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New OEL light novel magazine out and reviewed

+ posted by c_k in Manga News on Sep 30, 2008 04:13
The OEL (Original English Language) light novel magazine, Karui Shosetsu Magazine (literally meaning Light Novel Magazine) featuring 11 different stories from a variety of genres: mystery, alternate history, slice of life, romance, psychological, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, and action was recently released and published on Wednesday, September 24. This free magazine, which can be downloaded at its official website, http://www.ksm.lightnovel.org/, was created by Matt to fill the lack of an English authored light novel magazine, to promote light novels and to see if English writers could write like Japanese light novel authors. Most of the stories in Karui Shosetsu only had the first chapter, and you would have to read the next issue, which is supposed to be released in November, to find out what would happen next. The stories are sporadically illustrated with most stories not illustrated at all.

Although I don't have much experience with Japanese light novels, except for one or two that were translated by Baka-Tsuki, I wondered what an English-authored light novel would be like. I thought that the magazine, overall, was okay because it was the first issue done by amateurs, but if it was done by professions, then I would be mightily dissapointed.

According to wikipedia,
"A light novel is a novel with anime or manga-style illustrations, primarily targeting teens and young adults."

Although this is not true for all light novels, the magazine did not give off the impression that it was targeting young adults. I (maybe mistakenly) thought that light novels were created for those that did not want to or have the time to read regular length novels and were supposed to be very easy to read and very enjoyable. Although I understood what was happening in each story, for some stories, I read the story quickly and enjoyed it, but for some, they did not intrigue me in the least and I couldn't wait for the chapter to end. The following is my overall impression and opinion for each story, which may help you determine whether or not you want to read the story. This is only my opinion so please don't flame me if you disagree.

First story: One Last Stand (not illustrated)
The story is set in an alternate present-day Japan where Japan is still ruled by a royal family, but society had advanced enough in technology where large humanoid robots have been created. The story mainly concerns the two sons of the royal family of Japan, and sets the stage for what will happen in the chapters to come. Although the editor said that this story was most like a light story I found that the minor spelling/grammar errors somewhat distracted me from the story. The story somehow came off as generic and the characters somehow didn't pop out and grab my attention and seemed a bit like Code Gaess, with a bit of talk of the Brittania Empire. Even when something happens to one of the characters I didn't particularly care. The reasoning behind how one of the character acts also seems a bit ridiculous. Overall impression: The story was not particularly interesting and didn't grab my attention and I probably will not read the next chapter.

Second story: Face (not illustrated)
The story is a futuristic one set in 2180 about a girl, along with a few other people, who is trained to be a killer, but escapes because of a warning from a friend. The story is reminiscent of the Gunslinger Girl anime minus the lolis, but with robots/mechas. I liked the first season of Gunslinger Girl, but I didn't particularly like this story. Although the gratuitous violence may appeal to some readers, the way how the main character "grows" somehow comes off as fake or awkward. Overall impression: I probably won't read the next chapter.

3rd story: Cuenta (not illustrated)
This short one and a half page fantasy story was about a girl named Cuenta who runs away from home. The story was very descriptive and kept me entertained to the end of the chapter. Although the chapter was very short, the author seemed to know what he was doing. Overall impression: I will definitely read the next chapter.

4th story: Fight of the Pegasus (not illustrated)
This sci-fi/military story is about a man named William Thompson who was recently put in charge of a newly created space ship. The story describes the background well about this alternate universe that Will lives in and the conflicts that are currently going on. Although the story was not difficult to read at all, I couldn't get into the story at all, although it may be because I'm not too interested in sci-fi stories. If you like military/sci-fi stories with battles in space, you should read it. Overall impression: I probably won't read the next chapter.

Fifth story: Alive in the Super Unknown (not illustrated)
This is one of two short stories featured in this magazine and is about a man who sees a shrink, who one day offers him pills to make him feel alive. These bring him to a mysterious world, where he will have to face his fears head-on. This story was somewhat interesting and was fast-paced enough so that it didn't seem like it was 19 pages long. Overall impression: If you're up to reading something fast paced and weird, read this. If the author writes another story, I'd be up to reading it.

Sixth story: Yami no Hikari: Anrakki Rabaa (illustrated)
The story starts out with two prologues about angels and vampires, which are somewhat weird and seem to be completely unrelated to the story, but I would guess it's supposed to set the stage for a large conflict to come. For the main story, three boys are given a mission to protect a girl. There are some slight comedic moments and two pencil drawings are used to help illustrate the story. Oveall impression: The story is fun, fast paced, and seems like something a manga or anime could be made of. There are some slight hints of romantic underlying feelings between two characters. With the exception of the prologues, I felt this story was interesting and I will definitely read the next chapter.

Seventh story: Ambitions (illustrated)
This story contains the first three chapters is about a girl who is running away from something and who has forgotten where she's come from. She continues to travel to unknown parts and encounters weird and mysterious people. Overall impression: The story was a completely confusing and it seemed as though I had skipped a part of the story and was dropped off in the middle of a horror story with no idea what was going on. The story seemed to drag on and on, and I will definitely not continue reading this story.

Eighth story: Medallion (not illutrated)
The story seems to be set in present time about a girl who helps out at her grandmother's pawnshop and comes in contact with a mysterious medallion. Overall impression: Although the story is very easy to read, the story didn't interest me in the least, even though it was only four pages long and the end of the chapter left me confused. I probably will not continue reading unless the author elaborates on what she meant by 'freedom.' (You'll know what I'm talking about if you read the story.)

Ninth story: Specialists (not illustrated)
Specialists is a military set story about a group of *surprise* military men who are given a mission to take down a man. This first chapter features three events that seem to be not related to each other. Although I don't mind reading a story featuring military men, like Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, this story has too many different gun names/different cars/initials, which all contributed to making the story distracting and boring. Basically, there were too many names. Overall impression: By the end of chapter, the story neither interested me enough to want to continue nor make me want to read the next chapter. The story seemed to drag on, and although the author clearly knows his weapons and military vehicles the rest of the story was neither interesting nor compelling. The story is great for gun nuts.

Tenth story: Elements - Millenian (not illustrated)
This story is about a high school boy who's lost everything and slowly recalls what led up to his current state. The prologue hints that this world is not exactly like our present day since the main protagonist, Jack, does some sort of weapons training, but we don't get to see any. The story mainly consists of describing a high school boy's daily life in school and the beginning of romance with a girl. Overall impression: The story is very easy to read and reminds me of high school and the many insecurities we go through and how boring it can be as well. Although I didn't particularly like the very beginning, it was very interesting to read about how
an adolescent boy thinks, especially in terms of how he feels when confronted with the girl he likes.

Eleventh: Musical Hypnotist (not illustrated)
The second and last short story features a girl who grows up in an affluent neighborhood while being ridiculed for being poor, is suddenly offered the power to manipulate people by playing her flute. Overall impression: The story is somewhat entertaining, yet the ending somehow leaves me somewhat unsatisfied.

So what do you think of this new light novel magazine? Which stories did you like?
To download the magazine, click here.

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