One of my recent obsessions is light novels. Japanese short stories (usually under 300 pages) with illustrations in a manga style. Most are seralized like a manga would be, and browsing some of the most popular titles will instantly turn up some names anime fans are familiar with. From Is it wrong to pick up girls in dungeons, to  Konasuba, many of the last 5 years most popular anime have started on the pages of light novels. So, I fianlly gave up the ghost, and decided to check out the source material, and I have been hooked since. The largest importer of quality Light Novels is by far YenPress. They have been doing it for longer, and they do it better, than their competitors. So with that in mind I could not miss their panel at Anime Expo 2018.

Kurt Hasler the publisher of Yen Press, greets us this year, and his first duty is to introduce the panelists. First up we have JuYoun Lee – deputy publisher and EIC of Yen Press the,n Ivan lang – associate editor focused on Light Novels then, Tanya biswas and fianlly Carl Lee – Associate Manga editor. Kurt gets us started with a little joke, abotu all of his editors have communist names! Ivan, Tanya, and Carl all communists names I guess? ah well on to the first and perhaps most excting part of the annual Yen Press panel, the massive poster give sways. Every year Yen Press brings these massive vinyl posters from last years books to the panel to give away, and this year is no exception.

The first posters is gone in a second its a Re: Zero poster, easily recognizable I guess. its always fun to see people guess frantically at the poster in an attempt to get these giant posters there is a lot of screaming and shouting.

The second one is Asterisk War, which is guessed before the poster is even unrolled. Most people seem to be guessing these based on the color of the top, which is very impressive.

The third poster is Spice and Wolf, which again goes just from the top of the poster an impressive feat.

Followed by Your Name. I’m always impressed by people who can tell what a book is just by the cover, what the book, or manga, or game is.

Kakegurui is next – the gambling one with the hot girls! This one doesnt even get past the opening scroll, someone just yells a random guess and gets lucky and finally the last is Overlord – all of these are huge posters bless the hearts of those who manged to get them, I hope they are locals so they dont have to fly that stuff back.

Announcements

Shut in Shoutaro Kominami takes on the world: is coming! – This one is a silly show about someone who gets a job working for a mangaka but thinks its a job for the local government, Yenpress will be putting out an Omnibus for all three books for fans to add to their library later this year.

The Witches House: story by Fummy, art by Yunna Kageski – From the author of Chibi Vampire comes the serialization of a new series, The Witch’s House, released at the same time as Japan! Based on the horror puzzle game from Fummy, read the diary of the child witch Ellen, her cursed youth, and the ever-changing house she is trapped in.

Bungo Stray dogs – original story by Kafuka Asagri – its a light novel of the manga that we already saw, focusing on characters before the anime story.

Kakegurui Twins – Original story by Homura Kawmoto art by Katsura Saiki – This spin off is a prequel to the main series, and is about Mary. Fans of Mary do not want to miss this one.

Monster Westling – Its pro-wresting in Japan but with monsters? I’m confused but intrigued this one I will have to check out.

Dive – by Eto Mori – Lots of sexy divers boys, if you liked Free this one is going to be right in your wheel house.

Novels:

Penguin Highway – a novel by Tomihko Morimi – a novel about penguins showing up in a place in japan and a fourth grade boy named aoyama, who keeps finding penguins, and he’s hella confused, and so him and his classmates try to find out why these keep penguins keep showing up in Japan. It’s a full novel, and so I expect it like morimi’s other works, this one will be full of metaphor, and flowery poetry that wont translate super well.

Night Is Short, Walk On Girl –  by Tomihiko More – a story about college students, and love, we dont get a lot of info on this at the panel.

Mirai by Mamoru Hosoda – the director of summer wars  and wolf children’s novel – which will be turned in to a movie later this year.

Manga:

Happy Sugar Life – Tomiyaki Kagisora – its a Yandere story nice, I love girls who will kill for me, dont you?

Plunderer: by Suu Minasuki – its a story of pirates! or something

Nyankees – by Okada Atsushi – its start cats that fight as delinquents it looks really cute. The cats are turned in to human characters that brawl in the streets. As a cat lover I wont be able to miss this one probably.

Woof Woof Story – clifford the big red dog shooting lasers, in isseki land. No I didn’t make the up its literally what the panelists described it as.

Yume de Mita: Anoko No Tamo Ni by Kei Sanbe –

86: light novel – by Asato Asato, art by shirabi – the title is real, and hella short, I totally missed what its about becuase I was too busy being shocked a light novel had a title that was less than 400 words.

Shibuya Gold Fish: is out now check out the trailer at Yen Press’es Twitter