10 Best Anime Series Based On Light Novels, Ranked By MyAnimeList

Anime adaptations of light novels are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the success of new-age anime like Elite class and This time I got reincarnated as a slime.

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Most people are familiar with the famous manga series that inspired popular anime like dragonball, naruto, and others. However, only a few people know about the original light novels that inspired popular anime like FateZero and spice and wolf. Fans of these genre adaptations need look no further than this list of the best in the subgenre.

ten Toradora! – 8.12

Haruto and his girlfriend smiling at Toradora

Toradora is an animated romantic comedy based on the light novel by Shusuke Amagi and illustrations by Yasu. The story is unpredictable, the characters are distinct and believable, and the series invests in emotion. Unlike other love stories, Toradora is devoid of cliches, which sets it apart from the pack.

As one of the best high school anime on Netflix right now, the stars of the show are two polar opposite high school teenagers. The story begins with Aisaka and Takasu agreeing to a mutual pact because they both have crushes on each other’s best friends. They try to put up with their crushes by creating romantic situations. However, they fall in love with each other. Friendships, personal concerns, drama, wisdom, funny dialogue and great soundtracks flood the show.

9 Durarara!! – 8.13

Mikado in Durarara looking up and worried

Durarara was adapted from a light novel by Ryohgo Narita with illustrations by Suzuhito Yasuda. It’s one of the best-written series in a significant amount of time, with thoroughly intriguing characters and gripping story arcs. It deals with themes like friendship, betrayal, gang wars, urban lifestyle and identity.

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Durarara begins with the arrival of Mikado Ryugamine in Tokyo, who is greeted by his childhood friend Masaomi Kida, who has been in the city for several years. Mikado, who is still overwhelmed by the intimidating urban culture that permeates Tokyo, is even more taken aback when he realizes how many secrets and mysteries this city hides. The show revolves around various storylines, forms a unique blend of mystery and supernatural, and relies heavily on individual character stories.


8 This time I got reincarnated as a slime – 8.13

This time I got reincarnated as a Slime is based on the light novel series by Fuse and Mitz Vah. The show’s witty comedy, colorful cast of characters, and storytelling appealed to anime fans, and the show did well in the ratings. 8bit Studios also did a great job with battle scenes and detailed animation.

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The story revolves around Satoru Mikami, a corporate employee who dies a virgin at age 37 and is reincarnated as Rimuru, a slime who can swallow anything and mimic his appearance and abilities. The show is a fun take on the isekai action genre. The show also had a second season due to its endearing characters and unique perspective and is now gearing up for a third.

7 KonoSuba: God’s blessing on this wonderful world! – 8.13

the main characters of KonoSuba smiling and showing thumbs up at the camera

Kono Suba is the anime adaptation of the first two volumes of Natsume Akatsuki’s light novel series. The series focuses solely on entertainment and is light and comedic. It’s a series about a dysfunctional group of people trying to live in a fantasy world at its heart. The show pokes fun at the mechanics of massively multiplayer online games and mocks tropes.

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The protagonist of Kono Suba is Kazuma Satou, who dies on the most ordinary day of his life and in the least heroic way possible. When he wakes up in the afterlife to a goddess, Aqua, he has a choice of going to Heaven or defeating the Demon King in a real fantasy world, and he chooses the latter. With the choice to take any object to aid him in his quest, he takes Aqua, unaware that he is making a mistake.

6 Spice and Wolf – 8.24

Spice and Wolf characters sitting on a horse drawn carriage

spice and wolf is a fantasy anime series adapted from a light novel series by Isuna Hasekura & Jū Ayakura. The plot follows the merchants as they trade in medieval Europe, with the hook being the chemistry between the two protagonists, Lawrence and Horo.

A traveling salesman named Kraft Lawrence negotiates and sells his business with the aspiration of one day opening his shop in this fantastical story. Horo, a wolf deity who has resided there for over a hundred years, appears to him in his adventures. The story follows the two as they travel to Holo’s hometown of Yoitsu. The show is a quiet, enjoyable watch that gracefully guides the audience through the plot.

5 Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World – 8.25

re:zero characters poster

The first nine volumes of the light novel series by Tappei Nagatsuki and Shin’ichirō Ōtsuka gave fans a unique isekai story in the form of the Re: Zero animated series. The story begins with a dark and bloody beginning and progresses through despair and madness to a brutal and sadistic conclusion.

Re: Zero takes a distinct approach to an anime genre overused in the fantasy/gaming world. It mixes serious psychological components with a light-hearted fantasy setting. Subaru is the protagonist of the story, and he’s not a super MC who can unfairly beat every other character on just about anything. The story follows him as he leaves a convenience store on a normal day and finds himself in a dream realm. When he wakes up after death, things take a turn for the worse and the incidents seem to replay.

4 Fate/Zero – 8.30

Saber holds a sword in Fate/Zero

FateZero was released as a prequel to Fate/Stay Night and takes place during the Fourth Holy Grail War. It immediately gained popularity as one of the best battle royale anime. It is based on the light novel by Gen Urobuchi and Takashi Takeuchi, which became popular due to its dark, gritty, and violent story.

It depicts a battle between seven mages or masters who, using the power of the Grail, summon heroic spirits from mythology, history or myth to fight for control of the Grail, which grants its wearer any wish. The war is shown brilliantly, and it is the best feature of the series. However, the show is much more than entertaining action and magical powers.

3 Baccano! – 8.38

Baccano!  collage of main characters

Baccano! is inspired by a series of light novels by Ryohgo Narita with the illustrations by Katsumi Enami. The series delves into the period of Western history, featuring thieves, gangsters, mobsters, alchemists, and many Prohibition-era personalities. As a pleasant detour from popular shoujo stories, baccano is one of the best anime about mafia.

The series follows three storylines, and each story features a different mafia family. It successfully fuses comedy, suspense, action, and a bit of romance, without sacrificing story or animation. It’s a fantastic cast of colorful characters with an intricate web of interwoven stories and a jazzy soundtrack. There is an ironic mixture of violence and humor. The three unrelated plots come together at the end to form a whole story, and it’s classic.

2 Violet Evergarden – 8.66

Violet gives a salute in Violet Evergarden.

One of the best fantasy anime featuring strong female protagonists, Violet Evergarden, focuses on war, love, loss and empathy. Adapted from the light novel of the same name by Kana Akatsuki and Akiko Takase, it is one of the highest rated adaptations.

Violet Evergarden is the story of a young woman who has been exploited as a war machine and now must learn to live a “normal” life once the war is over. She knew nothing but how to obey instructions. She struggles to understand her feelings and emotions when the battle is over. The story is mostly about her personal growth and how she manages to understand and live with the complexity of human emotions.

1 Monogatari – 8.96

Monogatari Series Characters

Monogatari was created as a series of light novels by Nisio Isin and Vofan, with many powerful women converging around a helping male protagonist named Koyomi. Despite an unusual story and mixed plots, the anime is popular and highly regarded.

It’s a harem-comedy-fantasy/mystery show. The story follows Araragi Koyomi, an 18-year-old high school student who was a human before becoming a vampire and then being a vampire again. The protagonist is likeable and all the other characters have unique personalities. Studio Shaft’s animation, music, sound effects and a mix of diverse genres make Monogatari the highest anime based on a light novel.

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