What is a Manga Novel / Super Light Novel?

Manga Novel

Manga Novel is a Japanese literary genre based on popular manga titles. A manga novel can be a direct adaptation or a spinoff series. Some of the popular manga novels in recent times include Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City, The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Scars They Left Behind, Seraph of the End: Guren Ichinose, Resurrection at Nineteen, and Your Lie in April: A Six-Person Etude.


Super Light Novel

Super Light Novel is a Japanese literary genre targeting teenage readers. It features minimal word count, simple narratives, and comprehensible dialogues from the characters. Readers can download them on their mobile devices and smartphones. The structure of a super light novel comprises a page with 3-4 sentences and more pages with illustrations. A single super light novel volume comes with around 10,000 words at most. Anyone can finish reading a super light novel while relaxing, commuting, eating, or before going to bed. Readers would be surprised that they can finish a volume in minutes or hours.



The world Super Light Novel comes from the wasei-eigo term Light Novel (ライトノベル).


A Brief History

The earlier form of Light Novels were Japanese pulp magazines. Pulp magazines were part of Japanese popular literature. It borrowed some elements from American pulp magazines. Its themes were as exploitative, imaginative, and sensationalists to entice adult readers.

The media company Asahi Sonorama started the imprint series Manga Shounen and Sonorama Bunko in 1975. Their magazines and prints influenced contemporary light novels.

Juvenile or young adult (YA) novels became popular in the 1980s. Young adult novels have the label of “fantasy” and “junior” novels. These literary works aimed to improve literacy among young readers. Like light novels, young adult novels include manga illustrations. Artistic illustrations attract young audiences and entice them to read more. The practice of adding artistic illustrations on light novels has become a popular practice since then.

In 1988, the earliest light novel published was the tabletop-RPG campaign transcript Record of Lodoss War by Ryo Mizuno. In the later year, Slayers by Hajime Kanzaka gained popularity among readers. The intricate world building, swords and sorcery genre, quick plot development, character dialogues in first person and comedy became an established formula in light novels.

Light novels are integrated into the Japanese commercial law called media-mix (メディアミックス). Many successful light novel series receive multimedia adaptations ranging from anime to video games. This helps the media publishers earn more. An example of a successful media company that practiced media mix during the 1990s is Kadokawa Corporation.

The common trend of Japanese teenage literature is adapting a light novel into a manga. If a manga series gains enough popularity, it is eventually adapted into novels.

In August 2018, Parsola Inc. launched a Super Light Novel service called “yomuco.” It features stories from popular literary genres. Fans of romance, horror, Boys’ Love (BL), and yuri can find new and interesting Super Light Novels every day. It only requires a LINE account to create a yomuco account. Users can top up their yomuco account to access more Super Light Novels and new volumes.


Modern Usage

The popularity of manga and anime today allows authors to write spin-offs and side stories from popular franchises. Publishers would take advantage of technology by producing digital copies of their novels. Fans can check new chapters or volumes at the convenience of their devices. These new forms of literary works attract readers from different walks of life. Manga Novels and Super Light Novels have vast genres that would cater to everybody.



Kodansha Comics, Journey beyond the manga & anime with the Manga to Novel spotlight!, https://kodanshacomics.com/2020/05/12/manga-to-novel-spotlight/, 12 May 2020, Retrieved 23 August 2020

Trends in Japan, “LIGHT READING Comic-Like Novels Are All the Rage”, https://web-japan.org/trends/07_culture/pop070228.html, 28 February 2007, Retrieved 19 February 2020

Wetherall, William, “Japanese “pulp” magazines Structure, content, and function”, http://www.wetherall.org/prose/Wetherall_1969_Japanese_pulp_magazines.html, Retrieved 23 August 2020

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Pixiv Encyclopedia, https://dic.pixiv.net/a/メディアミックス, Retrieved 23 August 2020

Pixiv Encyclopedia, https://dic.pixiv.net/a/コバルト文庫, Retrieved 23 August 2020

Anime News Network, futekiya Licenses First Love Signal (Sou x Akira Story) and Four More Super Light Novels from Parsola Inc., https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2020-02-14/futekiya-licenses-first-love-signal-and-four-more-super-light-novels-from-parsola-inc/.156458, 15 February 2020, Retrieved 23 August 2020

yomuco, https://www.yomuco.jp/index

Gratin, What are Super Light Novels?, futekiya Blog, https://futekiya.com/what-are-super-light-novels/, 09 March 2020, Retrieved 23 August 2020


About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists

In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.

Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. By the end of 2020, subscribers will have unlimited access to at least 500 titles. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.

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