Manga and light novels have been around for quite some time now and have garnered a huge fanbase over the years. These two genres are quite popular among the otaku community. While they may seem similar at first glance, they actually have a few key differences.
For starters, manga are Japanese comics that are typically read from right to left. On the other hand, light novels are Japanese prose novels that are often adapted into manga or anime.
So, which one is better? Light novels Vs Manga? That’s a debate that is long overdue, but what’s the real difference between these two? Let’s find out!
Light novels Vs Manga
With the rise of popularity of light novels in the west, the debate for its superiority over manga is long due. Both have their own set of loyal fans, with neither side backing down.
This article explains what a light novel is and what a manga is in order to emphasize the differences between them.
What is a Light Novel?
A light novel is a type of Japanese novel primarily targeted at young adults. The novels are typically printed in book-format (lots of text content) with illustrations on few pages, similar to other novels.
They can be published as traditional print books, but most are now published online through websites or blogs by individual authors.
The authors often share them for free as web novels or release them for free once they have completed serialization. The readers can then send feedback to the author, much like traditional letter writing.
If enough people show interest in the work, then it can even be adapted as an anime or manga (just like the Classroom of the Elite novel). There is also an annual award for best light novel of the year from MediaWorks called the Manga Award.
Some main genres of light novels are action, psychological, romance, adventure, and sci-fi.
What is a Manga?
A manga is a Japanese style of comics that has become popular in the west also. Manga use black and white panels (sometimes colored), speech bubbles, sound effects, and manga panel layouts to tell their stories.
The word manga comes from two Japanese words: maki, meaning to sketch, and naga, which means pictures.
The translation of manga into comics refers to an influential form of comic style with roots in both Western and Eastern comic art forms that has become popular worldwide.
Light Novel Vs Manga: Difference
To put it simply, here are the key differences for Light Novels vs Manga comparison:
|Light Novels are generally in book format.||A manga has frames and speech balloons, just like a comic book.|
|Manga relies mainly on drawings to convey the situation and characters, with their reactions, and conversations.||A light novel usually uses words, with a few drawings for visualizations.|
|Light novels are primarily aimed at older teens and adults.||Mangas are written for an audience of all ages|
|For example: Classroom of the Elite||For example: One Piece & Naruto|
Light novels and manga are both popular forms of Japanese entertainment, but they are also quite different. Light novels are usually prose stories, while manga are graphic novels. Manga are often serialized in magazines, while light novels are usually published as standalone books.
However, manga is written for all audiences, while light novels are primarily for older teens or adults.
On the other hand, light-novels often explore deeper themes, which may not be appropriate for young readers.
The difference also lies in how they are drawn: manga uses more illustrations than text to tell its story. This isn't true for light novels, where words tend to dominate over pictures.
The number of drawings used in a typical manga will typically range from 25 to 30 per volume, while light novels will contain less than 10.
Furthermore, although manga has a larger market share in Japan than light novels, light novel popularity is increasing, and publishers are reporting that interest has been growing steadily since 2006.
It seems likely that the future holds many more titles available to English speaking audiences if they wish to discover what makes these mediums so popular.
There are several other differences between light novels and manga. While both types of storytelling involve pictures combined with writing, their intended audiences differ widely.
Because light novels frequently depict violence involving adult characters, they aren’t generally suitable for children’s reading. Likewise, because manga is aimed at a younger audience, it doesn't delve into as deep themes.
For example, although there are exceptions such as Death Note and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, neither of them would be considered heavy or dark enough for most light novels.
As well as having major differences in topics explored by each type of media and their target audiences, there are also variations in length and structure.
Another key difference is that manga are usually shorter and have fewer pages than light novels. They also tend to be more episodic in nature, whereas light novels usually have a more linear story.
Additionally, most manga have volumes consisting of 10 chapters, while most light novels have 4-5 volumes.
This is due to the fact that, generally, manga are released weekly in magazine form and light novels are released monthly.
This is a fundamental distinction between the two, because once a manga chapter is finished, it is out of print until the next issue, whereas a light novel chapter remains in print for months after publication.
What are some famous Light Novels?
There are many famous light novels that you may have heard of. These include: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Classroom of the Elite, Re:Zero ,and Sword Art Online.
1. Classroom of the Elite
Classroom of the Elite, written by Syohgo Kinugasa and illustrated by Shunsaku Tomose, is, on its surface, a story about the life of Kiyotaka Ayanokoji.
Classroom of the Elite explores how this dynamic plays out among the highest echelon of teenagers using examples from both history and modern times to make its point.
The story follows Kiyotaka Ayanokōji's perspective as a quiet and unassuming boy with an uncanny intelligence. He is enrolled in Class-D, the home for poor kids.
Initially intent on trying to make the best of his situation at school, Ryō ends up getting more than he bargained for as he befriends Suzune and Kikyō, who cause a stir and result in his ideal, quiet high school life unraveling.
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
It is a light novel by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito.
The series consists of 14 volumes, which were later adapted into two animated television series, an anime film, three original video animations (OVAs), an animated feature film sequel to the second anime series, two live-action films.
The story follows the members of the SOS Brigade as they are forced to create mysteries for Haruhi's entertainment.
Each member has at least one unusual ability: Kyon is empathetic, Yuki possesses telekinetic powers, Mikuru can take on different forms and Koizumi has the power to stop time.
Most stories involve Kyon being dragged along on various adventures around town, until he solves all the problems with little effort.
What are some famous Manga?
There are many popular Manga with an amazing storyline and character development. One example is Naruto, an internationally acclaimed manga.
Naruto is a popular ninja-based manga series written by Masashi Kishimoto with illustrations by Masashi Kishimoto and Ikemoto.
In this story, Naruto Uzumaki is a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the Konoha village leader.
The efforts of Naruto are, however, often met with scorn from the rest of the village and defeat by stronger opponents such as Sasuke or Gaara.
His training under Jiraiya's tutelage in Part II makes him one of Konoha's most powerful ninjas.
2. One Piece
One Piece is a popular manga by Eiichiro Oda. It has been running since 1997 in Weekly Shonen Jump.
The protagonist, Monkey D. Luffy, is an aspiring pirate who wishes to find the treasure One Piece, said to be hidden by the former Pirate King.
He gathers a crew (a group of pirates) make them who they are today. Their journey also shows them how much the world needs pirates.
To fulfill his dreams, he would do anything to become king of the pirates. With this in mind, he set off for Grand Line (an ocean) with his friends and family aboard the Going Merry.
As time passed, the Going Merry became old and worn down from constant use and sea battles. After a few years, it finally sank into the sea, but was soon replaced by another ship called Thousand Sunny. It is filled with hope that their new ship will bring them luck as they continue their adventures.
To Wrap Things Up
So, which one is better?
Some people prefer manga because of its shorter format and episodic nature. Others prefer light novels because of their more fleshed-out stories.
So there you have it, a brief comparison of light novels vs manga. As you can see, they are quite different in terms of their content-format, writing and target audience. So if you're looking for a quick read with lots of action, light novels are probably not for you.
But if you're looking for a more in-depth story that you can really get lost in, then light novels are definitely worth checking out. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
So, What do you prefer: Light Novels or Manga? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!