What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!


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    I recently received one of my light novel purchases, read it and all of a sudden realized, IT WAS ENDING! I can't really put into words what all I was feeling, but disappointment and betrayal were definitely very strong emotions running through my mind when I finally got to the end.

    One thing that I have yet to understand is why so many Japanese manga and or light novels just suddenly up and end out of the blue. No real ending, no closure, no nothing. An ending to a Japanese story sometimes has the equivalent of running into a brick wall at the speed of light. It is a conundrum that I to this day don't understand. Some stories do have something of an ending, and some don't. It's about 50/50 I would say. But still very frustrating.

    I've had some anime do the same thing. I can remember a few times screaming at the TV when that happened. Of course, I was not as mature as I am now, but you still have that "Urge" to lash out at some inanimate object through use of choice and or questionable vocabulary.

    Have any of you had the same feelings in your reading or viewing journeys? I'm sure some of you have. Oh, and I purposely didn't mention the title of the aforementioned light novel to hopefully avoid a spoiler. 😁


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    @lighthawk96 said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    why so many Japanese manga and or light novels just suddenly up and end out of the blue.

    Poor sales, low profit margins, unsightly business practices. Basically, big boss saying "it didn't sell well enough, we won't publish more of it" (or "you have 1 volume to wrap the story" if author is well-renowned/lucky).

    There's also a possibility that JP authors don't have a chance to learn how to make satisfying conclusions in this situation where successful stuff is forced to be stretched as long as it could be and unsuccessful stuff is just cut off.


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    I have a feeling I can guess which series, and provided my guess is correct... while the author did say that was the last one in the AN, I will note that (a) there are quite a few loose ends left purposely in case the author wants to go back to the series (including one very important loose end) and (b) a further volume is listed as awaiting publication on the TL company's website and has already been published on Bookwalker.

    As for what I do... I honestly don't find myself in this situation very often. If an author is ending a series on their own terms, even if it's an ending that feels rushed to me, I'm honestly glad that they got to be able to tell the story their way. If it cuts off in the middle, I'll get frustrated, but ultimately I'll just set it aside and look for something else (there's one particular JNC series that I want to see continue because it's very obvious the author has an overarching plot in mind and I'm rather miffed at the JP publisher for cutting that plot off).


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    @lighthawk96 if I had to pick the one thing I hate about Light novels as a whole it would be this: that they can end at any point without narrative closure. But I guess that's what happens when you have the system up to continue series based the profits of the current volume

    It sucks because I can really invest in a good series and then it just cuts off and you think "dear God how could you! Now I'll never know what happens next!!"


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    @TheGrimLich said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    there's one particular JNC series that I want to see continue because it's very obvious the author has an overarching plot in mind and I'm rather miffed at the JP publisher for cutting that plot off

    this is something that frustrates me above all else. When the author clearly has a plan and has orchestrated an endgame but the (JP) publisher cuts them off before that can come into fruition. I understand that publishing is a business but it frustrates me to no end to see a good narrative being killed solely out of lack of profit.

    It makes wants to reach across the ocean and slap someone across the face with a big wad of cash


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    One of the things I've learned about JP light novels is the fact that they can always end all of a sudden. This fact has heavily influenced my reading of a light novel in that if I find out from some non-spoiler reviews that it ends suddenly, I just don't bother reading it because I'll inevitably end up frustrated at the abrupt ending so I just avoid it entirely.

    When a long-running series I'm invested in ends suddenly, I get a little frustrated at the ending. Then, I take a look at any alternatives like a manga or anime based on it. Then I go on reading some fanfiction of it if there is any.

    Another workaround, an interesting experience, is to try writing a novel in your free time which you can use to channel your frustrations.


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    @Lily-Garden said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    it frustrates me to no end to see a good narrative being killed solely out of lack of profit.

    You can't eat hopes and dreams.


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    as @Wellwisher mentioned: it's all about the Fukuzawas (money)
    there are differences between the businesses of publishing in Japan and the USA (I am much less familiar with the Japanese market outside of the broad brush differences - I apologize in advance for what I get wrong)
    A thing among the mainstream publishing houses in the USA (for example TOR for sci-fi titles) is the securing of a pipeline of product from an author by signing multi-book deal that spans several years, with 'advances' paid to the author. Obviously this type of deal is for a "big time" author that generates books that are on the best sellers' lists etc. One author I am familiar with went into detail on his blog (and was leading a authors' professional organization...so was willing to share) My point is that this structure allows for some American authors (I don't Imagine that Scalzi is typical but his case is illustrative) to have whole series of books plotted out- story arcs that may span multiple volumes planned and for those arcs to have a conclusion. Other arcs that may or may not be related could also be in the works...and the popular author knows in advance that the books will be published.

    In contrast, the Japanese LN market appears to be a much more transactional- "we'll publish this 1 book (or 3), if it sells well we'll publish the next in the series, and if it's 'big' enough we'll work with a anime house to put out a cour to promote it, or maybe publish manga in parallel. If it doesn't sell well (it seems) Japanese publishers (and the reading public) are ready to move on to something else.

    I've opined at length about my frustration with series that have been 'orphaned', (left incomplete? not to be continued? or just on hiatus? for example

    • Faraway Paladin

    • Mixed Bathing (Orphaned or just stalled?)

    • Walking My 2nd Path in Life

    • Clockwork Planet

    • Infinite Stratos(?)

    • Gear Drive(?)
      or that have had rushed endings

    • Bluesteel Blasphemer


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    might there also be a cultural difference in story telling? some differences are what attracted me to LN in the first place but there definitely seems to be a prominent lack of conclusion in the structure of the stories. Part of which may be attributed to the serial nature of LNs...but it seems there is something else too. I am very much used to the convention of plot development:
    1)exposition, 2) conflict, 3) rising action, 4) climax, 5) falling action, and 6) resolution.(and maybe a denouement after)
    LNs are strong on conflict/action and character development but plot seems just different i.e.
    many LNs do 1-4 and maybe a little of 5 as planting seeds for the next cycle but skip 6.

    notable exceptions; Fake Fake and SOAP both had well developed plot resolutions and left me satisfied with the endings


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    @myskaros said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    @Lily-Garden said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    it frustrates me to no end to see a good narrative being killed solely out of lack of profit.

    You can't eat hopes and dreams.

    I know that, and I don't blame the publishing business for making profit-oriented decisions, they are a business after all; but, I can never stop the frustration that wells up from deep in my bibliophilic soul when a good story is cut short for lack of profit.

    It's just another thing I have to deal with in our imperfect world


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    When this happens I think it's best to just appreciate what we did get to read, rather than get caught up with what did not get published.

    If I really want to think about how the story would continue... if there's a web novel version with a fan-translation going past that point then I guess there's that to read. Otherwise, I just use my imagination to picture the rest of the story on my own. The more ambitious may actually write out fanfiction for it, of course...


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    Don't be sad it ended, be glad it happened.

    That goes for cancelled series too. Rather read a real quality volume 1 and 2 of a cancelled series than 6-20 volumes of mediocrity of a finished series.


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    LNs seem to function much more like American TV shows (or a lot of manga) in that they don't necessarily have much of a plan. The author comes up with an idea and starts writing without planning out everything ahead of time. They may have some idea of where things are going, but fundamentally, they're usually creating a framework in which to tell stories, not coming up with a single story or even a specific sequence of stories. That sort of writing does not tend to lend itself to a fully cohesive story that's well planned out and leads cleanly to a conclusion. If done properly, you can get a fantastic story and a great ending (at least if it's not canceled part-way through), but the basic approach tends to lead to the story wandering around a lot more and not cleanly leading towards an ending. It also makes it so that there's a definite risk of either cancellation or the author getting bored of it if it goes on long enough, because it just keeps going until it's canceled, or the author decides to stop rather than because a specific story was told.

    Contrast this with most novels in the US. In the vast majority of cases, they're only a few volumes at most, and the author frequently plans out the whole series up front - maybe not completely, since they're not going to write it all before trying to get it published, but they're usually writing a single story broken up into pieces or a closely tied sequence of stories that are meant to tie together as a single, larger story. They're not usually coming up with a story premise which they keep adding onto forever. The result is that far more frequently, the ending is part of the plan from the get-go (though obviously, it does vary from series to series and author to author).

    Even the way that LNs are released lends them to being more like manga or TV shows. Instead of taking a lot of time to get a decent-sized book planned out and written, they get pumped out at a rate of several, smaller volumes per year. So, I don't think that it's at all surprising that many LNs suffer from some of the same storytelling problems that American TV shows do - like not necessarily having a well-planned out ending. I think that LNs tend to do a better job of it (especially since you're dealing with a single author), but coming up with a framework in which to tell stories instead of coming up with and planning out a full story from the beginning definitely has some downsides.

    Of course, no matter how well you plan things out, if your series gets canceled before you've finished it, then the ending is obviously going to suffer if it even really exists at all.


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    @lighthawk96

    Just responding to the OP (I haven't read the entire thread).

    I'm reminded of something Neil Gaiman wrote in response to a fan who was disappointed with the pace of George R. R. Martin's writing:

    You're complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him ... No such contract existed. You were paying your ten dollars for the book you were reading, and I assume that you enjoyed it because you want to know what happens next.

    I find Gaiman's argument compelling. I've paid for the current volume and the author's only responsibility to me is to write the best damn content he can in this volume. And by the very fact that I enjoyed it enough to want to keep reading, it sounds like he/she upheld their end of the bargain.

    Of course it is understandable that you would want closure, or to spend more time with characters you love. But, personally, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been whisked away for a few hours, at all. And, while I will be happy if there is more to experience, I try not to allow unreasonable expectations to detract from the enjoyment I have already had.


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    While I don’t think the opinions others have expressed above are wrong, about how it’s a pity when a series stops publication too soon, at the publisher’s decision or the author’s, I do think it’s worth making a distinction between series that end on a “To be continued...” that never get a next installment and works where the story does a seventy-degree turn and slams into a sudden conclusion. That hurts to read a lot more in my opinion. Waiting for a next installment that never comes is frustrating, but hope always remains for the future, and as others have pointed out, you can let your imagination try to take the story further, or rely on the imaginations of other fans to do the same. It may not be as satisfying, but it’s something.

    On the other hand, with a sudden, hasty conclusion... you don’t really have as much room to cope. As long as you accept the text as given as cannon truth (which is part of the essence of being invested in the story), then it’s much harder to accept the ending you are given as anything other than an ending. And with some stories, that somehow seems to be presented to the readers as a conclusion without a resolution, or even more bizarrely, a conclusion without a climax to the story, and that just hurts.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a light novel or an english novel, an anime, a tv series, a movie series, a manga, a video game franchise, every medium of storytelling seems to be susceptible to it, and it’s always painful to run into.

    I do get the impression that light novels take that path a bit more often than I see it in other mediums, but maybe that’s a reflection of the seemingly casual nature in which many of them begin? There are many more self-published english writers than there used to be, and it’s not something I’ve forayed too deeply into, but of what I’ve seen they are prone to as much of an amateurish, rougher style that we sometimes see in light novels and might be tempted to pin on cultural differences in storytelling. Or maybe they really do have some fundamental different ideas about how well-written stories should conclude, I don’t know enough to say.

    So to respond to the actual question posed in the topic’s subject, what do I do when a favorite series of mine suddenly ends? I guess I seethe in quiet frustration, until I boil over in a massive wall of text in an internet forum. : P


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    @Dawnaxis I agree: while I lament when a story is unable to be continued for reasons outside - or even within, to some extent - an author's control (sickness, money, burnt out, etc.), a "poorly executed ending" is another beast altogether.

    As somewhat of a personal aside, as someone who dabbles in writing fanfiction, I never post something online without finishing the whole thing beforehand. The despair of seeing things like "Chapters: 23/?; Last Updated: 50 billion years ago" on AO3 is too much for me to handle (also I'm a perfectionist and can't handle not having it all done beforehand lol), so I will literally churn out a whole 20k fic before I post a single chapter online.

    Obviously, this isn't feasible for actual authors, particularly those writing a series; they can't just craft up all twelve of their novels before publishing the first volume. I'm not saying nor hoping for them to do so. But to not know going in what you want from the arc of the story (or at least, what you think you want before the characters back-talk you and steal the reins) feels to me a disservice to all the readers you're promising said story to. It can often lead to one of two bad situations: either you scrape through your few ideas and inevitably sputter like a dud firework, or your driving without a map leads you to chug along Route 50 through Nevada until you run out of gas. Neither of these are really fun for me to read, as it's often all too noticeable.

    I don't place anything and everything on a story's ending, but neither do I lean fully to the opposite side of "the journey is more important than the destination"; the ending is part of that journey, gosh dang it! A slapdash ending always sours the story for me somewhat, and dissuades me from suggesting it to others.

    But at the end of the day, be it frustrating or just unfinished, my fanfic soul will try to heal my wounded heart either way haha ;;



  • A lot of the series I like suddenly ends. But the ones I consider significant enough to commit to memory are few, namely: Suzue Miuchi's Glass Mask, CLAMP's X, and GRRM's ASOIAF. In all cases I just seethe quietly, shrug it off because their impact in my life isn't actually that significant, and make it a point to stop buying anything else from the author before they release the awaited continuation. And then every once in a while I checked to see if anything new's been released (except for CLAMP, pretty sure they've dropped it completely by now).

    @unknownmat I'm sure Neil Gaiman wouldn't be happy if, in response to what he's saying, the unhappy readers say:

    From now on, whenever I'm interested in a book that is part of an unfinished series, I will borrow or pirate that book and send the author an IOU saying 'I will give you $10 per volume once you finish the whole series.'

    While authors aren't contracted to finish a series (unless they have such a contract with the publisher), to put it in those terms in response to fan disappointment is just missing the point.


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    I just become disappointed and wish I could wipe it from my memory. At this point, I don't start anything unless it has at least 4 volumes in Japan and has had a volume release within the last year.


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    @nofairytale said in What do you do when one of your favorite light novels suddenly... ENDS!:

    While authors aren't contracted to finish a series (unless they have such a contract with the publisher), to put it in those terms in response to fan disappointment is just missing the point.

    What point do you think Neil Gaiman is missing? I can certainly understand being frustrated that a series receives no resolution, but I cannot understand feeling entitled to an artist's creative output.

    I'm sure Neil Gaiman wouldn't be happy if, in response to what he's saying, the unhappy readers say:

    I doubt he would care.


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    @Jon-Mitchell

    Mixed Bathing: It's actually caught up to the WN and have to wait for more material.

    Faraway Paladin: The author had actually said a few weeks ago that they're writing the next volume at the moment.

    Clockwork Planet: This is actually a joint project between two authors, one of them being the same author who is writing No Game No Life, who is unfortunately known to be suffering from an illness.


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