its popularity.
THE WEAKEST HUNTER OF ALL MANKIND!
E-rank hunter Jinwoo Sung has no money, no talent, and no prospects to speak of—and apparently, no luck, either! When he enters a hidden double dungeon one fateful day, he’s abandoned by his party and left to die at the hands of some of the most horrific monsters he’s ever encountered.
But just before the last, fatal blow…
PING! [Congratulations on becoming a Player.]
*Note* After posting this article, the release date for Solo Leveling was changed to February 2, 2021.
The second Yen On release is a fantasy tale that seems to be told from a monster’s point of view. It reminds me of some of what we saw in Danmachi 11 (I won’t spoil it any more). This is one of the Legend Novels imprint releases we’ve seen previously from J-Novel Club. They seem to be a little more mature in their execution.
On the tenth floor of the labyrinth awaits the minotaur. Many brave adventurers have challenged this great beast, all have thoroughly failed. “More!” Demands the powerful monster. “Send me more powerful opponents!” This creature blindly pursues strength at any cost. Perhaps it will even grow strong enough to surpass the rules of the labyrinth itself! Can any adventurer hope to stand against such a mighty creature?
Finally, on January 27th, we get our last debut from J-Novel Club. This was a pretty highly requested title, especially since we light novel fans were teased by the fact the manga has been licensed for a while. Interestingly, this title sounds like it operates on a number of different levels. Despite the title and majority of the synopsis, it apparently gets involved in some decent kingdom building and politics.
Yamai Zenjirou is your everyday office worker in modern Japan. One morning, he suddenly finds himself summoned to a tropical world where dinosaurs roam the land. He is told that this is the kingdom of Capua and the person who summoned him – its monarch, Queen Aura – wants him to marry her and leave his old life behind for a life of carefree extravagance as her prince consort. The reasons for her offer are many and varied, but she needs an heir, and she wants him to be the one to provide it! If he accepts, he’ll never have to work again, lazing around in luxury with no worries other than securing the kingdom its next monarch. Certainly, sleeping with the buxom beauty is far from a hardship, but is everything really as it seems? He’ll also need to give up everything he knows on Earth. Is he ready to drop it all at a moment’s notice for her sake? And how well will he be able to navigate the politics, people and culture of this new world if he does?
So those are all the light novel series making their debut during the month of January, 2021! You might also want to check out the Preorders page for all the rest of the light novels coming out this month, including some Number 1 volumes that I’ve covered in the past but are getting print editions for the first time!
Which titles are you going to be checking out this month? Let me know in the comments below.
And again, Happy New Year Everyone!! Hopefully 2021 brings us a lot of pleasant surprises instead of, you know, the bad ones ;)