The drama genre has always been connected with emotions. Drama, after all, is the ability to elicit an emotional response from the viewers. This is no different in the world of light novels. Emotional inducing prose that will make you empathise with the characters and connect with them. Masterpieces of the drama genre will all have one thing in common - and that is to really put the readers in the character's shoes as though as they as they are living the character's lives themselves. This genre can appear literally anywhere as long as there is a strong emotional connection between reader and text. Hence, we count down the top 10 drama light novels today for your ease and enjoyment!
10. Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria
- Author: Mikage, Eiji
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
- Volumes: 7
- Published Date: Jan 10, 2009 - Jun 10, 2015
Kazuki Hoshino cherishes his everyday life. Aya Otonashi is a new student and her arrival signifies a change in his lifestyle. "This is my 13,118th transfer. I'm here to break you". This is the first thing that was told to him. It is almost as mysterious and strange as her sudden appearance. The ordinary days will soon turn into that of confusion and disorder. It was then that Kazuki realised just how much he misses his mundane and usual everyday life.
So it is not everyday someone comes up to you and insists on 'breaking' you. There is so much more that is shrouded in mystery for the main protagonist. The story of Utsuro revolves around him and Maria trying to break out of a time loop. It is not easy to be placed in the perspective of someone that knows little of what is to come. That thought alone is frightening enough and the reader is placed in the same predicament of being oblivious. As such, the development of the character is more explicit. This is what makes this such a great drama light novel.
9. The Legendary Moon Sculptor
- Author: Nam-Hi-Sung
- Genre: School, Romance, Comedy, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 44
- Published Date: 2007 - present
Lee Hyun is an avid gamer. His character is widely known as the God of War in the game he is playing, Continent of Magic. However, his age slowly catches up to him and it is time to finally put down his game. Through a series of lucky events, he was able to get his avatar appraised at a staggering 3 billion won. Unfortunately, he lost it all to loan sharks. Finding new resolve through the prospect of making money through gaming, he starts on the VR game, Royal Road. Will he be successful yet again?
Unlike typical video game genres and isekai genres, this novel focuses more on the character's feelings and thoughts. It not only focuses on the personal traits of the main character but his own growth as a character as well. As such, the novel does well in bringing out what it truly feels like to live as a character while maintaining the perceptions of reality. You are able to feel the character's pain when he is at his lowest and his triumph as well. A rare blend of two genres, but one that is done well in this drama light novel!
8. Welcome to the NHK
- Author: Takimoto, Tatsuhiko
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Dec 26, 2003, to Apr 26, 2007
Tatsuhiro is a hikikomori for a long time now. He believes in the sinister organisation known as the NHK propagating the hikikomori culture. As he slowly withdraws more from the world, he meets Misaki, a young girl dedicated to changing his life for the better. She invites him for psychotherapy. Her aim is to integrate Tatsuhiro into society once more. However, to do so, both must willingly cooperate with the other and they will soon find out that is no easy task.
Welcome to the NHK can easily be classed under the psychological genre as well. Most of the light novel revolves around the warped thinking of Tatsuhiro. The readers are placed in the inner workings of his brain. What it means is that the viewer is able to experience the full range of his emotions. A true drama light novel is able to place the readers in the character's shoes and this is something that this drama light novel did particularly well.
- Author: Takimoto, Tatsuhiko
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Historical,
- Volumes: 9
- Published: Dec 10, 2003, to Jul 23, 2011
In the small European town of Sauville, Kazuya Kujo is a student at a prestigious academy. His features and appearances earned him the nickname of the Black Reaper from his peers. However, he pays no heed to them and is only concerned with the supernatural. One day at the library, Kazuya chanced upon a mysterious doll-like looking girl. Victorique. With her unparalleled skills in logic, she is able to solve mysteries at a frightening pace. This is the story of the intertwinement of two fates.
The detective genre is not often paired with the romance genre. Often, one is quite linear and straightforward while the other is dynamic and emotional. When these two elements combine, it gives rise to a new element that is drama. The fluidity and pace of the story are drastically changed. GoSick is a tale that contains suspense which fuels its counterpart, the development between both characters. Start reading it today to understand how the mechanics of two polar opposites become something amazing!
6. Log Horizon
- Author: Touno, Mamare
- Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
- Volumes: 10
- Published Date: Apr 13, 2010 - present
ElderTale is a famous online multiplayer game. With the introduction of its 11th expansion. Almost 30,000 players found themselves whisked into the world of the game. Donning their avatars and confused, they realised that they were trapped in this world. Amongst them is Shiroe, a veteran player. Leaving a little time to be shocked and bewildered, he immediately sets out to test the limits of the game and his potential. There, he begins his fight for survival.
Log Horizon is a fast paced drama light novel that is dynamic. However, we do not mean it in the conventional sense. Log Horizon is highly thought provoking, relying on the cognition of the protagonist to develop the story. The readers are treated to the inner workings of the protagonist's mind and the degree of planning for his grand schemes. It befits the drama light novel genre as it seemingly gives life to the words printed on paper and is highly recommended!
5. Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
- Author: Nagatsuki, Tappei
- Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Action
- Volumes: 6
- Published: Jan 23, 2014, to present
While going home from the convenience store one day, Natsuki Subaru suffered from a headache. When he awoke, he found himself in a strange land. With no idea of where he was and what he can do, Subaru was suddenly attacked. Luck was with him as he was rescued by a white-haired girl and her familiar. Dedicating his life to her, Subaru begins his adventure and discovers his ability - to return from the dead and reset the chain of events from the last checkpoint. Using this ability to its fullest, watch just how much Natsuki grows along the series!
Re: Zero is another isekai story. However, the protagonist is not granted with an almighty skill that allows him to obliterate anything in his way. He had to start from rock bottom and work hard in order to make his wishes a reality. In a way, the skill he has is one that may appear weak but one that holds infinite potential. Just as he is able to change the outcome of things, Subaru himself is able to grow even stronger. Re: Zero is a drama light novel that allows you to grow alongside a powerless protagonist to a person that is nigh undefeatable.
- Author: Narita, Ryohgo
- Genre: Action, Drama, Romance
- Volumes: 13
- Published: Apr 10, 2004, to Jan 10, 2014
In this rendition, Ikebukuro is a place where numerous oddities exist. There is a rumoured headless biker girl who silently rides along the highway. A bartender whose inhuman strength and power make all cower before him. Somewhere in the back alleys, there is a sadistic information broker. And lastly, Mikado Ryuugamine, a student who had just transferred to this odd place. Now a strange tale of how all these people are connected together is starting.
So much happens in this rendition of Ikebukuro. There are just too many happenings in one day that it is almost overwhelming. And they all occur almost simultaneously. The sudden chain of events eventually culminates into a singular, dramatic climax. Through the flow of the story, you can already tell that every small event will lead to something big. Durarara fulfils the basic framework of a drama of a small event climaxing at something large and something that is beyond imagination!
3. Golden Time
- Author: Takemiya, Yuyuko
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Volumes: 8
- Published: Sep 10, 2010 to Mar 8, 2014
Banri Tada is afflicted with amnesia. As he begins his high school in a law university, Banri saw Mitsuo Yanagisawa bickering with a certain Koko Kaka. This chance meeting will soon alter both their lives altogether. As sudden as he appeared, Koko decided to barge into Banri's life and a relationship was formed between them. However, as the repressed memories start to surface once more, he is reminded of the people of his past. One of which, happened to be in the same university as him. Just what truly happened in the past that caused him to shut away his memories and just how will it affect the blossoming relationship between him and Koko?
Golden Time will take you out on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Just when you thought it will conclude with a sweet romantic end, a sudden revelation appears that threatens everything that was built up so far. Not only is the relationship between both protagonists at risk, but also that of his relationships with those around him. Golden Time is not your average romance story where everything ends well. In fact, it is a tale of facing your past and moving forward. It may be a simple story, but the fact that visual writing plays a heavy role in this is what distinguishes it and sets it apart from a normal novel.
2. Spice & Wolf
- Author: Hasekura, Isuna
- Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance
- Volumes: 13
- Published: Feb 10, 2006, to present
Kraft Lawrence is a travelling merchant who aspires to set up his shop one day. Whilst travelling with his companions one day, Kraft found a young woman with wolf-like features sleeping. It wasn't long that he discovered that she is actually Holo, the goddess of harvest. After years of worship, the villagers that once revered her have gone complacent and no longer prayed to her. Sympathising with her, Kraft took her in. It was soon that he realised that she had a knack for negotiations and trade. And so, they begin their travelling together
Economics and romance is an unlikely combination. Yet surprisingly, this oil and water combination was blended quite well! Through using the literary device of amplification of the protagonist's trade and the heroine's skills, the writer was able to complement them resulting in a greater appreciation for the other. That is how the relationship of both characters was developed. Spice & Wolf may not appear to be part of a drama light novel genre but due to its mask, it hides the true value of it as a dramatic masterpiece.
1. DanganRonpa Zero
- Author: Kodaka, Kazutaka
- Genre: Mystery, Drama,
- Volumes: 2
- Published: Sep 16, 2011 to Oct 14, 2011
Ryouko Otonashi is a student at the famous Hope's Peak Academy. This elite school only takes in the top talents of the respective industries that they came from. However, Ryouko suffers from chronic amnesia. Relying on her notebook to recount daily events, as well as the support of her friend Yasuke Matsuda, the High school Neurologist, she tries her best to recall the day's events. However, a strange girl entered their lives and with the reliability of her notebook being questioned as well as the revelation of Yasuke's secrets, she must slowly uncover the truth lest she falls into the pits of despair.
Twists, unexpected outcomes and uncertainty—These are the elements that make DanganRonpa a great drama series. The numerous conflicts and emotions that are portrayed just by the novel alone are as good as viewing it on a television. There is just so much happening that you are able to envision it happening before you. The aspect that makes DanganRonpa great and that which makes you never want to stop reading it is that fact that it is enthralling and irresistible despite being a short drama light novel.
So that's our take on the top 10 drama light novels. Do you usually get riled up while reading one of them? What are some of your favourite moments in drama light novels? Do you enjoy the drama genre purely for the level of character development in them? Have a drama novel to recommend? Do share in the comments below and we will see you next time.