Feature: A Look into Japanese Light Novels

(pictured: Kara no Kyoukai)
(pictured: Kara no Kyoukai)

I’ve bought a bunch of light novels recently, and thought I’d share some photos of them. This will be similar to my “Introduction to Light Novels” page, but perhaps this post can be considered the 102 course?

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Top row: Be With You, Zaregoto, Kara no Kyoukai, Kuromajo-san ga Touru!
Middle row: All You Need is Kill, Otome Nadeshiko Love Diary, Ghost Hunt, Sugar Apple Fairytale
Bottom row: Book Girl, The Empty Box and the Zeroth Maria

Here’s some of my recent purchases–most of them were used but still in nice condition. Light novels are cheap to begin with in Japan, so used copies are typically only 100-300 yen.

This story looks like it’s about a girl and a number of handsome butlers at a mansion. It appears to be aimed at a younger age level, with not too much text on each page. There are typical illustration pages interspersed with the text, but this book also features manga-style interludes. Makes me wonder if there’s a full manga for this series as well.

Here is one of the volumes for the story of Kara no Kyoukai. These books were very thick, so I opted to just get one. Such a nice cover, isn’t it? Inside though is nothing but text, and every page is stuffed with tiny kanji. The pages are divided in half, too…

Here is Otome Nadeshiko Love Diary, which I just got because it looked nice. Period pieces with everyone in kimono is a weak point of mine. If only I could read the book, right? Well, I’m studying Japanese, so one day…


Here is the back cover for Ghost Hunt, which is the only real illustration for the characters. I’m having a hard time remembering if Naru-kun was that short in the anime… Maybe it’s time for a rewatch? I plan to read a translation of this one for October.

This is the first volume of Kuromajo-san ga Touru! AKA The Black Witch is Coming! It’s a very popular children’s series, which has accumulated a whole shelf of volumes over the years. The recent anime is very cute and highly recommended. It’s a bit like Cardcaptor Sakura, but instead of Kero-chan as a guide there’s the eponymous witch–Gyubid-sama–who is the best character.

As you can see, this book came with a bookmarker! The inside illustrations generally have a fairly simple art style, but I think it’s good for a children’s book. There are also smaller inset drawings along the way amidst the text, such as the one of Gyubid-sama there hanging on the ceiling corner…


Here is an inside illustration for The Empty Box and the Zeroth Maria. There are only two illustrations for this one, but they are double-page spreads that work with an interesting art style. I’ll note though that there are also color inserts at the beginning of this book, which are all quite lovely.

The first picture shows the Japanese copy of All You Need is Kill next to my Kindle version of the English edition. The inside illustrations were unfortunately not included in the English version, so I was glad to pick up the original for the sake of having some Yoshitoshi ABe artwork. There’s the color inserts, and then each chapter starts with a B/W image.

Last off, here are some pictures for Sugar Apple Fairtale. I quite love the artwork for this one! (Period pieces with everyone in Victorian outfits… is another weak point of mine.) The second image is of the character profiles found before the start of the story, which is not unusual for serialized light novels to have.

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