Major publisher Dengeki have apologised and withdrawn all copies of a light novel which 2ch discovered plagiarised “Baka to Test” in the most egregious manner imaginable, reproducing entire passages with minor changes in wording and even copying the author’s postscript address to readers.
Denegki’s “Ore to Kanojo ga Maoh to Yuusha de Seitokaichou,” the debut title of “author” Joh Aikawa, is the novel at fault, being accused primarily of Simmonsing Famitsu’s “Baka to Test to Shokanjuu.”
2ch discovered the similarities and launched an investigation, soon uncovering evidence of massive plagiarism from Baka to Test and other light novels such as Ladies vs Butlers, with many sections being lifted almost verbatim, even down to the author’s greeting, and others have minor changes in wording in order to fit them into the story.
Far from being a tawdry mishmash with a fringe following, the book actually made it to the final stages of the 16th Dengeki Novel Prize – Dengeki’s judges apparently did not suspect a thing. Initial Amazon reviews were fairly favourable and sales healthy. Even whilst doubts were being raised about its content, it retained a substantial fanbase, although even these soon had to recognise the inevitable.
2ch provides a comprehensive comparison, although new instances are still being discovered and just what the book took from other works remains largely uninvestigated:
An example of the sort of thing encountered (unfortunately plagiarism does not translate well), from the actual afterwords of the two books:
Baka to Test:
Greetings to everyone kind enough to pick up this book.
This work was awarded the editorial special prize of the 8th Entame Awards, so it’s become sort of a debut for Kenji Inoue, as I’m called. I hope things go well.
As it is my debut, of course, it’s my first published book.
Ore to Kanojo:
Greetings to everyone.
This work went to the last stage of the 16th Dengeki Novel Prize, so it’s become sort of a debut for Joh Aikawa.
As it is my debut, of course, it’s my first published work.
Unlike cases involving references, visual similarities or traces, with text the chances of such similarities naturally occurring are infinitesimally small – shameless plagiarism is the only explanation.
Dengeki issued the usual platitudinous apology, the content of which is to formulaic to bear repeating, begging the afflicted author, Famitsu and fans of the work for forgiveness. The author is said to admit to “consulting” several passages.
A frantic recall of all copies of the work has also ensued – just how many of the 45,000 copies printed remained unsold is not clear, but bizarrely unrecalled copies began cropping up in auctions soon after, selling for significantly more than retail price despite being nothing more than a hodgepodge of copied passages.
Such cases seem normally to be resolved discretely without settlement, although publishers might by now find themselves better served by making a conspicuous example of offenders in order to dissuade imitators – presumably a large number of which remain undetected.
Dengeki for their part are becoming notorious for publishing and awarding prizes to plagiarised works – whilst they have been scrupulous in groveling and begging for forgiveness as is the Japanese custom, they seem yet to have actually worked out how to prevent the incidents occurring in the first place – so much so that some have begun to wonder about them.
On the other hand, the existence of such a publisher will be welcomed by others as a rare employment opportunity.