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Are Light Novels Dead Here?


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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:06 am Reply with quote
I can't blame anyone for not licensing books that didn't already have a high profile. As Adam-Omega points out, fans don't tend to wait for stuff that they know they want, and in most cases, once a fan translation of something is posted -- even a crappy one -- the series becomes worthless to publishers. Their margins are slim enough already, and if there's a free alternative to whatever they'd have to put out at great expense and trouble, why bother?

That being the case, a publisher's best shot would be to find something awesome before the fans do and hope it generates enough buzz to become a surprise hit. But to do that, it makes sense that they'd have to look mainly at titles that haven't already had a big anime/manga/gaming/figure circus around them.


Last edited by vanfanel on Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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JulioZerbe



Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:09 am Reply with quote
ryusaki wrote:
Good read the Boogiepop novels and then say Light Novels are dead.


It's true.If you understand the whole, very awesome story !


Last edited by JulioZerbe on Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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EnriqueC17



Joined: 14 Apr 2011
Posts: 27
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:34 am Reply with quote
I hope not, I just got into them and I plan on finishing what I started. Only if more people were into them.
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fishiiie



Joined: 17 Jul 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:14 am Reply with quote
*doesn't know what light novels are*
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:36 am Reply with quote
fishiiie wrote:
*doesn't know what light novels are*


Light novels are Japanese novels that want to be anime when they grow up.

They often feature an extremely sparse writing style that's little more than a script (possibly so the author can crank them out quicker), manga-style illustrations, and lots of dialog consisting of dots ("....................."), which are spoken by characters conforming to late-night anime stereotypes.

They're usually written as series, and average about a million volumes in length. Their publishers tend to target junior high/high school students, though there are a couple of publishers that aim a bit older.

In Japanese bookstores, most of them are grouped together in the Light Novel section, usually located near the manga. Outside of that section, whether a novel is or isn't "light" has to be argued case-by-case based on content. A manga-style cover is a strong hint, but not proof positive.
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population_tire



Joined: 31 May 2007
Posts: 537

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:11 pm Reply with quote
It really is stupid that light novels have been declared dead here when so many of the popular anime on Crunchyroll right now started as a light novel. Seriously, you can't declare light novels dead when they weren't even given a chance. Just don't censor like Viz did with Shakugan no Shana and piss off the fans who would've supported it or license obscure stuff no one's ever heard of like Seven Seas and I think they have a chance. Haruhi Suzumiya did well enough to have its entire series translated to completion. HS is popular among people who follow anime. (Yen Press also seems to be doing okay with Spice and Wolf last I checked.)

Like right now if someone were to try to start up a light novel line Beyond the Boundary would be a great place to start. Then use profits to license more and more obscure or older novels. Use popular anime as a starting point. Boogiepop had an anime and the novels sold well enough for Seven Seas to license more of the series and try to start a light novel line. I already listed a few things I feel they did wrong in a previous post, but the main point I'm trying to make is that everything they licensed was obscure and had no anime or the anime was too old to give attention to the novels.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's premature to declare light novels dead when they weren't even given much of a chance. If someone were to license popular series like Sword Art Online, Beyond the Bounday, etc. that started as light novels they'd have a very successful light novel launch and then could move into licensing more series. Maybe even partner with Crunchyroll to advertise something like "read the original story!" It seems like everyone's given up or are too scared to fail. Huge respect for Yen Press though.
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adam_omega



Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 230
Location: Seven Seas

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:06 am Reply with quote
population_tire wrote:
or license obscure stuff no one's ever heard of like Seven Seas and I think they have a chance.


Strawberry Panic = adapted into an anime and manga. (Our most popular Light Novel series ever, btw.)

Ballad of a Shinigami = spawned an anime and manga.

Zero's Familiar = several anime and manga based on it.

Kanokon = been adapted into anime and manga.

Pita-Ten = side stories for the popular Tokyopop manga, also has an anime.

Boogiepop = spawned a live action movie and anime.

Kage Kara Mamoru = has a manga adaptation. [We licensed this to release it in the YA novel section, not the manga one, originally.]

Gun Princess = manga adaptation by Kodansha and from the creator that went on to do Makai Ouji. [Again, originally meant to be sold into the YA novel section.]

Vamp! = shorter vampire series from the creator of Baccano! [Again, was meant for the YA novel section.]
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
Posts: 4260

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:51 pm Reply with quote
population_tire wrote:
It really is stupid that light novels have been declared dead here when so many of the popular anime on Crunchyroll right now started as a light novel. Seriously, you can't declare light novels dead when they weren't even given a chance. Just don't censor like Viz did with Shakugan no Shana and piss off the fans who would've supported it or license obscure stuff no one's ever heard of like Seven Seas and I think they have a chance. Haruhi Suzumiya did well enough to have its entire series translated to completion. HS is popular among people who follow anime. (Yen Press also seems to be doing okay with Spice and Wolf last I checked.)

Like right now if someone were to try to start up a light novel line Beyond the Boundary would be a great place to start. Then use profits to license more and more obscure or older novels. Use popular anime as a starting point. Boogiepop had an anime and the novels sold well enough for Seven Seas to license more of the series and try to start a light novel line. I already listed a few things I feel they did wrong in a previous post, but the main point I'm trying to make is that everything they licensed was obscure and had no anime or the anime was too old to give attention to the novels.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's premature to declare light novels dead when they weren't even given much of a chance. If someone were to license popular series like Sword Art Online, Beyond the Bounday, etc. that started as light novels they'd have a very successful light novel launch and then could move into licensing more series. Maybe even partner with Crunchyroll to advertise something like "read the original story!" It seems like everyone's given up or are too scared to fail. Huge respect for Yen Press though.


LNs were never given a chance because 'MERRIKUNS (only talking about the US market here as I live there) are lazy as hell and hate reading. Simple as that.

I'd love to see more actually get published, but Americans don't like to read actual BOOKS.
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Polycell
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Joined: 16 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:06 am Reply with quote
Because clearly the far larger costs of translating novels needing a larger market to support has nothing to do with it.
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1455
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:51 am Reply with quote
Chagen46 wrote:
LNs were never given a chance because 'MERRIKUNS (only talking about the US market here as I live there) are lazy as hell and hate reading. Simple as that.

I'd love to see more actually get published, but Americans don't like to read actual BOOKS.

That is definitely not true.
Light novels were given a chance, and most of them failed.

The majority of the potential customers for light novels would be manga and anime fans. It may, just may be true that not enough of us like to read. I do not believe that it is true, but I have no information about the reading habits of other fans.
All that I really do know is that I am a manga and anime fan and I love to read. I read mostly science fiction, including the Haruhi novels. I do read actual books.
I am willing to believe that there are not enough anime and manga fans to buy the books to generate the volume of sales that would be necessary to make the books profitable.
But that is because of the expense involved in publishing the books. It is not because people do not want to read.

There is a lot of evidence to support the argument that Americans, in general, still like to read.

It has been said many times that light novels are just not profitable. Unless the sales are supported by a fan base that is also interested in other aspects of the series, such as manga and anime. That is why Haruhi and Spice and Wolf have been successful when others have failed. Also, Yen has the support of a major publisher, which was explained in another thread in this forum.

Personally, I believe the argument that light novels, in general, are not profitable.
I have no doubt that if they were profitable more of them would be published.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:03 pm Reply with quote
A little good news for those mourning the death of the translated LN:

Tokyo Otaku Mode will be serializing Satoshi Hase's "Beatless" at some point in the near future. This is a legit translation -- there was a write-up on it in Newtype recently, where the original was published.

I don't know much about Satoshi Hase or how "light" the actual content will be; he's done straight-up SF in the past, and this book did take the 3rd spot in Japan's annual "SF ga Yomitai!" ("I Wanna Read SF!) poll. However, the illustrations and the fact that it's from Newtype suggest it's at least somewhat "lighter."

Anyway, the serialization will start at the site below. Already, you can see some artwork and character write-ups.

http://otakumode.com/​sp/​beatless
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:15 pm Reply with quote
Here's a question: If you're a light novel fan, do you want to read only light novels? There's a decent selection of Japanese SF, fantasy, and horror available in translation nowadays as well, some of which has even inspired anime. Does that fill the gap for you in any way?
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Touma



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1455
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:28 pm Reply with quote
vanfanel wrote:
Here's a question: If you're a light novel fan, do you want to read only light novels? There's a decent selection of Japanese SF, fantasy, and horror available in translation nowadays as well, some of which has even inspired anime. Does that fill the gap for you in any way?

Short answer: No, I do not want to read only light novels.

Longer answer:
I have never seen a satisfactory definition of what makes a novel "light," so I really do not make the distinction. They are all novels to me.

I really like Yukikaze. Is that a light novel? I really do not know, or care.
The only reason that I am interested on light novels is because that is what people talk about in manga forums.
Also light novels are released by manga publishers and are usually related to anime or manga, which brings them to my attention more than any other translated novels.
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Mits



Joined: 13 Oct 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:24 am Reply with quote
@vanfanel
I have already read “Beatless” (of course in Japanese) and in my impression, it was a very good hybrid of light novel and hard S-F. There are light novel-like cute and beautiful characters and romantic comedy-like situation, but story itself is nowhere light. It is well thought S-F. This book was my personal best SF of 2012.

In my opinion, Satoshi Hase as an SF writer has not been paid much attention by very unlucky reason. His recent two books are both masterpiece. However, he couldn’t win any annual SF award because Project Itoh also had published his book both years.
Anyway, I believe that you will enjoy Beatless as a good mix of light novel and hard SF.

@Touma
Yukikaze started its serial publication on “SF magazine” from 1979. Of course, there wasn’t a term ‘light novel’ at that time. It was adapted as an anime later although, it does not contain typical anime-like characters and storytelling style.
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Thatguy3331



Joined: 18 Feb 2012
Posts: 1269

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:20 pm Reply with quote
vanfanel wrote:
Here's a question: If you're a light novel fan, do you want to read only light novels? There's a decent selection of Japanese SF, fantasy, and horror available in translation nowadays as well, some of which has even inspired anime. Does that fill the gap for you in any way?


HELL. NO.

Yes I did get into light novels but that was because I saw the anime they "grew up into". I'm the kind of guy who can be kind of picky when it comes to what was faithful to the sourcematerial, but I'm still a guy who perfers visuals over reading books. Besides while I definetly have a list of series I would like to read so I can know where there plots and storylines go, I already know that I'm not really interested in the mass majority of what make up light novels.
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