10 Best Nisioisin Books

Best Nisioisin Books

If you are interested in Japanese pop cultures, do you have any favorite Japanese authors of novels or light novels? Nisio Isin (NISIOISIN) is one of the most famous and popular Japanese light novel authors. His books have been loved by a wide range of people from across the world beyond the genre of light novels.

Many books written by Nisioisin have been adapted into manga and anime series, which has sparked the boom recently. Of course, his popular novels are translated into English and other languages.

Today, I’d like to introduce 10 best books written by Nisioisin containing the hot ongoing light novels to read in English and the less-known untranslated books. Hope you will complete the must-read Nisioisin books and the rest of his works will be available in English in the near future.

1. Monogatari Series

Monogatari Series
Monogatari Series

Monogatari Series (物語シリーズ) is one of the best Nisioisin light novels starting with the well-known first title Bakemonogatari (化物語). The multiply-categorized series consists of 29 volumes published so far since Bakemonogatari was released in 2006. The three seasons of five seasons have been already translated into English and adapted into the anime series.

Monogatari Series follows a third-grade high school boy Koyomi Araragi, presenting his daily life and strange things happening around him. He finds there are apparitions (called Kaii in Japanese) in the town, which generate a harmful effect on his friends and family. In addition to him, there are several unique main heroines including his girlfriend Hitagi Senjogahara, his classmate Tsubasa Hanekawa, his little sisters Karen and Tsukihi, etc. The story unfolds with both serious scenes and comical conversations between the characters.

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery/Comedy/Romance
Published: from 2006
Volumes: 29 (As of 2021)

▽For Monogatari Series starters, here is the recommended reading order!▽

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2. Zaregoto Series

Zaregoto Series
Zaregoto Series

As a debut work of Nisioisin, Zaregoto Series (戯言シリーズ) began with the first title Decapitation: Kubikiri Cycle (クビキリサイクル 青色サヴァンと戯言遣い) in 2002. There are nine volumes published between 2002 and 2005, which consists of six parts from Decapitation: Kubikiri Cycle to Uprooted Radical. Following the first part, the second title Strangulation: Kubishime Romanticist and the third Suspension: Kubitsuri High School were translated into English in 2018 and 2019. In 2016, Decapitation: Kubikiri Cycle was made into an OVA anime adaptation by the studio Shaft.

Zaregoto Series, categorized as mystery mixed with action and moe, centers on a narrator “I”, who is involved in complicated circumstances of female characters including Tomo Kunagisa and Jun Aikawa. The “Juvenile Talk” themed series depicts murders happening around the main characters as well as powerful battle scenes.

Genre: Mystery
Published: 2002-2005
Volumes: 9

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3. Katanagatari

Katanagatari
Katanagatari

Katanagatari (刀語) is one of the most popular series of Nisioision worldwide. There are 12 volumes in the series published for twelve months straight in 2007. The action adventure light novel is adapted into a one-season anime series by the studio White Fox in 2010. The English editions were published from 2018 to 2020.

The historical novel is set in an alternative Japanese history around the Edo period, revolving around a young man Shichika Yasuri, the seventh head of the Kyotouryuu (the style of swordsmanship to fight without swords). He is asked by a female protagonist Togame to collect 12 legendary swords together.

Genre: Adventure/Action/Romance
Published: 2007
Volumes: 12

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4. Pretty Boy Detective Club

Pretty Boy Detective Club
Pretty Boy Detective Club

The recent Nisioisin light novel Bishonen Series (美少年シリーズ), which is also known as its first title Pretty Boy Detective Club (美少年探偵団) started in 2015 and just completed its story in 2021. The modern mystery novel was made into a 5-volume manga adaptation in 2016-2019 and into a 12-episode anime adaptation in 2021. It has been translated into English since 2020.

Bishonen Series presents a variety of mysteries solved by members of Pretty Boy Detective Club. A middle school girl Mayumi Dojima finds there is a unique school club called Pretty Boy Detective Club, which consists of five pretty boys who have superior characteristics. Mayumi becomes its member with extraordinary eyesight disguising herself as a boy.

Genre: Mystery/Slice of life
Published: 2015-2021
Volumes: 12

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5. Death Note: Another Note

Death Note: Another Note
Death Note: Another Note

As a representative work by Nisioisin, he completed a spin-off novel of the popular manga series Death Note created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. It’s titled Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases (DEATH NOTE アナザーノート・ロサンゼルスBB連続殺人事件) released in 2006, which was translated into English in 2008.

Death Note: Another Note is set in Los Angeles before the original manga’s story revolving around Light Yagami (Kira). It focuses on the renowned detective L and an FBI agent Naomi Misora, narrated by a potential successor to L. They get to the bottom of the series of murders in Los Angeles.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published: 2006
Volumes: 1

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6. Ningen Series

Ningen Series (Japanese)
Ningen Series (Japanese)

Some spin-off series are derived from Zaregoto Series, one of the masterpieces of Nisioisin. Ningen Series (人間シリーズ) is a popular one published from 2004 to 2010, containing seven volumes. It has not been published in English yet, however, many Nisioisin fans look forward to it all over the world. Ningen Series begins with the first part Soushiki Zerozaki’s Human Experiment, focusing on a killer character from Zaregoto Series named Hitoshiki Zerozaki and the Zerozaki Clan.

Genre: Mystery
Published: 2004-2010
Volumes: 7

7. Saikyo Series

Saikyo Series (Japanese)
Saikyo Series (Japanese)

Saikyo Series (最強シリーズ) is also a spin-off light novel derived from Zaregoto Series, serialized since 2014. It has not been announced that its English editions would be published worldwide yet. Unlike the previous series, it is categorized as science fiction rather than mystery. Jun Aikawa, one of the main characters and the “strongest” human being from Zaregoto Serie, is a protagonist in Saikyo Series.

Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Published: from 2014
Volumes: 4 (As of 2020)

8. Risuka Series

Risuka Series (Japanese)
Risuka Series (Japanese)

Though it has been not translated into foreign languages, Shin Honkaku Maho Shojo Risuka (新本格魔法少女りすか), which is also known as Magical Girl Risuka and Risuka Series, should be introduced as a domestically popular series. It started in 2004 and came to the end with the fourth volume in 2020. The magical girl-themed light novel mixed with mystery tells the story of a fifth grade elementary school boy Kizutaka Kugi and a same-aged magical girl Risuka Mizukura, set in Nagasaki Prefecture.

Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Published: 2004-2020
Volumes: 4

9. Densetsu Series

ensetsu Series (Japanese)
ensetsu Series (Japanese)

Nisioisin started writing a well-known book called Densetsu Series (伝説シリーズ), which means Legend Series in Japanese, in 2012 and released the tenth and final volume in 2018. It’s also known as the longest series of Nisioisin since each of the ten volumes consists of over 500 pages. Set in a world where a scream wipes out a third of the human population, Densetsu Series follows an unfeeling teenage boy Ku Sorakara.

Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Published: 2012-2018
Volumes: 10

10. Bokyaku Tantei Series

Bokyaku Tantei Series (Japanese)
Bokyaku Tantei Series (Japanese)

Bokyaku Tantei Series (忘却探偵シリーズ), a.k.a. the Forgetful Detective Series in English, is one of the most popular and finest books written by Nisioisin, which lots of his fans hope to read in English in the near future. The mystery novel series started with the first title The Memorandum of Kyouko Okitegami in 2014, adapted into a manga series from 2015 and a television series in 2015. In Bokyaku Tantei Series, Kyouko Okitegami, a female detective with with short white hair and glasses, solves various mysteries within a day since her memory is erased every time she sleeps.

Genre: Mystery
Published: from 2014
Volumes: 13 (As of 2021)


If you are interested in Japanese light novel series, it’s highly recommended to start with Nisioisin’s books like above!

How about checking more hot light novels below?

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