Omo on Iglesias on All You Need Is Kill

Posted by DiGiKerot in Novels at August 14, 2009 on 6:07 pm

Omo writes about All You Need Is Kill, or more specifically writes about it as an excuse to point towards Joe Iglesias’ review at Eastern Standard. From what the pair of them are saying, it sounds like Viz have done a pretty good job of misrepresenting the book, which is probably exactly what they were aiming to do.

Not that I particularly don’t understand why Viz would want to take such a tact. Many another publisher has tried to market these novel translations – light and otherwise – to either the manga audience, or else the general teen audience, and have failed dismally at every attempt. Even the Viz publication of the Shana novels lasted but two volumes. I guess the term “Light Novel” has become something of a dirty word with both a lot of readers and with retailers. The attempt to promote these things as promote these books as something that straddles some fine line between reading manga and the gruelling task of reading an actual book failed to generate any kind of interest amongst all but a few.

It’s understandable how we got there, too – Boogiepop aside (and that line on the Haikasoru blog was a low blow), most of these publishers have done a remarkable job of putting their worst foot forward. The move to release books either based on recognisable properties or with well-known manga artists attached resulted in some really terrible books being published under Tokyopop’s PopFiction range, and some of the stuff they released before that imprint when they launched their original novel line managed to be even worse (Yes, I did read Clamp Paranormal Investigators…). When Strawberry Panic was genuinely the best book amongst the titles Seven Seas re-launched their novel lines with, you know there’s a problem there.

Then there was the horrific mishandling of those titles that were actually good – randomly dropping paragraphs from Crest of the Stars and hoping that no-one buying the books notices really isn’t a good way to endear yourself to the people you hope are actually going to buy your books. Then there was the whole Kino situation…

Things started to turn for the better once we started getting more original works, but that just happened to coincide with The Great B&M Purge, where Tokyopop was forced to kill the release anything without the words “Fruit” or “Basket” in it’s title to absorb costs. There’s really nothing like murdering a series midway to stop people buying them until it’s fully released.

So with Haikasoru, Viz’s new novel imprint, it’s entirely understandable that they’d be trying as hard as possible to distance themselves from the pulpy light-novel fair, that’s been proven time and again not to sell, by ensuring we all know that these are proper books of non-trifling content, and definitely not light novels.

Even if some of them are.

Funny thing is (which isn’t really funny), it’s had pretty much the opposite effect on me – I’ve known these book have been available for a week or so already, yet uncharacteristically I’ve neglected to pick them up. I think the issue is that, these days, I end up doing most of my reading during my lunch break at work, and the last thing I want to be reading is something that requires too much thought or feels like a chore. The general writing style and tone of the novels being put out by most of the other publishers (light novel or not) has been a pretty good mesh for the kind of thing I’m looking for. The publicity that Haikasoru has been putting forward makes me think that those books aren’t.

Which is why I’ve been waiting for reviews from the types of people who normally read the manga publishers novel translations in order to find out if they’re really the kind of western-styled Fantasy/SF fodder that Lord of Sands of Time appears to actually be – I have perfectly good books of the genre lying around unread already. It does sound like KILL fits somewhat into that mould from what Omo is saying, but both he and Joe use the magic word “Pulp”, which is enough to at least pique my interest. (Digitalboy has reviewed the book as well, by the way).

I guess I’ll read All You Need Is Kill as soon as Amazon gets around to sending me them, or else I get to a bookstore which sells these things. Suppose I’ll get Sands of Time whilst I’m at it as well.

Have I said how much I’m looking forward to Zoo?


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