What are Light Novels? Meanings of Light Novels

Rusq.org Explains What Light Novel Means

  • Welcome to Rusq.org, which specializes in aggregating all questions and answers what is the definition, discussing and answering what the abbreviation stands for among young people, today let’s learn a new concept that is what is a light novel? Light Novel meanings. What are Light Novels? How is it different from Anime/Manga? What are light novels? What is the difference between Light Novel and Manga?

What is the definition of Light Novel?

  • A light novel (ライトノベル; raito noberu) is a type of Japanese novel aimed primarily at middle and high school students. The name “Light Novel” is from wasei-ego, a Japanese term that was adapted from the English language. In short, light novels are sometimes called ranobe (ラノベ) or light novels in the west. Usually a novel is no more than 40,000 to 50,000 words long (which would be considered equivalent to a novella under U.S. terms of publication), but novels that are more than a few hundred words long. Pages are quite rare, most novels with a strict printing schedule are usually printed in bunkobon (size A6, 10.5 cm x 14.8 cm) and have illustrations attached.
  • Light Novel A type of novel usually with illustrations. There are a few small differences between light novels and novels: Light novels are usually simple, the plot follows a light direction, does not place much emphasis on content and is mainly entertainment. Therefore, Light Novels are easily received by people of all ages. The advantage of a Light Novel is that it can describe in detail, the situation and emotions of the character. Something that Anime – Manga due to limitations in terms of frames or duration of broadcast often cannot do.
  • The illustrations of the Light Novels in recent years are done by famous artists, ensuring quality and quantity. In the Light Novel, the ecchi/fan service situations are always meticulously cared for, making many readers swoon over the turkey. Very few Light Novels pass 18+, most are usually for young adults and have no age limit.


  • Light Novel is an evolution of the paper magazine. To please readers, by 1970, most of the Japanese paper magazines that converted the classic-style covers to the anime style began to include illustrations at the beginning of each story and included illustrations. including articles about popular anime, manga or video games. This evolution is to please the younger generation and more and more illustrations with diverse styles. The popular series will be printed as novels.
  • Over the past few years, popular light novel series have often been adapted into manga, anime or live-action, but in many cases only the first two novels have been adapted. Light novels are often serialized in literary magazines such as Faust, Gekkan Dragon Magazine, The Sneaker and Dengeki hp, or franchise media magazines such as Comptiq and Dengeki G’s Magazine.
  • Publishing companies are constantly on the lookout for new talent with annual contests, many of the grand prize winners producing their own novels. The biggest competition is the Dengeki Novel Prize, with more than 6,500 entries every year.
  • There have been many licensed English translations of Japanese light novels released. These translations are published to mass market standards in paperback or other similar material such as manga cover, tankōbon, but starting April 2007, Seven Seas Entertainment is the first English-language publisher to print it. light novel in the original Japanese bunkobon envelope format. Other English-language publishers producing light novels are Tokyopop, Viz, DMP, Dark Horse, Yen Press, and Del Rey Manga. Viz Media founder Seiji Horibuchi speculates that the light novel market in the United States will experience a similar popularity to Japan’s cultural beauty once it is noticed by consumers/customers.

Development history

  • Literature is a well-known traditional beauty of Japan. Although the price is not high, ranobe-like paper novels have appeared in Japan many years ago, the creation of Soronoma Bunko in 1975 is considered a symbol of the starting point. Science fiction and horror writers like Hideyuki Kikuchi or Baku Yumemakura have started their careers since then.
  • In 1980, the great novels by Yoshiki Tanaka – The Heroic Legend of Arslan – made a splash among young Japanese readers. Not only that, the novel Record of Lodoss War, inspired by RPG games, also has its own popularity. These novels were also adapted into animations not long after.
  • The 1990s generation saw the hit series Slayers, which combines fantasy elements from RPG and comedy genre. A few years later, MediaWorks found a pop-lit publisher called Dengeki Bunko, which has been publishing many popular light novel series until now. The Boogiepop series was a huge hit, soon to be animated, and made more anime fans interested in literature.
  • The Dengeki Bunko writers didn’t reach the spotlight until 2006. After the huge success of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, the number of publishers and readers interested in light novels suddenly increased at a rapid pace. dizziness.
  • Light novels became an important part of Japanese 2D culture in the late 2000s. The number of ranobe series skyrockets every year, more famous Pixiv artists draw illustrations and the most successful works will be adapted into anime, manga and live-action.

Unique Features of Light Novel

Light novels have characteristics that other types of novels do not have, including:

  • Target audience is the young generation (middle and high school)
  • Includes Fantasy, SF, Adventure, Romance genres
  • There are illustrations inside as well as on the cover
  • There is quite a bit of dialogue in the text
  • The main characters are usually teenagers (high school students, etc.)

Since light novels have more dialogue than normal novels, people can read them similarly to manga. In addition, the many illustrations also help readers understand the character’s personality and plot.

Light novels are books that are elaborately designed with a manga twist and are intended for people who do not like to read novels with too many words.

Light Novel is different from Anime/Manga

  • From a theoretical point of view, Light Novel and Manga are two completely different aspects of media, so comparing the two together is quite odd. Somehow and I think this is the basic assumption for this question – In the general Japanese industry, we can see that one of the two has characteristics that become the basis for the other.
  • The common case is that a popular light novel comes first and then it gets a manga adaptation. Or in case if the light novel is too popular, it will be adapted into an anime.
  • So did the adaptation cause much of a change? Well, actually, not much. The adaptation hardly changes much from what you would expect.
  • Maybe because, unlike other “massive” book genres, light novels (at least 99% of the books are reimagined as anime/manga) started to be written for a specific audience that loves anime… for so when adapting to anime/manga, the change between these three sessions is not much.

How to describe the character?

  • Contrary to what you might think, light novels have illustrations. Cover art and illustrations of how each chapter is often elaborately drawn. Mostly because there are quite a few illustrations (usually less than ten) so the artist can spend more time taking care of them than in the manga.
  • Compared to the changes, the finer details of the characters are likely to be less depicted (mainly anime) for cost-cutting reasons. But in general, the artists still try to stick to the original to avoid reducing the number of existing fans.

Storytelling style

  • Light novel versions often require the reader to process information, so they often describe the scene in more detail and depth. At the same time, the light novel has more dialogue than the other versions, so it is difficult for those conversations to be minimalist in the anime and manga versions. And finally, the description, moving from one context to another is not suitable for the visual form, so there will be measures to simplify the sequence of the scenes, including “dropping the sound”. ‘ information of a certain character and then move to another context.


  • Manga and Anime are free art forms, so it’s fortunate that there isn’t much variation between them. Even so, whenever you naturally want to reach out to a wider audience, there’s always the urge to change the overall look a bit. Based on this concept, it can be seen that the manga version tends to be more “contained” than the novel, and the anime is significantly more “contained” than the manga.

Number of characters

  • Cases of removing characters from the cast are very rare. If so, it may be because additional characters will be added to prolong the anime/manga version. However, this is the case only after the author has run out of ideas.


  • The basic plot structure and the main plot are often the same. However, keep in mind that light novels are series of novels, and (similar to anime and manga) the plot can hit a dead end before the novel is completed. In that case, extra arcs will be spawned to buy time. In case the author is too long, the arc of the inherent plot will be rejected during the adaptation to anime/manga, like Slayer for example…
  • Finally, it’s also common for novels, anime, and manga to have slightly different endings. Sometimes the producers want a “better than the first” ending, but often it’s simply because they want to keep the audience interested in all three versions (novel, anime and manga).


All in all, the light novel <-> manga <-> anime adaptation doesn’t seem to be much different from the original. For example, Western novels are adapted into movies. However, there are still notable changes when the light novel is adapted:

  • The character description is quite sparse.
  • Not much leading information.
  • Cut the length of the dialogue.
  • Buffer to buy time: add another character.
  • Buffer to buy time: add extra arc.
  • The ending is different from the original.
  • Cut 18+ scenes for broadcast purposes (mostly anime).

Last but not least, for popular original anime titles, anime -> manga -> novel adaptations are also quite common.

Trivia – aimlessly about Light Novel

  • – Light Novels are usually published every 2~3 months. Sometimes light novels are written by the author on his personal web in the form of fanfic, then because of the popularity of the community, the publisher buys the copyright and officially prints it (Sword Art, Excel World, Mushoku Tensei, Maoyuu Maou) Yuusha), which explains why a Light Novel sometimes has 2 versions (Web and Volume).
  • – The plot of the Light Novel is spread out in many volumes and sometimes the author… “swallows” before coming to the conclusion (MM!, Trinity Blood, Zero no Tsukaima).
  • – Similar to Manga, famous Light Novel series are often encouraged by publishers to extend authors to make more profits, so the phenomenon of rubber is not uncommon.
  • – The trend of adapting anime from famous Light Novel series is very popular, mainly to save script costs and take advantage of the available Fan base of these Light Novel series (Index, Fate/Zero) .


Thank you for reading Rusq.org’s article, hopefully the information will answer what is a light novel? The meanings of Light Novel will help readers add useful knowledge. If readers have any contributions or questions regarding the definition of what is a light novel? Please leave comments below this article. Rusq.org is always ready to exchange and receive new information and knowledge from readers

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