[Two] Kirito’s kind of a cutie, too.


The fervent swinging of an ax and an ever-growing count mark the start of this story. Just two boys swinging away at an impossibly vast tree under the hot summer sun. The unfamiliar names and unrecognizable locale suggested a place far removed from the world we once knew until the utterance of a single name answers all questions as to where this story is set.

“It’s your turn, Kirito.”

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[Six] Just a Few Light Novels I Liked this Year


For a variety of reasons, I found myself with a lot more interest and time for picking up and following new light novels this year. It’s gotten to the point now that I can comfortably say that probably I’ve read more volumes in sheer number this year than any other before. I’d like to think that a big part of it came from my increased awareness of when new stuff comes out after helping out with English Light Novels but I certainly can’t blame the actual purchasing of the things on anything but my lack of self-control.

In any case, I’ve found myself in the position of being able to recommend a bunch of new titles that I’ve tried and liked this year and so, here we are. Let’s get started.

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[Eight] Wolf and Sheep


Several years back now, I promised a friend of mine that I would watch one of his all-time favorite shows, Spice and Wolf. It was a series that was generally really well received and with perhaps one of the most renowned female characters of the late 2000s. I saw no reason not to give the series a try and try I did. Three times in fact. There was just something about the premiere that held me back from getting into the series proper and so the show was put on the back-burner for good while. This year I finally followed through on this extremely long-standing promise of mine in a way that was, in hindsight, probably the easiest way to get me to try any sort of series – through the light novels. In October of this year, with work slowing down just a touch, I blew through almost 8 volumes of the series in a fortnight.

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[Eleven] My Youth Romantic Comedy Can’t Possibly be This Awkward (Thoughts on Tomozaki-kun)


In the days leading up to the release of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki-kun’s second volume, I found myself suddenly (and maybe a little unreasonably) excited to get my hands on it. Perhaps it was residual from the anime announcement or from the generally warm reception to future volumes that I’d seen on twitter in the recent weeks, but I was very ready to return to this series and with high hopes.

The burden of expectation has, admittedly, ruined many a volume from far too many series for me but I did end up enjoying Tomozaki-kun’s second book a lot. It’s solidified the series as one of the most promising and fun ones that I’ve read this year and I wanted to take some time to talk about what makes it so special.

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[Six] Somehow I Found Myself with a Lovable Demon Daughter


I was sitting in an Indigo about two weeks before my much-anticipated Japan trip looking for something new to read on the long flight over when I happened upon a certain daughter-themed manga adaptation of a light novel. With a title like, If It’s for my Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord, there was no way in my mind that it’d be anything but a goofy parody series a-la Paying to Win in a VRMMO. But as you might have been able to tell from the title of this post, what I found was not quite what I expected and in the same vein, my intense interest for the series after picking it up was also pretty far from my expectations.

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[Eleven] Combat Baker & the Comfort in Knowing

combat baker cover

Volume five of The Combat Baker and Automaton Waitress was set to be released the day after my return home from Japan and upon hearing about this several days after my landing, I immediately jumped to buy the e-book so that I could read it as soon as I could. The previous volume had ended in a cliffhanger which of course largely contributed to the excitement I felt but as a fairly new series to me, I was surprised at how taken I was with it.

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Quiet Ghost Stories in Kieli


Halloween has historically been one of my least participatory seasonal events. As a kid growing up in apartment buildings where door-to-door candy grabbing was mostly prohibited and as a person who’s shied away from most things horror-related, there’s just wasn’t a lot there for me to enjoy. This year I figured I’d get into the spirit of things and let myself be conned by my friends into playing through a certain “Doki Doki Literature Club” and write about it as my seasonally appropriate post-of-the-month, but after an entirely voluntary sleep-ness night, I decided not to re-experience that disturbing mess again through writing. So instead I’ll be celebrating this day originally dedicated to remembering the dead by writing about the charming ghost stories of Kieli.

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The Magic of Shuji Kataoka

 “I read a letter by someone very much like me. It was like seeing myself. My heart was filled with it, and tears streamed from my eyes. Finally I’d met someone with the same spirit as me. I was sure he would have understood my suffering and misery. He inspired me to begin this letter. I feel that as I write this letter, I grow closer to him.”


If asked the question of, “why do you like reading light novels?” I’m not sure I could give a super definitive answer. It probably came about from a combination of my interest in stories, and my deep love for anime and its associated media. Reading the source material for the shows that I cared about was the natural next step for me and somewhere along the way this became a medium of storytelling that I really liked. I’m sure that this is the case for western novels as well but I find it incredibly easy to slide into the worlds within the words, losing myself in the fantasy and surrealism of the story and its characters. And this most certainly the case for stories more grounded in reality as well. I find parts of myself in the characters, and parts of my life in their worlds. However small and insignificant the links, they keep me attached, interested, and looking for more bits and pieces of myself somewhere between the lines.

As you might expect, this too was the case when I read through the first volume of Mizuki Nomura’s Book Girl series titled, “Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime”.

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I Met a Frog Online and Now I Can’t Stop Reading Light Novels (again)!


Almost five months ago, I wrote a post for my 12 Days of Anime series regarding my experience with light novels. In that post, I talked mostly about my conflicting feelings for the medium as well as touching a little bit on the power of familiarity in long running series like the ones I followed. At the time, I wasn’t expecting any of my posts, let alone that rant, to attract very much attention but soon after I posted it, I got a comment from a certain Frog-kun. I didn’t know it at the time, but his suggestions would eventually reignite my passion for light novels.

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