How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?


  • Premium Member

    The OP question is a little different than what I want to get into. Basically, how long is too long for specific types of works and genres? What do you look at and say "that's way too long", not for your ability to read it necessarily (although that's a factor), but the ability for the story to still be good throughout.

    To me, Death Game series need to be short. 3-6 volumes is perfect. I'm looking at the manga Real Account, the "trapped in a game with social media personalities, forced to compete against each other to live" series, and the thing is 20+ volumes. Makes me really hesitant to invest in it any more than I already have. I want death game series that feel planned out with a journey + end in mind, not something that the writer decides (or is pressured from his publisher) to just string you along for countless books to make bank.

    So ongoing singluar mystery and death game series to me need to be wrapped up relatively quickly. What say you? Have you ever invested in a series that went too long? Are there specific types of series you hope last either shorter or longer? Is there stuff that's long, but still felt planned out and natural to an extent?


  • Premium Member

    Even though some would disagree with me I would say such a case is "One Piece". Who knew when we will reach the end or if we even reach it as long as the mangaka is still alive. I am still reading it (although I am waiting for the current arc to finish) but this makes me sill wonder.

    Or the whole DBZ like manga. Oh yeah, he beat the strongest there is. Next volume we get again a strongest rival. So train, win against him and then repeat.

    And I must say, you are completely right with death game mangas. Recently I read "Though you may burn to ash". The premise is really good, the execution is really good, the plot twist was, although not a real surprise) also fairly good executed. But then when we have a winner we find out that it was just a preliminary.


  • Member

    @terrence said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    What do you look at and say "that's way too long", not for your ability to read it necessarily (although that's a factor), but the ability for the story to still be good throughout.

    There's no genre that would be "too long to be good", such preconceptions can be pretty harmful, these things should only be judged on the individual basis. On the other hand, people's ability to read and short attention span can be a real problem for the longer series.



  • While I dont think there should be a limit, picking up a light novel with 24 volumes and ongoing is a bit scary. On the flip side, picking up manga with 24 volumes is fine for me, you get through it in a couple of weekends.



  • I'd say that Volumes isn't really what I consider the issue. You can have an amazing series that works well with over 20 volumes, but at the same time, you have a lot of series that are just artificially extended.

    I'd say that most good series I know of end around or before Volume 10, but at the same time, there are good series that get cut short.

    Basically, there are both series that are too compressed (usually due to being cut by the publisher) and series that are too expanded.


  • Premium Member

    @novurdim said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    these things should only be judged on the individual basis.

    That's why I asked this question:

    Is there stuff that's long, but still felt planned out and natural to an extent?

    Judging a book by it's volume length is like judging a book by its cover. That's why I'd like more of a dialogue on this. Maybe there's series that were really long that didn't feel long to you, that never really had any moments of drag, or even felt planned out (despite us knowing there were probably twists or turns developed as it was being written).

    Investing in a series that feels like the author padded its length is not a great feeling. So if that investment can be made in series that actually do push the plot or character development forward, don't stagnate it with filler type arcs, then I'd like to invest in those series over others.

    Just for dialogue sake, the actual number of volumes from an outside perspective isn't even necessarily the problem, but it's clear the series goes too long or doesn't do enough to go as long as it does, even for how short it is.

    I'd say Psycome can feel this way to me with the retread tourney type arcs, and I question a bit of the romance stuff (volume 2 feels like a waste of time in retrospect to

    By contrast, even something where the author has admitted he made detours he didn't expect in the story that kept them out of the starting area a bit longer, Grimgar, still feels good after 11 volumes to me. Again, your mileage may vary on all of these.

    @saskir said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    "One Piece"

    DBZ

    I tend not to invest in typical battle Shounen because I hear so much about filler arcs and see those chapter / volume counts. Could be missing out on some good ones.

    Probably Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood was the anime that felt the most worth investing in. That one does cut at least one arc out from the early story that does make it even more "push the plot forward" heavy than its original counterpart (and of course it follows the manga path after).

    Hunter X Hunter is kind of the opposite, but still good, it just does a different thing. It's more of a small arc series than one big giant plot thing, so that works to hold your attention. Honestly, the side character stuff and villain development in each individual arc is more the draw for me. Hunter X Hunter has a lot of adult characters in the plot too, which is a draw for me. I haven't invested in the books because, well, I'm not ready to get halted by a hiatus. See if the author ever finishes it in his lifetime.



  • @terrence said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    I haven't invested in the books because, well, I'm not ready to get halted by a hiatus. See if the author ever finished it in his lifetime.

    Zero no Tsukaima right there... I'm glad that they eventually did finish the series, but...

    I did enjoy psycome though it did feel like it could have ended much sooner. There was a lot of foreshadowing about that volume 2 issue though.

    I mean, look at Love Hina.

    If we want to talk about pointless love relations though, I want to point at a certain series with SAO as the abbreviation...

    Like I said though, there are series that are longer, but feel reasonable. Owari no Chronicle as an example, has a lot of worlds that were planned from the start (if anything it felt rushed despite how long the series was). A few worlds were extremely similar, but even so, each volume had a sort of unique twist.


  • Premium Member

    @sinnoaria said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    Zero no Tsukaima right there...

    Did they get a ghost writer to finish it? T_T

    Anything where the author dies, it becomes tough to invest in (HSotD I think was another). Even if it continues, you just don't know if the quality will take a massive dip.

    Berserk is another that is iffy of course too with its hiatuses, but the author plugs away every now and then. I heard they



  • @terrence said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    @sinnoaria said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    Zero no Tsukaima right there...

    Did they get a ghost writer to finish it? T_T

    Anything where the author dies, it becomes tough to invest in (HSotD I think was another). Even if it continues, you just don't know if the quality will take a massive dip.

    Berserk is another that is iffy of course too with its hiatuses, but the author plugs away every now and then. I heard they

    Edited my previous post.

    As far as berserk goes... Your spoiler happened a while ago.

    There are definitely a few series where they are at a point where you just don't know if the series will abruptly end whether or not the author dies. I think JNC even has a title or two like that.

    But yeah, Zero no Tsukaima had a new author finish it based on what notes they had from the original author. The problem is that when you have a ghostwriter or anyone doing the work for another person, there are a lot of different kinds. Like when I do ghostwriting, I can spend weeks to months just researching the person's habits, styles, personality, etc. in order to build a profile so that anything I do seems seamless. However, not all ghostwriters are like that. Some will go to even greater extents and some will cut corners. That is one big issue with long series. (There was a series (there was an anime) where there was a super long, ongoing series (fictional) that basically never ended even after 100 volumes and you found out...

    I mean, I'm half tempted to turn a few authors into immortals so that they can continue working, but... >.> You only turn someone into an immortal if you really hate them...


  • Premium Member

    Until they run out of interesting ideas, or get too bored with writing it and let that feeling show through to readers.

    I think story arcs should have finite lengths, be completed, and then if it makes sense the characters move on to their next adventure.

    DB & DBZ (anime) did that many times, and it was fun to see Goku grow up, get married, have kids and then grandkids. Die, come back to life, die, ... :) . Like real life you finish old things and start new things.

    It does get annoying when you get the feeling that the author or publisher are determined to run one story arc into the ground instead of ending that arc at a good point. Sadly I'm starting to get that from Little Apocalypse. No living being could be as dense as Rekka continues to be, his character growth is non-existent, and to me it feels like the author is now going through the motions. Feel free to disagree, that's just my opinion. (I realize the heroine arcs are still being completed, but the main series arc is frozen in amber.)



  • @saskir said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    Even though some would disagree with me I would say such a case is "One Piece". Who knew when we will reach the end or if we even reach it as long as the mangaka is still alive. I am still reading it (although I am waiting for the current arc to finish) but this makes me sill wonder.

    Didnt mangaka recently said that one piece is 90% complete and Series might Be Just Over 100 Volumes
    Source


  • Staff

    @bromit yes but in 2012 he said in an interview that One Piece is 60% done. Then 4 years later in 2016 he said it was 65% done, so the fact that he jumped 25% in the matter of a little over 2 years just don’t really connect.

    wither way if One Piece is ending soon (less then 10 volumes soon) I will believe it when I see it...


  • Premium Member

    I think it is a series by series basis and author intent. From my knowledge the Shield Hero Web Novel (WN) is completed but the Light Novel (LN) is able to add arcs that were not in the WN. I think as long as you are able to add something new or change the story up you can continue the story for as long as you can do this. Every part of Jojo is different from the last and every island in One Piece is unique, so these two stories can go on almost infinitely, just as long as the creator has new and imaginative things they can add to the story. I don't mind dropping series on the fly, even part way through a volume if I feel like it is a waste of my time.

    I think if the author is able to storyboard and plan out their story from the beginning and have a clear endgame in sight then the story will be of "perfect length." I brought up Shield Hero before and I think this perfectly fits as the story is already planned out as the WN, so the LN can take out unneeded content and add new content with ease. Overall I think the ability to add and change or lack of will dictate the sweet goldilocks zone of story length.



  • @drone205 said in How Many Volumes Is Too Many (Manga + Light Novel)?:

    I think it is a series by series basis and author intent. From my knowledge the Shield Hero Web Novel (WN) is completed but the Light Novel (LN) is able to add arcs that were not in the WN. I think as long as you are able to add something new or change the story up you can continue the story for as long as you can do this. Every part of Jojo is different from the last and every island in One Piece is unique, so these two stories can go on almost infinitely, just as long as the creator has new and imaginative things they can add to the story. I don't mind dropping series on the fly, even part way through a volume if I feel like it is a waste of my time.

    I think if the author is able to storyboard and plan out their story from the beginning and have a clear endgame in sight then the story will be of "perfect length." I brought up Shield Hero before and I think this perfectly fits as the story is already planned out as the WN, so the LN can take out unneeded content and add new content with ease. Overall I think the ability to add and change or lack of will dictate the sweet goldilocks zone of story length.

    I think JoJo is kind of different than most though since each arc is a new title. And since each arc really is about a different person, sometimes a different version of the world, this gives them more freedom to do new things.

    There are authors where all their works seem like a different version of the same story as well. Not necessarily a bad thing, but just saying it exists.

    I think One Piece feels kind of stagnant because the protagonist's original goal feels so far away seeing how long they've been journeying.


  • Member

    A series get too long probably somewhere in the neighborhood of Guin Saga

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guin_Saga

    "A record 100 volumes were originally planned, but the final total stands at 130 volumes and 22 side-story novels, with the last four volumes and the twenty-second side novel published posthumously"



  • So far the only long form series of LNs I've attempted was Index. I tried binge reading all of OT and while I didn't really notice a dip in its quality, I felt myself getting burnt out by volume 16. I haven't really picked it back up since. That's more on me than it is with the work.

    Like most things, there will be high points and low points for such series, but as long as a positive average is maintained, I'm down.

    The next longest series I'm familiar with would be Realist Hero. The first 4 volumes are great because there was a narrative that was meant to be told all throughout. When that arc ended, volume 5 felt like it was tacked on. Fortunately, it picks back up afterward and has been pretty good again.

    Where was I going with this? I forget.

    tl;dr I can accept dips in quality now and then as long as overall it's good.


Log in to reply