You’ve probably heard of:

 

  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
  • The Irregular at Magic High School
  • Rising of the Shield Hero
  • KonoSuba
  • Re:Zero

 

Now what do they all have in common?

 

Keep reading!

 

Before I start, I’d like to make clear that every time I write an article, the research is mainly performed in Japanese. 

 

Also, it was proofread by my Japanese anime-enthusiast friend bellvvq

 

 

 

First I’d like to go over some basic vocabulary:

 

  • Web Novel:  are novels/stories uploaded or published on the web. Most of them are free to read and publish. Web Novels are mainly published by amateur writers. 

 

  • Light Novel:  Also a novel but with higher quality, since it is made into books and published. Most of the time light novels are based on a web novel. 

 

  • Manga: are comics or graphic novels created in Japan. Most of the time the author needs to be Japanese in order for it to be considered a manga. Sometimes manga is based on a light or web novel. 

 

  • Anime: Japanese animation. Anime is mainly based on Manga or Light Novel. 

 

In past years most anime has been coming from web novels. The process looks something like this:

 

Web Novel -> Light Novel ->  Manga -> Anime

 

 

The Irregular at Magic High School

 

What does Shousetsuka ni Narou mean?

 

Shousetsuka Ni Narou means “Let’s become a novelist!.”  

 

  • Shousetsuka  (小説家) = Novelist
  • Ni (に)  = Particle that joins the words “Novelist” and “Let’s become”
  • Narou (なろう) = Let’s become 

 

What is Shousetsuka ni Narou?

 

Shousetsuka Ni Narou
Shousetsuka Ni Narou

 

Shousetsuka Ni Narou (Let’s Become a Novelist) is Japan’s largest website where anyone can post and read novels. You can publish & read novels free of charge. The website is 100% free.  

 

The full name of the website Shousetsuka Ni Narou, but it is commonly known as Shosetsu or Syosetu.

 

If you’re wondering where to find a good web novel and practice your Japanese skills. Check out Shousetsuka ni Narou

 

 

The Evolution of The Anime/Manga Industry

 

You might be wondering why I’m telling you about this. Why is it important to know.?

 

 

As a fan of otaku culture, I think it’s good to be aware of how the anime & manga industry has been evolving.

 

Around the middle of the decade in the 2010s, instead of creating new stories, the big company publishers started to publish top-ranked novels on “Shosetsu.”

 

KonoSuba

 

It was a lot easier than making whole new novels by themselves, so they started publishing novels that were popular at the time.

 

After they finished publishing all the popular titles at the time, there were no major titles left on “Shosetsu”. As a result, they finally started to publish the titles that were once popular in the “dawn age” of “Shosetsuka”.

 

For example, “Rising of the Shield Hero” appears to be a very new title since it was animated in 2019, but it was first written in the dawning age of “Shosetsu.”

 

It is one of the site’s long-beloved titles, so it attracted many people when it was adapted.

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero light novel
The Rising of the Shield Hero

 

Another popular novel that is getting an anime in 2021 is Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

 

This was also written in 2012, in the dawning age of “Shosetsu”. Mushoku Tensei was also a longtime fan favorite.

 

Mushoku Tensei
Mushoku Tensei

 

Many people think that it’ll be a hit, as previous “dawn age” titles were super popular when they were animated.

 

If you like “Shosetsu” originated anime, you’ll also like Mushoku Tensei.

 

To sum up- the process of publishing these kinds of anime is:

 

An amateur writer publishes his/her story on a free novel platform (like Shosetsuka Ni Narou), and the story then becomes popular enough that it eventually becomes an anime. 

 

As a fan of otaku culture, I think it’s a very valuable thing to be aware of how anime gets its source material.

 

I’m writing a novel, should I publish it on Syosetsu (Shousetsuka Ni Narou)’s website? 

 

If your novel is translated in perfect Japanese, I think that it could be a good idea. Otherwise, Syosetsu is not an English friendly website. All the novels are published in Japanese

 

 

What are some Japanese light novels which started off as web novels before being made into manga/anime?

 

  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
  • The Irregular at Magic High School
  • Rising of the shield hero
  • KonoSuba
  • Re:Zero
  • Log Horizon
  • BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense
  • Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
  • And many more

 

All of these novels were published first in Syosetsu (Shousetsuka Ni Narou).

 

As for Overlord, it was first posted on “Arcadia”, the second-largest amateur novel web site, and was later posted on “Shosetsu.”

 

Overlord

 

Are isekai novels the only stories that come from Shousetsuka ni Narou?

 

Most of them, but not all. For example, The Irregular at Magic High School is not an isekai and it was originally published in Syosetsu.

 

Also, some of them are not even targeted at otaku. For instance, “I Want To Eat Your Pancreas”, which originates from “Syosetsu”, was made into a live-action film first and then into an animated movie.

 

I want to eat your pancreas

 

 

Are the web novels’ stories already complete?

 

Some novels that have become anime have already been finished.

 

For example, the original story of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is complete and you can read the whole story for free here

 

Others, like the original story of The Irregular at Magic High School, were wiped from Syosetsu (Shousetsuka Ni Narou). 

 

The Irregular at Magic High School

 

Does the story change between the web novel and light novel?

 

It depends on the novel. Most of the light novels are a bit different from the original source (web novel). 

 

For example, in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Yuuki Kagurazaka has a different role in the web novel and anime.

 

Yuuki Kagurazaka

 

Yuuki Kagurazaka

 

What is considered more canon, a web novel or a light novel?

 

There isn’t an official answer on which one is considered canon.

 

In my opinion, the light novel is considered canon, while the web novel was used as the inspiration. 

 

The light novel has been edited, polished and improved by the original author. That’s why I have a slight preference for considering the light novel the canon of the story.

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero

 

What’s the difference between Narou and Isekai?

 

“Narou” is a net slang that was originally used around 2012-2014 when SAO came out. The word does not have an exact definition.

 

Some websites define Narou as any web novel published on Syosetsu.

 

Some other definitions claim that Narou means novels with the characteristics listed below.

 

  • The main character is transferred to “Isekai” for some kind of reason
  • The main character gains superpowers without any effort
  • All the heroines like the main character without reason
  • The title is so long that it often explains the whole story of the novel
  • RPG elements (Level, Skills, Status)

 

On the other hand, Isekai just means “another world”, Isekai is not an anime genre. Narou is closer to being an anime genre, while Isekai is just a word. 

 

 

 

Thanks again to bellvvq for proofreading this research. If you’re a fan of the Zombie Land Saga don’t forget to check out this Twitter. He has superb art spanning various anime.

 

What’s your favorite light novel? Let me know in the comments below!