Light-Novels are Poorly Written and Adapting Them Shows That

For those who don’t know, Light Novels are short books released in Japan, aimed at young adults, and would usually be considered to be novellas in the west. As a medium, they could technically have a variety of genres and tropes, and yet, just as anime has things we consider to be “genre-tropes”, the same is true for Light Novels. This article will try to pinpoint what some of them are, what people are referring to when they say “This is so LN-esque!”, and how they affect characterization of characters, and the effect it has when adapting them (and some western books as well).

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya - Kyon narrates

Kyon narrates, wryly.

First, to get us started, here is something I consider a quintessential example of light novels, which isn’t actually from any given LN, but had been written by myself:

“He stared intently at her shapely leg, while thinking wryly to himself that he understood her completely in that moment.”

And if you think that this isn’t typical of action LNs, then to reinforce this is about style, here is another quote I whipped up in half a minute:

“He smirked, holding his sword confidently in hand. He could see the course the fight would take, if you could even call it a fight, as he was sure he knew all the moves his opponent would take.”

Light Novels not only would fail according to the Hemingway App (which redlines your text based on Hemingway’s style), and Stephen King’s advice in “On Writing”, but are very intensely modern, in the sense that they put the individual at the center. Well, time to break that down.

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Bilbo Baggins is Too Small For The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo BagginsNearly twenty years ago, I’ve read The Hobbit by John R. R. Tolkien. Some of the thoughts I’ve had with regards to The Hobbit also held when it came to The Lord of the Rings – terribly uneven pacing. You have 20 interesting pages, 20 boring pages, 40 interesting pages, 80 boring pages… the boring parts often have long swathes of travel where nothing happens in plot, and serve more as atmosphere setters.
One of the best things about The Lord of the Rings movies was that the pacing was a lot better, and most of the slower paced things were either story-integral or were done away in the form of a montage with exhilarating music.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyu, sadly, had decided to do away with some of these things I think of as improvements. If I remember correctly then The Hobbit had been supposed to be a two-movie deal, but ended up being a three-movie deal. Not only this meant they had been given time to show us things that they could have, well, not glossed over, but given less time to, we’ve also received a lot of “extraneous” content. Things that are part of Tolkien’s Middle Earth‘s world, but which did not appear in the original book.

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