Light Novels are begin more well-known as a part of Japanese pop culture as well as anime and manga. Many popular anime and manga are created, being adapted from the successful selling light novels these days.
Japanese literature including classic novels written by Soseki Natsume, Osamu Dazai, etc. and modern books by Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, etc. has been loved by international readers. Light novels are also translated into multiple languages and read worldwide now.
It is difficult to define what is exactly a light novel, but almost all light novels have anime characters illustrated on their front covers and on some pages in the books. The pioneers of light novels were published from around the 1970s.
A legendary light novel title Slayers, which started its publication in 1989, familiarized a wide range of people in Japan. The new novel category got much more popular for Haruhi Suzumiya Series that has been published since 2003.
Some new genres are derived from general light novels, which consist of Noro-kei, Isekai and so on. A list of recommended light novels will be too long, and you may wonder which one to read first.
Today, I’d like to introduce 37 best light novels of all time for both beginners and experienced readers. Check the must-read classic titles and the hottest recent trends!
37. Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
There are a lot of good fantasy light novels published in the recent past, and Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina (魔女の旅々) is one of the finest titles categorized as fantasy and adventure. It was first released for Amazon Kindle by the author Jougi Shiraishi in 2014 while almost all the modern light novels begun on publishing websites. Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina was first made into anime adaptation by C2C in 2020. A spin-off series titled Riviere in the Land of Prayer, which was originally known as Riviere and The Land of Prayer, started in 2022.
The titular protagonist of this anime is a teenage witch, Elaina. She is a genius girl who became a Witch, the highest rank of wizard, at the youngest age of 15 in the history of the peaceful country of Robetta. She aspires to be a traveling witch, having admired the main character in the stories of Niké, which she read as a child. She travels freely through this vast world, encountering strange and funny people and the beautiful everyday life of others, and repeatedly encounters various countries and people as a traveler, without any particular purpose.
Author: Jougi Shiraishi
Volumes: 19 (As of September, 2022)
Published: Since 2016
When a manga or a light novel is adapted into an anime and the quality of the anime is so high, many fans immediately an[…]
36. The Irregular at Magic High School
The Irregular at Magic High School (魔法科高校の劣等生), one of the most popular series recently completed, was published from 2011 to 2020 while it was serialized on Shosetsuka ni Naro between 2008 and 2013. The action science fiction is composed of 32 volumes and 1 short-story collection, followed by Sequel – The Irregular at Magic High School Magian Company since 2020. There are some spin-off novel series including New – The Irregular at Magic High School Maidens of Cygnus and Assassination Plan of Tatsuya Shiba.
In the year 2095, 35 years after the end of World War III, which lasted for 20 years, The Irregular at Magic High School takes place at a fictional educational institution Magic High School, which trains students to become magicians, a profession that deals with systematized magic. Tatsuya Shiba and his sister Miyuki Shiba are both enrolled at First High Magic High School. The older brother is a Weed student with certain defects while his sister is a Bloom, an honor student who is perfect in every way.
Author: Tsutomu Sato
Illustrator: Kana Ishida
Volumes: 32+1 Short Story Collection
Slayers (スレイヤーズ) is a pioneer of the light novel industry, which has ignited many manga and anime fans’ interests in the new novel category since the first volume was released in 1989. In addition to the current 17 volumes of the main story, there are also 30 volumes of the spin-off Slayers Special and 5 volumes of Slayers Smash. The fantasy story focuses on a young talented sorceress named Lina Inverse who travels around the world with her partner Gourry Gabriev.
Author: Hajime Kanzaka
Illustrator: Rui Araizumi
Volumes: 52 (As of October, 2019)
Published: Since 1990
Oreimo (俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない) is a comedy and slice-of-life light novel published between 2008 and 2021, which was adapted into two seasons of an anime series in 2010 and 2013. The story begins when a protagonist and narrator Kyosuke finds out his 14-year-old younger sister Kirino is an Otaku (a geek) who like an eroge (erotic computer games).
Author: Tsukasa Fushimi
Illustrator: Hiro Kanzaki
Haganai (僕は友達が少ない), categorized as slice of life, comedy and romance, is a popular light novel which consists of 14 volumes published between 2009 and 2015. Two seasons of its anime adaptation were aired in 2011 and 2013. Haganai revolves around a blond high schooler Kodaka Hasegawa and two heroines Yozora Mikazuki and Sena Kashiwazaki.
Author: Yomi Hirasaka
▽You can enjoy Haganai in manga in English!▽
32. Goblin Slayer
As one of the most popular light novel series in the recent years, Goblin Slayer (ゴブリンスレイヤー) has been published since 2016. The dark fantasy light novel, which was released as an online novel at first, has been also made into anime and manga adaptations. A main character is a venturer Goblin Slayer, who clings to hunting the weakest monster goblins.
Author: Kumo Kagyu
Illustrator: Noboru Kannatsuki
Volumes: 16 (As of July, 2022)
Published: Since 2016
Goblin Slayer is a unique entry into the dark fantasy genre that strays from the conventional high-fantasy plotlines. Th[…]
31. Ascendance of a Bookworm
Ascendance of a Bookworm (本好きの下剋上) is a unique Iseaki fantasy light novel that casts a spotlight on a heroine who scrambles to produce a book in an Isekai world. Its serialization began on Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2013 and finished with the 677th chapter in 2017. Its physical light novel series has been published since 2015, written by Miya Kazuki and illustrated by You Shiina. It has been adapted into the manga series since 2015 and the anime series since 2019.
Urano Motosu, who lives in modern Japan and lives her life for reading books, dies in an accident on the day she gets her dream job at a library. She is left with a longing to read more books, and finds herself reborn as a young girl named Myne in an alternate world reminiscent of the countryside deep in the mountains of medieval Europe. The main setting of the story is Ehrenfest, a city ruled by nobles with magical powers. Mine, a young girl with knowledge of modern Japan, rises from inventing paper to obtaining books.
Author: Miya Kazuki
Illustrator: You Shiina
Volumes: 34 (As of December, 2022)
Published: Since 2015
30. The Twelve Kingdoms
The Twelve Kingdoms (十二国記) is a fantasy historical novel series written by Fuyumi Ono, which has been published since the first title Shadow of the Moon, Sea of Shadow was released in 1992 (which also followed the previous entry The Demonic Child in 1991).
It is set in the twelve kingdoms in a parallel fantasy world, which is inspired by an ancient China. Main characters differ from one part to another but are related to each other.
Author: Fuyumi Ono
Illustrator: Akihiro Yamada
Volumes: 15 (As of November, 2019)
Published: Since 1992
29. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (境界線上のホライゾン) is a fantasy light novel series mixed with multiple genres such as historical, comedy, Isekai, etc. There are 29 volumes and 3 spin-offs published from 2008 to 2018 in the series, adapted into two seasons of an anime series in 2011 and 2012.
The setting is an apocalyptic world, where humans live in the only habitable area in the East Asia. They try to find a way to get out of the earth reenacting human history.
Author: Minoru Kawakami
28 Spice and Wolf
Spice and Wolf (狼と香辛料) is a well-known fantasy adventure light novel franchise published since 2006. It has been made into various adaptations such as TV anime series, video games and manga series. The story was completed with the vol.17 and started the following adventure in Wolf and Parchment: New Theory Spice & Wolf (新説 狼と香辛料 狼と羊皮紙) in 2019.
Spice and Wolf focuses on economic activities in the medieval Europe where a twenty-something merchant travels with a girl who has wolf ears and tail.
Author: Isuna Hasekura
Illustrator: Ju Ayakura
Volumes: 24 (As of January, 2023)
Published: Since 2006
Spice and Wolf (狼と香辛料) is one of the most popular Japanese light novels that has been read by fans throughout the world […]
27. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
In the recent years, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (転生したらスライムだった件) is what gets the most attention from light novel fans including adults and children. It is an Isekai adventure light novel series that was first released on the online novel publishing site Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2013.
There are also manga and anime adaptations that are as popular as the original novels. The story begins when a protagonist Satoru dies from stab wounds inflicted by a phantom killer and is reincarnated as a Slime in another world.
Illustrator: Mitz Vah
Volumes: 20 (As of September, 2022)
Published: Since 2014
Who chooses Rimuru Tempest as the most favorite anime character these days? That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, the[…]
26. The Rising of the Shield Hero
In one of the most popular light novel genres Isekai, The Rising of the Shield Hero (盾の勇者の成り上がり) is highly recommended to read now. The fantasy adventure series started its publication on the user-generated light novel website Shosetsuka ni Naro from 2012.
It has been also adapted into a manga and TV anime series. A university student Naofumi Iwatani is summoned into another world as the Shield Hero with other weapons equipped heroes.
Author: Aneko Yusagi
Illustrator: Minami Seira
Volumes: 22 (As of June, 2019)
Published: Since 2013
The Rising of the Shield Hero has entertained a great number of fans of light novels, manga and anime lately, overcoming[…]
25. Boogiepop Series
Boogiepop Series (ブギーポップシリーズ), which is also known as the first title Boogiepop and Others (ブギーポップは笑わない), is a classic dark-fantasy light novel series written by Kouhei Kadono. It has been published since 1998, adapted into two versions of anime series in 2000 and 2019.
Boogiepop Series depicts the life of high schoolers who have negative personal problems, and Boogiepop shows up as the other side of a character’s personality when the world faces an imminent threat.
Author: Kouhei Kadono
Illustrator: Kouji Ogata
Volumes: 23 (As of May, 2019)
Published: Since 1998
24. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (デスマーチからはじまる異世界狂想曲) is a popular Isekai light novel series starting its publication on the online light novel website Shosetsuka ni Naro in 2013. Its manga adaptation has been made since 2014 and an anime adaptation was released in 2018.
The story follows a gaming programmer who finds he is sent to the world inside an MMORPG awakening from his nap.
Author: Hiro Ainana
Volumes: 27 (As of January, 2023)
Published: Since 2014
The famous author Nisio Isin’s action historical novel Katanagatari (刀語) consists of 12 volumed that were published for the twelfth month straight in 2007. It was also adapted into an anime series in 2010.
Katanagatari is set in a Japanese period of warring states (around the Edo period) and centers on a swordsman named Yasuri Shichika, who sets out on a journey to collect the twelve legendary swords.
Author: Nisio Isin
22. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend (冴えない彼女の育てかた) is one of the most popular modern light novel categorized as romance and comedy. The light novels including 13 volumes with 5 collections of short stories were published from 2012 to 2017. The first season of an anime adaptation was broadcasted in 2015 and the second season in 2017, which were followed by an anime movie Saekano the Movie: Finale in 2019.
The main character is a high school boy Tomoya Aki, who creates a visual novel computer game with his classmate Megumi Kato, an illustrator Eriri Spencer Sawamura and a novelist Utaha Kasumigaoka.
Author: Fumiaki Maruto
Illustrator: Kurehito Misaki
▽You can get the manga adaptation right now!▽
21. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか) is a quite popular fantasy light novel series written by Fujino Omori. It was first released on a online novel website Arcadia and has been published as physical books since 2013. There are three seasons of an anime adaptation aired in 2015, 2019 and 2020, and the fourth season will follow them in 2022.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? focuses on a young boy named Bell Cranel, who fights against evil monsters in Dungeons with the goddess Hestia Familia members and other gods.
Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
Volumes: 18 (As of January, 2023)
Published: Since 2013
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, which is usually abbreviated to DanMachi, is one of the most successf[…]
20. Chitose Is in the Ramune Bottle
Chitose Is in the Ramune Bottle (千歳くんはラムネ瓶のなか) is a trendy slice-of-life and romantic-comedy light novel series, which has been chosen as one of the best light novel series on the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! ranking since 2021. It has been published by Shogakukan since 2019, written and illustrated by Hiromu and raemz.
Saku Chitose, a second-year high school student at Fuji High School in Fukui Prefecture, reigns at the top of the school caste. He is enjoying his youth with other members of “Team Chitose,” as they are commonly called, including a popular girl Yuko Hiiragi. One day, Saku is asked by his homeroom teacher to help his classmate Kenta Yamazaki, who is balking at going to school. Working with the members of Team Chitose, Saku solves the problems his classmates are facing.
Author: Hajime Kamoshida
Illustrator: Keiji Mizoguchi
Volumes: 12 (As of December 2022)
Published: Since 2019
19. No Game No Life
No Game No Life (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ) is an Isekai comedy light novel with the theme of games, both written and illustrated by Yu Kamiya. It has been published since 2012 and was made into an anime adaptation in 2014.
No Game No Life focuses on two gaming geniuses: a 18-year-old boy Sora and his 11-year-old stepsister Shiro. They are summoned to another world and battle with other species characters in a variety of games.
Author: Yu Kamiya
Illustrator: Yu Kamiya
Volumes: 12 + 1 spin-off (As of February, 2023)
Published: Since 2012
The popular game-themed isekai anime series, mixed with comedy, science fiction and moe, has a large number of fans acro[…]
A popular modern Isekai and antihero light novel Overlord (オーバーロード) has been published since it was first released as an online novel on Arcadia in 2010. Its manga adaptation started in 2015, and there are three seasons of an anime adaptation broadcasted in 2015 and 2018.
Overlord is set in the 22nd century when a DMMORPG called Yggdrasil is developed. A protagonist, who comes to be called Ainz Ooal Gown, is sent to a gaming world and is to attain the world domination with the strongest power.
Author: Kugane Maruyama
Volumes: 16 (As of July, 2022)
Published: Since 2012
Isekai anime, in which a protagonist is suddenly transported to a different world in another dimension, have been much m[…]
17 The Saga of Tanya the Evil
The Saga of Tanya the Evil (幼女戦記) is an Isekai light novel franchise with the theme of military. Its serialization started on the novel publishing website Arcadia in 2011 and the light novel has been published since 2013. It has been adapted into over 20 volumes of manga series and 12-episode anime series.
The setting of The Saga of Tanya the Evil is Europe during the world wars. A 30-something business person is reincarnated as a 9-year-old blond girl into the parallel world, who is named Tanya von Degurechaff. She fights in the war at the rank of major using magical powers.
Author: Carlo Zen
Illustrator: Shinobu Shinotsuki
Volumes: 12 (As of February, 2020)
Published: Since 2013
The Saga of Tanya the Evil, which is also known as Youjo Senki in Japan, is one of the best modern anime series categori[…]
16. Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! (この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!) is one of the most popular light novel series in modern days. The Isekai comedy light novel was serialized between 2013 and 2020, adapted into two seasons of anime series released in 2016 and 2017.
The story begins when a high school boy Kazuma dies in an accident and is reincarnated into another world as an ordinary venturer with a goddess named Aqua. They are get involved in various problems with a magician Megumin and a crusader Darkness in the role playing game world.
Author: Natsume Akatsuki
Illustrator: Kurone Mishima
Who are looking forward to the new season of KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World? It has been just announce[…]
15. Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-
The long-run fantasy adventure light novel Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- (キノの旅 -the Beautiful World-), written by Keiichi Sigsawa, has been published with an episodic structure since 2000. One of the most famous light novels in Dengeki Bunko was adapted into two versions of anime series broadcasted in 2003 and 2017.
Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- focuses on a teen girl named Kino, who travels around the fantasy world with her partner motorcycle Hermes that can speak. It depicts the fables in a variety of countries she visits, and each of them has a unique system, culture and concept.
Author: Keiichi Sigsawa
Illustrator: Kouhaku Kuroboshi
Volumes: 23 (As of November, 2020)
Published: Since 2000
14. 86 -Eighty Six-
The new sci-fi and mecha light novel has stood out as one of the best-selling titles recently, titled 86 -Eighty Six- (86-エイティシックス-). Written by Asato Asato and illustrated by Shirabii since 2017, the military-themed drama was made into the first anime adaptation that aired with 23 episodes between 2021 and 2022 by the famous anime studio A-1 Pictures.
86 -Eighty Six- is set in a futuristic world, where an unattended autonomous weapons Legion is invented by the Empire of Giad. The story follows a 16-year-old boy Shinei Nouzen called Shin, who fights against the Legions as the leader of the Republic of San Magnolia’s squadron Spearhead. Shin and other 86 people are persecuted and sent to the front line of the fight between the Republic of San Magnolia and the Empire of Giad.
The discriminated 86 people fight against the unattended autonomous machines by piloting the crewed machine called Juggernauts. On the other hand, other citizens peacefully live in the Republic of San Magnolia while the government hides the presence of 86. A military officer Vladilena Milizé, who remotely exercises control over the squadron Spearhead as a Handler, questions what the country has become today.
Author: Asato Asato
Volumes: 11 (As of February, 2022)
Published: Since 2017
13. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) is an outstanding light novel classified into coming of age, romance and drama while it is more known for its anime adaptation made by Kyoto Animation in 2018. The light novel caught the eye of Kyoto Animation and four volumes were published by it between 2015 and 2020. Kana Akatsuki, the author of Violet Evergarden, is also in the spotlight for her next work titled Shunkashuto Daikosha, which started in 2021.
The setting is a medieval European-style world where a four-year continental war has just ended. The main character, a young girl named Violet Evergarden, was sent to the battlefield as a human weapon and lost both arms. She then works as a substitute writer called an Auto Memory Doll with metal prosthetic arms that can move even her fingers freely. As she writes letters on behalf of various people and interacts with them, she learns about various words and human feelings.
This is a coming-of-age drama about a young girl who searches for the meaning of “I love you,” the last words left behind by Major Gilbert, the only person she could ever feel special emotion for. It is also known as the most tear-jerking light novel/anime.
Author: Kana Akatsuki
Illustrator: Akiko Takase
12. Zaregoto Series
Zaregoto Series (戯言シリーズ), which is known for the first volume’s title Decapitation Kubikiri Cycle: The Blue Savant and the Nonsense User (クビキリサイクル 青色サヴァンと戯言遣い), is one of top-rated light novel series written by Nisio Isin. 9 volumes were published between 2002 and 2005. Spin-off series such as Ningen Series and Saikyo Series are derived from Zaregoto Serie. A new 10th volume was published in February, 2023.
Zaregoto Series’s first part was adapted into an OVA (original video animation) with 8 episodes released in 2016-2017.
The action and mystery light novel is narrated by the first-person narrator, who visits a deserted island with a heroine Tomo Kunagisa in Decapitation Kubikiri Cycle: The Blue Savant and the Nonsense User. He encounters mysterious cases around other characters he newly meets.
Author: Nisio Isin
Volumes: 10 (As of February, 2023)
Published: Since 2002
As one of the best romantic comedy light novels, Toradora! (とらドラ!) should be picked out by classic light novel fans. The slice-of-life novel was published from 2006 to 2009 consisting 10 volumes and 3 spin-offs. Its manga adaptation started in 2007 and an anime series was aired in 2008-2009.
Toradora! presents everyday of a high schooler named Ryuji Takasu and a heroine Taiga Aisaka. The relationships between them and their classmates Minori Kushieda and Yusaku Kitamura is changing though seasonal events and various activities.
Author: Yuyuko Takemiya
10. A Certain Magical Index
A Certain Magical Index (とある魔術の禁書目録), one of the most famous and popular light novels of all time, has been published with over 50 volumes since 2004. The first part was completed with the 22nd volume, and its sequel series New Testament: A Certain Magical Index (新約 とある魔術の禁書目録) started in 2011. The third part with the title Genesis Testament: A Certain Magical Index (創約 とある魔術の禁書目録) followed it from 2020. In addition, there are some popular spin-offs like A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲).
The setting of A Certain Magical Index is a futuristic world, where psychic abilities are revealed by science. There are espers with science powers and sorcerers with magic powers in the Academy City. The story centers on a high schooler Toma Kamijo, who meets a little mysterious girl called Index.
Author: Kazuma Kamachi
Illustrator: Kiyotaka Haimura
Volumes: 24/New Testament: 23/Genesis Testament: 7 (As of September, 2022)
Published: Since 2004
A Certain Scientific Railgun, which is also known as Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, is one of the most popular action sci-fi a[…]
9. Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (中二病でも恋がしたい!) is a renowned slice of life light novel series published from 2011 to 2017, also categorized as comedy and romance. It won an encouragement prize in the 1st Kyoto Animation Award in 2010 and was adapted into an anime series by Kyoto Animation in 2012 and 2014.
The symbol of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is Chunibyo, which is a modern Japanese term used to describe teenagers who have grandiose delusions that they are a much more special person than others. A first-grade high schooler Yuta Togashi, who used to be a Chunibyo in the middle school, meets a currently Chunibyo girl Rikka Takanashi.
Illustrator: Nozomi Osaka
8. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
The popular recent light novel series Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない) in the genre mixed with slice of life and fantasy started its publication from 2014. The first anime adaptation was made from the original light novel in 2018, followed by an anime movie Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl (青春ブタ野郎はゆめみる少女の夢を見ない) in 2019.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a seaside city Fujisawa and follows a high school boy Sakuta Azusagawa. The story begins when he meets a one-year-older Senpai heroine Mai Sakurajima who wears a bunny girl outfit in the library. Strange supernatural events occur to them and other heroines, caused by their psychological problems.
Author: Hajime Kamoshida
Illustrator: Keiji Mizoguchi
Volumes: 12 (As of December 2022)
More quality light novels have been published in Japan and distributed all over the world recently. Rascal Does Not Drea[…]
7. Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), written by Reki Kawahara, is one of the most famous and popular light novel series all over the world. The action adventure light novel has been published since 2009 while Reki Kawahara has written the other popular title Accel World (アクセル・ワールド) simultaneously.
The sequel Sword Art Online: Progressive (ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ) has been also serialized since 2012. There are three seasons of the anime series aired from 2012 to 2020, which will be followed by the anime adaptations of the rest of the original novels.
Sword Art Online is set in Japan in 2022, when the world’s first VRMMORPG (virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called Sword Art Online (SAO) is invented. Kirito, a protagonist of the story and a player of SAO, is trapped in the game world with other players. Kirito and a heroine Asuna head to the 100th floor of a castle Aincrad to log out of SAO.
Author: Reki Kawahara
Volumes: Sword Art Online: 27 (As of October, 2022)/Sword Art Online: Progressive: 8 (As of June, 2021)
Published: Since 2009 (Sword Art Online)/Since 2012 (Sword Art Online: Progressive)
Sword Art Online (ソードアート・オンライン), one of the most popular anime among both domestic and international fans, has become a […]
6. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
The finest Isekai light novel Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (無職転生 〜異世界行ったら本気だす〜), which is also categorized as fantasy adventure, was just completed in 2022. Its serialization was fist started by Rifujin na Magonote on the Shosetsuka ni Naro website in 2012 and ended in 2015. The physical light novel series has 26 volumes published by a Kadokawa’s brand Media Factory between 2014 and 2022.
The first anime adaptation, which was launched by Studio Bind in 2021, has elevated its popularity much more as well as the manga series adaptation released since 2014. The anime series of Mushoku Tensei is now regarded as one of the most successful smash-hit series in the early 2020s.
Mushoku Tensei tells the story of a 34-year-old stay-at-home NEET man, who is suddenly reincarnated as a baby named Rudeus Greyrat in another world inspired by the Medieval Europe after dying in a car accident in the real world. He grows up surrounded by a warm family, his magic teacher Roxy Migurdia and his best friend Sylphiette. His life with a grand adventure is portrayed throughout the story. Involved with a huge variety of characters, he faces a lot of events including marriage and a global catastrophe.
Author: Rifujin na Magonote
5. My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected
My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected (やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。), abbreviated to OreGairu and also known as My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, is categorized as comedy, romance and slice of life, which is a symbolic genre of the modern light novels.
14 volumes and 3 spin-offs were published from 2011 to 2019, adapted into there seasons of an anime series broadcasted in 2013, 2015 and 2020. The series re-started with a new title My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected: Yui’s Story from September, 2021.
A high school boy named Hachiman Hikigaya is featured in the romantic comedy light novel. He is inspired to form a service club in the high school with heroines Yukino Yukinoshita and Yui Yuigahama by their teacher. They solve a variety of personal problems held by other students in the school.
Author: Wataru Watari
Volumes: 19 (As of September, 2021)
Published: Since 2011
4. Classroom of the Elite
Classroom of the Elite(ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ), which is abbreviated to You-Jitsu, is one of the hottest light novel these days. The slice-of-life and psychological thriller light novel started its serialization in 2015 and the 1st Year Arc was completed with the 14th volume in 2019. And then, the 2nd Year Arc has been published since 2020.
They has been adapted into a manga series since 2016 and was adapted into an anime series in 2017.
Classroom of the Elite is set in the Advanced Nurturing High School in Tokyo, centering on a first-grade boy named Kiyotaka Ayanokoji. There are four classes (A to D) in each grade. He belongs to the lowest class D and all students aim for reaching the top class until graduation competing in academic skills and special extra tests.
Author: Shogo Kinugasa
Illustrator: Shunsaku Tomose
Volumes: 1st Year Arc: 14/2nd Year Arc: 9 (As of October, 2022)
Published: 2015-2019 (1st Year Arc)/Since 2020 (2nd Year Arc)
The second season of the Classroom of the Elite anime series just ended, and you may wonder which volume to read in the […]
3. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活) is the best Isekai light novel of all time, written by Tappei Nagatsuki and illustrated by Shinichirou Otsuka. The Isekai dark-fantasy light novel has been published on the user-generated novel website Shosetsuka ni Naro since 2012 and released as physical books since 2014.
There are 25 volumes in the main story so far in addition to 6 collections of short stories and 4 spin-offs. They are also adapted into popular anime series with two seasons in 2016 and 2020-2021.
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- is set in an Isekai world (a parallel world), where a 17-year-old boy Subaru Natsuki is sent. He meets a heroine Emilia with her cat-shaped pet spirit Puck and helps her to sit upon the throne of the Kingdom of Lugunica.
Unlike many other light novels, the protagonist is not gifted with any special power like magic skills or martial arts techniques except a strange ability: Shinimodori (return by death). He goes back into the past to give his life another try when he dies. His journey with Emilia and his fellow characters is depicted with comedy and drama in the whole story.
Author: Tappei Nagatsuki
Illustrator: Shinichirou Otsuka
Volumes: 45 including 8 short-story collections and 5 spin-offs (As of December, 2022)
Published: Since 2014
Light novels has been seen to be situated at the cutting edge of Japanese pop culture recently since many of them have b[…]
2. Haruhi Suzumiya Series
Haruhi Suzumiya Series (涼宮ハルヒシリーズ), also known as the first volume title The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱), is one of the legendary and best light novel series, which most light novel fans agree with.
The first volume of the fantasy and comedy series was written by Nagaru Tanigawa in 2003, and the latest 12th title The Intuition of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの直観) was released in 2020. It is also famous for the two seasons of its anime adaptation aired in 2006 and 2009.
Haruhi Suzumiya Series revolves around an eccentric high school girl named Haruhi Suzumiya, narrated by a protagonist Kyon. To bread away from her boring school life, she founds a school club called SOS Brigade that consists of an alien Yuki Nagato, a time traveler Mikuru Asahina and an esper Itsuki Koizumi in addition to Haruhi and Kyon.
The light novel mixed with science fiction and slice of life depicts the fusion of peaceful daily life in the high school with supernatural phenomena occurred by the unique characters. They get involved in the exciting problems caused by Haruhi.
Author: Nagaru Tanigawa
Illustrator: Noizi Ito
Volumes: 12 (As of November, 2020)
Published: Since 2003
Haruhi Suzumiya Series is well known in various respects: As a representative Sekai-kei (a kind of genre in anime and li[…]
1. Monogatari Series
Monogatari Series (物語シリーズ), which starts with the first title Bakemonogatari (化物語), is perfect for the best light novel of all time. Monogatari Series has been written by a famous author Nisio Isin since 2006, categorized as fantasy, mystery, comedy, slice of life and even action. It consists of five parts: First Season, Second Season, Final Season, Off Season and Monster Season. In addition, a new volume Ikusa Monogatari has been announced to be published in May, 2023.
There are three seasons of the anime series adaptation and three anime movies which were adapted from the novel series until the 18th volume Zoku Owarimonogatari. Its manga adaptation began in 2018.
Monogatari Series is set in a Japanese high school life of a protagonist named Koyomi Araragi. The symbol of the light novel is an apparition (Kaii in Japanese) that causes supernatural phenomena around him and several heroines including his girlfriend Hitagi Senjogahara and his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa.
He is transformed into a half-vampire half-human by the most powerful apparition vampire Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. Other main characters also meet apparitions which have a negative influence on them due to their personal problems.
Each character has a unique personality that is totally different from the others, and their conversations are humorous, which is the highlight of Monogatari Series.
Author: Nisio Isin
Volumes: 29 (As of May, 2023)
Published: Since 2006
▽Which is the best Monogatari Series reading order?▽
Monogatari Series (物語シリーズ) is one of the most popular light novel series written by the famous Nisio Isin. The fantasy n[…]
How was the best light novel list of all time? Those well-selected books are really recommended to both beginners and Japanese pop culture freaks. Enjoy reading the greatest light novels!
▽Check out 10 Hottest Light Novels for 2023!▽
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