Shin Madou Monogatari
Shin Madou Monogatari (真・魔導物語, True Madou Monogatari) is a series of light novels written by former Compile employee Kenji Oda. Shin Madou Monogatari consists of eight volumes, released from December 1998 to March 2001, and the side story Shin Madou Monogatari Gaiden.
The light novel series is perhaps most well known for the "Madou Monogatari Chronology" included within the first volume, which attempts to establish a unified timeline for the Madou Monogatari and Puyo Puyo games released to that point. Said timeline would receive a revised version in 1999's Madou Monogatari Fanbook: Illustration and Others.
These novels are not to be confused with New Madou Monogatari, which is also pronounced Shin Madou Monogatari in Japanese.
Shin Madou Monogatari began life as a potential story for Madou Monogatari (Saturn). There was an internal push for a unified timeline and more serious storytelling by Compile; Kenji Oda, who had a hand in the creation of Madou Monogatari: Hachamecha Kimatsu Shiken and Rulue's Iron Fist Spring Break, was tasked with creating a setting that unifies the series. However, due to Compile's financial woes and management problems, this story outline and at least four others were rejected before Compile settled on the smaller-scale plot of the final game. Oda used the elements from the original setting to create Shin Madou Monogatari.
The eight volumes that were released were labeled as "Part 1". The alleged "Part 2" would never be released.
While billed as a definitive guide to the Madou Monogatari and Puyo Puyo series, there are several issues that could call this claim into question. In the first and eighth volumes, Oda claims that Shin Madou Monogatari is "his" take on the series, which could suggest that the series exists in its own separate canon much like the Kadokawa Madou Monogatari light novels and SEGA's later light novels. The only works that are fully compliant with the Shin Madou Monogatari chronology were works which Oda had a hand in, including the games Hachamecha Kimatsu Shiken, Rulue's Iron Fist Spring Break, the Saturn Madou Monogatari, and Puyo Puyo Gaiden: Puyo Wars; out of those, Puyo Puyo Gaiden is the only one that released after the first volume of Shin Madou Monogatari.
That being said, at least one other Compile employee intended to honor the Shin Madou Monogatari chronology. In 2008, the writer for Arle no Bouken: Mahou no Jewel and Pocket Puyo Puyo~n (but not the console Puyo Puyo~n) shared their original intentions for the games that would have them tie into both each other and the Shin Madou Monogatari timeline. It is here - and not in the Chronology itself, as often believed - that the story of Doppelganger Arle being half of Arle Nadja's soul originates from. Similar notes were said to be published in "Compile Club" magazine in a feature covering "Initial" and "Rejected" settings. However, these notes were never officially endorsed by Compile, and there are outright contradictions surrounding Arle no Bouken's original plan versus the final game, which also calls the canonicity of these statements into question.