Genkaku Picasso

Welcome to Kuriousity

News, reviews and features with a focus on manga, self-published works and a Canadian perspective. Enjoy fulfilling your Kuriousity!

SITE RETIRED - Thank you for the years of support and readership!

Posts Tagged Light Novels

Yen Press Launches Light Novel Imprint – Yen On

Yen Press Launches Light Novel Imprint - Yen On

Yen Press’s new manga titles weren’t the only treat they had in store for Sakura Con 2014. The publisher also announced a brand new imprint – Yen On – dedicated to the publication of Japanese light novels. As the name directly implies, light novels are novels only… light, meaning not as dense or lengthy as most novels we’re accustomed to. They also have accompanying artwork inside.

A publisher for light novels is something I’ve seen plenty of interest for, but of course seeing interest from inside the anime/manga fandom isn’t necessarily indicative of an actual support base. Though many light novels are original properties – with the most popular receiving manga and anime adaptations after the fact – they’re still mostly seen as simply counterparts to their other more popular connected mediums in North America. Cute anime girls on covers also aren’t a big selling point for the average reader like they are in Japan, as evident by Yen Press’s decisions to sell the original volumes of Spice & Wolf with new photo-realistic cover art. I can’t say if those had any positive or negative affect on sales but it was certainly a thing that happened.

So how about Yen On then? If any publisher was going to do this, I don’t think anyone’s surprised it’s Yen Press. The manga publisher has already released several light novels including The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Sword Art Online, and the aforementioned Spice & Wolf. I’m curious to see if they’ll keep promotion focus on the existing anime & manga fan base, or if they’ll continue trying to push light novels to the wider young adult reading audience as well. Where will I see these books shelved in Chapters & Indigo stores in 2015?

Yen On is launching with three series to start:

Another – Yukito Ayatsuji
A Certain Magical Index – Kazuma Kamachi & Kiyotaka Haimura
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? – Fujino Omori & Fujino Omori

Another is a title I know from Yen Press’s omnibus release of the manga last year, a creepy horror story that had me almost leaving the lights on when I went to sleep. It’s about a class of students haunted by a vengeful spirit, one who appears among them as an extra classmate and brings about gruesome deaths.

Yen Press previously released the Another novel back in 2013 but in digital format only. This October they’ll be launching their new imprint with a hardcover print edition of Another that includes both volumes combined into one.

A Certain Magical Index is also a title I’m familiar with, but by reputation only. This light novel series has spawned multiple manga series and an anime. The  story is set in a world where people have supernatural abilities, but political and societal struggles erupt between different factions of these individuals depending on how they gained their powers, plus what they are. The main setting for the stories is a technologically advanced academy where students with these abilities reside.

Yen On’s first volume of A Certain Magical Index is scheduled to be released this winter.

Last but not the least bit short in name is Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. I’ve seen the joke about long light novel names plenty of times, so Yen On launching with a title like this seems a perfect fit. As for the story itself, the series is set in a fantasy world where a floundering adventurer teams up with a failed goddess.

The author of IIWTTTPUGIAD is new to North American publication but the artist, Suzuhito Yasuda, is known for their manga series, Yozakura Quartet, which was published by Del Rey. The first volume of IIWTTTPUGIAD is due sometime this winter as well.

PR: Yen Press Announces New Licenses and Light Novel Initiative at Sakura-Con

Yen Press Announces New Licenses and Light Novel Initiative at Sakura-Con

NEW YORK, NY (April 19, 2014) – At its panel at Seattle’s Sakura-Con today, Yen Press announced a dedicated program for the English-language publication of Japanese light novels, to be branded Yen On. The newly established Yen On brand will expand on the imprint’s previous light novel offerings, which include such properties as Spice and Wolf, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (co-published with sister company Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), and the forthcoming releases of Sword Art Online and Accel World. Yen On will formally launch in Fall 2014 with a goal of releasing approximately twenty-four books in 2015.

Yen Press also announced several new licenses of popular manga series. The following is a summary of the new acquisitions announced today:

King of Eden
Takashi Nagasaki, critically acclaimed co-author of Monster, 20th Century Boys, Master Keaton, Billy Bat, and Pluto, pens a sweeping new masterpiece of the grotesque with artist SangCheol Lee. Released in cooperation with Haksan Publishing, chapters will be serialized digitally with global availability beginning May 1, 2014.

PandoraHearts ~odds and ends~
The dark whimsy of Jun Mochizuki’s New York Times best-selling world comes to vivid life in this art book featuring over 120 color and black-and-white illustrations from the imagination of the author. This lavish edition will be available in November 2014.

Gou-Dere Sora Nagihara
Two-dimensional love bursts into reality when Sora Nagihara leaps off the manga page and into Shouta Yamakawa’s life in this hilarious fantasy romp from Suu Minazuki. The first volume will debut in November 2014.

Love at Fourteen
Fall in love with Kanata and Kazuki, two unusually mature teens, in this bittersweet manga from the creative talent of Fuka Mizutani. The first volume will be available in November 2014.

The Angel of Elhamburg
Aki returns to the Yen Press list with the tale of a precarious friendship between a king and his knight that begins to crumble under the weight of jealousy and contempt as a beautiful angel looks on. The Angel of Elhamburg will release in Spring 2015.

Published digitally in two volumes by Yen Press in 2013, Yukito Ayatsuji’s spine-chilling horror novels make their way to bookstore shelves in a hardcover omnibus edition under the Yen On brand in October 2014.

A Certain Magical Index
One of Japan’s most beloved light novel series (and one of our most requested), A Certain Magical Index will help launch the Yen On venture. Kazuma Kamachi’s epic tale of clashing Magicians and Espers, accompanied by Kiyotaka Haimura’s lush illustrations, will debut in Winter 2014.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
One of the light novel category’s latest breakthrough successes, Fujino Omori’s hilarious fantasy about a hapless adventurer and a failed goddess, with illustrations by Suzuhito Yasuda, will round out the Yen On initial launch list in Winter 2014.

Read more…

Viz Media Plans a Dash of Shoujo for Autumn with new Shojo Beat Licenses

Viz Media Plans a Dash of Shoujo for Autumn with new Shojo Beat Licenses

After their recent new titles for Viz Signature and Shonen Jump, Viz Media added some new content for their Shojo Beat imprint last week including a new license:

Yukarism – Chika Shiomi

Yukarism is the  story of a young man with an uncanny ability to write about historical Japan. His secret is that he can actually travel back in time, allowing him to live through the eyes of his past life as a courtesan. While switching between his two lives, he also learns more about the strong connection he feels with a classmate.

It’s not often I use the word ‘he’ so often when writing about a shojo series. Still, it sounds neat. I hope a lot of the story takes place in his life as a courtesan, though I am also curious about what that past life means for his relationship with his classmate. How could I not with that picture above?

Chika Shiomi has been published several times in English previously, including Night of the Beasts, Rasetsu, Queen of Ragtonia, and Yurara. Andre previously reviewed Queen of Ragtonia, while I enjoyed what I read of Rasetsu.

Viz Media also announced they’d be releasing a special edition of Vampire Knight‘s final volume this October. It will include a variant cover and a mini art book. This limited edition copy will be available for $16.99 CAN, $14.99 US.

In added celebration for the series finale, there will also be a collection of Vampire Knight short prose stories released in December. Titled Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams, the collection will feature special full-colour artwork from Matsuri Hino. More information is available via Viz Media’s press release.

Seven Seas Makes More Friends With Two New Haganai Licenses

Seven Seas Makes More Friends With Two New Haganai Licenses

When it rains, it pours! And in manga license world, that’s happy news indeed. Seven Seas announced another two licenses via their Twitter account last week:

Haganai: Club Minutes – bomi & Kiurian
Haganai: Now With 50% More Fail! – Chirow Kazahana & Shirabi

Seven Seas has been releasing the original Haganai series – the full title being Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends – since November 2012. The next volume scheduled is volume five in January.

Haganai: Now With 50% More Fail! is a one-shot collection of short stories taking place within the timeline of Haganai. Each story follows a different character from The Neighbours club, a group of students brought together by their common trait of not having many friends. Now With 50% More Fail! is available for pre-order on Amazon (CAN/USA) with a release date for July 2014. It’s priced at $14.99/CAN, $12.99/US.

Haganai: Club Minutes is another collection of short stories, however chronologically these all take place after the original series, so it serves as a sequel. It also focuses more on the group’s activities than individual members. Club Minutes is scheduled for November 2014, but doesn’t yet have a confirmed price or Amazon page.

In response to the license announcement, one fan asked about the possibility of Seven Seas licensing the original Haganai light novels which garnered the following response:

“As we’ve frequently mentioned, the light-novel market isn’t exactly in the kind of condition where we’d be able to release LNs. … As much as we’d love to license/release the Haganai light-novel series, at the current time, it just isn’t feasible/realistic.”

Seven Seas has recently announced a number of other licenses, including several Strikes Witches’ titles, a new Alice in Wonderland spoof, and something about biscuits and hammers.

NYCC 2013: Vertical Inc Deals in Fat and Falls With Manga and Light Novel Licenses

NYCC 2013: Vertical Inc Deals in Fat and Falls With Manga and Light Novel Licenses

Next up on Lissa-takes-a-while-to-post-manga-news-these-days, it’s more new licenses from this past week’s New York Comic Con, today courtesy of Vertical Inc:

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (Light Novel) – Ryō Suzukaze & Thores Shibamoto
In The Clothes Named Fat – Moyoco Anno

Kodansha Comics may’ve granted some wishes I thought were only a matter of time, but Vertical Inc did what I thought was impossible. The Attack on Titan prequel novel? Awesome! Before the Fall is a story that takes place seventy years prior to the events of Attack on Titan. The series is three volumes long and features the invention of the 3D maneuver gear.

Vertical Inc has the first volume scheduled to be released next summer, a couple months after Kodansha Comics will begin releasing the new manga version of the same story. I really hope this does well for Vertical, both out of adoration for the company itself and the want for more similar licenses in the future. Support the prose! I’ll be buying both versions but hope that one doesn’t negatively affect the other in regards to sales.

Next was manga time as Vertical pleased many a josei fan with their announcement of Moyoco Anno’s In The Clothes Named Fat. Vertical previously released her one-short, Sakuran (which was fantastic, by the way), and announced her romantic-autobiographical series, Insufficient Direction this past summer.

In The Clothes Named Fat is another one-shot, but set in modern day. It revolves around an office worker who is self-conscious and bullied about her weight. When her boyfriend breaks up with her, she becomes determined to lose weight no matter what.

Vertical Inc plans to release this title next summer as well. I’m really looking forward to reading it. After Sakuran, I gained a new respect for her works. A well-structured one-shot worked so much better for me than her previously released multi-book series, such as Happy Mania or Sugar Sugar Rune.

Yen Press Makes Their Own Impact With Light Novels, Sword Art Online and New Madoka Magica Manga at Japan Expo

Yen Press Announces Light Novels, New Madoka Magica Manga at Japan Expo

Word is that the new North American convention, Japan Expo: First Impact, is off to a slow start but at least one company – Yen Press – gave it the benefit of the doubt by saving some licenses to announce:

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story – Magica Quartet/Hanokage
Sword Art Online Aincrad – Tamako Nakamura
Sword Art Online Fairy Dance – Tsubasa Hazuki

If these three titles look familiar, it’s because they’re all connected to recent popular anime franchises. You can currently watch the original Puella Magi Madoka Magica series on Crunchyroll, as well Sword Art Online.

PMMM: The Different Story is a spin-off of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and follows two of the characters, Tomoe Mami & Sakura Kyouko, in their own magical girl story. This three volume series is drawn by the same artist as the PMMM manga (read my review of volume one) and stars two of the original main characters. I’m hoping that equates to me enjoying it more than the recent Puella Magi Kazumi Magica – The Innocent Malice, which you can read my review for.

Sword Art Online Aincrad is the manga adaptation of the series, which was originally adapted from a light novel prior to getting an anime (more on that a few lines down!). The story follows some of 10 000 players trapped in a new virtual reality game where winning is the only way to survive and death there means death in the real world. Sword Art Online Fairy Dance is a sequel and continues the story of its leads trying to best the game’s hundred levels. This is the first time either artist has had a work released in English.

That wasn’t all at Japan Expo though. Yen Press surprised, and hopefully pleased, many readers by announcing two light novel series:

Accel World – Reki Kawahara/HIMA
Sword Art Online – Reki Kawahara/abec

Few publishers have been willing to take risks on light novels – which are niches in niches – but it seems Yen Press’s results with some of their previous light novels, including Haruhi Suzumiya and Spice & Wolf, has kept up the faith. Remember, readers, if you want them, then you have to support them!

Credit for news details goes ANN

Showcase: Tokyo Demons

Showcase: Tokyo Demons

Welcome to the first instalment of a new feature for Kuriousity – Showcase! I’ve been wanting to start something like this for a long time and hopefully it’s the start of many interesting things to come. In these columns, which will have no discernible frequency or scheduling (like everything else here – always a surprise!), I’ll be taking a look at some different independent projects that I think readers here at Kuriousity would enjoy. It might be a comic, it might be a novel, it might be a web comic – who knows! I’m a huge fan of self-published creators and hope to introduce great stories to new fans, promote a creator’s work and have a chance to rave about some favourites.

The first title I’m writing about has not only rekindled the fiction lover in me – who has been buried far too long – but is also well-timed as one of the flagship titles for the newly announced, Chromatic PressTokyo Demons.

Read more…

PR: Viz Media Celebrates 25th Anniversary of My Neighbour Totoro with New Releases


Upcoming Releases For Fall Include MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: A NOVEL And An Updated Edition Of The Official Film Picture Book Featuring Special New Cover Design For The Anniversary

San Francisco, CA, February 28, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Hayao Miyazaki’s landmark film with the October 1st release of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: A NOVEL and a new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book.

Published under VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library imprint, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: A NOVEL will carry an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN, while the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

In the charming animation classic MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds – and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was created by famed director Hayao Miyazaki and released as a feature film in 1988 by his Studio Ghibli, which also produced Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo later on. TOTORO’s popularity soon became an international phenomenon and has spawned a vast array of adorable plush characters, toys, collectables and other memorabilia.

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: A NOVEL · MSRP: $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN · Available October 1st 2013

The superbly animated classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is now retold in a novel written by Tsugiko Kubo. This prestigious hardcover edition also features original watercolor illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children’s book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers!

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO picture Book New Edition · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN · Available October 1st 2013

This companion, full-color book to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO features artwork taken directly from the movie. The updated edition also features new cover design and allows parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue.

Read more…

Review: Tender Master

Tender Master
Tender Master on Kindle

Author: Yamila Abraham
Artist: Ero Pinku
Publisher: Yaoi Prose
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: June 2012

Synopsis: “Caleb knew he was from a special race born to serve the Crystalline gods. Monks trained him as a priest until he reached adulthood, and then he went to Crystalline palace to serve his masters—as a sex slave. Caleb’s world is shattered. His beloved gods are lascivious pigs. He can’t accept that the righteous faith he built his whole life around is a farce. Caleb flees the gods’ harem to try to be a missionary for them. He hopes putting some distance between him and his new duties will somehow bring back the ideals he had growing up. Unfortunately for Caleb the Crystalline gods aren’t the only ones who desire his kind. General Caine, a high-ranking demon for the Crystalline gods’ worst enemy, is looking for a mate just like Caleb. When his ship is destroyed he’s marooned on an icy world with his new demon suitor.”

Well, this was a really fast read, which is something I look for in this type of book, but for once I sort of felt cheated. Tender Master went by in a blur and read more like the outline for what could be a really great story.

Read more…

The Review That Wasn’t: Spice & Wolf (Vol. 05)

Spice & Wolf (Vol. 05)

Author: Isuna Hasekura
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: December 2011

Synopsis: “Lawrence and Holo take a respite from their travels north, but a true businessman never rests! It isn’t long before an opportunity for profit in the town of Lenos presents itself to Lawrence; one that could fulfill his dreams of owning his own establishment. But as always the promise of great reward carries with it great risk – and risk is never greater than when one plans to use a werewolf as collateral!”

Hey, remember me? I used to post reviews here? No? Well, I can’t blame you for that since it has been awhile. Definitely longer than I intended it to be. And there are a few reasons for that but the main one is that I was sent the fifth volume of the Spice & Wolf light novels to review and haven’t been able to finish it. And without finishing it, I can’t really give it a proper review. I can, however, review my inability to produce a review. Or something. Roll with me here, guys.

This isn’t my first encounter with Spice & Wolf. I’ve seen the first season of the anime and about half of the second season. I even reviewed volume one way back when. My struggles weren’t due to the common issue of not knowing what is going on. No, the problems I had come down to finding it a hard book to not put down – and not entirely for negative reasons.

Read more…

Take me back to the top!