Google manga vs light novel, you probably don’t get many hits. But when you google anime vs manga, there’s plenty of them to the point where you can make a book out of it.
Yes, I also have a blog post comparing anime vs manga in general, in case you’re wondering. You can read about it if you’re curious about which one I prefer.
Going back to the topic, why don’t we see people talking about manga vs light novel comparison in general? Aren’t many series these days have both light novel and manga versions?
Well, it’s true that many light novels are also now available in the manga version. Bakemonogatari and Ascendance of a Bookworm come to mind when it comes to having both. You can even watch the anime if you don’t like to read any of them.
Unless you’re a diehard fan, most people tend to consume one medium over the other. If their first encounter with the series is through a light novel, then they’re going to prefer the light novel version until the series is completed.
Same goes for the manga too. If their first encounter for the series is through the manga, then they’re not going to bother with the light novel version.
I used to have that same thought process too
I enjoy reading both manga and light novels. Sure, each format differs from one another, with one of them is visual-oriented whereas the other one is text-oriented.
Regardless of the format, they’re more or less telling the same story. Nothing is being added or subtracted in any of the formats.
Well, that was what I thought.
It was only when I bought both the manga and the light novel version of Girlish Number that I realized that I was wrong all this time.
I probably may not even realize it by now if I didn’t decide to buy both Girlish Number manga and light novels.
Manga vs light novel: which one is the best
Not surprisingly, I will say that the winner is the light novel, of course.
Okay, you may feel that I’m favoring the light novel because I’m a thriller and suspense light novel author.
But hear me out.
Both versions are great, to say the least.
But unlike the manga version, the light novel version is doing so much better in conveying the story’s details. And yes, even the minor ones.
For one, the description of how Chitose feels about herself and her surrounding. It’s easier to see her thought process in detail through words instead of the visual.
Sure, the manga can give us a clue about her thoughts and her feeling right through her facial expression. But it’s hard to know what goes into her head visually.
So, the best way to do that is to explain in words. It’s much easier to convey that in writing rather than to convey the same thing in visual form.
Of course, that’s not the only details that are missing from the manga version. Other details such as Gojo’s explanation of how the seiyuu industry works seem lost in the manga as well.
Yes, you can see how the industry works from Chitose’s point of view. But Gojo’s point of view is just as crucial since we get to see the industry from the managerial perspective.
You miss out on a lot of fun facts about the seiyuu industry since it doesn’t get that much coverage in the manga.
You can only get the dirt on the industry a lot more in the light novel through Gojo’s perspective.
It’s not just in Girlish Number manga and light novel
I remember that someone mentioned in the ANN forum that the anime version of SAO left out the fact that Kirito was struggling in the game just like everyone else.
Well, I admit that the anime version does give us the impression that Kirito is a prolific player.
And it’s even more so after seeing him moving from one stage to another all by himself. It looks as if it’s not such a big deal to him.
I can’t say for sure if it’s true or not since I didn’t read the light novel. And I doubt that the manga version will include this important piece as well.
But I get why they have to leave out this information in the anime version. It’s not that easy to portray his struggle visually.
Even if they can, they probably will still have to leave this part out due to the episode constraint.
Remember that they have a lot of ground to cover. So, they need to be picky about what they can include in the anime. And it doesn’t help that they have to cover the whole thing within 24 episodes.
The cold hard truth about the visual adaptation
Regardless of what anime you watch or the manga you read, the subtle information will always get lost in the adaptation.
Yes, even if the information itself is vital for the story. They just can’t do that due to the constraint.
And it’s also applicable for manga too. There’s a limit on how many details you can include on one page.
If you’re a sucker for details like me, then you’re better off reading the light novel version if the series has one.
You’ll get all the information that you need. And you understand the story and the characters better too.
But I don’t like to read light novels
I get that some of us prefer to read the manga over the light novels because you’re a visual person.
You can’t imagine how these characters look like and the world they live in.
Sure, a detailed description can help you with that. But you’re still having a hard time imagining the story and the characters in your head.
What if your interpretation is different than the others who read the same book as you do?
Worst, what if your interpretation is wrong all this time?
Yes, I get it. That’s a scary thought.
But the good news is there’s no right or wrong when it comes to the interpretation of the book that we read.
You’re free to interpret the book in any way you want. I don’t just imply this to the light novels, but also for my books as well.
If that’s the reason why you don’t want to give light novels a try, well, don’t be.
After all, there’s no right and wrong when it comes to your imagination. I bet that most artists won’t be able to survive if there’s such a thing as right and wrong when it comes to how they perceive the world.
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I admit that my books aren’t for everyone. But if you enjoy watching anime like PSYCHO-PASS, Ghost in the Shell, and Joker Game, then you may enjoy reading my books.
You can take a look at my light novels right here:
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