“What light novels should I read if I’m learning Japanese?” is one of the questions I most frequently get asked, especially by people who are visiting Japan and want to pick up some beginner-friendly light novels while they’re there.
(This post might be about porn, but it is completely SFW, I promise. No lewd links or images here! If you want porn, go look it up yourself.)
Hey, guys! I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’ve uploaded the entire translation of Qualidea of Scum and a Gold Coin on the Nano Desu website. Please give it a read if you haven’t already.
Meanwhile, I’ve started work on the next volume in the Qualidea series: Itsuka Sekai wo Sukuu Tame ni by Tachibana Koushi. Unfortunately, I’ve been quite busy lately and I have other translation projects to deal with, so I haven’t progressed very far yet. I can’t tell you when the next Qualidea update will be, but hopefully it won’t take too long before I get back into the swing of things.
In other news, I recently got my English copy of Kizumonogatari. Unfortunately, as soon as I began to read it, I was reminded why I dislike Nisio Isin’s writing. It’s personal taste, but I find the smugness in his writing style off-putting. I do plan to at least finish the book, but I’m not sure if I’ll be buying the rest of the series.
I can’t comment deeply on the word choices in Ko Ransom’s translation yet, but one thing that strikes me is how the translation goes out of its way to preserve the Japanese syntax and punctuation. Here’s an example from the very first paragraph:
ENGLISH: During the spring break between my second and third years as a high school student—I met her. It was a shocking meeting, and it was a catastrophic one. In any case, I must have had terrible luck—of course, in the same way that I was unable to avoid that bad luck, even if I somehow had, I doubt someone else would have met that fate.
Japanese uses punctuation differently from English at times, so this paragraph comes across as unreadable, ungrammatical nonsense in English. This is one of those cases where adapting a novel for an English-speaking audience should extend to more than just translating words. As it stands, Nisio Isin comes across even more gratingly in English than he does in Japanese.
In more positive news, I recently finished all five volumes of Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen. I enjoyed it! I wrote a review/summary of the series a year ago, but I’ve updated the original post so that it addresses my thoughts on the entire series. Since it’s a bother to click an extra link, I’ve copypasted my review below:
I should’ve announced this ages ago, but… the Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko light novel has been licensed by Digital Manga Publishing. It was never formally announced on their website as far as I can see, but you can see it on the upcoming titles list under the title of The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat. No release date has been given yet. Hopefully, it’ll actually get published, and when it does, I’ll give you the heads up.
Of course, for those of you following the English translation on Nano Desu, this means the project has been formally ceased. If you haven’t, you’d better go read the translation while you still can. I worked on volume 1. The PDF/ePub versions are being taken down later today, but if you ask nicely, I might email you a copy on the strict condition you don’t go around distributing it.
At any rate, I’m honoured that a novel I worked on is getting an English release. I’m also grateful to Nurin and Shingetsu (the translators of volume 2) for their hard work, along with the rest of the Nano Desu staff. Henneko was the first light novel I ever translated and I’m still pretty proud of my work. Of course, since it was a first-time translation project, it’s plagued with minor accuracy errors, so I’m looking forward to the official release to settle the score.
I hope you choose to support the series, especially if you enjoyed reading the fan translation!
Light novels are becoming more popular among English-speaking readers these days, but many, many LNs remain untranslated. This particular title doesn’t even have a fan translation. But never fear, Doctor Froggy is here to provide you with spoilers for a trashy light novel you’ll probably never read.