Digibro’s Media Journal Year One Finale

[Bandcamp’s new embed thing isn’t working with me, so go here: http://digibronevershutsup.bandcamp.com/album/digibros-media-journal-year-one-finale]

This is it! The end of the first year of Digibro’s Media Journal, and the effective end of the current format of the series. Above is a brief podcast with my thoughts on the yearlong project, and below is the final ordered list of all media that I took in this year.

The June stuff is in bold. Note that a great number of the ratings have been changed since the items were originally listed.

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How Does A Light Novel Get An Illustrator?

I promise this isn’t just filler, it’s a question that’s been bothering me and this seemed like the best place to reach for an answer.

Just how did VOFAN get attached to Bakemonogatari? http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=vofan

How does an illustrator get attached to a light novel? Do writers go to an artist before they try to get published, or do they meet artists through the publisher? Does the author pay the illustrator before publication, or do both the author and illustrator get paid by the publisher? And if the author does pay the illustrator beforehand, then does the illustrator make any money off of the publication? Is it usually a “professional” illustrator that works on a light novel, or someone the author found on pixiv and launched into stardom with the publication?

Besides my interest as a light novel fan, I’m also interested in this as a writer. I would really love to do some of my works in the style of light novels, so I want to know just how I should go about attaching an illustrator to my works.

Musical References in Boogiepop and Others

If you still don’t know, I am an insanely huge fan of the light novel Boogiepop and Others. I like this novel more than anything else – anime, movies, manga, anything. If I had to recommend one thing to everyone I’ve ever met, it would be to read Boogiepop and Others… at least 3 times, because any less and you didn’t catch everything, and even then you should probably read it a few more times. It won’t be hard, the book can’t possibly take more than 2 hours to read. I re-read it for the 10th or so time today, after it’d been quite a while – a couple years ago it took me a lot longer to muscle through the volume, but now it’s like a breeze even though I’m a slow reader. Probably helps that I know the book like the back of my damn hand. I can’t recite it yet, but I do always know what hte next line will be. Even now, there are a few things in there I still catch that I hadn’t before, even if it’s totally miniscule moments. The fact that I do catch them, though, furthers my desire for rewatching some of the anime that I don’t think I’ve grasped fully yet (caughLaincaugh). But I digress.

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Zaregoto Book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle – Man, What the Fuck Was THAT All About?

I would like to stress that this be read in accompaniment, though preferably before, this review by my hero, Boogiepop translator Andrew Cunningham http://easternstandard.pbwiki.com/Zaregoto

Nisioisin is a stellar author who singlehandedly revolutionized the light novel market just as Kouhei Kadono had brought it into existence years before with Boogiepop and Others. Like Kadono, Nisioisin writes heavily psychological tripfests with a very unique style. Also, just as all Kadono stories are instantly recognizable, Nisioisin’s stories, among those I’ve read, all have very similar qualities.

The best way to describe Zaregoto in my opinion would be ‘completely fucking inaccessible mindrape.’ I guess the Japanese eat that up since all of the novels that revolutionize their markets are totally insane. Naturally, I loved Zaregoto, though the ending leaves me wallowing in self-doubt and pain. Unlike Boogiepop and Others whose worldview is crystal clear to me like some Brilliant All-Truth (it is, after all, my favorite thing ever) Zaregoto is like some hazed-over crazy land. The book is written in such a way that it begs the reader to pull thmself into relating to it even though they shouldn’t at all. The main character is a complex mechanism of confusion and derision and none of the other characters are shining examples of normalcy. If you take any of the points made or worldviews expressed in this novel seriously, you are in for a world of conflicting thoughts, bad moods, and will get very angsty very fast. It’s a powerful thing that a book so out of touch with normalcy can convince a normal person that they are either insane, a genius, or both, or at least start hating the world for no discernable reason.

I imagine this is what made the book popular. After reading it, people were probably so fucking confused with what they actually thought about the world in and of itself that they couldn’t help but relate this indescribable emotion to a love for the story. I can’t blame them – I’m in the same boat. Throughout the entire book I found myself nodding in agreement or furrowing my brow in thought at things I didn’t even comprehend, and the ending – holy fucking shit. I won’t spoil it but when you get through the epilogue it is impossible not to ask yourself ‘what the fuck did I just read?!’ honestly, I’m glad it ended that way just to show me exactly how fucked up the worldview really was so I didn’t take it so seriously I really went mad.

As for the story itself, as a mystery novel, which it is in some way, it doesn’t even try very hard to be a good mystery for the most part and is less ‘ZOMG’ than most episodes of Detective Conan but the real engrossing part is the constant dialogue and psychobable that has you gripping your head and asking ‘why am I thinking about this?!’ The main character was a guy who I would have a hard time not enjoying when he was so complex and it was refreshing to see a main character who wasn’t written to be relatable. I also loved his partner, the blue-haired Kunagisa, but that’s because she was UBER pandering to my DEEPEST emotions that made me just want to rip her out of the book and I imagine that it will sink in how much I loved her character and how I wish she were real and then I’ll get all depressed and shit. Again. Damn this fucking book.

Nine out of ten. I highly recommend it, especially if you want to be fucked hard through the ear.

Gosick (Gothick? Whatever)

(in some alien language because Tokyopop’s gay ass doesn’t keep things in color)

Because I don’t talk about it enough, you may or may not know that Boogiepop and Others is my favorite novel ever and one of my favorite anythings ever. I don’t think it would have been half as great though if the translator, Andrew Cunningham, hadn’t done such a fucking amazing job, and Seven Seas adding all sorts of juicy extras that tugged me into the series with utter force. Long after reading and loving Boogiepop I found out that Andrew Cunningham had a blog and I could, like, talk to him and shit. Also, he translates a whole shiltload of novels now, and even reviews some of the ones he does and others. Well anyway, he translated Gosick and his review was favorable. Plus it had a gothloli involved and I LOVE gothloli. So seeing it in the store, I knew it had to be MINE.

For those who aren’t familiar with light novels, they are basically like reading an anime but with no pictures. Plus they are short. I read very slow so it took me about 3 hours to chomp through Gosick, but if you are the type who reads a graphic novel in 15 minutes, you should be able to finish Gosick in 45 minutes. When reading, I felt like it could have made a good movie or OVA, though by the end I was more leaning to the first arc of a series because I definitely want more.

Gosick is essentially a quirky episode of Detective Conan with more interesting main characters. The whole Sherlock Holmes style is strong with this one, and the formulas were very Conan-reminiscent. Shocking things happen, people yell in shock, most of the supporting cast is killed, and a shocking twist mixed with the most ‘no way’ clues possible reveal the truth. Replace Conan’s ‘One truth prevails’ with Victorique’s ‘I reconstructed the chaos based on the facts that sprung from the fountain of knowledge’ and there you have it.

The only trouble I had with Gosick was at the beginning when it didn’t exactly tell you where it was going, but I ended up feeling glad that time was taken to really get me into the characters before the action started. The main character duo will make many cry ‘Haruhi’. Kujo, a Japanese student at a European school full of white kids, takes himself and everything a little too seriously, can be very frank and a little stubborn but has a heart of gold. It’s easy to imagine him talking in Kyon’s deadpan. Victorique is conversely the opposite of Haruhi in terms of outward personality, but her dialog is almost the same minus the tsun. While she isn’t energetic and outgoing (n fact, she spends all of her time sitting in a tower reading multiple books in different languages at THE SAME TIME) she does command Kujo to do her bidding and acts out of sheer boredom. However, she is also a genius unlike Haruhi and states everything only according to absolute fact. Throughout the novel, we are given equal evidence that she might be more of a kid than she lets on and that she is, in fact, a robot. The duality makes her fun and interesting, and I look forward to the two characters returning again.

The mystery itself didn’t seem like it was all too original, especially since a lot of the clues were completely ridiculous. However in the end, when things came together, I was genuinely surprised by one major plot twist that made me feel like a complete idiot. In the end it was worthwhile, and since the book was so brief, it helped make the whole experience feel satisfying.

If you like mystery or are just a light novel freak like me, I definitely reccommend reading this.