Light Novels Finale
Light novels are different from traditional novels in that they are much shorter, the length of what we call a novella, sometimes even shorter than that. They consist of small story arcs, what you would see in one to five episodes of an anime adaptation, and feature drawings every few pages to help with a crucial scene’s depiction, even if it’s just showing a character sitting and having something to drink.
Kaze no Stigma hooks you very early on. The main characters in the series are part of shamanistic families, each with ties to Elemental Lords. The Kannagi family, to which the protagonists belong to, are tied to the Elemental Lord of Fire and because of this almost every member has the ability to use and control flames; and whoever is chosen as the family’s successor will earn the right to bear Enraiha, a flaming sword.
Kazuma never had the ability to control fire, and as such couldn’t win the fight against his cousin Ayano for the right to bear Enraiha and become the family’s successor. Seeing this as a humiliation, his father banished him from the family and Kazuma vanished afterwards. He returns twenty years later, at the start of the story, controlling not fire but Wind and with more power than any of them had ever encountered. Kazuma, in his travels, had forged his own contract with the great Elemental Lord of Wind, who bestowed all his power on him.
Kaze no Stigma, beyond the supernatural plots and the action is a story about family, about second chances and about proving yourself. Kazuma’s return is all about rubbing his power in his family’s face, but as he reconnects with his brother and cousin and the rest of the family he starts helping them. He does so grudgingly at first and always keeps the detached front, but you can see how things change in him.
If you’re looking for strong character development, Kaze no Stigma is for you.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou has a funny concept. In the series’ world, people go from the great academies of magic into their professional lives, the top often going into ministries and running the magical nations.
Sai Akuto just wants to become one of those magicians, to help the world. There is just one problem. The school uses a sorting-hat-esque method of deciding what future occupation a student will have and in his case, it has decided he’ll be a Demon King; which makes him the most hated and feared student in school almost instantly. It doesn’t even matter that he doesn’t want this future or that he’s an actual nice guy. The world is still reeling from the devastation caused by the last Demon King, so the thought of a new one puts everyone on edge.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou has intense magical battles, manipulations, heartbreaking moments and slapstick humour all bundled up in a nice package. One of the things that makes it so amusing is that no matter what Akuto does or says to prove he’s not evil it’ll be misinterpreted to make him look worse. There is an element of harem in the story, but it goes against type because the character isn’t actually trying to collect one, it just happens, which to everyone else is just further proof of his evil.
Have I mentioned there’s a Dragon? It’s the previous Demon King’s ‘steed’ and he now serves Akuto.
Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi is a beautiful series with a simple yet intriguing plot.
At some point in the series’ backstory, people stopped having children and couldn’t die, no matter how damaged their bodies became. The only way for them to find rest was if an Undertaker interred them. But I’m not talking about a wrestler or some old creepy guy with a shovel. No, these undertakers were all women and without even the slightest bit of emotion.
Ai Astin, the protagonist is different. She’s an undertaker but unlike the others, she’s a little girl and not a full-grown woman, and she’s capable of showing emotions. The truth is she’s half-undertaker and half-human and possibly the last baby ever born. She lives in a village in complete peace, doing her job as undertaker for the townspeople without a care in the world. At least until Hampnie Hambart shows up, an albino packing guns who promptly shoots up the entire village, who he claims were already dead, just continued existing. After a rocky start, the two travel together and after a few revelations they part ways, with Ai finding new and permanent travel partners, one of which is a fellow Undertaker.
The world of this series is not the barren wasteland post-apocalypse of Mad Max, but a silent one. It’s the eerie calm of death, a world that’s given up since the day years before when people claim God left the world. On her travels she finds interesting people, discovers an entire nation for the living dead, and slowly becomes determined to save the world, however she has to.
Ai’s innocence is a beautiful medium to the story, as you see and experience things from her naïve and somewhat ignorant point of view. There is hardship and there are dark moments but if there’s one thing the narrative always makes you feel is hope, that there’s always hope if you keep going.
And that is all for the light novel series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and you give some of these Light novels a chance. They’re very good and highly enjoyable.
Until next time,
I’d like to take a minute to thank Kevin for his continued contributions to GeekOut South-West with this Light Novels series.
I’ll be honest; before I read his posts, I was actually a sceptic of light novels in general. I had originally somewhat dismissed them as something as a medium between a novel and a comic without knowing what it wanted… And I feel a little bit foolish for having had my reservations about light novels.
If you’ve not visited it before, please check out Kevin’s website, The Mental Attic – Occasionally I guest post over there too. Sometimes thought-provoking, always explorative and imaginative. Get to it!