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Top 10 Light Novel Based Anime Adaptations

Spice & Wolf Anime

Often called ranobe or LN, light novel is primarily a novel but differs when it comes to context. It is literally a short novel using a simple descriptive words and narration to easily convey the story. Light novels are typically directed towards young readers, demographically, to high school and college students.

Light novels are often illustrated with anime and manga art styles, therefore it is usually adapted into such mediums. Thus, there are plenty of anime series nowadays with light novels as source materials. 

Sword Art Online, widely known as the anime that brought light novel based anime into mainstream popularity.

In 2010's, there had been a wide arrays of light novels adapted into anime and eventually, it paved the way for light novels to become mainstream. Today, there's always at least three up to five anime series based from light novels in every seasonal anime lineup. 


10. The Irregular at Magic High School

The Irregular at Magic High School
Based on the light novel by Tsutomu Sato, The irregular at magic high school is set in a world where magic exists but instead of using chants and spells, magic users cast spells with their Casting Assistant Device (CAD). The CAD is infused with the user’s Psions (a substance-less thought particle) that activates the device and constructs the magic ritual.

9. Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic!
The series follows Sousuke Sagara, a member of a covert anti-terrorist private military organization known as Mithril, tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori, a spirited Japanese high school girl. He moves to Japan to study at Chidori's school, Jindai High School, with assistance from his comrades Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao. Having never experienced social interactions, Sousuke is found as a military maniac by his schoolmates as he interprets everyday situations from a combat perspective. He comes to relate with Chidori who realizes that Sousuke is protecting her, but he does not reveal the reasons due to orders as well as the fact that he does not know why Chidori is being targeted by different organizations.

8. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Shortly after being summoned to a new world, Subaru Natsuki and his new female companion are brutally murdered. But then he awakes to find himself in the same alley, with the same thugs, the same girl, and the day begins to repeat.

7. Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online
In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called: Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now...

6. Log Horizon

Log Horizon Anime
By its eleventh expansion pack, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Elder Tale has become a global success, with a user base of millions of players. However, during the release of its twelfth expansion pack: Homesteading the Noosphere, thirty thousand Japanese gamers who are logged on at the time of the update suddenly find themselves transported into the virtual game world and donning their in-game avatars. In the midst of the event, a socially awkward gamer named Shiroe, along with his friends, Naotsugu and Akatsuki, decide to team up so that they may face this world, which unfortunately has now become their reality, along with the challenges and obstacles ahead of them.

5. Hyouka

Hyouka Anime
At the request of his older sister, student Hōtarō Oreki joins Kamiyama High School's Classic Literature Club to stop it from being abolished, joined by fellow members Eru Chitanda, Satoshi Fukube and Mayaka Ibara. The story is set in Kamiyama City, a fictional city in Gifu Prefecture that the author based on his real hometown of Takayama, also in Gifu. The fictional Kamiyama High School is based upon the real life Hida High School. They begin to solve various mysteries, both to help with their club and at Eru's requests.

4. No Game No Life

No Game No Life Anime
They are both NEETs and Hikikomoris… but on the internet, the genius gamer siblings Sora and Shiro are known as the undefeatable “__” (blank). Sora and Shiro’s talents and skills are so abnormally good they are considered as urban legend. One day a young boy Teto appears before them, claiming to be “One’s Lord”.

3. My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
The story follows two loners: the pragmatic Hachiman Hikigaya and beautiful Yukino Yukinoshita, who, despite their varying personalities and ideals, offer help and advice to others as part of their school's Service Club, assisted by the cheerful and friendly Yui Yuigahama. It largely depicts various social situations faced by teens in a high school setting and the psychology driving their interactions.

2. Overlord

Overlord Anime
When a popular MMORPG is scheduled to be shut down permanently, veteran player Momonga refuses to log out. As NPCs begin to develop personalities and minds of their own he decides to put his skills to use as the game’s new overlord.

1. Spice & Wolf 

Spice & Wolf
Kraft Lawrence goes from town to town to make profits as a travelling merchant, with the help of a wolf deity by the name of Holo.

Honorable Mentions

  • Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
  • KonoSuba
  • Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
  • Gamers!
  • Amagi Brilliant Park
  • Kokoro Connect
  • Monogatari
  • Baccano!
  • Durarara!!
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
  • Chivalry of a Failed Knight
  • Beyond the Boundary
  • Free!
  • Classroom of the Elite
  • Full Metal Panic!
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
  • Kino's Journey
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