Kadokawa’s investment in Yen Press – what does it mean to us fans?

So, in case you didn’t know already, the Japanese publishing company Kadokawa have purchased a majority (51%) stake in Yen Press, who are, amongst other things, the largest publisher of English language light novels under their Yen On label. You can find the announcement from Yen Press here. Yen Press were formerly wholly a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, who retain a 49% share of the company.

So far so good, but what does this actually mean for those of us who buy their manga and light novels?

There are several significant advantages to the deal for the fans:

• Better access to Kadokawa’s large catalogue of titles.
Kadokawa are the largest publisher of light novels in Japan, and about 2/3 of all light novel titles with anime adaptations, which tend to be those that Western fans are most familiar with, are published by Kadokawa. Getting better access to these titles would mean that more of them could get a release in English. Could this also spell the end of the total absence of Fujimi Fantasia licenses? This is, after all, a label owned by Kadokawa.

• Better cooperation with Kadokawa over their releases.
A large proportion of Yen Press’s light novel releases are titles published in Japan by Kadokawa, and with Kadokawa owning a majority stake in Yen Press, they’ll be able to coordinate work better, waste less time on negotiations and get easier access to materials and information that is yet to be made public.
But this doesn’t just affect existing licenses – future licenses can be better coordinated with anime adaptations and so forth. You may wonder why that would be a benefit for the fanbase rather than the company, but here what benefits one benefits both – as releases timed to get the maximum benefit of an anime adaptation means that you can buy the series when you’re most eager to read it as well.

• Kadokawa is an ambitious and expansionist company, and they’re in it for the long term. In recent years they’ve undertaken a number of high profile restructurings, acquisitions and mergers. What does this mean for Yen Press? Well, they’ve made the investment with the belief in its ability to grow, and they personally hold a lot of keys to unlocking that growth. The two factors come together to mean that we’ll likely be seeing quite a few more titles in the future than we have to date. Which is always a good thing.

As for the down sides… Well, there aren’t many – at least not immediately. If Kadokawa try to interfere too much it could end up with titles getting licensed that shouldn’t be, or titles not getting licensed that should have been, but the majority ownership also gives Kadokawa a big incentive to do things right for the Western market, which should correct this in the medium to long term.

Kadokawa stated on the press release that they don’t intend to limit the titles to their own releases, and Yen Press have confirmed that there is no intention of dropping any titles, but it is possible that some issues with acquiring licenses may emerge on the other side – in the form of other Japanese publishers not wanting to release their titles under a company owned by one of their competitors.

That said, the main reason why other English branches of Japanese publishers don’t get licenses from elsewhere is because they don’t even try to get them. Vertical’s part-ownership by Kodansha hasn’t stopped them from acquiring titles from other publishers, after all, and I don’t see this affecting Yen Press’s longstanding relationship with Square Enix, unless it persuades them to set up presence in the West as well. It is possible, though, that some of the more occasional licensors to Yen Press, particularly those with their own companies in the Western market, might be less inclined to license series to Yen Press as a result.

In fact perhaps the most significant potential adverse impact is not on Yen Press at all, but on Seven Seas. This latter company has the licenses to quite a few Kadokawa manga titles. If Kadokawa choose to release more of their titles through Yen Press, it could end up coming at Seven Seas’ expense… Seven Seas, incidentally, are yet to give their own take on the news.

English and Japanese Light Novel Releases for Week Commencing 11th April 2016 (UPDATED 16th April)

English Releases:


Japanese Releases:

Honey Bunko: (release date 11th April)
• Ouke no Himegoto (王家の秘事)
• ミュリエルの旦那様

Arian Rose: (release date 12th April)
• 張り合わずにおとなしく人形を作ることにしました。 2
• 勇者から王妃にクラスチェンジしましたが、なんか思ってたのと違うので魔王に転職しようと思います。 3

Nox Novels: (release date 12th April)
• 緋天のアスカ ~異世界の少女に最強宝具与えた結果~ 1

Fujimi L Bunko: (release date 13th April)
• 幽遊菓庵~春寿堂の怪奇帳~ (5)
• 幽霊生活安全課 ―かくりよ事件ファイル―
• この世の土産さがしもの帖
• 奇貨屋フヨウ庵のお客たち

Beginning Novels: (release date 13th April)
• Orc Ou Densetsu 1 (オーク王伝説 1)
• 人食いダンジョンへようこそ! 3

GA Bunko: (release date 14th April)
• Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry 10 (落第騎士の英雄譚(キャバルリィ)10)
• Hundred 10 -Dream Soldier- (ハンドレッド10―ドリーム・ソルジャー) (2 versions – with and without a drama CD)
• Deban desu yo! Kaguya-sama 3 (出番ですよ! カグヤさま3)
• Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de 11 (異能バトルは日常系のなかで11)
• Kujibiki Tokushou: Musou Harem Ken (くじ引き特賞:無双ハーレム権)
• Date Elf Masamune (伊達エルフ政宗)
• Kaijin no Mahoushi to Madou Senkan (灰燼の魔法士と魔導戦艦)
• Tokyo Ikai no Barista 2 (東京異界のバリスタ 2)
• 0.2 Lux no Mahou no Shita de (0.2ルクスの魔法の下で)

GA Novel: (release date 14th April)
• Isekai Monster Breeder ~Cheat wa Arukedo, Nonbiri Ikusei Shiteimasu~ (異世界モンスターブリーダー ~チートはあるけど、のんびり育成しています~)
• 魔女の旅々
• 感染×少女
• Yakushoku Distopiary: Kougyoku no Toubatsushi to Inochikurai no Shimobe (役職ディストピアリ ~紅玉の討伐士と命喰らいの僕~)

Otomitsu Milky Bunko: (release date 14th April)
• Taikou Heika no Junai Romanesque (大公陛下の純愛ロマネスク)

M Novels: (release date 14th April)
• ハーシェリク 転生王子と憂いの大国
• 騎士団付属のカフェテリアは、夜間営業をしておりません。(2)

Earth Star Novel: (release date 15th April)
• Jinrou e no Tensei, Maou no Fukukan 3 Nanbu Touitsu (人狼への転生、魔王の副官 3 南部統一)
• Tairiku Eiyuu Senki 3 (大陸英雄戦記 3)
• 転生吸血鬼さんはお昼寝がしたい 1
• 賢者の教室~出席するだけでレベルアップ 1
• 助けて! Goodfull先生! ! 1

B’s Log Bunko: (release date 15th April)
• Nariyuki Saiou no Judai ~Mabuyuki Kochou wa Mado wa Shitari~ (なりゆき斎王の入内 ~まばゆき胡蝶はまどはしたり~)
• Cinderella Hakushaku-ke no Kutsubakokan: Otome wa Aratana Kutsu wo Haku (シンデレラ伯爵家の靴箱館 乙女は新たな靴を履く)
• 【好待遇】猜疑王の契約王妃(※丁寧に指導します)

B’s Log Bunko Alice: (release date 15th April)
• Yami no Koutaishi: Tadayoshi no Hangyakusha (闇の皇太子 忠義の叛逆者)
• Kamisama ni Narimashite, Wagamama wo Kanaemashita. (神さまになりまして、ワガママを叶えました。)
• En to Yukari no Koimusubi (エンとユカリの恋結び)
• Shinigami Tsuki no Amamiya-san ―Shinigami Yousei Gakkou-hen― (死神憑きの天宮さん ―死神養成学校編―)

Vanilla Bunko: (release date 15th April)
• Dekiai no Gosan (溺愛の誤算)
• 皇帝陛下の華嫁~艶恋夜話~

Saga Forest: (release date 15th April)
• 白薔薇の剣2

Novel 0: (release date 15th April)
• トクシュー! ‐特殊債権回収室‐
• マッドネス グラート王国戦記

Seikaisha Fictions: (release date 16th April)
• Danganronpa Togami (part 2) Kibougamine Gakuen VS. Zetsubou High School (ダンガンロンパ十神 (中) 希望ヶ峰学園VS.絶望ハイスクール)
• Tenohira no Tsuyu 3 (手のひらの露 3)
• Kottou Kutsu Koubou Aschenputtel no Raikyakubo High Heel wa Usotsuki no Hajimari (骨董靴工房アッシェンプッテルの来客簿 ハイヒールは嘘つきのはじまり)

Unknown label or not a light novel:
• 迷宮レストラン ダンジョン最深部でお待ちしております 3

Adult light novel labels with releases this week:
Puchipara Bunko (release date 15th April) – 2 volumes
Puchipara Bunko Creative (release date 15th April) – 1 volume

English and Japanese Light Novel Releases for Week Commencing 4th April 2016

English Releases:


Japanese Releases:

JUMP j BOOKS: (release date 4th April)
• Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Koro-tan: Toite Mi ni Tsuku! Bunpou no Jikan (暗殺教室 殺たん 解いて身につく! 文法の時間)
• 僕のヒーローアカデミア 雄英白書
• 罪人教室

Kodansha X Bunko White Heart: (release date 5th April)
• Aldin no Shukuhai – Oushuu Youi-tan 12 (オールディンの祝杯 欧州妖異譚12)
• Ryuu no Wakaba, Dr. no Dekiai (龍の若葉、Dr.の溺愛)
• 灼熱王と薔薇の花嫁

Iris NEO: (release date 5th April)
• Mahoutsukai no Konyakusha 2 Himitsu no Hanayome to Samenai Akumu (魔法使いの婚約者2 秘密の花嫁と覚めない悪夢)
• 司令官殿と参謀長殿、おまけの臨職な私
• 全力でのし上がりたいと思います。

Eternity Bunko/Eternity Books: (release date 5th April)
• 過保護なフィアンセ

Tull Kiss Bunko: (release date 5th April)
• 溺愛社長とウエディング
• 溺愛スイッチ~青年社長の甘い誘惑~

Everystar WOMAN: (release date 9th April)
• 雪華~君に降り積む雪になる

Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! Bunko: (release date 9th April)
• Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Episodes Phi (魔法少女育成計画 episodesΦ(エピソーズ・ファイ))

Dengeki Bunko: (release date 9th April)
• Shinyaku Toaru Majutsu no Index 15 (新約 とある魔術の禁書目録 (15))
• GENESIS SERIES: Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon 9 part 1 (GENESISシリーズ 境界線上のホライゾン (9)上)
• SE-X File Season 2: Saijou Higashi Koukou “Choujou • Genshou☆Tankyuu-bu no Himitsu (SE-Xふぁいる シーズン2 斎条東高校「超常現象☆探求部」の秘密)
• Kujira na Kanojo ni Ore no Seishun ga Buchikowasaresou ni Natteimasu (くじらな彼女に俺の青春がぶち壊されそうになっています)
• この大陸で、フィジカは悪い薬師だった
• Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin 9 (ねじ巻き精霊戦記 天鏡のアルデラミン (9))
• Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo 2 (俺を好きなのはお前だけかよ (2))
• 彼女と俺とみんなの放送
• Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho 6 -Eigetsu no Majo part 1- (ゼロから始める魔法の書 (6) ―詠月の魔女 (上)―)
• Sword Art Online 17: Alicization Awakening (ソードアート・オンライン (17) アリシゼーション・アウェイクニング)
• Daten no Shiren 3 (堕天のシレン (3))
• Tenshi no 3P! x7 (天使の3P!×7)
• Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? Lv. 10 (ネトゲの嫁は女の子じゃないと思った? Lv.10)

Weekly Watching Roundup – Winter 2016 season of catchup week 10

Well that’s the end of that season. Sort of. People who have read my LINK seasonal watching intentions thread for Spring may have noticed that

Episodes watched in the past week:
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2 12 END
Itoshi no Muco 23
Itoshi no Muco 24
Itoshi no Muco 25 END
Teekyuu 7 12 END
Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara. 12 END
Working’!! 2 BACKLOG
Working’!! 3
Working’!! 4
Working’!! 5
KochinPa! 7
KochinPa! 8
Working’!! 6
Dagashi Kashi 1
Dagashi Kashi 2

Gate – an entertaining series, and that is what matters, right? Did a pretty decent job of exploring the implications of the scenario that it set out, no matter what the naysayers may have you believe. As for whether to buy the novels, I’m personally leaning no, if only because there are so many other things I want to buy.

Muco was a great fun series – definitely the single series out of those airing last season that was most successful at putting a smile on my face. I don’t think the manga would have the same effect, though…

Teekyuu is Teekyuu is Teekyuu.

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara. – pretty much every change they made to the manga served to weaken the last episode of the series, including the reordering that made that bit irrationally become the last episode. Other than that it was as decent as the manga was. I’m already buying the manga.