The article is devoted to modern popular literature, and the perspective employed is both textual and cultural. The starting point of the article is the comparative study of two contemporary fantasy novels for young readers — The Neverending Story, the classical work of the genre by German writer Michael Ende, which appeared in 1979 — and Brave Story, published recently by the acclaimed Japanese novelist Miyuki Miyabe. Both books undertake an ambitious attempt at creating a modern novel of apprenticeship addressed not only to young literary audience, in which protagonists’ adventures in an alternate world parallel more mundane but nevertheless very vital problems they encounter in their everyday life. They also employ similar literary conventions as well as narrative strategies, and recount their respective stories against a vast background of social and psychological issues. At the same time, while sharing the initial assumptions, the novels in question also exhibit a considerable diversity in the treatment of their subject matter and their generic affiliations. Here, a close analysis of Brave Story proves especially interesting, as the book successfully transplants the conventions of Anglo-Saxon or western literary tradition on the Japanese ground. The result is a work of a very universal appeal, which also illustrates the process of globalization of contemporary literary genres and popular culture in general.