Over the years of being a part of the anime and manga community, I have heard the term light novel but never really read one up until recently. Now I’m hooked.
For those of you who don’t know what light novels are, they are more or less the love child between manga and novels. These books tend to be written for a Young Adult audience and in every chapter, there is an illustration. Many franchises start off as a light novel or novels, then get a manga series, then an anime. For example; Log Horizon, No Game No Life and the Haruhi Suzumiya series.
When I was younger I didn’t read books, I devoured them. I used to sit and read for hours at a time. Nowadays, not so much. If anything, light novels have rekindled my love for reading as well as opened up a new genre to me.
The downside of light novels is that they aren’t that easy to find. The only places I have seen them are Forbidden Planet and Waterstones. Some are available on Kindle, which is often how I read them, but the selection they offer is rather limited. I’m sure there are other sites that sell them, but I haven’t found them yet.
Another problem is that not all light novels get translated into English. While not a light novel, I really want to read Empire of Corpses by Project Itoh. However, only his first book Harmony is available in English, and I can’t find any info regarding an English release of the book.
I’m currently reading No Game No Life, at time of writing I am two thirds through. It is filled with gaming references, interesting characters and the best fantasy world. In the world of Disboard, all arguments and conflict are solved by games. Not just small things like who is picking up the bill, but games even decide who rules countries! My ideal world, too bad I’m stuck in this one.
My favourite light novel is (at time of writing) is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. With time travel, aliens and Espers, this light novel hooked me from the first page. So much so that I finished it in just two days. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I will once I finish No Game No Life and Log Horizon.
I found Log Horizon in Forbidden Planet and I had heard that it was a really good series, so I bought the first volume of it. As soon as I finish No Game No Life I’ll start it. From what I can gather the plot it’s similar to sword art online, in which gamers get trapped in an MMORPG. I have been told the anime is awesome, so the light novel should be better, right?
While finding light novels isn’t always easy, they are more than worth reading. Particularly if you are an anime fan, but you don’t need to be to enjoy them. In fact, I would say that they are probably a good gateway into manga and anime.