Here at Honey’s Anime, we’re suckers for romantic comedies, and one of our favorite new series is the age-gap rom-com Higehiro—or, to use its full name, Hige o Soru. Soshite Joshikousei o Hirou (Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway). Featuring a tired but kind-hearted office worker and a high school runaway, this series holds a special place in our hearts.
Higehiro was originally a light novel series, which then received both an anime and manga adaptation. The light novels have only just started being released in English, with the first volume available out August 2022, while the manga volumes have been around in the West since October 2021.
So, should you read Higehiro's light novel or manga? Which is better? Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we discuss Higehiro: Light Novel vs Manga!
Wait, What’s This About?
If you’re not entirely up to speed with Higehiro, let us catch you up.
Higehiro stars Yoshida, a twenty-six-year-old salaryman who’s long harbored a crush on his older, mature boss. When she rejects him, Yoshida goes out drinking to commiserate, and on his way home, he spots sixteen-year-old high school girl Sayu huddling under a street lamp.
Sayu asks to stay the night with Yoshida, offering to sleep with him in return. Yoshida strongly rejects her advances, instead taking her into his home out of pity and compassion. There, the young Sayu brings color and warmth to Yoshida’s drab life, while Yoshida attempts to help Sayu get back to a normal, healthy teenage life.
Is Higehiro’s Light Novel Better?
Now that you’ve got the general gist, let’s talk about the differences between the light novel and manga.
The series heavily revolves around Yoshida’s love life, including his crush on his boss, Gotou; the advances of his young subordinate, Mishima; and of course, the complicated feelings he has for the teenager living under his roof.
Yoshida makes it clear he doesn’t have any romantic feelings for Sayu—at least, not in the early days—and the light novel gives us a constant stream of thought from Yoshida, which helps reaffirm how he thinks about the women in his life. Yoshida is a kind and considerate guy, so having the extra breathing room to dive into his thoughts is a huge benefit for Higehiro’s light novel.
The illustrator, booota, brings the characters to life with some lovely illustrations, although they’re a little average for a light novel rom-com. We particularly disliked Yen Press’s decision to use Western terms of address (such as “Ms” and “Mr”), particularly given how often Sayu refers to Yoshida as “Mr. Yoshida.” It feels awkward and stilted, and is our common complaint for many series—readers are smart and know what suffixes are!
Is Higehiro’s Manga Better?
The manga adaptation of Higehiro is a debut for the mangaka, Adachi Imaru, although her portfolio of Pixiv artworks is mesmerizing. This artistic quality takes booota’s character designs and lifts them to a new height, really bringing the characters to life. The artwork is easily one of our favorite parts of the Higehiro manga adaptation—but the pacing of the adaptation also deserves special praise.
The first volume of the light novel is spread out across the manga’s first and second volume, and the adaptation focuses quite a lot on the emotional beats. While the light novel delves into the inner thoughts of our characters, the manga shows every blush, every frown, and every heart-wrenching miscommunication in the trials and tribulations of Yoshida’s love life.
Our biggest complaint about the manga adaptation lies with the lettering. One Peace Books are producing the manga, and there are many instances of text that is difficult to read, particularly in black panels. It’s a frequent enough issue to make reading some of the volumes a real annoyance, but not enough to detract from the lovely artwork and excellent pacing.
The Verdict: Higehiro Light Novel vs Manga
While we could take the easy way out and say that each medium has its place, that’s not why you’re reading this article! If you had to choose between only reading the light novel or the manga, we’d lean towards Higehiro’s manga.
Adachi Imaru’s drawings bring out the best in the characters, and in a romantic comedy, seeing our characters laugh, cry, and fall in love is really the most important part. Although the light novel does a better job with Yoshida’s thought processes, it’s let down by the stilted honorifics. The manga stumbles with some sub-par lettering, but overall it pulls ahead with some brilliant, breath-catching illustrations.
If you’re not sure whether to read Higehiro’s light novel or manga, we’d recommend you try both to get a feel for yourself. If that’s not an option, then we think the manga perfectly captures the emotions of the series, while delivering some great characterization that only a visual medium like manga can achieve.
Are you a fan of Higehiro? Do you prefer the light novel or the manga? Let’s talk in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading!