What’s the Difference Between Light Novels & Visual Novels – And Which Makes for Better Anime?
Both light novels and visual novels, which are quite distinct but equally well-liked media in Japan, have had several successful anime adaptations.
Although anime and manga are among the most well-known Japanese media, they are not the only forms of cultural storytelling in that nation. Due to the anime adaptations, light novels have gained popularity, and visual novels have also seen growth in popularity, although to a lesser amount. Of fact, many could ask whether these two media are the same thing because of how similar their names seem.
Beyond merely the formats, visual novels and light novels vary from one another in terms of the kinds of tales they convey and how they tell them. This also means that, at least in terms of the existing material, one of them is more suitable for being made into an anime than the other. The following information on visual novels and light novels, some of which have recently become fans’ favourite series, is for anime and manga readers.
Light Novels vs. Visual Novels: What Separates the Two Japanese Mediums?
The definition of light novels provides a reasonable explanation of its genre. The majority of these books (though not necessarily) are intended for middle or high school audiences and are typically about 50,000 words long and pretty simple to read. Of course, they are published in the conventional book format, but many of them are also serialised in periodicals. They are comparable to the “pulp magazines” that were previously common in the West because of this. Although some of the book’s other sections and the book’s covers use manga-style visuals, the tales are told in books via prose. These books are more marketable thanks to the visuals, particularly to lovers of anime and manga.
Since these tales are essentially video games, visual novels are something altogether distinct. They are a kind of interactive entertainment that emphasises narrative rather than true gaming as we know it in the West. They resemble and vary from the “walking simulators” of contemporary video games as well as the point-and-click adventures that are popular on PCs in other nations due to this. Although there is a significant market for these games in their native Japan, they are still very niche outside of that nation due to the little participation other than scrolling through conversation.
Although there are certain noticeable comfort zones within each medium, light novels and visual novels are not exclusively associated with any one genre. For instance, the romantic comedy classic Toradora! serves as an example of how light novels may be based on ordinary slice-of-life events. However, contemporary isekai light novels like Reincarnated as a Sword and the light novel adaption Slayers both often use fantastical settings. Even while romantic tales are the most well-known among them, visual novels offer a wide range of genres. Adult-focused and erotic graphic novels are also common, and some of them have even been animated.
Light Novels Are Better Suited for Anime Adaptations Than Visual Novels
One of them is somewhat more suited for an adaptation than the other, despite the fact that both media have had a tonne of anime based on them. As previously indicated, light novels typically include images that correspond to their narrative. As a result, character designs are already established, securing appearances in a manner that traditional books often do not. As a result, animators will find it simpler to simply recreate the concepts for an anime version. Popular light novels are often adapted into manga before being made into anime, providing enough content for those anime to adapt and avoiding the problem of filler.
The same is true for visual novels, albeit a benefit of these books is also something of a disadvantage when trying to convert the complete plot into an anime series. Visual novels are renowned for having several routes that might lead to various conclusions depending on small player choices. Due to their high replay value as games, it is challenging to combine all of these elements into one coherent whole. With subsequent seasons that depict these other pathways, visual novel anime like the devastating Clannad “fix” this, but it’s undoubtedly a problem in terms of effectiveness. That isn’t always the case, as there are excellent visual novel adaptations like Stein;Gate. However, compared to visual novels, this specific reason is probably why so many more light novels have been adapted into manga and anime; given the growing popularity of the isekai genre, this isn’t going to change very soon.
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