[Light Novel] _Einen koyō wa kanō desuka_ by yokuu (Is It Possible to Be Permanently Employed?)
Tear-jerker light novels for the win!!
Here's the basic info:
Title: Einen koyō wa kanō desuka (Japanese) / Is it possible to be permanently employed? (rough English translation)
Author: yokuu (https://twitter.com/yokukuuyokuu)
Medium: Light novel
Volume: 1 so far (just came out 2022.06.24... not sure if there will be another volume, since the first volume covers the main storyline)
It's originally a Syōsetsuka ni Narō work: https://ncode.syosetu.com/n5763hc/
It recently got novelized: https://bookwalker.jp/de796467c9-56fc-4654-bfeb-c3ca30d22d25/
There's also a new manga adaptation: https://morning.kodansha.co.jp/c/einenkoyouha.html
(Both the LN and the manga are marked as being for "dansei"/"seinen"/male readers, but I feel like anyone can enjoy this.)
Before I explain how this LN changed the way I view every other love story, here is the description from AniList (https://anilist.co/manga/148053/Einen-Koyou-wa-Kanou-Deshou-ka-Buaisou-Mukuchi-na-Mahou-Tsukai-to-Hajimeru-Sai-Shuushoku-Life/):
"Lucille was unceremoniously fired from the mansion where she had lived and worked as a maid for three years. She came to the countryside in search of a new job, and was introduced to the home of Phyllis, a taciturn and unfriendly wizard. The job at the house of Phyllis, a difficult man who hates 'unnecessary things,' turned out to be a great opportunity for Lucille! In order to hold on her new job at all costs, she began to carefully observe Phyllis in order to avoid any 'superfluous' landmines. As she gradually got to know Phyllis better, she encounters an unexpected side of him that was not him just being difficult, and Lucille's feelings gradually changed."
OK, so. The light novel is to die for. It's a love story, and at the risk of including SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS:
Long story short, Lucille falls in love with wizard Phyllis, and he with her. But since Phyllis is a wizard, time passes differently for him than it does for Lucille. She's 24yo, and he's... ~300yo?! So he knows that she's gonna die before him, and it's this question of: well shoot, if I know that this is gonna end in heartbreak, why should I bother?
Which I think is kind of the reason why we love something like Your Lie in April, where we become so invested in the relationship between Kōsei and Kaori. It's so tragic!!
But then when we think about it: pretty much EVERY love story is going to end in heartbreak, because pretty much everyone dies. (Well, most people, though maybe not in fiction.) (Plus for most people there's only one relationship that lasts while all others end, otherwise you're multiple-timing.) It's just that we think of happy endings as when the characters get together at the end of the novel, and we never think about what happens years and years after they get together, when inevitably one of them dies before the other.
Except in Einen koyō we're faced with that reality—that one of them is going to die before the other—while we're still reading the freakin' story. We're slapped in the face by the inevitable heartbreak that every couple has to go through, just one that we rarely think about.
Except if we do think about it, it makes us able to cherish our relationship even more, while it counts.
So yeah, good lord. Sadness all around. But also super beautiful. Who wouldn't want to read this LN and just cry cry.
(Sorry, the actual Japanese title is Einen koyō wa kanō deshōka... my bad.)