Classroom of the Elite (Light Novel vs. Manga vs. Anime Differences)

Classroom of the elite manga vs the light novel

In Japan, some titles are so good they end up being adapted in multiple mediums? It’s similar to how Marvel and DC comics end up having movies, television series, and books.

This article will compare the light novel, manga, and anime versions of Classroom of the Elite. The source material is the light novel, which first came out in 2015. It was followed by the manga version in 2016 and the anime adaptation in 2017.

Read on to discover their variations and find out which version is the best one!

Classroom of the Elite Light Novel vs. Manga

1.) The manga made the characters more transparent with their emotions. They also have different personalities as compared to the light novels

This especially applies to the characterization of Kiyotaka Ayanokouji. In the light novel, Kiyotaka’s emotions are revealed to the readers. However, he always has a mask in front of the other characters in the story.

In contrast, in the manga, he is frequently shown as nervous and sweating. He also seems to deliver lines differently. It changes the significance of interactions within certain scenes.

Suzune Horikita was also shown as smiling and happy in the manga. This is not something that you would see in the light novel. Similar to Kiyotaka, she is supposed to be stoic and aloof, if not outright cold-hearted.

2.) The novel has better art compared to the manga

This is relatively common among light novels with manga counterparts. There is a quality difference, with the light novel illustrations looking better.

But the artist of the CotE manga also changed the projection of the characters in certain scenes. It may have to do with the fact that they altered the character’s personalities in the manga.

Notice the difference in Arisu Sakayanagi’s emotions. This is the same scene, but she was depicted differently:

Classroom of the Elite Light Novel
Classroom of the Elite Light Novel
 Classroom of the Elite Manga
Classroom of the Elite Manga

3.) The manga is funnier than the light novel

Because of the way the characters were portrayed, the manga came out funnier than the light novel. For the most part, the light novel is more serious and thought-provoking.

4.) The light novel is significantly ahead of the manga

This is understandable since the light novel is the source material. However, there was only a one-year difference between the release of the light novel and the manga. This makes the gap more considerable.

Currently, the light novel is nearing 19 volumes. Meanwhile, the manga has only portrayed up to volume 5.

Here’s an overview of this comparison between the light novel and manga:

Light NovelManga
Kiyotaka is composed and stoicKiyotaka is animated with his expressions
Better illustrationsrushed drawings with an inaccurate portrayal of emotions
Fairly serious and thought-provokingFunny and engaging
Has 19 volumesIt covers up to volume 5

Classroom of the Elite Manga vs. Anime

1.) The anime changed the characterizations of the characters

The manga already altered the essence of the characters, but the anime took this further.

For example, in the manga, Kiyotaka was made to appear more human and emotional. In the anime, he was portrayed as so stoic that he seemed to be robotic.

In the manga, it was also shown that the girls had an effect on him. He gets flustered around them, and he thinks of them as cute. In the anime, he seems completely unfazed by their presence.

All of Kiyotaka’s facial expressions in the anime
All of Kiyotaka’s facial expressions in the anime

The anime also made Horikita appear like a tsundere when she’s not.

2.) The manga had no main heroine, while the anime centered on one female character

This is a big one, and it has been a massive cause of commotion among the fans. The anime ultimately highlighted Horikita as the main heroine. This was because the director was a fan of Horikita.

In contrast, the manga had no main heroine. Karuizawa Kei would eventually become Kiyotaka’s love interest. But she still isn’t considered the main heroine.

Furthermore, in the manga, Kiyotaka has plenty of scenes with other girls. The anime gave these scenes to Horikita.

For example, there is the infamous pool scene. In the manga, Kiyotaka pushes Kei into the pool. However, in the anime, he ended up pushing Horikita.

There is also the case of Ken Sudo. In the manga, Honami Ichinose participated in the investigation. But in the anime, this role was given to Horikita.

3.) The anime changed the number of students in the classes

The classes only had twenty-five students each in the anime, while in the manga, they had forty students each. This may become a problem if the anime gets a second season. Specific plot points, later on, are influenced by the number of students in class.

4.) The anime covered less material than the manga

The anime covers until volume 3, while the manga covers until volume 5.

5.) The manga was faithful to the events in the light novel while the anime changed them

From the very first episode, the anime changed specific details and plot points. Some are negligible, while others are major.


⦁ In episode 1, Kiyotaka and Horikita introduce themselves to each other after school. They do this in a convenience store where they run into each other. In the manga, they do this in their classroom during the day.

The manga also shows Kiyotaka hanging out with other students after class. The anime ultimately leaves this out.

⦁ Episode 7, while supposed to be based on volume 4.5, happened much earlier than it was supposed to. Further, the anime changed so many details that fans consider it an anime original.

⦁ Arisu was supposed to appear in volume 5. However, she already appeared in the anime, which was only supposed to cover until volume 3.

⦁ The existence of the White Room is revealed in volume 5, but this was already shown in the anime.

⦁ Kiyotaka and Kei have virtually no relationship in the anime, while she’s Kiyotaka’s love interest in the manga.

6.) The anime didn’t reflect Kiyotaka’s thoughts

Over 50% of his internal processing and ideation are omitted from the anime. This makes his intentions unclear to the viewers.

This also makes his anime version appear bland. In contrast, much of his genius is revealed through an inner monologue in the manga.

Here’s a summary of the differences between the anime and the manga:

Kiyotaka was emotional and comicKiyotaka was robotic
Horikita is the main heroineHas no main heroine
Twenty-five students per classForty students per class
It covers until volume 3 of the light novelIt covers until volume 5 of the light novel
Changed the chronology and detail of events Stayed faithful to the light novel for the most part
It doesn’t show Kiyotaka’s thoughts Offers Kiyotaka’s inner monologue

Compare for yourself


The light novel, the manga, and the anime may cover the same story, but their execution varies greatly. Classroom of the Elite fans will suggest that you read the light novel to get the true essence of the story.

Now, it’s time to hear from you:

Did I miss anything?

What version of Classroom of the Elite do you prefer?

Whatever your answer is, let’s hear it in the comments below.

Classroom of the Elite (Light Novel vs. Manga vs. Anime Differences)

3 thoughts on “Classroom of the Elite (Light Novel vs. Manga vs. Anime Differences)

  1. I like how Kiyotaka’s ambitions are hidden from the viewer in the manga. Also Horikita > so I hope with the new season announced they keep the anime story line.

  2. Anos Voldigoad says:

    In the manga, Kiyotaka has plenty of scenes with other girls. The anime gave these scenes to Horikita.
    Does that mean in anime
    Instead of kei Karuizawa, Horikita will be Kiyotaka’s Love Interest in anime?

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