Should I Read the Light Novel or Watch the Anime?

I almost always prefer the light novels over the anime. 

How do anime studios deal with the adaptation of a light novel into anime form? I have watched anime over the years and picked up the lights novels for the anime that I really like. For me I don’t mind reading it even if I already know the story. Sometimes I read the light novel before watching the anime. I go a bit back and forth between the two. Both are good mediums for storytelling. But is one better than the other? It really depends on your preferences for one over the other. 

Most I have met prefer the visual storytelling of the anime over the light novel (I think most people have an aversion to reading). 

Why watch the anime? 

Convenience and having a visual reference for a story are very powerful. Throw in a great soundtrack and you have pretty much any viewer sold. A book can be really solid, but what is a book without visuals? Will you pick it up and bother to read it at all? I know that even though I prefer reading I don’t bother sometimes. The shame is it could be the very best book ever written and I didn’t even give it a chance. 

The power of visuals can sometimes be a compelling element. In the past I have selected an anime to watch based on the visuals alone. There might be an art style I like, or a character that looks really interesting. 

Anime is also a convenient way to consume content. The music is already done, voice actors selected, and visuals done. It takes a lot out of the imaginative process because the producers have already done all of that for you. You don’t have to put in the effort to imagine a scene or how the characters look. It’s like having a full course meal put in front of you ready for consumption. The presentation looks nice. 

Why read the light novel? 

Details and Context. Despite all the advantages anime has as a storytelling medium there are limits to its storytelling. While a light novel lacks visuals and convenience the reason I prefer reading is because stories and scenes can be fleshed out better in written form. Anime studios tend to cut corners sometimes in terms of storytelling. They can gloss over some points that would give a story a better logical structure. Anime is limited in terms of time per episode and it takes time to produce. 

Notice that all the things that make an anime convenient for consumption such as the visuals, voice acting, and music arrangement make it more difficult to produce. A paragraph or a few pages might only take an author minutes to write, but an anime studio hours or days to make. Studios have to be selective, and an anime should be thought of an abridged version of a light novel. 

Where the light novel shines is that more can be packed into the pages of the story. Scenes that seem disconnecting are generally better connected in the light novel. Given the additional context of a scene something that didn’t make sense in an anime makes more sense on the pages. The writer can take his time to frame a scene with even a page or two to give it proper context. When you are on a time crunch with anime you have to fast forward to complete a project, or choose what you want to highlight. Context is often lost in anime adaptations of light novels. 

In the same vein as context, light novels contain more details than their anime counterparts. There are sometimes interesting information drops that never see the light of day in the anime, that make the reading more compelling. Light novels are usually the meat on the bones of the anime adaptation. 

Should I watch the anime and read the light novel? 

If you have the time and like the story enough you should read both the light novels and watch the anime adaptation. The anime that I enjoy the most I typically have read the light novels for. I tend to treat the anime adaptation as the visual companion to the story. It’s nice to have both so you can appreciate the strengths of each. If you read the light novel and watch the anime you are going to get the most context for the story as is possible. 

Essentially if like a story enough you will be eager to consume all content in regards to it. 

Do you agree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!

Is there anything you would like me to cover? Do you want to know my thoughts on anything? Have something I should know? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, comment below!

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