If you’re an anime fan, then you’ve most likely heard of light novels. So what are they exactly?
To answer your question, they’re novels (it’s in the name) but they’re from Japan and they’re small (roughly containing around 150 pages). There may also be several volumes in the series, like manga. These novels are also mainly aimed at high school students.
A lot of popular anime series are based off of light novels, such as Sword Art Online, Toradora, Free!.
Like manga, they are printed in magazines and then published as a novel. If it’s popular enough, it will continue and may be adapted into a manga or anime series. However, only two volumes tend to get adapted, but if it’s popular enough the adaptation will run a bit or a lot longer.
Light novels are also translated and sold over in western countries. You can find them in manga sections of shops (not sure about the US, but I’ve always found light novels in the manga section here in the UK).
They can also include illustrations, but I haven’t seen this personally. I only own one light novel (Itachi’s Story: Daylight, if you’re curious), and it has one coloured illustration at the front, with images of characters and their names on another page, but other than that it’s like any other novel that sits on my bookshelf.
They’re also very cheap in Japan, costing around 500 Yen. However, they cost the same as any other novel here in the UK, sadly, and they cost the same as a single manga volume.
Light novels aren’t that common in the UK at the moment, in comparison to manga. It’s easier to find them if you know the name of them on websites like Amazon, but then not a lot are translated. It’s easier to find light novels for popular series, like Sword Art Online, Re:Zero and Naruto, but I tried find light novels for other series and couldn’t find them.
Maybe they’ll be easier to find as light novels are slowly becoming more popular over here. I remember when I first got into anime and it was almost impossible to find something anime-related in a shop unless you went to the anime section in HMV or the manga section in Waterstone’s (which was super tiny, until recently). This changed when Attack On Titan became really popular here, and then I was able to find a lot of anime merchandise (which started with AOT and then slowly branched off to other series like Tokyo Ghoul and Death Note).
It also seems like light novels take forever to be released over here, I’ve been waiting for Itachi’s Story to be released for months and the first volume was released last week (in the UK, I’m not sure about other countries).
So what are your thoughts on light novels? Leave a comment below!