Archive for April, 2010

Hideyuki Kikuchi Anthology: A Wind Named Amnesia and Invader Summer Review

A Wind Named Amnesia and Invader Summer book cover

Well this is interesting: instead of deciding to sell two Hideyuki Kikuichi novels separately, Dark Horse decided to put A Wind Named Amnesia and Invader Summer in one volume. This is decent value for money especially in Australian dollars (where I live books are expensive: expect to pay twenty dollars or more for a paperback). The first novel on my first inspection seems to be a post-apocalyptic tale which avoids the lack of finesse more Western apocalyptic literature and film has to the influence of the (again) Australian film Mad Max and its respective sequels. I’ve never read Vampire Hunter D (written by the same author as this anthology) but Kikuichi seems to have a real grasp on how narrative flows with full exposure to the atmosphere of a novel set in a dark yet graceful future.

A Wind Named Amnesia is about a youth named Wataru who wanders the landscape of America with an alien girl named Sophia. They must discover the cause of a mysterious amnesia which has caused humanity to descend into a primitive state. The roads are perilous, and the people they meet could be friend or foe alike. And yet there is still hope. Sophia never lets Wataru give up hope in humanity, as they struggle to survive in a world where humans have forgotten basic skills and even advanced technology. Once humans were capable of reaching the stars, now they are glued to the ground. Overall A Wind Named Amnesia is a quick but raw read which plays out like a sort of On the Road only instead of Jack Kerouac a Japanese science fiction writer is documenting the graceful decay of civilization, for all its rawness in the description of brutality, it’s never gratuitous or over the top. Kikuichi as a writer chooses to depict America as a sprawling wilderness where all order has been lost due to a lack of remembering what they once had, only some people remember more than others. I highly recommend this as light reading because while it’s fun to read it’s not as intellectually demanding as Brave Story. Well written, good effort, but not much depth. Philosophical statements are made, but they sound cheesy. And isn’t that what a Kikuichi novel should be? It was written in the 1980s, and believe me, after seeing Hot Rod, the 80s inspired film about a stuntman biker, I totally “get” what Kikuichi was going for with this one. It’s rock and roll, not Mozart.

The second novel in this anthology is Invader Summer, which is an entirely different mood to A Wind Named Amnesia but sticks with the premise of alien mystery. It’s about a kendo black belt teenager or something who’s in trouble with some gangsters who want to knock him off because they’re working for a competing school who want their kendo pupils to win the national championships. There’s also a strange girl who captivates all the male members of the school, causing a lot of problems for the girls.

Invader Summer can get dark but it’s in a lot lighter tone than the first novel presented here. As I don’t know much about the context of Invader Summer – but I can tell you it’s a hell of a lot easier to read than A Wind Named Amnesia which gets pretty brutal. Mainly because the gangsters are so inept that they’re hardly threatening at all, whereas A Wind Named Amnesia has a really dark apocalyptic atmosphere. My recommendation is to buy this book because you get two stand alone light novels which can be enjoyed as reading on the bus or just individually. You can’t lose with this deal, since Hideyuki Kikuichi delivers strong stories with reasonably deep musings on humanity.

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Text Copyright © Jacob Martin 2010 and The Ranobe Cafe. All Rights Reserved.


April 30, 2010 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

Bungaku Shoujo English Cover Leaked?

Well, this blog is known for reporting not only the widely known news (or semi-known) but also for exploring news that other’s somehow seem to have missed. This would be one of those times.

Posted on MyAnimeList, a user by the name of “Desolato” posted what he claimed to be the English edition cover for the newly licensed Yen Press light novel “Bungaku Shoujo” due out this July under the English title “Book Girl and The Suicidal Mime”.

Whether the cover is official or not has not been confirmed, and no original source for where the image was found was given.

But if what we see now is in fact the official cover, I give them a huge round of applause. This would indeed be their best attempt at a mainstream English cover yet.

Thoughts? Opinions? Leave them below.

April 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm 3 comments

Spice and Wolf Volume 2 Cover Released

This past Sunday, Yen Press posted online the official English cover for the second volume of Spice and Wolf, which is due for a release this July.

The cover came along with some new news as well. A new marketing strategy is being implemented by the manga/light novel publisher.

The actual cover of the novel will retain the original Japanese Illustration, while a slip cover containing the new English picture will be placed over it.

Fans are applauding the announcement as a well executed compromise between the mainstream US audience the publisher hopes to capture and the fanbase already existing.

According to a podcast at Anime News Network and Barnes and Noble sales data rankings, the novels are selling better than the publisher had originally imagined.

April 28, 2010 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

10th Haruhi Suzumiya Novel To Come 2010

So it’s official now. According to the June issue of Kadokawa Shoten‘s The Sneaker magazine,  the Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko imprint plans to publish Nagaru Tanigawa‘s new light novel, “The Astonishment of Haruhi Suzumiya” this year. The novel will mark the first new release in the series in over three years since the last volume was published. The magazine is planning to publish an excerpt from the new novel in the upcming issue as well.

In a message inside the magazine, author Tanigawa announced that he has written 75% to 80% of the new book. According to the message, he has also written 370 pages in the novel’s current draft.

Rumors over the years have circulated that this new novel will mark the end of the franchise, however, there has been no official confirmation to support this. Reasons as to why the author has taken this long to write the next new novel, having ended the previous one on a cliffhanger, are unknown largely.

Original Source: Kyō mo Yarareyaku

English Source: Anime News Network

April 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

GOSICK Light Novels To Be Animated….By Studio BONES?

Kadokawa Shoten revealed on their website around the middle of March that the GOSICK light novel series would be adapted into an Anime. The news came as no shock to long time fans of the series, except for maybe the fact that it took this long to have it announced.

The news came soon after the English release of Volume 2 of the series by TokyoPop after a long hiatus and circulating rumors of cancellation.

While not widely reported, or even mentioned by Anime News Network, the Japanese website MoonPhase has announced unofficially that the Anime series will be animated by Studio BONES. For those unfamiliar, this is the same animation studio that has created “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Eureka Seven”, “Ouran High School Host Club”, “Wolf’s Rain”, “Darker than Black”, as well as the currently airing series “Hero Man”.

While unofficial and not confirmed, the news isn’t entirely shocking. This wouldn’t be the first time the studio had adapted a light novel series. In 2003 the studio adapted the “Scrapped Princess” light novels (3 volumes were published in English by TokyoPop before being discontinued) into an Anime series.

A rumor had circulated that the newest issue of NewType would confirm the news officially, however, thus far this rumor has not proven true.

April 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm 1 comment

Welcome To Ranobe Cafe!

This marks the english speaking world's first dedicated light novel blog, bringing you news and views from the english perspective on light novels. We are more than just a blog about light novels though, we also stand in awe of the many other literary works crossing over to the West from Japan. So expect to also see articles that dabble from time to time in Cell Phone Novels and Japanese Sci-Fi works, to mention a few.

So come all you light novel enthusiasts! Come one and all! We may be a niche, and may represent one of the smallest markets in these economically troubled times, but we are also one of the most dedicated! So let us come together and support the industry we love and hold so dearly!