From page to screen: our top five anime based on novels

So now that the stigma has been lifted from the nerd culture and more and more people embrace the fantasy world, it’s no wonder people are interested in the Isekai Light Novels that the Japan culture has to offer. Light novels made way to many insanely popular manga and anime.


From page to screen our top five anime based on novels

Light novels are typically a short, concise genre, with lots of dialogue, simple storytelling and sometimes some illustrations. Authors oftentimes create new words or give new meaning to existing ones. This makes the work somewhat more complex despite the simpler style. Be that as it may, many stick to anime based on novels, because these linguistic feats are mostly lost during translation.


Many anime, manga and light novels are running parallel to each other, or with some time lapse. Such is the case of My Hero Academia, where the anime and light novel kicked off at the same time (granted, with one day difference).


Lets list the best of the best!

Our Top 5 Anime Based on Novels




The light novel series is written by Kugane Maruyama, and it is still in the works to this day since 2010. Ever since the online serialization and later publications, 14 volumes have been published.


Overlord is a massively successful anime that lasted for 3 seasons, each season consisting of 13 episodes. Overlord is about a young video game addict, who instead of focusing on real life, like his peers, he decides to play a game that is shutting down until its last second. However, as the clock counts to midnight, it does not stop, rather restarts and the protagonist is stuck in the game world – in fact, his soul moves into his avatar, so that everything his character feels can be felt by him.

Some of the scenes are terribly funny and fun while the others are more depressing and  the well-crafted characters and striking dialogues are able to create the perfect balance.


Violet Evergarden

The light novel series is written by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase. It’s original run was from 2015 to 2020, with 4 complete volumes under its wings. The anime was picked up in 2018 for a 13 episode season.


The world into which Violet Evergarden guides us into is experiencing serene times of peace until a devastating war ends it. Although the war is over, the traces left in society float over the story all the way through. The anime picks up the thread of the story at the end of the war. Violet Evergarden is left alone in human society after the devastating conflict. In her earlier life, Violet served as a weapon – she knew nothing but the professional slaughter of the enemy. She couldn’t speak, she didn’t have a name, she just complied. Hearing the words “I love you” changed her in every possible way.

Although the light novel and anime slightly differ, both present the stages of Violet’s becoming human, becoming a sentient and social being through her various assignments.


Spice and Wolf

The light novel series is written by Isuna Hasekura and illustrated by Jū Ayakura. The novel started its journey in 2006 and is still ongoing with 22 volumes and 12 manga episodes.


The story is set in medieval Europe where pagan beliefs are still faintly living in the city of Pasloe. A young merchant arrives in the area just in time for the harvest, and in the hope of exchanging goods with the locals. According to ancient legend, a mystical wolf lives in the area, with whom humans made an agreement in the past. The events take a different turn when the merchant sneaking out of town at night notices movement in his chariot and a young girl emerges. She bathes in the moonlight and howls at the Moon. Thus begins the two’s relationship. The meeting of two worlds, the ancient pagan, the northern beliefs and medieval Europe thought to be enlightened.

The lightweight yet exciting story takes a minor turn when it turns out someone wants to disturb the economy. During their adventures they get closer and closer to each other while also getting to know each other’s nature.



The light novel series started in 2003 and is written by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami. The light novel includes 22 volumes and it’s still in the works to this day. The manga only got one season with 16 episodes in 2007.


Where does one start with this one? The time and storytelling is spectacularly complex and nerve-wracking in the beginning and it’s ingenious with its little hidden information crumbs, changes in perspective, and huge twists. The story actually moves on 5 timelines at once.

  • The first thread of the story takes place sometime in the 1930s and it encloses the other four story threads.
  • The second series of events takes place in 1930, during the adventures of two crazy thieves that get involved in the war of Italian mafia families preparing to rule America.
  • The third thread takes place in 1931 on a train where a horrific bloodshed takes place.
  • The fourth storyline takes place in 1711 on a ship on which 30 alchemists travel and the question of eternal life arises.
  • The fifth story is set in 1932 where Eve stumbles upon some startling discoveries about the above mentioned mafia families.



Run With The Wind

The novel is written by  Shion Miura and was published in 2006. The anime ran for a season and has 23 episodes that aired between 2018 and 2019.


We find the protagonist of the story, Kakeru, running on a dark street with a stolen sandwich when a guy catches up on a bike and asks him if he loves to run. Haiji escorts the main character back to the store to apologize for stealing and in the meantime they both figure out that they are going to the same university. He offers Kakeru to move into one of the university houses, making him the 10th resident of the house. It turns out this makes the team complete and they can officially compete in Japan’s relay marathon. The news shocked everyone as they had no idea that they had also joined the athletics team at the university when they moved in. They are not enthusiastic about the idea of ​​the race, but Haiji is adamant and begins preparations. The rest are almost all novice runners, so it’s not easy for them to start training. Kakeru is an experienced runner as well, and he has doubts about qualifying for the race. However, Haiji is a true leader, with workouts and motivation, the dream seems achievable.

no filler anime Rachel T.
Rachel T.

Author and founder of | I may not always watch the most popular anime on the shelf, but I'm watching what intrigues me and I think that's the beauty of anime - there's something for everyone. I came to anime and manga late in the game. While I had occasionally dabbled here and there, I really didn't start watching with any conviction until I was older. Suddenly, I had the desire to begin consuming more anime. The good ones and the bad ones. New series and classic series. It didn't matter what it was or it's notoriety, if the synopsis seemed interesting, I was bound to watch.

Leave a Reply