Light Novels are essentially novels but are written in short paragraphs or easy to understand language such that it provides for fast reading. They are extremely popular amongst teenagers in Japan due to the ease of understanding it and reading it. Due to the fact that the story is simple enough to grasp as well, many light novels are also adapted into animes with some even being more popular than the light novel itself. With so many genres and different kinds of stories in the world of visual novels, there is an abundance of anime that derived from light novels. So join us today, as we explore the top 10 animes that were adapted from light novels!
10. No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 9, 2014, to Jun 25, 2014
Behind the legendary game character known as Kuuhaku, or 'Blank' is actually a pair of siblings. Sora and Shiro are NEETs who viewed the world as a lousy game. Retreating into the gaming world, they were virtually indomitable. However a strange email challenging them to a game of chess soon changes their life as they are whisked away to the land of Disboard. All disputes in this world are settled through games, something the siblings excel in, so it wasn't long before they were named rulers of the humans. Finding the resolve and determination to play games once more, the duo sets out to conquer this new world with their talents.
As if the storyline was not intriguing as it was already, this anime adaptation added a whole new dimension that made even the readers fall in love with the series once more. Firstly, the colours were splendid and vibrant. The animation style was on point with the description in the books. The references were all executed perfectly. Truly, the adaptation created a brand new experience for us, inviting us to fall in love with this series once more.
- Episodes: 15
- Aired: Jul 3, 2009, to Jun 25, 2010
During after school one day, Koyomi happened to catch a falling Hitagi. Noting the fact that she was virtually weightless, he chased after her only to be promptly stapled in his mouth. Bizarre as it was, he was still relentless in getting to the truth of things. After all, Koyomi survived a vampire attack and was no stranger to the world of oddities. This is the story of a chance encounter and the developing relationship between of the two of them.
If anything, the Monogatari series is a very word intensive book. It has witty dialogue, warped perceptions of society, and close to no action at all. It is truly an unorthodox style of writing, unique only to one writer. Yet however, the adaptation captured the essence and intention of the writer perfectly. Conveying the same level of brilliance as that of the visual novel, you have to watch it to understand the distinction that the Monogatari series sets!
8. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Episodes: 14
- Aired: Apr 3, 2006, to Jul 3, 2006
Kyon is just an average high school student. Haruhi on the other hand, not as much. So when Haruhi invited Kyon to join the SOS Brigade, a club specialising in the supernatural, he was taken aback. With Haruhi as the acting leader of the group, the Brigade are often led into weird adventures at the whim of Haruhi. The silent days that Kyon had wished for are slowly disappearing as he embarks on one of Haruhi's weird mission again.
One thing the adaptation did well was to capture each of the scenes perfectly right down to last detail. Little was eliminated from the original light novel. Even the infamous Endless Eight was animated into 8 episodes making the viewers almost as frustrated as Kyon. In a way, this unique style was what skyrocketed the series in fame with numerous memes generated over the quirky story. This is fitting for something as unorthodox as Haruhi.
7. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 5, 2013, to Jun 28, 2013
Hachiman Hikigaya is a nihilistic high schooler whose views of the youth culture is so jaded such that he no longer gives an effort to participate. In an attempt to change him, his homeroom teacher forces him to join the volunteer club. Asides from being the only male member, he has to work with the female that is dubbed as the Ice Queen, Yukino Yukinoshita. This unlikely duo was able to produce miraculous results, however. Combining the wits of the two, the only problem lies on the clashes of their personality. Perhaps there's a greater reason as to why their homeroom teacher decided to put them together...
Yahari explores the darker side of the high school life. Eschewing the notion of the perfect high school life, it is a more philosophical narration than your average slice of life. What the adaptation did well was to present the ideas that Hachiman has and having the animation complement those ideas. It can be said that the anime is just as good as the novel. As such, this anime just simply grows on you.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 7, 2015, to Sep 29, 2015
As the MMORPG known as Yggdrasil is slowly shutting down its servers, Momonga, one of the masters of the guild Ains Ooal Gown decides to wait until the very last moment. While originally intending for their server to log him out, he was shocked to realise that he was still in the game. What's more, the NPCs all seemed to develop a personality of their own. Taking a while before realising that he is now a part of the game, Momonga sets his sights on investigating this new world and to find out if there are others stuck in similar situations. When you are an advanced wizard with a formidable guild, however, it becomes apparent that the journey is sure to be easy as well as interesting.
Overlord is a highly descriptive novel. It is easy to understand therefore why is was such a highly adaptation. The action sequences were beautifully drawn and animated. The music was highly fitting of those sequences. Overall the series was animated by a reputable studio. Watch the series to know exactly what we are referring to when we say that animators simply brought this series to life.
5. Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 4, 2017, to Jun 20, 2017
Sistine Fibel is attending one of the most renowned magic school. Her objective is to get well versed enough to solve the mystery of the mysterious Sky Castle. Her plans were seemingly cut short, however, when her teacher was replaced. Glenn Radars is a rather sloppy and unskilled teacher. His incompetency frustrates Sistine. Beyond this facade, however, lies a master of all types of magic which shocks even Sistine.
The fantasy element was retained in the adaptation. Using the potential of fantasy to elicit the imagination of the viewers, the animation allowed us to finally perceive the author's world as the author would have imagined it to be. The anime had wonderful art and excellent character development. At the same time, the story was kept simple. This allows the anime to be absorbed easily, making it an enjoyable anime to watch.
4. Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 4, 2016, to Sep 19, 2016
Whilst leaving the convenience store, Subaru Natsuki suddenly found himself in a new land. Believing his dreams of finally becoming a game character has come true, he was anything but elated to realise that he had... absolutely no skills. He was even saved by a maiden with white hair. Joining her in her quest to get back an insignia, their adventures came to an end when they were both murdered savagely. That ought to be an end to his adventure. However, Subaru found himself alive once more...
The 'isekai' trope or otherwise known as the transport to another world trope is quite frequently used in the industry. So it is a refreshing take on this trope when the author managed to engage the readers. Instead of having an insanely overpowered character, we have a character whose unique power is reliving moments in order to escape the cruelty of fate. Needless to say, the steps he takes is one of hardship and resilience. What the adaptation did well was to express the protagonist's inner struggles and frustration. That, along with its high ratings is a testament to how good the adaption is.
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 2, 2008, to Mar 26, 2009
Taiga Aisaka, a diminutive girl with a feisty personality. Wielding a boken, she is known throughout the school as the Palmtop Tiger. Ryuuji Takasu, an intimidating looking person with piercing eyes. Yet however, he is a kind and gentle soul and loves cleanliness to a fault. Together, they strive to woo different people but yet realised that the only person that truly understood them was the other. Sometimes, love works in mysterious ways, but for now, the chapter between these two is just starting...
Toradora is a romance light novel. Romance is adaptable. It can be understood both visually and in written form as long the writer is skilled enough to evoke the feelings of love in us. However, the animation came as a bonus to us. The dimension of music was added, alongside movement. Character interaction became easy for us to understand and those emotions became easier to grasp. All in all, it conveyed the same level of emotion as the author had intended.
2. Kokoro Connect
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 8, 2012, to Sep 30, 2012
Realising that no other clubs fits them, five students banded together to create the Student Cultural Society. At first, it seems like a gathering of multiple students engaging in daily conversations. Curiously though, club members Aoki and Yui find themselves switching bodies for no reason one day. This is the start of a chain of mysterious events that will threaten the club, their friendship and perhaps even themselves as an individual... Join them as they unravel the mysteries while attempting to maintain their friendship as well.
It is not every day that you swap bodies with one another. While it may be easy to pen down thoughts and perception in writing, it is even harder to express it visually. Human emotions are hard to emulate in general. In the case of Kokoro Connect, however, the characters are pushed to their limits. The music, the facial expressions and the mood that the art sets all contribute to eliciting the emotional part in us, enabling us to empathise with the characters. Little needs to be said on how great this adaptation is therefore for it is no easy feat.
1. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 9, 2012 to Mar 26, 2013
Due to his kind nature of not abandoning lost kittens, Sorata Kanda had no choice but to move into the infamous Sakura Hall of his school. Advised by his close friend Nanami to find owners for the cats so that he can move back into the regular dorms, he was all set on doing so until the appearance of Mashiro Shiina. She was an internationally recognised artist. A savant, Shiina was just as talented as she was immature. Sorata had no choice but to look after her along with the other quirky characters that reside in Sakura Hall. Hence begins the life of Sorata and the pet girl, Mashiro.
Similarly to Toradora, romance light novels can be understood in different forms. What changes it, however, is the degree of depth that an animation adds to a paper words. Even if a writer is talented to write visually, the obvious form of visual presentation will still be better. In a sense, the Toradora adaption exceeded the expectations of fans. Great art, the freedom of movement between characters and an OST that fits every scene well are the reason why the adaptation of Sakurasou was highly successful during its time.
So these are the top picks for light novels that were adapted to anime. Are you a light novel reader in general? Have you ever read a light novel in your life before? How are they compared to the anime? In fact, do you think the animes matches the expectation that the original light novels have set? Let us know in the comments below and we will see you next time!