If you’re in the mood for a psychologically twisted romantic drama, then look no further than the immensely popular series, Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatte Iru. (My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected), also known by its Japanese shorthand, OreGairu.
As of October 2022, the series has all eighteen volumes (fourteen main volumes, and four side stories) available in English. OreGairu has a manga adaptation available under the title My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected @comic, with eighteen volumes in English.
So, should you read OreGairu’s light novel or manga? Which is better? Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we discuss My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected: Light Novel vs Manga!
Wait, What’s This About?
If you’re not entirely up to speed with My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected, let us catch you up.
Although it might look like your standard high school rom-com, this series is anything but. Hachiman Hikigaya is a perennial loner with a twisted view of life, love, and friendships. In an effort to rehabilitate him, his homeroom teacher forces him into the school’s ‘service club,’ where he’s joined by the beautiful and frosty Yukino Yukinoshita. Alongside the bubbly Yui Yuigahama, this mismatched group offers help and advice to students, while also struggling with their own friendship dynamic.
Hikigaya routinely sacrifices himself to save others, while using his twisted worldview to justify his actions; meanwhile, Yukinoshita’s frosty personality and brutal honesty often set her apart from others. Yuigahama attempts to balance out her sour companions, but her deep-seated fear of loneliness and abandonment means she often compromises herself.
Filled with the psychological deconstruction of high school life and the pressure teenagers face, My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected is truly unique—but should you read the light novel or the manga?
Is OreGairu’s Light Novel Better?
As we’ve mentioned, the series focuses quite heavily on Hikigaya’s disturbed personality, born from his negative outlook on life and reinforced by the poor (but well-meaning) decisions he makes.
In this regard, the light novels are the best place to get deep inside Hikigaya’s head. My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected has some dense prose, and Hikigaya’s internal monologue reads like the over-dramatic musings of a teenager—which is exactly what it is. The series never shies away from representing the toxic spiral of Hikigaya’s mind, trapping the reader in his thought process and almost convincing you he’s right.
At times, the light novels feel a little too much like you’re drowning in a sea of negativity. Being unable to separate from Hikigaya’s viewpoint can become stifling; but that’s almost the point, since that’s how Hikigaya goes through life. The author, Watari Wataru, masterfully recreates the mind of a troubled teenager, while deconstructing the microcosm of high school life with the experience of an adult.
Our usual light novel complaint, unfortunately, rears its ugly head again—the series translators decided to drop most of the Japanese suffixes and titles, giving us the cringe-inducing “Big Bro” term of address from Hikigaya’s little sister. It doesn’t bother every reader, but we’ll keep complaining about it until light novels finally give us the “onii-chan” we deserve!
Is OreGairu’s Manga Better?
The manga adaptation of My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected straddles the line between a serious plot and visual comedy. The mangaka, Io Naomichi, has leaned hard into the light novel’s gags, while also bringing the cast’s personalities to life with great illustrations.
Since the manga gives the reader a layer of separation from Hikigaya’s viewpoint, it’s easier to read and feels less depressing overall. The manga faithfully adapts almost every scene from the light novel, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything (unlike the anime adaptation).
In many ways, the impact of Higikaya’s destructive actions carries more impact in the manga since we can see the other characters’ physical reactions. It’s easier to understand that Higikaya’s warped beliefs really are isolated inside his own mind, and that he’s hurting himself—and others—the longer he walks a road of solitude and contempt.
The manga also maintains the correct Japanese terms of address, particularly where Hikigaya’s sister is involved, so that’s a win for us!
The Verdict: Higehiro Light Novel vs Manga
We’d recommend the manga adaptation, My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected @comic, for newcomers to OreGairu or anyone coming to the series from the anime.
Io Naomichi perfectly captures the psychological pain of the series, while lightening the plot with visual comedy. None of this detracts from the seriousness of the story, but the added distance from Hikigaya’s headspace makes some of the more depressing plots easier to digest.
Are you a fan of My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected? Do you prefer the light novel or the manga? Let’s talk in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading!