Light Novel - Meaning, definition and curiosities

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Have you heard of Light Novel Japanese? This word is very common when we talk about anime today, where the vast majority are based and derived from works light novel and not manga like it used to.

In this article we will deeply analyze the meaning of Light Novel, what are the differences between these books and other common literature, some curiosities and recommendations from famous light novels.

What does Light Novel mean?

Light Novel [ライトノベル] comes from English and means light, light and light romance. Light Novel they are basically normal books, but have illustrations on some pages and are divided into several volumes.

The name romance does not necessarily indicate that the book is love stories, for that you would have to go deeper into the meaning of the word Novel. In the same way that novels are not always novels.

Light novel - significado, definição e curiosidades

The term "light reading" probably comes from the simplicity of Japanese novels. Even though the book has hundreds of pages and volumes, they are called light readings for the direct way the author tells the story.

Ordinary books are usually complex readings that not every young person would be able to understand. The goal of Light Novel is to reach as easily as possible an audience. Just like Stephen King's books.

More information and characteristics of a Light Novel we will quote below when we mention the differences between a Book and a Light Novel.

The Japanese also call the Light novels in ranobe [ラノベ] or rainobe [ライノベ].

How did Light Novel come about?

At light novels they are first published as serials, usually published in magazines or on the internet, and then released and bound in books. Many of these works emerged from blogs on the internet.

With the proliferation of the reading habit in Japan, light novels have grown to the most varied forms of publication, from traditional serials in newspapers, to literary magazines and even to Smartphones.

The contents of these light readings were influenced by manga and even popular films like Star Wars. Light novels can also be considered an evolution of magazines pulp.

Light novel - significado, definição e curiosidades

In the 1970s, most Japanese pulp magazines, wore manga-style covers, began placing illustrations at the beginning of each story and including articles on popular films, anime and video games.

This ended up with practically every Light Novel having manga-style illustrations on its cover and in the middle of each chapter of the story. Usually a volume has about 15 to 20 illustrations and comes with Poster.

Differences between a book and a light novel

Light Novel is basically a book, with many pages. Still, there are many differences between an ordinary book or ordinary literature and a light novel. Shall we look at some of these differences?

The Light Novel usually has 100 to 300 pages and is released in volumes. Usually famous Light Novels receive up to more than 20 volumes, being as extensive as a work in manga.

A chapter of a Light novel usually has around 5000 to 7000 words. A complete volume (book) is usually 40,000 words, and is usually divided into 5 chapters for around 200 pages.  

Light novel - significado, definição e curiosidades

What most differentiates a Light Novel is its language, which usually has a vocabulary easily understood by teenagers and adults, full of slang, popular terms and written in short paragraphs.

Light Novels use few ideograms or ideograms that are easy to understand, while other traditional Japanese books have complex ideograms, where some Japanese even need to use a dictionary.

Another factor that greatly differentiates Japanese Literatures for a Light Novel is the stories, many of these Books are aimed at young audiences, have fantastic stories, or about teenagers, school life, even action and struggle.

It is complicated to explain the difference between books and light novels in Portuguese, since many of these differences are lost in the translation from Japanese to Portuguese.

Curiosities about Light Novels

Have you noticed that most Light Novels have giant titles? Exactly, many authors have embarked on a wave of naming their books as if it were the synopsis of history.

It is common to have books and anime with giant titles like "There's no way my sister can be that cute" or “We still don't know the name of the flower we saw that day ” and this is just the beginning.

Most of the Light Novels launched today follow this fashion of long and funny names. We even did an article talking about the gigantic names of Light Novel and Anime.

Light novel - significado, definição e curiosidades

Another interesting fact is that usually Light Novels, despite having few illustrations, are also done in black and white. Only the cover and illustrations at the beginning of the book are colored and printed on strong paper.

Some examples of Light Novels that were successful in Japan are: Sword Art Online, Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima, Accel World, Monogatari Series and many others. A large part of the anime you know are adaptations of a Light Novel and not a manga.

Light Novel in the West

Between 2000 and 2010, Light Novel was not so well known in the West. Its success came in 2013 when the Yen Press created a commercial strategy to take Light Novels to the West in English.

In Brazil, the Light Novel took a longer time to reach the Brazilians. One of the first Light Novel published in Brazil was No game No life, written by a Brazilian and popularized for his anime.

In fact, the first Light Novel translated into Portuguese were yaoi stories. Editora NewPOP brought in 2010 the books Gravitation and Tarot Café becoming popular for bringing alternative works.

The publisher also brought Madoka, No.6, Fate, Log Horizon, Re: Zero, Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima and Shakugan no Shana. Thanks to this provision, in 2018 competing publishers also started translating Light Novels.

To finish the article, I will leave some of these Light Novel in Portuguese for you to buy on our partner Amazon. If you liked the article, share and leave your comments.