Light Novels: Ghost Hunt/Akuryou Series

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 4, 2008 in Comic Books |

Light Novels: Ghost Hunt/Akuryou Series

Most people know about anime and manga, but a new wave of Japanese popular culture is just starting to hit the United States: the light novel. The light novel (literally “raito noberu” or “ranobe” for short) is similar to a young adult novel in the United States, but it also has a little twist: manga-style illustrations are littered throughout the books. So now that you know what light novels are, here’s one of our Ten Light Novels That You Need To Know:

Ghost Hunt/Akuryou Series

Mai Taniyama is a normal high school student who likes telling ghost stories with her friends. One day she stays late with friends at school to do just that, only to have a stranger appear: he introduces himself as Kazuya Shibuya, and claims to be an upperclassman transfer to their school.

He is, in fact, no such thing. It turns out that in spite of being so young, he is actually the president of the Shibuya Psychic Research company— a paranormal investigator. Mai finds this out the hard way, though. Apparently he and his assistant Lin have been hired to investigate some odd occurrences at an old school building on her campus, and she manages to stumble upon them…and stumble onto (and break) their camera.

She also manages to injure Lin, so Shibuya guilts her into acting as his assistant for the duration of the case. Once the case is solved, he ends up hiring her as a part-time assistant, along with a team of freelancers: a rather arrogant miko (priestess), a part-time Buddhist monk who also plays bass guitar part-time, a very young Catholic priest, and a rather frigid but very famous medium.

The novels follow the team’s adventures, with each story arc featuring a fast-paced and sometimes very suspenseful horror tale as well as offering a slow and minimal reveal of each character’s background— Shibuya’s being the most mysterious, naturally.

These novels, known as the Akuryou Series in Japan, are written by Fuyumi Ono, who also wrote The Twelve Kingdoms series. Unlike most light novels, it’s not illustrated, but it has a manga-style cover and is geared towards a teenage audience. A manga adaptation has been running for some time, although it has stalled on the release of its eleventh volume in Japan. This manga is being released in English by Del Rey.

The anime adaptation aired in fall of 2006, and is being released in English by FUNimation. The anime ended at a rather odd point: immediately prior to the biggest story arc in the series (which reveals Shibuya’s story). As such, many speculate that a second season will eventually be made, but nothing official has been announced.

Gia Manry is a Portland, OR-based professional writer specializing in pop culture/entertainment writing. Read up on more of her work at or hire her at

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