Oh no! We've been transported to another world where podcasters fight in some sort of Battle Royale (and also Z has been turned into a washing machine)?! This week, we're talking about the fascinating fandom that is Light Novel fans, with special guest, [Justus R. Stone](justusrstone.com)!
Next week, we'll be going to another other world... in ... space? Talking about... Galaga?!
## Where can I learn more about Justus R. Stone?
[Justus R. Stone](justusrstone.com) is the author of the apocalyptic fiction series, The Bleeding Worlds, and has a podcast ([Light Novel Podcast](lightnovelpodcast.com)) and [YouTube channel](http://youtube.com/justusrstone) dedicated to light novels.
You can also find him on Twitter ([@justusrstone](http://twitter.com/justusrstone)), Instagram ([@justusrstone](http://instagram.com/justusrstone)) and Facebook (... [@justusrstone](http://facebook.com/justusrstone)).
## Episode outline
### Fandom Facts
**History and Origins:**
Light Novels are short (approximately 50 000 words), Japanese novels primarily targeted at high- and middle-school students which are often accompanied by manga- or anime-style illustrations. The "light" in the name actually comes from the lack of hard-to-read kanji (ideographic characters in Japanese).
Light novels are sort of the evolution of pulp novels and magazines in Japan: Somewhere in the 1970s, many pulp magazines had started to move away from classic-style covers towards more anime and manga style covers and including illustrations at the beginning of stories.
In the 1980s, novels like _The Heroic Legend of Arslan_ and _Record of Lodoss War_ took a hold of audience, as did _Slayers_ and the _Boogiepop_ series in the 1990s (note that many of these were turned into anime). Interest in light novels really took off in the mid-2000s with the success of the _Haruhi Suzumiya_ series.
By Google Trends search volume, [Light Novels have become much, much more popular since 2004](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fm%2F06b_0_) and are arguably the most popular they have ever been. Since 2006, they have been on a steady climb upwards with exception to the last few years where interest has been a bit flat. There was a sharp increase in interest between February to August 2015, but we couldn't figure out why.
In terms of search volume, the top ten countries for_Light Novel_ are: Japan, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Phillipines, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan.
[// There is a pretty dramatic decline in interest: Kazakhstan is at 17]: #
[// Canada is at 22, with 6; United States is at 26 with 5]: #
Based on some data from the [r/LightNovel Community Survey from 2016](https://www.reddit.com/r/LightNovels/comments/3g2rm5/rlightnovels_community_survey_results/) (with over 1500 respondents):
- _Gender_: In the subreddit, overwhelmingly male (95.6%; 3.3% female)
- _Age_: Predominantly folks age 17-25 (40% 17-20 years old, 36.5% 20-25 years old)
- _Location_: Most of respondents are in North America (51.1%) but many in Europe (27.2%) and some in Asia (11.1%)
Some other interesting bits of data from the survey:
- Most folks come to the subreddit for Chinese light novels (57.8%), followed by Japanese (34.9%)
- Respondents are predominantly lurkers (74.6%)
- Most folks prefer to read by chapter (60.8%) as compared to by book (37.1%)
- Most folks do not buy licensed light novels (76.4%)
- Most folks do read Western books (78.4%) but do not prefer Western books to Light Novels (66.9%)
### [Last Episode's](http://fanthropological.com/e/366365f057a51a) Famous Last Words
What do you think are the qualities of light novels as a genre that makes them so interesting as reader and reviewer of light novels? (What are your thoughts about the genre as a whole, and personal interpretation of why you like them)
Why 'light' novels? Why are they called light novels?
Why have they become so popular in North America?
[// because Kurt Hastler likes them -> Border s -> Brought manga sections to North America -> Spice and Wolf ]: #
Is there a magic ratio of pictures to text for it to be a light novel?
### The Verdict
**T is out.** "Is this a fandom?" On its own, no. Not in... yet.
**G is in (?)** Can't get into manga... but likes anime. So maybe light novels are the way in. Going to try it out
**Z is out.** Could be interesting to get into light novels. Has read some and didn't even know it!
**Justus is in.** Mission was to read as many volume ones as possible to see what would entice folks. Got into light novels out of curiousity.
### This week's spotlight
> Started back in 2006 to spread word about the _Haruhi Suzumiya_ light novels, the site now acts as the go-to place for fan-translated light novels. The main site uses a wiki layout and acts as a hub for many light novel projects. Each light novel's wiki page includes not only the translated novels themselves but also information on who is working on the projects, how much has been completed of the series in total, and a list of updates.
> The site now sports over fifty different light novel series in various states of completion—and in many languages besides English. Of course, like many manga and anime translation sites, if and when a series is licensed, it is removed from the site.
> Despite the dubious legality of this activity, it is nonetheless truly interesting to see how most of these translators have all come together in one place to ensure the light novels they love are translated as efficiently as possible.
> — [Kotaku - Light Novel Fan Translators Build a Centralized Community on the Web](https://kotaku.com/light-novel-fan-translators-build-a-centralized-communi-470822754)
**[Race Against Time IV](http://raceagainsttime.io)**
> Now in its fourth year running, the Race Against Time is an annual charity marathon to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of Canada by beating the SNES classic, Chrono Trigger, as many times as possible in 24 hours. This year, the event is running every week until August 11 and 12 for the main event (see website for detailed schedule).
> Alzheimer's is a terrible disease that slowly robs those afflicted of their memories, and, eventually, their very sense of being. We are racing to help preserve those memories of loved ones and for a cure to stop it once and for all!
> All donations go directly to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
[//Recommendations go here]: #
[//Plugs go here]: #
### Famous Last Words
This week's famous last words around *next week's* fandom, Galaga!
Given the age of Galaga and the fact that there haven't been that many remakes over the years... why Galaga? What is it about that game that lends itself to the longevity of the fandom?
[// Why are folks still a fan?]: #
How does the community stay together, given how small it is?
Is there an aspect to Galaga fandom that is non-competitive?
Is there fanfiction for Galaga? Specifically, written fanfiction.
## Where can you find us online?
We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:
- If you want to be part of our podcast (or just want to check us out), we record our podcast LIVE on [twitch.tv](http://twitch.tv/thenickscast) every Monday at 20:00 Eastern Time!
- For all the latest updates, check us out on [Facebook](https://facebook.com/thenickscast) or [Twitter](https://twitter.com/thenickscast)
- To see the latest hijinx from our conventions or even our daily lives and adventures, check us out on [Instagram](https://instagram.com/thenickscast)
- For our latest convention updates, *Let's Plays*, and other in-real-life video, [check out our YouTube channel](http://youtube.com/thenickscast)
- We're also on [iTunes](https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/fanthropological/id1163621210), and [Google Play](https://play.google.com/music/m/Icmngxz7yhaoivdvivvf6q6c2pu?t=Fanthropological), and would love it if you could leave a review and rating!
- if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try [[email protected]
- You can check out [our website](http://thenickscast.com); that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
- Everything is `thenickscast`, so if you can't find us, go on your social network and search for that!
## What is "Fanthropological"?
How did you read this far without asking this question?!
Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan's-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.
## Who is "The Nickscast"?
*We* are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek ... who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative (dare we say, the _most_ creative).
We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It's what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.
We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren't "those Weird-o's", but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. *Because everyone's a fan.*
- [Wikipedia - Light Novels](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_novel)
- [Google Trends - Light Novels](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fm%2F06b_0_)
- [Reddit - Light Novels](https://www.reddit.com/r/LightNovels/)
- [/r/LightNovels - /r/LightNovels Community Survey Results!](https://www.reddit.com/r/LightNovels/comments/3g2rm5/rlightnovels_community_survey_results/)
- [/r/LightNovels - What's wrong with Light Novel adaptations?](https://www.reddit.com/r/anime/comments/4t3iaz/whats_wrong_with_light_novel_adaptations/)
- [Kotaku - Light Novel Fan Translators Build a Centralized Community on the Web](https://kotaku.com/light-novel-fan-translators-build-a-centralized-communi-470822754)
- [Fanlore - Light Novel](https://fanlore.org/wiki/Light_Novel)
- [Google Trends - “Japanese Novella” vs. “Light Novel”](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=japanese%20novella,light%20novel)
- [Kadokawa.co.jp - The Platform to Produce Innovative Content: Kadokawa Annual Report 2012](http://ir.kadokawa.co.jp/ir/annual/2012/annual_2012.pdf)
- [Quora - What is the Difference Between Manga and Light Novels?](https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-manga-and-light-novels)
- [StackExchange - Anime and Manga - What exactly is a “Light Novel”?](https://anime.stackexchange.com/questions/13301/what-exactly-is-a-light-novel)
- [The Guardian - What Became of Illustrations in Fiction?](https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/dec/13/illustrations-fiction-novels)
- [The Ranobe Cafe - How ‘Not’ To Write A Light Novel](https://web.archive.org/web/20120430065529/http://ranobecafe.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/how-not-to-write-a-light-novel)
- [Web Japan - Light Reading: Comic-Like Novels Are All the Rage](http://web-japan.org/trends/07_culture/pop070228.html)
- [WikiHow - How to Write a Light Novel](https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Light-Novel)
- [Youtube - I'm Launching a Patreon](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un3oZ7B9tAA)
- [Youtube - Q and A Video! So Many Questions... :)](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjM5iWxuwAw)
### Music / Sound
- ["Rescuing the Day at 140BPM"](http://teknoaxe.com/Link_Code_4.php?q=432&Genre=Techno) by TeknoAXE used under [CC BY 4.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
- All other music and sound for this week's episode were provided by Nick Green!