So many light novels to read, and not enough time in the day! No matter how much we consume, even the best reader among us is going to miss out on one or two series.
Recently, we’ve had a bit of down time to catch up on some popular series that—for one reason or another—somehow slipped past us. At least we have lots of volumes to catch up on now!
Today on Honey’s Anime, we’re talking about 3 Popular Light Novels We’ve Been Sleeping On!
3. Itai no wa Iya nanode Bogyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu (Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense)
- Authors: Yuumikan
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
- Volumes: 5+
- Published: April 2021—present
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bogyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu (Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense) is a delightful, soul-cleansing take on VRMMOs (think Sword Art Online). Our main character Maple is an optimistic cinnamon roll who accidentally creates a “broken” character build by focusing all of her upgrades on defense!
When the anime first aired in 2020, it adapted four of the then-available Japanese light novels (there were no English volumes at the time). Since April 2021, Yen Press has been translating Bofuri into English, and in the past few months we’ve managed to catch up with (and pass) what the anime covered.
The original source material is greatly enjoyable to read. We can take our time to read each of Maple’s new skills as she acquires them, rather than trying to pause the anime and read the subtitles. The same goes for the “chat logs” that often marked the midpoint or end of each anime episode; some of these chat conversations last for multiple pages, and having time to read what other players think of Maple adds some sorely-needed worldbuilding.
In general, we’ve just loved the soft wholesomeness of the light novels, and found they’re perfect for a cozy weekend read or something fuzzy before bed. If—like us—you only watched the anime, we recommend grabbing the light novels, especially if you want a light-hearted read.
2. Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (The Classroom of the Elite) [Year 1]
- Authors: Kinugasa Shougo
- Genres: Psychological, School Life, Drama, Ecchi, Harem
- Volumes: 11 + 3 side stories (completes ‘Year 1’)
- Published: May 2019—May 2022
We sorely misjudged Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (The Classroom of the Elite) and didn’t get around to reading the first light novel until earlier this year. And wow—we were sleeping on an incredible series!
Psychological school dramas aren’t uncommon in light novels, with Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatte Iru. (My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected) coming to mind. But The Classroom of the Elite truly succeeds by having a mysterious and unreliable narrator.
“Unreliable narrator” gets thrown around a lot in literary circles, and if you haven’t heard the term before, it refers to a protagonist—particularly with a first-person point-of-view—that isn’t conveying all of the information to the reader. The series might utilize flashbacks or time skips to conveniently lead the reader astray, or events and dialogue might play out in a way that’s contradictory.
Ayanokouji Kiyotaka is an enigma, and as the series’ main protagonist, it often feels like we—the reader—are being manipulated as much as his classmates. At a prestigious government-run school, his class is pitted against the others in physical and mental challenges designed around their psychological strengths and weaknesses.
Every character in The Classroom of the Elite has a hidden agenda, and since we’re never entirely sure what Ayanokouji is thinking, there’s another layer of mystery hovering over the events and interactions. We’ve also started watching the anime, but in our opinion, only the light novels can truly bring out the best in this psychological school drama!
1. Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-)
- Authors: Nagatsuki Tappei
- Genres: Fantasy, Action, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Seinen, Tragedy
- Volumes: 18+
- Published: August 2016–present
Sleeping on this series has to be some kind of crime! As shameful as it is to admit, we somehow missed the amazing isekai that is Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-).
Call us jaded, perhaps, considering so many isekai stories are all vaguely similar, but we expected Re:Zero to be another “summoned hero gets the girl” story—and we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Re:Zero is, to put it succinctly, a spiral of tragedy and death kept afloat by the hope of a brighter future. Our main character, Subaru, dies in a robbery gone wrong and is reincarnated into another world…devoid of any fantasy powers. Thinking his otaku dream is a trainwreck, Subaru is in for an even bigger shock when events lead to his untimely demise in this new world—and he reawakens hours before this new death.
Stuck in a variety of “time loops” that always end with his own gruesome murder, Subaru tries to make sense of this messed-up world and build new friendships. The series hits a high note in showing the trauma and anxiety inflicted upon Subaru with every loop, and the pain of others forgetting the time they’ve spent with him in previous loops.
Re:Zero is bleak, dark, and gritty; and where so many isekai have failed to impress us before, we’re left starstruck by the author’s bold, tragic writing. We might have been sleeping on this series, but we’re quickly ordering more volumes as fast as we can read them!
Have you missed out on popular series before? There’s no shame in accidentally skipping something and then discovering its joys later!
Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!