Does anyone have any recommendations for any Japanese light novels in the fantasy genre?
Looking for stuff in teen/ young adult category but fantasy genre, similar to Lord of the rings, Sword of Truth, Shannara chronicles; stuff with different races, dragons, magic etc. Can be either originally Japanese or translated to Japanese and preferably not manga or graphic novels (already got a few of those but looking for something with a higher word count).
My current Japanese level is around N5-N4 but I’ve found that when reading my understanding is higher and I’m absorbing more vocabulary and grammar uses as I read so looking to branch out from the graded readers and short stories books I’ve got.
Series are welcome but please tell me which is the first in the series so I can start from the first book.
Also, Japanese ISBN numbers or links to the books on Amazon etc would be helpful so I can try to order the right ones.
Thanks in advance
Hmm. I don’t know how many of the boxes it ticks, but something like Spice and Wolf?
I think Tensura is a light novel?
We read several fantasy books by the same author here in the forums, and the (textually) easiest one is 狐笛のかなた (Koteki no Kanata) Home Thread - it has medieval fantasy, magic/supernatural stuff and those things. Maybe you are interested?
When reading it, you can also make use of the book club threads and even still ask questions in them (a lot of the original readers are still around and follow the threads).
Personally I liked 青の王. It’s a series with magical creatures, magic and adventure, written for early teens or so. There’s 3 parts but I’ve only read the first because they’re expensive. The author writes a lot of youth and children’s fantasy, so checking out her other books might be worthwhile too. (They also wrote Zenitendo, which has a bookclub here but I didn’t like very much.)
Speaking of, I enjoyed the following of her books too:
世界一周とんでもグルメ is another book by the same author. This one is more of a kid’s book maybe targeted at mid to late elementary schoolers? It’s about some kids wandering a fantasy world in search of rare ingredients and getting involved in all kinds of shenanigans. No magic as such, but lots of fantastical creatures and onomatopoeia.
Then there’s 妖怪の子を預かります, but while it is a youth/kids book, I’d not recommend it for a beginner learner. It’s set in olden times Japan, featuring all kind of folklorish creatures and their offspring. The terms used are quite a bit more difficult than in the ones above.
Is Tensura that time I got reincarnated as a Slime?
I’ve got audio books of that so that would be a good one to get physical books of too.
mushoku tensei looks good too, I just need to find Japanese copies as I only seem to be able to find English copies on Amazon.
I didn’t know spice and wolf was a light novel too, will keep an eye out for that.
I’ll check those out, thanks.
Thanks, I hadn’t heard of that one before. Found a copy on Amazon pretty cheap so gonna get that and see how I get on.
I’ll keep the book club in mind for any questions I’ve got about it. Thank you
I’m currently reading the 転生王女と天才令嬢の魔法革命 series so I guess I’ll throw that into the ring
青の王 series looks good. Found all three books on amazon but yeah, £39-£42 per book is expensive. Tbh, I’ll probably get all three at some point if they’re good. Thanks for suggesting them.
世界一周とんでもグルメ might be good for me to start with if I find I’m struggling with more advanced stuff. Will keep a look out for it as well as it doesn’t seem to be available on uk Amazon but with the isbn I can see if my local can order it in.
妖怪の子を預かります has a 10 book set on Amazon so might see about getting that at some point. The more difficult language in it might be a decent challenge for me once I’ve reached a decent level and sounds like it would be good since I’m interested in folklore, myths and legend style tales too.
Great suggestions, thank you
Cool, I’ll check that one out too. Thank you
I recommend 本好きの下剋上. Really long series but pretty great. (I’m about halfway through.) Could be challenging at N4, but if you’re willing to push through it’s a fun series.
Deltora Quest? It’s a series by an Australian author which has been translated into Japanese. Even had an anime made. It’s not strictly a light novel, but it was written for kids.
First book in the series.
Oh man, I read Deltora Quest as a kid. Totally forgot about that series. (I do remember enjoying it for what that’s worth.)
If you’re up to it, I posted a links to some of the ones that were originally web novels.
The reading experience isn’t as nice as a book but it’s free.
Otherwise, I would recommend BookWalker.jp
I would actually not recommend the LN for your level but go for it if you want a challenge. I started it pretty early in my journey but I liked the anime so much that I slogged through it.
The main thing is that the narrator is a middle aged otaku and the novel descriptions especially are filled with colloquialisms, katakana words, and the contents of a full adult vocabulary.
Here’s a sample of the vocab lookups I did just for the first volume:
But, like I said, I loved the world and the story so much, so by all means give it a shot.
Thanks, I’ll check that one out
I’ve got the first 8 of this series in audiobook so getting it in physical copies would be good too for reading while listening. Thanks
Thanks for the heads up. There’s a lot of more advanced stuff in there that could be quite a challenge for me. Will be good for helping build vocabulary though.
I’ll check out the links too, thanks fir sending those.
I know at this stage I’ll struggle with almost all adult native level content but I’ve found that the best way for me to learn grammar is by reading and listening to full native language. I struggled with Genki because I was switching back and forth between English and Japanese yet with Minna no Nihongo I found it easier to absorb the grammar and stay focused even though it was all in Japanese. I’m self studying but hoping that by challenging myself with more advanced content as I continue to study grammar will help me build up my fluency. If I can’t read them yet, then it’ll be something to strive towards as I continue learning
Might sound silly but my intention is to use this content for extensive reading sessions before breaking it down into chunks and reading intensively to understand better before re reading it in extensive reading sessions again as that method seems to be working best for me.
I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but you could even start a book club if you want other people to talk to, you can even make it so anyone can join and read at their own pace, so you don’t have to worry about actually running it. Basically a thread for the book(s) you’re reading.
The Moribito series is kind of good: Moribito series - Wikipedia
I started reading book 2 recently (don’t have book one sadly ) and it’s decent.
I don’t think N5-N4 is going to cut it, though. Probably more like N3 or higher.
Judging from the examples you gave, I would steer away from light novels because they tend to be very different in style, and honestly not that good if you are looking for high fantasy and world building (or decently written). I haven’t really found many “proper” fantasy books that are written similar to the western books, so I guess it’s not really a thing in Japan.