J-Novel Club Licenses Eight New Titles

J-Novel Club Anime Expo 2018 Announcements

At the Anime Expo convention, J-Novel Club made many announcements, including eight new novel licenses. The new titles they will be releasing are:

  • Kokoro Connect — by Sadanatsu Anda (with art by Yukiko Horiguchi) — published in Japan by Famitsu Bunko (Enterbrain – Kadokawa), completed at 11 volumes — ran from 2010 to 2013, and had an anime air in summer 2012
  • Amagi Brilliant Park — by Shouji Gatou (with art by Yuka Nakajima) — published in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko (Fujimi Shobo – Kadokawa), ongoing with 8 volumes since 2013 — had an anime air in fall 2014
  • Gear Drive — by Kabayakidare (with art by Koutaro Sugi) — published in Japan by Overlap, with 1 volume out so far (released earlier this year) — based on a Syosetsu ni Naru web novel series started in 2017
  • Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles — by Yuri Kitayama (with art by Riv) — published in Japan by HJ Bunko (Hobby Japan), ongoing with 10 volumes since 2015
  • Marchen der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight — by Hyougetsu (with art by Nishi(E)da) — published in Japan by Earth Star Entertainment, ongoing with 8 volumes since 2015
  • Last and First Idol — by Gengen Kusano (with art by shimano) — published in Japan by Hayakawa Publishing — a single-volume release with three short stories: 1) Last and First Idol, 2) Evolution Girls, and 3) Dark Seiyuu
  • JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World — by Ko Hiratori — published in Japan by Hayakaw Publishing — a single-volume release
  • Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: The Wayward Journey — by Yoshinobu Akita (with art by Yuuya Kusaka) — published in Japan by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko (Fujimi Shobo – Kadokawa), completed at 20 volumes — ran from 1994 to 2003, and had a couple anime air from 1998 to 2000, with a new anime planned for 2019 — license acquired by TO Books Inc.

J-Novel Club is now partners with Kadokawa and Hayakawa Publishing.

J-Novel Club also announced new features for their app: night mode, sepia mode, search bar in series list, ebooks listing, and an improved menu. There are plans to later add offline reading, downloading premium epubs direct to device, and a reading list.

Volume 1

Lastly, J-Novel Club will soon begin selling paperback editions for select LN series, starting with In Another World With My Smartphone (volume 1 of which will release either late 2018 or early 2019). These will be full-scale runs that include color illustrations, and will be printed in Japanese tankobon size. These books are planned to release in major US/Canada bookstores. Note that the various LN series that Seven Seas is currently publishing for J-Novel Club (Arifureta, Realist Hero, Clockwork Planet, etc) will continue releasing unaffected.

You can watch their full panel here, which includes a Q and A session following the announcements.

Volume 1

Kokoro Connect synopsis: The Cultural Research Club is an eclectic bunch: a pro wrestling fanboy, a goofy ditz, a master of snark, a laid-back jokester, and a total girly-girl. Their peaceful teenage lives are turned upside-down, however, when they suddenly and inexplicably start swapping bodies with each other. At first it’s all wacky hijinks… but then things get a little too personal. Boundaries are crossed, and dark secrets come to light--secrets that threaten to destroy the very foundations of their friendship. Who--or what--is causing the body-swap phenomenon? Will it ever stop? But most of all… can their club survive it?

Note from Kokoro Connect author Sadanatsu Anda: “It brings me great pleasure to have this opportunity to share my work with the rest of the world! As the title suggests, Kokoro Connect is a story about hearts--something that truly transcends all cultural barriers--and I hope you’ll connect with it, too. In the meantime, I intend to craft even more stories for everyone in the world to enjoy!”

A free preview is available for everyone, and the first half of volume 1 is out for J-Novel Club members. Volume 1 is planned for an ebook release in late August.

Volume 1

Amagi Brilliant Park synopsis: Amusement parks are places of wonder and fun for all ages… right? Well, that’s not quite the case for Amagi Brilliant Park, a “crummy” amusement park on the outskirts of Tokyo where the snacks are inedible, the attractions are falling apart, and the mascots regularly get into fistfights with the guests. It’s the kind of place that cool, handsome, brilliant Kanie Seiya wouldn’t be caught dead in… until a mysterious girl drags him there–at literal gunpoint–and demands that he help them save the park!

Note from Amagi Brilliant Park author Shouji Gatou: “I’m curious to see how they render the copulas, like ‘fumo,' ‘ron,' and ‘mii.' I can’t wait!”

A free preview is available for everyone, and the first half of volume 1 is out for J-Novel Club members. Volume 1 is planned for an ebook release in late August.

Volume 1

Gear Drive synopsis: In a world where magic abounds, 15-year-old Anti Kythera is the odd one out. No matter how hard she studies, she can’t even use the most basic of skills. Her only hope is her upcoming Skill Bestowal: a ceremony that can help even the chronically magicless discover their talent. But what Anti receives is something completely new: Gearcraft, a skill that allows her to make and control golden gears! What can a restaurant owner’s daughter, much less an aspiring adventurer, do with gears? As it turns out, quite a bit. But it’s going to take a little imagination, and a lot of effort, if she’s going to discover the secrets of this never-before-seen power. Can Anti tame the tiara-shaped artifact that calls itself “Crown Gear”? Will she ever become as great as her idol, Purple Lightning? Join her as she gets into gear for a life of adventure!

A free preview is available for everyone, and the first half of volume 1 is out for J-Novel Club members. Volume 1 is planned for an ebook release in late August.

Volume 1

Seirei Gensouki: Spirit Chronicles synopsis: Meet Rio: a callous orphaned boy living in the slums. At only 7-years-old, he realizes he's actually the reincarnation of Haruto Amakawa, a Japanese university student with a tragic past. While still reeling from this shocking epiphany, Rio also comes to learn that he possesses extremely potent magical abilities and uses his new powers to solve the kidnapping case of a little girl. His good deed is acknowledged, and he's rewarded by being enrolled into… a prestigious academy for noble children…?

A free preview is available for everyone, and the first half of volume 1 is out for J-Novel Club members. Volume 1 is planned for an ebook release in late August.

Volume 1 (Japan Cover)

Märchen der Werwolf: The Annals of Veight synopsis: The reborn werewolf known as Veight now leads the Demon Lord’s third regiment under the title of Vice-Commander. Having conquered the trading hub known as Ryunheit, he soon learns the struggles of governing a city of mixed human/demon population. Armed with an understanding of inter-species relations and a desire for peace, he spends his days quelling violent demons and pacifying disruptive humans in his pursuit to bring balance and tranquility.

The first part of the novel is available as a free preview, and the rest of the novel will receive further weekly releases for J-Novel Club members. The ebook for volume 1 will release in the fall.

Last and First Idol (Japan Cover)

Last and First Idol synopsis: “Bye-bye, Earth! My idol activities here were so much fun!” 4th Hayakawa SF Contest Special Prize 48th Seiun Award (Japanese Short Story Division) 27th Dark Seiun Award (Guest Division) 16th Sense of Gender Award (Future Idol Award) Last and First Idol earned the first ever special prize in the Hayakawa SF Contest, and the first debut work to win the Seiun Award in 42 years! This existential widescreen yuri baroque proletariat hard sci-fi idol story has carved out a new legend in science fiction history! Also includes Evolution Girls, in which some gacha-expert friends race to find the truth of the universe, and Dark Seiyuu, a brand-new space opera about voice actors! Gengen Kusano's astounding debut collection!

Note from Last and First Idol author Gengen Kusano: “In the universe, there are infinite minds, and infinite moments of time. You are but one such mind, at once such moment. Why do you exist? And how should you live the life you have? A truly great work of fiction is one that helps you find answers to these problems. Last and First Idol will provide those answers. Thus, it is a masterpiece.”

The first part of the novel is available as a free preview, and the rest of the novel will receive further weekly releases for J-Novel Club members. The ebook for the completed volume will release in the fall.

JK Haru (Japan Cover)

JK Haru is a Sex Worker in Another World synopsis: *record scratch* *freeze frame on Haru Koyama getting choked by a horny naked dude* Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got into this situation. Not by choice, I can tell you that! It started when my weirdo classmate, Chiba, tried to save me from a runaway truck and got us both killed instead. Idiot. Then we got transported to another world, which I guess is like an otaku dream come true, or something? Chiba ends up with cheat abilities, and what do I get? Nothing! Lucky me, I get to be a sex worker instead. Gotta earn money somehow -- but since I have to do it, I’m gonna kick ass at it. This world treats women even worse than the one we came from, so things get…rough. Still, I’ve made friends with some of the girls, and if I can juggle Chiba’s idiocy and Sumo the virgin’s emotions on top of all the various kinks my customers throw at me, things will be all right…won’t they?

Note from JK Haru author Ko Hiratori : “Haru, who traveled from Japan to another world, finally makes it to LA!I hope you’ll stick with Haru in this new story as she bravely makes her way in another world that is harsher and more absurd than reality, yet still familiar.”

The first part of the novel is available as a free preview, and the rest of the novel will receive further weekly releases for J-Novel Club members. The ebook for the completed volume will release in the fall.

Volume 1

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen synopsis: Orphen is a Sorcerer drop-out from the prestigious Tower of Fangs. His journey to save Azalie, a girl he looked up to like a sister, has brought him to the bustling city of Totokanta. Here they are reunited for the first time in five years. But what is the truth behind her monstrous transformation, and just what secrets lurk behind the Sword of Baldanders…?

Note from Sorcerous Stabber Orphen author Yoshinobu Akita: “I'm overjoyed that more people will have the opportunity to read Orphen! Thank you very much.”

A free preview is available for everyone, and the first half of volume 1 is out for J-Novel Club members. Volume 1 is planned for an ebook release in late August.

5 thoughts on “J-Novel Club Licenses Eight New Titles

  1. I’m excited for Amagi and Kokoro Connect ^^
    Is there a series or novel you’ve found particularly well-written? I have a hard time reading a lot of light novels because of how they’re written, and the translators are doing a fantastic job adapting them. I’ve bought a few in Japanese to compare to the localized ones and I’m a little boggled at how the Japanese ones are written. I understand this could be a different discussion, considering most published LNs are chosen by popularity from online (like fanfiction or wattpad), and according to this article, (https://soranews24.com/2018/02/20/pro-claims-many-of-japans-light-novel-authors-cant-write-arent-the-ones-creating-their-books/) some authors never finish their work or editing and the editor sometimes writes the entire book for them.

    I found Spice & Wolf to be very well written and translated and I wish the LNs being localized were even half as well done. Kieli was good also, but most of the LNs I’ve been reading (Toradora, The Irregular, etc) are written so poorly it’s hard to not get frustrated with them.

    Thank you for your time :)

    1. Hi Leaf-san, thanks for the comment. Perhaps one day I should write an article about the prose of light novels in general, but my opinion is you can’t generalize too much because every author is different. Tastes vary of course, but I can share a few series that I personally feel have solid writing:
      Book Girl — I always recommend this series, and I always love the way Tohko describes the books she loves with very descriptive and creative food metaphors. Mizuki Nomura also does a great job getting across the nuanced and conflicting feelings of her characters.
      Zaregoto — Nisio Isin is definitely an author who stands out with his sharp dialogue and unusual descriptions. The Zaregoto novels in particular feel rather experimental and artistic, but without feeling as silly or 4th-wall-breaking as his more popular Monogatari books.
      Durarara and Baccano — The prose for Ryohgo Narita’s works is quite simple and straightforward, but there is so much going on every page for these novels that I still feel impressed in terms of how well-paced and well-plotted these stories are. There’s a cool style to his writing that just makes for a fun and breezy read. Another LN series along these lines worth trying out is Kagerou Daze.
      My Youth Romantic Comedy — The voice for this series is highly entertaining IMO, though I understand it won’t be for everyone.
      The Devil is a Part-Timer — I need to read more of this series, but what I’ve read of it was just hilarious and felt very well-translated.

      The article you link is a bit sensationalist and is focused primarily on web novels that have been quickly published to get as many sales possible while isekai stories (“transported to a fantasy world”) are still a big thing. Not all isekai web novels-turned-light novels are poorly-written/edited, but when there are hundreds of them releasing so quickly it’s not surprising there would be some titles that are, well, just being churned out for a quick buck. And obviously, some people writing stories on the web are just doing it for fun, not really intending to make a career out of their hobby. It’s understandable that some of these writers might not work well with their editors, who then become frustrated and wish they were working with “real” published authors.

      If you look at reviews for any popular novel (English or Japanese, YA or adult), it’s not all that uncommon to find lots of people who feel the book isn’t that well-written. So how did it become such a big hit? It’s a large and unwieldy topic, but I think we can say many stories click with people for reasons outside of how good the actual prose is. Maybe the characters resonate with readers, or perhaps the concept of the story just catches people’s interest? At any rate, it seems a lot of people really want to leave this world behind and live in a game of Dragon Quest right now.

      1. Thank you so much, Cho! I really appreciate it and I’ll look into those titles. Yes, that’s very true. I do think many titles don’t need fantastic prose to become as good as they are, I think I put a little too much on wether or not it seems good. Something I have to work on, which is especially difficult considering experience with publishing.

        Makes sense with your take on that article. I really don’t know too much about LNs in general other than isekai being rather popular. It was great to see your perspective on that to clear things up!

        I hope I didn’t come across as too aggressive in any way, I know I get that way when I’m passionate about a subject. Again, thank you and I look forward to reading a post discussing prose and the business in general if you get around to it :)

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