Light Novels: Shinigami no Ballad (Ballad of a Death God)

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 9, 2008 in Comic Books |

Light Novels: Shinigami no Ballad (Ballad of a Death God)

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:

Shinigami no Ballad (Ballad of a Death God)

Japan has a long tradition of beings known as Shinigami, literally Death Gods, whose job is to lead the deceased to the world of the dead. In Shinigami no Ballad, one such death god is a young girl with white hair named Momo, who performs her task with her companion, a cat named Daniel.

Momo is a rather unusual Shinigami: unlike her compatriots, she feels sorrow for humans and will actively intervene when possible to ease the suffering she sees around her. Each chapter of Shinigami no Ballad is a self-contained story in which Momo and Daniel attempt to help a human with a problem.

For example, in the first episode, a young boy is angry at the death of his friend and takes it out on the cat his friend died trying to help. He decides to abandon the cat instead of caring for it himself, and finds himself chastised by Momo, who took his friend to the world of the dead.

The light novel series, written by K-ske Hasegawa and illustrated by Nanakusa, has been licensed in English by Seven Seas and the first volume is due out in March 2008. It has been adapted into a 6-episode TV anime series, a live-action drama, and a manga, all of which are unlicensed.

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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