Manga Vs Light Novel

Manga and light novels are two popular forms of storytelling originating from Japan. Both mediums have gained immense popularity not only in their home country but also in various parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. However, there are significant differences between the two mediums in various aspects such as their format, audience, and storytelling approach. In this article, we will explore the differences between manga and light novels and compare them in various aspects.


Manga refers to Japanese comics that are often serialized in magazines called “tankobon.” It is a highly popular medium in Japan and has gained a massive following around the world. Manga is typically read from right to left, and the illustrations are a significant part of the storytelling.

Manga is known for its vivid artwork and unique storytelling style that involves a mix of humor, drama, and action. Manga creators often have to work with limited space and time, which leads to some unique storytelling techniques such as full-page illustrations, panel layouts, and text placement. Manga is also known for its use of various genres, including shonen (targeted towards teenage boys), shojo (targeted towards teenage girls), and seinen (targeted towards adult men).

Light Novels:

Light novels are another form of storytelling that originated in Japan. They are typically short novels with a focus on anime-style illustrations. Light novels are usually written in a straightforward, easy-to-read style with shorter paragraphs and chapters.

Light novels are often targeted towards young adults and teenagers and are written in a way that makes them accessible to a broad audience. They are often adapted into anime or manga series, like Sword Art Online, The Rising of the Shield Hero, and Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World.

Differences between Manga and Light Novels:

1. Visuals:

Manga is a graphic medium, so illustrations play a significant role in storytelling. The drawings give the characters depth and context, allowing the audience to better understand and connect with them emotionally. In contrast, light novels rely on written descriptions and illustrations to bring the story to life.

2. Length:

Manga is typically shorter in length compared to light novels. While light novels can range from 50,000 to 100,000 words, manga volumes are usually around 200 pages long.

3. Storytelling:

Manga often uses visual storytelling techniques such as varying panel layouts and full-page illustrations to convey the story in a unique way. In contrast, light novels use more traditional storytelling techniques, with a focus on written descriptions and character dialogue.

4. Medium:

Manga is a type of comic, while light novels are essentially novellas. Manga often relies on a manga artist’s talent to tell the entire story, while light novels focus on the writer’s written words.

5. Target audience:

Manga often targets a more diverse audience, including readers from different genders and age groups. In contrast, light novels are heavily marketed towards younger readers, mostly young adults and teenagers.


1. Which medium is better: manga or light novels?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as both mediums have their unique advantages and disadvantages. It ultimately depends on your preferences and tastes as a reader.

2. Which medium do Japanese readers prefer?

Japanese readers tend to prefer manga over light novels. Manga has a more established and diverse audience, while light novels are still gaining popularity in the country.

3. What should I read first: the manga or the light novel?

It ultimately depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer a visual medium, you should start with the manga. If you enjoy reading and visualizing the story in your mind, then the light novel may be more appealing.


In conclusion, both manga and light novels are popular forms of storytelling that originated in Japan. While they share some similarities, such as their focus on anime-style illustrations, they differ significantly in terms of their length, format, storytelling approach, and target audience. Ultimately, the choice between manga and light novels depends on your preferences and tastes as a reader.