What Japanese Readers Think of Light Novels: Kagerou Daze and Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou

kagerou mimizukuIf you follow my blog/Twitter, you might know that I’ve been encouraging light novel fans to join the summer reading program over at English Light Novels. In June, we read the first volumes of Kagerou Daze and Mimizuku to Yoru no Ou. If you’re familiar with either of those series, hop on over to the discussion thread and share your thoughts!

If you think you’re too late for this party, never fear. You can always participate in the July program. This month, we’re reading The Isolator by Reki Kawahara (yes, THAT Reki Kawahara) and Tasogare-iro no Uta Tsukai by Kei Sazane. (For more information on where to find these novels and the program schedule, click HERE.)

Getting back to Kagerou Daze and Mimizuku, I thought I’d do something a little different and give readers a taste of what Japanese readers think of the light novels we’ve been reading in English. I’ve translated the top two reviews on Amazon into English. This is by no means a comprehensive overview of fan opinion, but it should give you an idea of what some Japanese readers look for in light novels.

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Brief Thoughts on the Fan Reception of Oregairu Zoku

23v14ltMy Second Season of Oregairu was Great as Expected, amirite?

Confession time: I still haven’t finished the Oregairu Zoku anime. I do, however, know what happens. The burnout I experienced after spending months translating the light novels prevented me from enjoying the anime on its own terms, so I’ll watch it later when the fuss has died down.

I did enjoy the various lively discussions I had with others about Oregairu throughout its run, though. I think it’s a testament to how well-realised the characters are that viewers inevitably brought their biographies to the discussion. “I was a former Hikki” was a common refrain, especially among fans no longer in high school.

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Froggy Plays: Planetarian

planetarium

The beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter what.

Planetarian is the first visual novel I played from start to finish in Japanese. I suppose it will always hold a special place in my heart just for that reason alone. It’s short and accessible (only about 3-5 hours long), and also one of the very few Japanese visual novels with an official English release, so I recommend at least giving it a shot if you’re interested in this branch of visual media.

While we’re talking about Planetarian, now is a good time to mention that the game is half price on Steam at the moment. The offer ends on the 22nd of June (or the 21st, depending on your timezone), so snap it up while you still can!

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Thoughts on Being a Fan Translator

I was recently interviewed by Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses and 4PAnimeCast about my involvement as a light novel fan translator, my thoughts on the industry, etc. Links to the interviews below:

Organization of Anti-Social Geniuses: “Talking About The Future of Light Novels With a LN Translator

4PAnimeCast: “Frog-kun Interview!

The second interview is more in-depth, but hopefully you’ll find them both interesting.

Speaking of translation, I finished translating the Aldnoah.Zero novel recently, so check it out if you’re interested. I have also finally started work on Qualidea, but it’s just a casual project for me, so don’t expect it to be published online for some time yet.

As for my next blog post, my suspicion is that it will be about a manga or a visual novel.

That’s all for now. Ciao, my bromodachis!

MireiBouncing

LN Reading Program — June 14

Frog-kun:

LN fans, feel free to hop into the discussion!

Originally posted on English Light Novels:

(pictured: Mimizuku and the King of Night -- art source) (pictured: Mimizuku and the King of Night — art source)

For the first week of this summer reading program, we will discuss the first third of Kagerou Daze (volume 1) and Mimizuku and the King of Night. For Kagerou Daze, you need to have read the chapters titled “Kagerou Daze I” and “Jinzou Enemy” (ending at page 51). Meanwhile for Mimizuku, you need to have read the prologue and first three chapters.

If you have read further ahead, please refrain from spoiling anything past the points in the stories mentioned above. (Also, obviously, if you’ve experienced a manga or anime adaptation in the past, don’t reveal what happens next.)

Kagerou Daze

“Jinzou Enemy” is a self-contained story about a shut-in boy named Shintaro and a computer A.I. girl named Ene, who incredulously end up in a hostage situation the one day they leave their home. All in all I…

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Let’s Talk about Religion (and a Bit of Anime)!

vlcsnap-2015-06-03-22h06m39s23Oh boy, what am I getting into.

Okay, so as I mentioned in my last post, I recently watched NoragamiLike many other anime series aimed at teenagers, Noragami is an urban fantasy, one that imbues old myths and traditions (in this case, Shinto gods) with a sense of hipness and adventure. You can see this reflected in the character designs, music and aesthetics, but the overall plot invokes this theme as well. The protagonist is a stray god (or Kami) who strives not to be forgotten by humans, and the heroine is an ordinary high school girl who gradually comes to appreciate the Kami.

Once you dig past all the flashy battles and shonen shenanigans, Noragami boils down to a rather universal dilemma: In this (post)modern world, how do we humans find fulfillment? How do we tell right from wrong? Like Haibane Renmei, which I discussed not too long agoNoragami is about spirituality, but it isn’t necessarily about religion in the organised sense. Rather, it’s a work of pastiche. That’s why the world it depicts comes across as both familiar and strange, especially to Western eyes.

Other bloggers have dissected a great deal about Noragami through a Christian lens. Once again, I’ll point you to the good folks at Beneath the Tangles for various discussions and links. What I want to talk about in this post is the act of pastiche. How does pop culture (in this case, anime) reinterpret religious motifs? To what end?

Before I can discuss those questions in detail, we need to take a not-so-brief detour and talk about religion itself.

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Random Thoughts about Noragami Shipping

vlcsnap-2015-06-03-23h09m07s134I recently watched Noragami.

It’s a fun show, filled with likable characters. None of the plot threads really came together, though, since the first season was mostly dedicated to character introductions and setup. But that doesn’t really matter when the characters are so much fun to watch. At any rate, the anime is getting a second season soon, so now’s as good a time as any to hype it up, I suppose.

The only problem was deciding what to write about: an ambitious thematic essay about Shintoism and new religions in Japan, or shipping? Which is more important to me as an intellectual? I spent over a day agonising over this soul-crushing dilemma. Then finally, it hit me… why not both?

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Rape and Child Abuse in the World of Grisaia

vlcsnap-2015-05-30-17h45m23s252Yuuji’s past, as recounted in Grisaia no Meikyuu and Grisaia no Rakuen, is pretty fucked up, but do you know what’s more fucked up? MAL comments.

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST DISCUSSES RAPE AND CHILD ABUSE.

(This post also contains spoilers for Grisaia no Meikyuu and the Grisaia no Rakuen anime up to episode 2, but it’s more about the fan reactions than the actual story. The actual story is pretty stupid, so don’t feel bad about being spoiled unless you’re really interested in the series.)

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The Art and Aesthetics of Haibane Renmei

Haibane.Renmei.600.207687Haibane Renmei features some of the loveliest concept artwork I’ve ever seen, period. It’s a pity that the anime art never did justice to Yoshitoshi ABe’s lush drawings, because the story of Haibane Renmei is a thing of rare beauty. The dreamlike and melancholy atmosphere is mesmerising; only the flat art and animation threatened to take me out of the experience.

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I Made a Tumblr

As I write this post, I stare vacantly at the ceiling and ask myself: “Why?”

Why must I fall further down the slippery slope known as social media? I already have a Twitter and that was not a very good life decision.

But why do people make Tumblr accounts if not to reblog pictures of cute kittens in the search of ever more creative ways of wasting their time?

And so I bit the bullet and made a Tumblr account. It’s supposed to be a literature/writing blog, but it has already devolved into nonsense. That said, I do want to use Tumblr productively as I get into writing fiction again. I feel limited just writing about anime or anime-related things. I want to keep this blog focused on anime, so I made a new blog. Simple, huh?

By the way, I am a noob at Tumblr, so if you have a blog, please tell me about it so I can follow you. If you know any cool people I should follow, please tell me about them so I can follow them too.

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