Recent Novel Roundup: Zaregoto 2 and More

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at June 27, 2010 on 6:09 pm

About time I did another one of these, I guess…
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Zaregoto Volume 2 Actually Being Published!?

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at June 21, 2010 on 10:46 pm

English Language releases of light novels have had something of a bumpy ride – by which I mean, most of them get cancelled after only a volume or two, if they even appear at all. When The Kubishime Romanticist, the second instalment of Bakemonogatari author Nisioisin’s Zaregoto series, found itself suddenly labelled with a June 2010 quite some time ago, the assumption was that it was little more than a far flung date invented to indicate that it was on indefinite hiatus.

Curious, then, that Amazon have just shifted the pre-order I made some two years to it’s “Dispatching soon” status, not to mention that one of the other UK retailers I use are claiming to be stocking it shortly. I honestly never thought I’d see the day this would happen, and whilst it doesn’t really say anything about the likelihood of the rest of the series seeing the light of day, it’s still something I’m happy to see happening.

It’s a pretty good time for novel translations, actually. Haikasoru are doing a pretty good job of keeping me with stocked up on predominantly excellent things to read (I should really write something about Stories of Ibis, but Omo does good enough a job to dissuade me), and Yen Press are doing a good job of actually getting some of the more otaku material published. Heck, even Tokyopop seem to be getting back into the game – aside from the shock publication of the second Gosick some weeks ago, they also announced via Twitter they are starting Full Metal Panic up again, if not until next year.

It does leave me struggling to actually decide what to read, mind you. I’ve just finished up Ibis, which leaves me with the two most recent Haikasoru releases and their two Miyuki Miyabe books to read. I’ve also got that second volume of Spice and Wolf sitting here, but the possibility of the new Haruhi and, of course, Zaregoto landing any day makes me ponder if delaying the commencement of a new book would be wise.

Ho-hum.


Gosick Vol.2 (Novel)

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at April 3, 2010 on 8:07 pm

Hey, Tokyopop actually got around to publishing this, even if it did take them some two years to get around to it. I’m quite sure that they’ve been sitting on this translation (which I’m presuming was by Andrew Cunningham, since they managed to leave the translation credits blank) ever since the first volume was published, but the series was part of that big cull of releases that Tokyopop made back at the time. I’m presuming that Tokyopop must be going back through their back-catalogue to find anything that they could possibly put out what they hadn’t already – given that most the major Japanese publishers either have their own US labels or exclusivity deals with other publishers, it can’t be easy for them to license any new titles of the same potential popularity of those they have finishing up. Not that I’m going to complain about it – I really liked the first book, so I welcome the publication of the second no-matter what circumstances it came under.

Really, though, there’s not all that much to talk about here, as per usual for a series second volume. This volume lacks any of the kind of tension the first volume had, and doesn’t really have a mystery of kind of complexity, but it does have plenty of Victoriques wonderfully condescending dialogue. It’s strengths, really, are the same as the previous volumes – it’s just that everything which went around that was a notch below. Still, if you enjoyed the previous volume, and I can’t imagine anyone reading this far into this post if they hadn’t, then it’s probably a safe bet that you’ll enjoy this one.

That’s pretty much all there is to say about this without getting further into spoiler territory that I’d like, and, honestly, I don’t really see much point in posts about the later volumes of novels other than to confirm that they exist and that they’ve not gone completely to hell between volumes. This books out, and it didn’t, so that’s pretty much all there is to it.


Vampire Hunter D (Novels)

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at October 31, 2009 on 5:39 pm

Hey, it’s Halloween, and I can’t think of a more appropriate day to get this particular albatross off my neck. Funny thing about the Vampire Hunter D novels is that they seem to be the only import novel series that actually sells (at least that’s what the fact that the thirteenth volume is published next week suggests), yet no-one ever seems to actually talk about them. That’s probably down to the same reason that I’ve constantly failed to bother writing about them – it gets to the point where it’s kind of hard to come up with anything to say about them. I guess I’ll start with the background, then.
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Recent Novel Round-up

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at October 22, 2009 on 8:33 pm

In the spirit of getting things out of the way, I suppose I should pass comment on the novels I’ve been reading recently. I’ve not really been feeling the need to pontificate at length regarding these things, so I’m going to keep it short-ish today.

And you couldn’t get much shorter than me talking about The Sighs of Suzumiya Haruhi – Haruhi fans will know exactly what to expect from this one, largely because they’ll have just sat through a startlingly faithful anime adaptation of it. Whilst it faired a little better for me than the first book – in so much as I didn’t find it quite so tedious due to over-familiarisation of the material – it still doesn’t really give you anything that you wouldn’t get from the anime, and that version at least looks pretty.

Otsu-ichi’s Zoo is rather more of a tricky beast, being a collection of short stories. Unsurprisingly, the contents a little on the mixed side. It’s probably not the image of the book that Haikasoru wants to promote, but, honestly, the best the book gets is when it reads like something straight out of Faust, with all whole janky, unrealistic, darkly humorous dialogue that saturates said anthology. Unfortunately, that’s breaks down to three of the books eleven stories. The best, for my money, is In a Falling Airplane, in which a failed salesman attempts to sell a euthanasia drug to a woman terrified of dying a painful death, set against the backdrop of a airplane hijacking in which those attempting to assail the hijacker repeatedly fail for inexplicable reasons.

Those who read Otsu-ichi’s other US published work may well remember Goth, a book in which every story had a twist in it. It’s perhaps a little disappointing that much of the rest of the material in Zoo follows the same pattern. It wasn’t so much of a problem in Goth because, aside from the fact that it was clear that was the genre of the book, the stories where generally longer, more fleshed out, part of an ongoing narrative of sorts and, most importantly, the twist never really felt like it was the actual ending. Not so much in Zoo – after a point you start to get this hideous sinking feeling in your gut when you realise that you’re reading a twist-story, you know exactly what the twist is going to be, and the fact that it’s going to end exactly as it reveals it. Zoo rarely disappoints in that regard, by which I mean it does, by doing exactly what you expect.

This isn’t really to say that more than half of Zoo is terrible or anything, more that it’s just somewhat crushingly disappointing coming out of Goth and those first two volumes of Faust – it’s just not as good as Otsu-ichi’s work there.

I also read The Lords of The Sands of Time. I don’t really have much to say about it – so I’ll just point you towards what Omo said about the book, and merely mention that I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to.

Looking forward, there’s not a massive amount I have picked out for future reading. That the next two Haikasoru releases are Battle Royale and Brave Story – the former of which I read years ago, and the later I’ve got the hardcover of and looks way too imposing large for me to actually get around to reading – doesn’t leave me with much in the way of upcoming releases to get to. This leaves me with the other recent Haikasoru release, Usurper of the Sun, which is probably next up. More surprising, largely because I had absolutely no idea there was an English-language release of it, is Yasutaka Tsutsui’s Paprika, the book upon which the Satoshi Kon movie of the same name was based. Looks like it was published over here in the UK earlier this year – there doesn’t look to be a US print, and US Amazon doesn’t seem to list it. Shame.