Random Curiosity

Light Novels: Where to Buy Books

A big question when you’re itching to read a light novel or manga in Japanese is where you can order it from. If you live in Japan, you can just walk to the closest bookshop and get whatever you want. But not all of us are so lucky. Personally I live in Europe, and while there are local stores that sell literature in Japanese, they don’t have much to offer, and what there is can be quite expensive.

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March 8, 2010 at 3:13 am Comments (45)

Light Novels: Continued Brief Return of, the

This is the second half of the glorious resurrection of the light novel section, started a couple of days ago. Maybe it’s more of a last gasp. Anyway, on to the books!

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February 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm Comments (22)

Light Novels: Brief Return of, the


I’ve been postponing this way too long, and the longer I wait, the more books keep piling up. In any case, it’s finally time to deal with the light novels I’ve read since I last posted some five months ago. I’ll try to keep it brief, partly because the reason I didn’t post about them in the first place was that I couldn’t work up enough excitement to write a full-length review. And partly because I’m lazy, obviously.

Despite bravely trudging through the following books, my to-read list has actually grown to an insurmountable 122 titles, reaffirming that I have some sort of sickness that compels me to buy books at a ridiculous rate.

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February 25, 2010 at 10:38 pm Comments (31)

Light Novels: Seitokai no Ichizon v01

Full title: Seitokai no Ichizon – Hekiyou Gakuen Seitokai Gijiroku 1
Author: Aoi Sekina
Illustrator: Inugami Kira
Label: Fujimi Fantasia Bunko
Year of publication: 2008
Pages: 270

I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book. I hated this book.

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September 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm Comments (28)

Light Novels: Kizumonogatari

Full title: Kizumonogatari
Author: Nishio Ishin
Illustrator: VOFAN
Label: Kodansha Box
Year of publication: 2008
Pages: 357

After taking a little break from the Bakemonogatari series, reading a few books by other authors, I finally dug into Kizumonogatari, which is the third novel about Araragi Koyomi. It took no more than two sentences to get back into the groove.

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September 9, 2009 at 9:43 pm Comments (13)

Light Novels: Aru Hi, Bakudan ga Ochitekite

Full title: Aru Hi, Bakudan ga Ochitekite
Author: Furuhashi Hideyuki
Illustrator: Higa Yukari
Label: Dengeki Bunko
Year of publication: 2005
Pages: 253

Importing books is expensive, so in order to keep shipping costs down I always try to buy at least ten books at a time. However, finding ten interesting titles can be a difficult task, and sometimes I end up throwing dubious novels on the pile just to pad the numbers. One of these was Aru Hi, Bakudan ga Ochitekite, a name I only vaguely remembered having seen somewhere, but its meaning — One day, a bomb came falling down — got my imagination going, pondering what kind of missile it could be, and how the victims of this explosion would be affected. It was nothing like I imagined.

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September 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm Comments (16)

Light Novels: Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou

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.

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September 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm Comments (18)

Light Novels: GOSICKs v01

Full title: GOSICKs – Haru Kitaru Shinigami
Author: Sakuraba Kazuki
Illustrator: Takeda Hinata
Label: Fujimi Mystery Bunko
Year of publication: 2005
Pages: 349

If there’s a “Dumbest Title” award, this one has a great shot at taking home the prize. It’s probably a pun on “gothic”, but as a Westerner, it just feels wrong to me. Go sick? What? At least this particular volume’s wacky name is mellowed by the poor little ‘s’ that follows it, indicating that it’s not a part of the series proper, but rather a collection of short stories that take place here and there on the time line.

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September 3, 2009 at 6:46 pm Comments (13)

Light Novels: Bakemonogatari

Full title: Bakemonogatari 1
Author: Nishio Ishin
Illustrator: VOFAN
Label: Kodansha Box
Year of publication: 2006
Pages: 445

Full title: Bakemonogatari 2
Author: Nishio Ishin
Illustrator: VOFAN
Label: Kodansha Box
Year of publication: 2006
Pages: 401

It’s been so long since I last posted that I barely remember what button you submit with. The reason for the delay is partly because Bakemonogatari is an exceptionally thick light novel at nearly 450 pages, which in addition are split-page format that allows for 50% more text, so it’s almost three times the length of regular volumes. Mostly, however, it’s because after reading the first, I couldn’t figure out what the series was actually about. Thus I dove straight into the second novel and spent another ten days turning pages. It didn’t really help.

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August 7, 2009 at 10:26 am Comments (21)

Light Novels: Shakugan no Shana v01

Full title: Shakugan no Shana
Author: Takahashi Yashichirou
Illustrator: Itou Noiji
Label: Dengeki Bunko
Year of publication: 2002
Pages: 293

It’s been a long month. Normally I’ll finish a book of this size in around ten hours, give or take a few depending on language level and page count. In the case of Zero no Tsukaima, the span of an entire novel can be cleared in one or two days’ time. With this first volume of Shakugan no Shana, it took me a full month. I know you’ve been worried in my absence, but there’s no need; I’m back now. I have served my time. And I can finally taste freedom again.

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July 6, 2009 at 9:37 pm Comments (37)

Light Novels: Doublebrid v01

Full title: Doublebrid
Author: Nakamura Erika
Illustrator: Fujikura Kazune
Label: Dengeki Bunko
Year of publication: 2000
Pages: 288

I have been deceived! The internet told me this was a great series, so I took the plunge and purchased four whole volumes in one go, so I could enjoy a long stretch of splendid literature, allowing the marvellous story to grip my heart, and the fabulous characters to captivate me. But no, not this time. They all lied. I have slogged through the first book, and now I am here to warn you. Don’t repeat my mistake; let me be the last victim.

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June 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm Comments (18)

Light Novels: Bungaku Shoujo v01

Full title: “Bungaku Shoujo” to Shinitagari no Pierrot
Author: Nomura Mizuki
Illustrator: Takeoka Miho
Label: Famitsu Bunko
Year of publication: 2006
Pages: 254

This is a mystery novel. It was okay.


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May 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm Comments (18)

Light Novels: Baka to Tesuto to Shoukanjuu v01

Full title: Baka to Tesuto to Shoukanjuu
Author: Inoue Kenji
Illustrator: Haga Yui
Label: Famitsu Bunko
Year of publication: 2007
Pages: 283

This thing won an award, you know. I’m sure that’s supposed to count for something, but the award system for light novels never made much sense to me, since it seems they’re usually given to the publisher’s own works, which makes it feel like a “Look How Awesome Our Shit Is!” award more than anything else. Maybe I should convince Omni to give me a Random Curiosity Best Light Novel Blogger Award, narrowly beating out… myself?

Authoring the novel series is Inoue Kenji, and this particular volume is his debut work. It’s a pure comedy, and a popular one at that – Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! has the title skyrocketing from #8 to #3 in the past couple of years, and a manga adaptation started in the June issue of Shounen Ace. On top of that, there’ll be an anime version some time this winter. Illustration of the light novels is handled by Haga Yui, a lady who’s otherwise drawing a manga called Lotte no Omocha!, a fact that’s supported by the very nicely done colour manga introduction to the light novel. The grayscale illustrations inside are equally well made, with good use of shading to create a high quality effect.

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May 27, 2009 at 7:51 am Comments (20)

Light Novels: Ben-to v01

Full title: Ben-to – Saba no Misoni 290 yen
Author: Asaura
Illustrator: Shibano Kaito
Label: Super Dash Bunko
Year of publication: 2008
Pages: 291

Let’s be frank, my friends. I read the first chapter of Ben-to, and I didn’t like it. The setting is completely bizarre; the “hero” is an asshole; supporting characters are weird; and the story gets repetitive. But did I give up? No, for I am one of mankind’s great readers. I struggled on, never letting go of Hope. If you persevere, God will reward your efforts.

Here’s the deal: this series is all about people who fight (punching-kicking-biting) to be one of the last standing, in order to claim a half-priced box lunch at the local supermarket. I mean it, that’s really the setting for Ben-to (which is a bit of a pun on bento, the true depth of which still eludes me).

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May 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm Comments (27)

Light Novels: Shopaholic Woes

One of the biggest hazards of getting into light novels is the addiction to buying more and more books. As evidence I present the above picture, which displays the contents of a box that just arrived from Amazon Japan today. You can click it for an enormous version, if you’re trying get a closer look on the titles. The reason I use Amazon is that they keep nearly everything in stock, have ridiculously quick delivery (3 days!), and the items arrive at your doorstep. Considering I live across the globe (Sweden, to be more specific), this is rather convenient. The downside is that I have to pay an added 50% in shipping charges, but there aren’t too many alternatives over here. A less problematic downside, but annoying nonetheless, is that their title browsing system is born of pure evil. I managed to buy mixed editions of Nishio Ishin’s Zaregoto series, because it maliciously kept shoving the right title in my face, but hiding that they were all different sizes! It’s similarly irritating when you try to buy 85 volumes of Hajime no Ippo manga, as a festival of clickage delight. Oh, woe is me.

I had planned to write up a review for Ben-to v01 today, but it turns out I’m quite high on painkillers after a wisdom tooth extraction (not as fun as they have you believe), so I can’t focus on writing coherent sentences and making myself look like the triple-digit IQ man I truly am.

In any case, the photo should provide you with an idea of what will be coming up over the next few, er, years of blog posts.

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May 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm Comments (27)

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