Many anime and light novel publishers are releasing audiobook versions of their most popular franchises, but what does this mean for the industry?
The history of anime and light novels is full of experimentation. Over the years, creators have forged new styles, techniques and genres. The history of anime and light novels is also full of attempts to find new mediums. Since the beginnings of magazines and simple television animation, studios have sought new ways to reach their audiences. From the move from home formats to modern digital and streaming services, the industry never stops moving – and now many popular anime and light novels are making the leap to audiobooks.
Audiobooks have experienced a renaissance in recent years thanks to smartphones and platforms like Audible. The first audiobooks came out in the 1930s, but these have mostly served as a resource for the blind, as audiobooks have always had format issues until recently. Audio books based on recordings required huge amounts of records per book, and even when cassettes became popular in the 1980s, longer books required eight to nine tapes to hold the whole story. However, as technology improved, accessing audiobooks became easier. Now listeners can simply stream them to their phones, giving them access to a huge library of stories on a device that people usually always have on hand anyway.
Currently, several major animated series and light novels have audio books in English. This includes Bakemonogatari, the story of a boy struggling with various supernatural girls, and the first volume of Aneko Yusagi’s popular isekai series The uprising of the shield hero, among many others. Some even draw talent from their respective anime, like the audiobook version of the Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad lightweight novel, which has Kirigaya Kazuto’s English voice actor Bryce Papenbrook handling the storytelling.
Audiobook support is fantastic for anime and lightweight novels for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is accessibility, because audiobooks are easy to enjoy while doing other things, allowing people with limited reading time to enjoy them. Thanks to modern digital platforms, they are also easy to distribute, as the publisher does not have to worry about creating and shipping physical copies. He can simply upload the books to a digital storefront, allowing anyone to access them. This lowers overhead, making it a cost effective solution for series with smaller fan bases, especially those that cannot afford the costs associated with a new draw or season of anime.
Audiobooks are also a fun and immersive experience. Even the most basic single-narrator audiobooks can quickly and easily immerse the listener in the world of history. However, audiobooks can go beyond that, ranging from a single narrator to full broadcast format. Full-release audiobooks are basically audio pieces featuring multiple actors providing character voices, along with themed music and sound effects. They are perfect for anime and light novels, providing a captivating and immersive experience that can totally draw the listener into the story.
Additionally, there are many light anime and novels that feature events or spaces that go beyond our physical reality. While animation can help visualize the impossible, nothing can compare to the human imagination. So, for surreal and supernatural titles, the narrated audiobook format allows listeners to imagine these environments and events as they see fit, making places and scenes more impactful.
It should be noted that although the audiobook format is new, anime and light novel mediums are no strangers to audio dramas. In fact, many major series release drama CDs with original music and audio pieces featuring the vocal actors from the series. In many ways, then, this is just the natural extension of that concept, just with the localization of the resulting dramas – something that rarely (if ever) happens with drama CDs.
Over time, exciting new mediums will be created – and each time a new medium is introduced to the mainstream, we can expect editors of anime and lightweight novels to find ways to use them at the same time. best of their ability. Hopefully these audiobooks catch on, bringing with them a wave of new and accessible audio content featuring our favorite characters and worlds.
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