Full title: Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou
Author: Kougyoku Izuki
Illustrator: Isono Hiroo
Label: Dengeki Bunko
Year of publication: 2007
Pages: 267

What constitutes a light novel? It’s a question you have to ask yourself when reading Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou, because there’s no hint of manga style on the cover, and the inside of the book has no illustrations at all. It is, however, published by a light novel label, and Wikipedia has it classified as such, so who am I to argue? Either way, the novel is a wonderful literary work, light or not.

This is the author’s first book, with two more released over the years since its release, despite the fact that she’s still only in her mid-twenties. She’s also dabbled in scenario writing, contributing to titles like Hikari no 4 Senshi: Final Fantasy Gaiden, which is to be released later this year. Maybe it’s finally time to buy one of those Nintendo DS gizmos.

Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou is the story of an insane little girl in chains who wanders into the Forest of Night, with the intention to meet the King of Night — the ruler of demons — and persuade him to eat her.

The book is beautifully written, with crisp and concise sentences that sweep you away to its magical world instantly. It tastes distinctly of fairy-tale, but dark and mysterious, much like Neil Gaiman’s work. It’s kept simple, yet elegant. The way Kougyoku uses commas and periods to shape the flow of words works incredibly well to convey the notion that the main character is quite mad, further enhanced by drawing out the final syllable in each of her spoken lines. It creates an eerie mood, which is utterly bewitching and otherworldly. I do wonder how it could be reproduced in a language like English, though. It’s hard to imagine reading an extended “you” without being irritated rather than charmed.

I wish I could end the entry with nothing but praise, but the story changes midway through, with a move into a different atmosphere altogether, and the consequence is a loss of much of what I found so captivating initially. That isn’t to say it goes bad, but the fascinating magic feeling is taken away, and the plot resolution that follows is overly nice and quaint. And, perhaps, too predictable. It remains a lovely read with an adorable heroine, but I saw potential for something glorious in that first half of the novel.

Amazon link: Japanese

18 Comments

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_novel

    A light novel label has to do with the target audience, length of the book, and are fiction. It has little to do with manga other than that they are targeted towards the similar audiences.

    In the future, if you don’t know the definition of a term, a quick search will help you not sound like an idiot.

    Kushieda
  2. Wow!
    I swear for all anime masterpieces out there that i dreamt of this plot once… felt nostalgic reading this entry. Well… too bad is in Japanese, it would be great to read it. Hope some kind of miracle happens to read it in english… (or spanish, but maybe is asking too much)

    Xanathos
  3. Kushieda: I absolutely love your grammar! “…they are targeted towards the similar audiences.” Your writing makes you look like an idiot.

    Be proud of yourself. You actually have the time to go through wikipedia, look up a point of minutia, and then don’t even bother to read the article fully. Who the hell cares if it is a light novel, manga, novel or otherwise? The point of this post was to suggest a title that Patrik found intriguing, not appeal to monkeys lie you that jump at every opportunity to insult someone on things that don’t even matter.

    Also, if you had actually bothered to read your own wikipedia article, you would see that it clearly says that light novels are often illustrated. This was arguably Patrik was referring to with his reference to a lack of illustration. Perhaps he only had seen illustrated ones before.

    Instead, you take the time to look on wikipedia to find something to insult somebody with, and even then you don’t get it right.

    Canaan rocks
  4. hum, i though this is a anime blogger web, O.o maybe the anime are so boring these days you guys are turning to “books” >.<. To me; that’s something i do when my computer is F* up.

    Mearex
  5. I really wish I can read Japanese. Sometimes the anime doesn’t do enough justice to the LNs. Others suggest I read American novels, which often are written in style that I find not as interesting. It’s almost sad that the last book I read for fun in English is The Da Vinci Code.

    Moocow
  6. I’m curious as to what this “atmosphere change” is that u mention.

    @Moocow, YO! although you prob won’t take my recommendation “lord knows that i don’t listen to book advice unless at gun-point” but i just polished off Dan Simmons “The Terror”. looong. but as far as American novels go i thought it was a great READ. horror/history/mystic type shit!. i never read a light novel, i wonder whats different bout the written style.

    BROOKLYN otaku
  7. Seems like an interesting title. Even though something might be lost in the translation, I hope that it would be translated into either English or Thai (my languag. We are translating a lot of light-novel right now.) Last time I tried to work out my forgotten Japanese on a untranslate light novel, I was hopeless.

    Kaitune
  8. @JJGG – I’m married

    @Canaan rocks – A lack of proofreading is a different quality than a lack of knowledge. While both can make a person look dumb, one is more easily fixed than the other. If you want a corrected version of my post here you are:
    “en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_novel

    The light novel label has to do with the target audience, length of the book, and being fiction. It has little to do with manga other than that they are targeted towards similar audiences.

    In the future, if you don’t know the definition of a term, a quick search will help you not sound like an idiot.”

    Also, I didn’t need to read the wikipedia article to know he was wrong and sounding like an idiot. The point of my post was that when you are writing a reviews about “Light Novels”, and you don’t understand why something falls in that category, you lack a basic understanding of what you are reviewing. This makes your review of little relevance to the actual work being reviewed as it shows you are not an authority on the topic.

    Kushieda
  9. Kushieda, I wanted to explain how this novel challenges the common perception that light novels have manga illustrations.

    It doesn’t particularly reflect my own understanding of the word. I read through the Japanese wikipedia article on light novels when writing my very first entry on the subject a few months ago, and it’s clear there’s no settled definition of what a light novel is, just a bunch of inclusive statements. The issue is not as simple as the English page makes it out to be.

    In any case I’m glad I was able to shatter your illusions that you would find an authority on the topic on an anime blog. Welcome to the internet.

  10. Wow, you actually reacted to the mean post Kushieda made. Good attitude to remain calm.

    You could have ignored his trolling. To me his first comment was as relevant as a “first!” post.

    sim
  11. Watch out when quoting from Wikipedia. User write entries and there’s no real guarantee they’r writing it right. Wiki is good as a first look, but its infos always need to be proved right or extended by trusted sources.

    Solaris
  12. i cant read japanese, and my chinese not to hot either, i need some translators to translate light novels into english. trying to find a ligh novel in my country is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. i wish tokyo pop hurry up with their translations, or i could just take up japanese classes.

    riddle

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