Difference Between Manga And Light Novel

Manga and light novels are two popular forms of Japanese entertainment media that are often compared to each other. While some people may think that both of these forms are the same, there are some significant differences between them. In this article, we will explore the difference between manga and light novels and how they have become integral parts of Japanese culture.

What is Manga?

Manga is a Japanese comic book that is read from right to left. These comics are known for their unique style and storytelling methods, which are visually oriented. Manga is created in various genres such as shonen (for boys), shojo (for girls), seinen (for adult males), and josei (for adult females) and encompasses a variety of art styles.

Manga was first created in the late 18th century, and it quickly became popular among Japanese readers. The stories of manga usually focus on the journey of the main character (also called protagonist) and their goals or objectives. The characters in these comic books are usually visually distinct and expressive, making the story more compelling and engaging.

One of the significant aspects of manga is that it is prolific in terms of output. Manga artists usually produce new chapters on a weekly or monthly basis, which is often collected and published in volumes. This publication style allows readers to consistently follow the story and the development of the characters in the manga.

What is a Light Novel?

Light Novels, on the other hand, are a type of Japanese novel. They are written in prose, and the stories rely more heavily on dialogue and character development than on visuals or graphics. Light Novels usually span one to two hundred pages and are divided into chapters or volumes. The media format was first popularized in the 1990s and has gained significant popularity in the last decade.

Light Novels focus on the development of characters through their inner monologues, thought process and motivations. The narrative style of Light Novels is similar to popular mangas in that the story is told from the perspective of the main character. However, it is done through the internal dialogues of the character’s thoughts and feelings.

One of the significant differences in Light Novels is that they often include illustrations like manga, which makes the story more engaging for readers. The illustrations not only decorate the pages but also give readers a rough idea of what the characters look like, which is usually different from the anime/manga adaptation. It is important to note that while Light Novels share some similarities with manga, they are significantly distinct in format and storytelling.

Key Differences Between Manga and Light Novels

1. Writing Style and Layout

Manga and Light Novels have unique writing styles that are different from each other. Manga is visually oriented with elaborate illustrations, while Light Novels are more prose-focused. The layout of a manga book is different from Light Novels also. Manga books are read from right to left, while light novels are read in the traditional western style of left to right.

2. Art Style

Mangas are famous for their unique art styles which are visually stimulating and colourful. The artwork adds an extra layer of emotion to the story and is an integral part of the manga format. In contrast, Light Novels have more detailed descriptions of characters, settings and events that help readers visualize the story.

3. Length of Chapters and Volumes

Manga chapters are usually short, ranging anywhere from 20 to 45 pages, whereas Light Novels can range from a hundred to two hundred pages in length. There are fewer chapters in a Light Novel, but each chapter comprises more information and is more dialogue-heavy than a Manga chapter. Light Novels are usually divided into volumes, with each volume having several chapters.

4. Content

Mangas are known for their vast content, with the story often spanning multiple arcs and volumes. The artwork is an essential element of the story, and it is usually the first thing readers notice. In contrast, Light Novels focus more on the development of the main character’s inner monologue and thought processes. The storyline is more intense than the illustrations, and the characters are often more complex.

5. Target Audience

Manga and Light Novels target different age groups and gender. Mangas are usually divided into children’s and adult genres, whereas Light Novels are more suited for teenagers and young adults.


In conclusion, Manga and Light Novels are two dominant forms of entertainment media that have helped shape Japanese culture. Although they share some similarities, they are significantly different in terms of style, content and format. Manga’s unique style, colourful artwork and visual storytelling have made it a favourite among readers around the world. On the other hand, Light Novels have gained popularity due to their fascinating character development and inner dialogues. In the end, it mostly comes down to personal preferences as one person may prefer Manga’s visual storytelling aspect, while someone else may prefer Light Novel’s character-driven narratives.