Yen Press Acquires Sword Art Online Light Novel, Madoka Magica Manga

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sword Art Online are two anime series whose popularity has skyrocketed in the West, so it really shouldn’t be surprising that we’re seeing more and more of their manga and novel counterparts being released in English. Publisher Yen Press has announced some new acquisitions tied to both franchises and more at this year’s Japan Expo USA.

Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online Light Novel / Yen Press - oprainfall

Yen Press will be releasing two Sword Art Online manga arcs: Sword Art Online Aincrad and Sword Art Online Fairy Dance. Perhaps more exciting than news about the manga is their other SAO announcement: the publisher will also be releasing the Sword Art Online light novels. Written by Reki Kawahara, the light novels are what inspired the popular anime and manga series. Both the manga and light novels are scheduled to release sometime in early 2014.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story / Yen Press - oprainfall

Yen Press already has several Madoka Magica manga series under their belt. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story is the newest addition to their magical girl lineup. Unlike Oriko Magica and Kazumi Magica, two spinoffs that focus mainly on new characters, The Different Story is an alternate telling of the main story’s plot, and features Kyouko and Mami from the Madoka Magica cast as central characters. Volume one of the manga is due out in March 2014.

Accel World

Accel World Light Novel / Yen Press - oprainfall

Accel World might not be a huge name outside of Japan yet, but the light novels that Yen Press has acquired the license for have inspired several manga series, an anime series, and two video games in Japan. Haru, the series’ protagonist, is a loner who suffers from low self esteem and is the target of bullying at school. After an encounter with a beautiful girl named Kuroyukihime, he is introduced to a mysterious VRMMO that begins to have some interesting side effects on him in the real world. No release date was mentioned for the light novel series, but the anime is currently available to stream at Neon Alley.

Which series are you most excited to see printed in English? Let us know in the comments!


About Angela Hinck

Former Contributor: Content Manager- Situated in sunny Florida, Angela spends plenty of time watching anime and playing video games. RPGs and survival-horror are her go-to genres; but if it's weird or different, she's willing to give a shot. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BA in Creative Writing and now puts her skills to good use writing about the nerdier things in life, including news and game reviews for Operation Rainfall.

  • MusubiKazesaru

    I’d really prefer Index gets translated, it’s a vastly superior series.

    • Anhinck

      Light novels traditionally don’t do very well in the West, but hopefully
      these series will sell and show publishers that it’s worth taking the
      risk on other series too. If you want to see things like Index brought
      over, encourage your friends who might like SAO or Accel to buy them and show Yen Press there’s a market for light novels after all. (Or if none of your friends like either series, encourage strangers!)

    • James McEneely

      Actually, the real problem with Index/Railgun is because they’re also immensely popular in Japan as well. Because of that, the cost of getting the rights for translation are incredibly high.

      If the series is only doing okay in Japan but wildly successful in the US, it’s easier to get the rights, especially since Light Novels are harder to sell than graphic novels (there’s only a couple of pictures and lots of words).

      Damn. Now I have to read SAO because I told a friend that the only way he could convince me to read it if it came to the US in a bound format. TT_TT

    • MusubiKazesaru

      Honestly I’d be fine even if they copied and pasted the Bakatsuki translation, which is phenomenal, after paying the original translators

    • James McEneely

      Yeah, but lawsuits.

    • Trolling Victor Mayren

      It’s ok James, now you get to read good things for a change.

    • James McEneely

      Ooooh I see what you did there you little jerk.

    • Anhinck

      That’s right, I hadn’t even thought of the cost of the rights. It would definitely have to be nearly guaranteed to sell well in North America to make up for it… well, I still wouldn’t say it’s impossible. Stranger things have happened.

      And yeah, I think that’s why LN’s struggle in the US. The general population (and even some anime/manga fans) don’t really get it. Is it a comic? Is it a book? What do you mean, it’s a book with pictures? I’m not a kid! (And so on.)

      If you don’t want to buy it right away, you could always look for it at the library to see if you like it!

    • Xanedis

      First off, the light novels are referred to as ‘visual novels’ in the last sentence of the SAO paragraph.

      And now, to the meat of things…
      To be fair, Yen Press had Spice&Wolf series which I suspect to have sold fairly well(I myself have almost all copies they have published, and more stuff is coming out every 4 months).

      The sad thing is that I had the Japanese versions of SAO light novels and followed bakatsuki translations, but now they will probably ask the translation to cease like they did with Spice&Wolf. That means I’d only be able to continue reading Sao’s story after 4-6 or so years… Or if I start studying Japanese, perhaps in 3 and half years…

      But, that is the way of things, and I knew SAO would eventually get translated, it is so popular after all…

      Then again, they are bringing in Accel World, so maybe it isn’t all bad, hehe. 😀

    • Anhinck

      Thank you for pointing that out! The error has been taken care of.

      Waiting for translations is definitely painful, but I think the chance to own a copy of the official release is definitely worth the wait! Yen Press is one of the few publishers around that seems really willing to explore the visual novel market, so I hope it’s paying off for them.

    • Xanedis

      I gotta ask, do you know whether they will be translating the ‘Sword Art Online: Progressive’ series?

    • Anhinck

      I don’t know for sure, since they haven’t made any announcements about Progressive yet. I think it has a good chance though, given how popular SAO is. We’ll just have to wait and see!

  • Anthony Yousef

    Thank goodness; hopefully I can find the SAO novels easier now!

  • James

    I’m excited for the Sword Art Online release. They are also doing a TV special ( I am really looking forward to reading it.