Light novel vs Manga — Here are the differences

What’s really the difference between Light novel and Manga?

This post promises to put Light novel and Manga side by side and share with you the differences between the 2 of them.

So after reading through this post, you will know the difference between Light novel vs Manga.

Some of the surrounding questions are “What is the difference between manga and light novels”.

You will get the answer before you get to the end of this post.

Comparing Light novel and Manga may seem strange since they are 2 separate forms of media.

However, in current Japanese business, it is rather typical for material existing in one of the two forms to become the basis for the other – and I believe this is the underlying assumption for this question.

The most usual scenario is for something to first exist as a popular light novel before being translated into a manga, rather than the other way around.

Alternatively, in the event of a well-known novel, the transition can be made directly into an anime.

Frankly speaking, nothing has really changed along the way.

As a result, the adjustments are far more accurate than you may imagine.

Unlike “real” books, light novels (up to 99.9 percent of those that become manga/anime) are written for a certain target audience with a “anime-ish” perspective, to begin with, thus there aren’t many adaptational modifications required when the conversion to manga/anime occurs.

— Character Visuals

Light Novels do feature pictures, contrary to popular belief.

Both on the cover and throughout each volume, in the form of multiple splash-page drawings.

And, because there are so few of them (less than 10), they are frequently spectacular and well-executed.

As a result, unlike in manga, the artists can devote a significant amount of time to them.

In terms of adjustments, the level of on-character-visual detail may be reduced (mostly for anime) to save money.

However, in general, artists strive to stay true to the originals in order to avoid alienating existing enthusiasts.

— Character count

Taking characters out of the cast is a rare occurrence. More likely, new characters will be introduced so that the manga/anime version can be expanded and lengthened.

In most situations, however, this occurs after all of the “novel material” has been exhausted (see also “plot”).

— Plot

The narrative’s basic structure and important plot aspects are usually consistent.

Keep in mind, though, that light novels are serialized, and, similar to manga->anime adaptations, it’s possible that the manga/anime has “used up” all of the existing material before the novel is finished.

Filler arcs are used to buy time in this situation.

Existing novel plot arcs are only dropped when developing manga/anime in the case of exceptionally prolific authors.

A good example would be Slayers.

Lastly, the novel/anime/manga versions of the same story often have significantly different endings.

Sometimes it’s to “do it better than the first time,” but more often it’s just to keep people interested in the franchise in all of its forms.

— Atmosphere

Manga and anime are relatively permissive art genres, therefore there’s a strong likelihood that little will change.

However, whenever you want to reach a larger audience, it’s natural to feel compelled to tone down the general tone a little.

Following this logic, manga adaptations are often milder than novel adaptations, and anime adaptations are typically milder than manga adaptations.

— Narrative style

Because the reader has more time to assimilate information in light novel formats, they tend to feature greater detail and in-depth scene/setting descriptions.

Furthermore, because they are more language-driven than the other genres, it is customary for dialogue to be condensed and streamlined for manga/anime adaptations.

Finally, some scene transitions simply don’t function well in visual form, therefore the sequence of scenes is being streamlined, including the removal of several scenes whose content is then given elsewhere.

LightNovel->Manga->Anime adaptations, overall, tend to be pretty accurate to the respective original material.

Usually more so than when “ordinary” western texts are adapted into films.

However, there are some noteworthy differences from a Light Novel:

  • Characters with less visual detail
  • Fewer explanations and background information provided.
  • Padding : additional characters
  • Padding : additional plot arcs reduced conversation duration
  • A variety of endings to add to the attractiveness
  • For broadcasting purposes, gore and sex are toned down (mainly anime)

The reverse direction (anime->manga->novel) is also extremely typical for very popular “anime-first” titles.

In that instance, adaption fidelity is borderline fanatical, and almost nothing is modified or added.

In summary, a light novel is a book that combines words and images. The material is easy to understand, and the size is small and portable, thus it’s called “light” while a manga is a sequential art comic book or graphic novel that tells a story.

If you got confused at any point in the course of reading this post, feel free to leave your questions in the comment.