Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Review! Accel World, Vol. 1: Kuroyukihime's Return (Light Novel)


One never knows how an English translation of a light novel will turn out, but I'm pleased to say that Yen Press did a fantastic job with Accel World, Vol. 1.

The light novel adheres closely to the early episodes of the anime with little deviation (though the light novel predated the anime's release in Japan), but we do get inside the thoughts of our main character, Haru, a little more here. The action scenes are handled well and written with a dynamic quality that really gets you visualizing Haru's battles in the Accelerated World.

Fans might like to know that there's also an afterword by author Reki Kawahara, all of the original illustrations by HIMA are included, and there's even a 'commentary' (as they call it) by Japanese author and game creator, Minoru Kawakami. Included as well are some very interesting art renderings at the end of the book depicting the characters in a vastly different visual style than what they appear in HIMA's illustrations and in the anime. It's a rougher, edgier look which, personally, I wish the anime had used -- particularly the Kuroyukihime design.

A great read, and thankfully an excellent translation. Perhaps one of the better Japanese novel translations I've read in quite some time, right up there with the Dirty Pair novels, the Koga Ninja Scrolls, and the revised edition of the Gundam novel trilogy (a gold-standard for Japanese-to-English translations).

As fans of anime, manga, and those interested in Accel World, please support this novel and purchase it for the modest price on Amazon or at your favorite retailer. Show Yen Press that we would like future light novel installments, not only of Accel World, but of the countless light novels not yet translated. There are numerous Gundam novels that have yet to see proper translation, along with current popular titles like High School DxD and Steins;Gate.

One suggestion for Yen Press and other publishers of similar novels licensed from may be wise to clearly state the term "light novel" or simply "novel" on the book's cover, as to avoid confusion between the many manga and novel titles that are now hitting the marketplace. As it is, Accel World, Vol. 1 Kuroyukihime's Return could easily be mistaken for a manga when ordering online, especially if the buyer is not informed enough regarding the product. This was not an issue for me, but it does seem like English-language publishers tend to shun the term "light novel."

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