Originally Posted: July 4, 2021
“It was a day just like any other. The ever-studious writer busied herself with the magic and technology of the world. Knowledge is half the battle after all! However, her concentration was cut short by a knock at her door.
“Hello! A letter for you, Ms. Naruji.” It wasn’t the regular courier; this one was officially uniformed and bore the crest of their nation upon his chest. The letter was similarly marked with a wax seal.
Once opened, the contents described an offer. It was for a job, one that would help fund her love of books and technology. She wasn’t expecting it, but it was welcome all the same.
“I suppose it’s time to pack!”” – Haruka Naruji, on the twisty road of life.
Hey all! It’s your aspiring writer/avid reviewer back at it again, and welcome to my fourth featured post and my first after my break! While I work on my comeback review, I wanted to talk about my light novel journey so far. Thus, this post is a little personal and will act as sort of an update. But I hope you can connect with me just a little more through it. :)
For this feature, I’ll talk about how and why I started reading light novels and what keeps me coming back for more. I’ll then recommend some series that had a great impact on me. It’ll also serve to derust the machinery in my writing mind. Thus, this post will hopefully give you a better idea of who I am, what I’ve done so far, and what I enjoy reading!
To start, let’s build the foundations of the beginnings. It may not come as a surprise, but I love anime and video games. Growing up, I played many MMORPGs and JRPGs such as Ragnarok Online, MapleStory, the Tales of series, some Final Fantasy titles, and Monster Hunter, just to name a few. And though some may seem like neuron-killing grind-fests, I always find myself diving into the lore and learning more about the stories that don’t make it to the front.
Side-character backstories, legendary weapon tales, and the histories of nations, all of these are interesting when a story is being told. And if I’m not taking in the information directly from the main plot (of anime or video games), you can surely find me reading wikis and fan theories. I was in a weird place at the time. Reading wasn’t my primary source of recreation, but it played a large part in my enjoyment of what was.
Then one day, I came across I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years during my travels. Something about Azusa’s bewitching appearance (hah!), her motivation to not overwork herself, and the promise of a soft RPG-like fantasy resonated with me. I had heard of light novels by this point, but they hadn’t drawn me in just yet. Light novels were the source of many series I came to love, but I was (perhaps ignorantly) satisfied with their adaptations.
After all, if a work is good and popular, it will eventually be adapted to something that I can watch instead (read: binge). However, I soon realized that this is only an alternative and not a replacement for the reading experience. And this was never more true than for I Want To Eat Your Pancreas and 86 -Eighty Six- – some definite must-reads for all light novel enthusiasts by the way! Their stories, deliveries, and twists combined to create experiences unique only to the light novels. Other benefits also include not having to wait possibly years for the potential of an adaptation.
Then, after a couple of years pass, I find myself reading many more titles and exploring the light novel space. The Alchemist That Survived, Reincarnated as a Sword, and Wandering Witch are some of my favourite pick-ups during this time. That mix of fantasy, RPGs, and anime-tropes that I’ve come to love relieved me from the stress of work. And soon enough, I thought about writing my own story (stories?).
As a sneaky blurb, my current project is a small fantasy world filled with gods, magic, and demons that focuses on inner conflicts, interpersonal relationships, and the characters’ impact on the world around them – all highlighted by shounen battle-scenes and dramatic dialogues. But I’m still an amateur, so it’s taking me a bit to finish my first draft! In the meantime, I’ve been studying by reviewing a variety of light novels. Can you believe it’s already been over a year?
Well, since the start of these studies, I’ve written 30+ reviews and 3 features for ELN, and I’m always so happy to hear from you – here, on Twitter, or the Discord. There is just so much to discover and discuss in this medium. From social-game dramas to cross-dressing tailors to existence-erasing bullets, I want to learn from them all!
And of all that I’ve reviewed, a few excellent series you should definitely check out are Reign of the Seven Spellblades, Tearmoon Empire, and ROLL OVER AND DIE. These titles demonstrate some of the best in their particular niches. Whether it’s an exciting life at a magic academy, a comedic journey of a reincarnated princess, or a dark fantasy with plenty of horrors, light novels will surely have something for you.
However, life always finds a way to be difficult so I took a break to focus on some personal responsibilities. It’s only been a few months, but I’ve missed you all so much! Please look forward to more reviews and updates from me soon. Speaking of which, the current plan for the future is to aim for 1 or 2 reviews a month. And to cover a broader base, I’m thinking of limiting myself to only the first few volumes of a series. I believe this is the optimal mix of consistency, variety, and quantity while maintaining the (admittedly long-winded) review quality.
At the moment, I’m chewing through a backlog that unfortunately includes many Vol. 3+. So, perhaps I’ll do a few condensed reviews (about 500 – 1000 words) to make up for our lost time. As for the farther future, I’m hoping to get my first drafts done by the end of the year. There’s still so much to write (and rewrite) before I’m confident in the work. Please stay tuned for updates on my progress and wish me luck in maintaining such a goal!
Now that we’re at the end, I hope you enjoyed learning more about me. It’s not often that I find the opportunity to talk about myself. It’s not the longest or the most productive journey, but I’m proud of it! There’s a lot more to say and always more history being made, so I tried to keep it short and sweet.
So, let me ask about your light novel journey as well! How far along are you? How many series and/or volumes have you completed? Are there any absolute must-reads that you’d recommend? Oh! How about any do-not reads? I want to hear from you all in the comments below, on Twitter, or Discord!
Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read my post (even if you scrolled straight to the bottom). I hope that you take home even a little of what I’ve written down. To the heretical barbarians who prefer digital and the fanatical devouts of paperbacks both, let’s get along and talk about light novels some more!
Once again, we have our feature’s fun-fact corner! It’s been a while since my last post, so how about I fill you in on some of the latest news? I’ve been busy with technical training, and now I’m on route to start a new job developing specialized automatons. I’m so thankful for the opportunity, and rest assured that I’ll try my best there and here! <3
I’m 春華 or Haruka, aspiring novelist, light novel reviewer, and the cordially titled “Effortlessly Effervescent Embodiment of Eloquence.” I’ve recently come back to reading and reviewing light novels, so please bear with me as I brush off the rust. You can follow my Twitter for updates on my reviews and writing progress. And if you want to talk about light novels with me and many others, consider joining our Discord here! Let’s all get along!