Best Anime Based On Light Novels | TheReviewGeek Recommends

The expansive anime universe offers many different tales with compelling characters, engaging plots, and epic moments. While some anime come and go, many deliver outstanding and memorable experiences. While most anime have the advantage of being based on manga, many studios must find a way to adapt a full-fledged book, like a light novel, into animation.

For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, we’d like to highlight the best anime based on Light Novels. From parodic fantasies to incredible mysteries, there are many great light novel anime adaptations out there to whet your appetite.

Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll add them when we can!

Re:Zero Anime

Re: Zero — Starting Life In Another World

Re: Zero — Starting Life In Another World follows Subaru, who finds himself dropped into a fantasy realm after leaving a convenience store one night. As soon as he arrives, he gets attacked by gang members but gets saved by a ninja girl named Satella. Subaru helps Satella retrieve some items but they get murdered by a dark force.

However, Subaru wakes up at the start of his adventure again. Therefore, our anime follows Subaru’s supernatural life in this fantasy realm. This anime delivers a trippy time-altering endeavor that touches upon death, despair, stress, and low self-worth. The plot gradually escalates and everything receives a satisfying explanation.

Subaru and the rest of the cast are well-written. They all have personal struggles they need to overcome. Re: Zero’s animation is a standout feature from its lush fantastical environments to its detailed character designs. Even the action scenes are fast-paced and have phenomenal choreography. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking isekai to watch, give Re: Zero a try.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a unique romantic comedy with a compelling approach to storytelling. It revolves around the relationship between Sakuta and Mai. Since Mai’s affected by the school’s puberty syndrome, Sakuta finds himself in various hilarious misunderstandings that make it difficult for him to support her.

This anime delves into many real-life issues involving peer pressure, identity crisis, and social isolation. Many of these themes will resonate with folks who are undergoing similar issues and help them grow attached to the story’s characters. The characters receive great development and viewers will like seeing bits of their pasts revealed throughout the course of the narrative.

The anime has top-notch pacing and balances its lighthearted comedy and emotional intensity to great effect. The dialogue feels natural and viewers will like the witty and thought-provoking remarks shared between the characters. In addition to having some fun twists and turns to keep viewers invested, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is a great anime that’s worth your time.

Spice & Wolf


Slayers is one of the best anime to come out of the 90s. It offers a splendid parodic take on RPGs, action, and fantasy anime that was released during the era. It follows the adventures of Lina and her comrades who go around looking for rare treasure. Along the way, they’ll fight numerous sorcerers, warriors, and monsters who’ll stop them in their tracks.

This series is known for having a great mix of action and comedy. The series contains countless fights and spell battles and uses its lighthearted segments and varied humor to give viewers time to relax after an intense fight or moment.

Slayers’s cast is entertaining and likable. From Lina to her dimwitted swordsman ally Gourry, everyone brings an essence of fun and depth to the table. The show can feel slightly episodic at times. You’ll see Lina and her allies confronting a new challenge that’ll be either epic or downright hilarious. However, each season has an overarching villain and plot to follow, so don’t expect every episode to feel self-contained.

If you’re looking for a fun parody anime to try out with a great art style and enjoyable cast, watch Slayers.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an iconic romantic comedy with great supernatural aspects. It follows Kyon, a high school student who desires a mundane life. He meets a supernatural enthusiast named Haruhi, who declares her love for everything otherworldly. Kyon inspires Haruhi to create a supernatural-focused club called the SOS Brigade.

After learning about Haruhi’s god-like powers from a fellow member, Kyon must prevent Haruhi from going haywire by assisting her with her multiple schemes and misadventures. This anime’s humor is witty and absurd, making it a must-watch for comedy fans. Furthermore, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s cast is well-developed and captivating.

Each character has their own distinct backstory and personality, with their own quirks. From the quiet yet reliable Yuki to the bubbly Asahina, the show’s cast is memorable and endearing to watch. In addition to evoking some sense of mystery involving Haruhi’s latent abilities, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is worth your time.

Shakugan No Shana

Shakugan No Shana is an incredible anime series with supernatural aspects. The anime takes place in a world that lies between the human realm and the Crimson World, where demons and other supernatural beings reside. It centers around Yuji, who finds himself caught in the middle of a war between humans and the Crimson Denizens.

This anime spends time fleshing out its characters’ personalities and relationships with others in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Whether it’s Yuji, Shana, or any other character, the audience will appreciate the anime’s deep dive into their psyche, making them feel more relatable and likable. Yuji and Shana don’t see eye to eye at first, but over time they start to appreciate the other’s company.

This anime strikes a great balance between its romance and action scenes and the animation and soundtrack are top-notch. You’ll adore the characters’ fluid movements and the world’s vibrant color palette that complements the anime’s mood and themes. In addition to its atmospheric soundtrack, Shakugan No Shana provides fans with a well-balanced and fun time.

That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime is a popular isekai series that follows a man who gets reincarnated as a slime creature in another world. After saving a sealed monster named Veldora and receiving a new human body alongside the name Rimuru, we follow our protagonist’s daily endeavors throughout this fantasy land.

The idea of reincarnating as a monster was unique to modern isekai fans. It gives the premise a sense of wonder and intrigue, making it an unforgettable experience for the audience. Throughout Rimuru’s journey, he’ll visit many towns and lands, each harboring unique races, communities, and cultures, making the world immersive and intriguing.

Rimuru is a great protagonist. He’s intelligent, humorous, and someone many people can look up to due to his desire to help others. The supporting cast is equally enjoyable and has great backgrounds and struggles to make them feel compelling to follow. If you’re looking for a fun and captivating isekai anime to watch, That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime is worth watching.


In need of a story with an overpowered protagonist, Overlord has you covered. This anime follows a male gamer who gets trapped inside the fantasy world of Yggdrasil. With no way to escape, he assumes the role of his avatar Ainz and goes on various adventures with his colorful companions. This anime delivers a fun storyline full of immersive gaming themes and intricate characters.

Most characters are given ample screen time, allowing viewers to grow a connection with them over time. Ainz is a fascinating lead, as he comes to grips with reality and takes charge of his weird situation in Yggdrasil. The way he conquers his issues is enjoyable to watch. It often leads to some funny mishaps with his co-stars. The anime includes some great surprises many won’t see coming.

Overlord is littered with crisp visuals and great cinematography and seamless action scenes. The soundtrack offers compelling orchestral arrangements that complement the anime’s mood and themes. For those looking for an isekai that makes great use of its gaming aspects, check out Overlord.


Baccano is a stellar mystery series with an intriguing premise and plot structure. The story takes place in numerous timelines and highlights different characters’ perspectives throughout the tale. However, their paths intersect in unexpected ways, leading to a thrilling and fascinating climax you don’t want to miss. The way these stories come together will leave viewers shocked and amazed.

The characters are equally entertaining and vary in backstory and motivation. Many characters will leave a lasting impression on fans and will entice them to watch the anime until its conclusion. Furthermore, Baccano’s animation is fluid and rich in detail. The jazz and orchestral tracks will get viewers excited too. Baccano’s a must-watch for anyone searching for a memorable and thrilling viewing experience.

The Garden of Sinners

The Garden of Sinners can be a tough anime to get into due to the films not releasing in the right order. It’s highly advised that you go into this series watching it in a certain order, otherwise, you’ll get lost. That said, The Garden of Sinners is a captivating anime known for its intricate plot, great characters, and unique blend of supernatural and thriller aspects.

It’s set in a universe where supernatural entities and psychic phenomena occur. It follows Shiki’s many adventures as she battles the malevolent spirits and solves supernatural mysteries. This anime’s story is spread across several movies, with each film telling its own tale while expanding upon The Garden of Sinners’ mythos.

Shiki is a great female protagonist who must overcome many internal and external obstacles. She’s a skilled protagonist with a rich background and personality. Studio Ufotable is responsible for this series’s animation and viewers will be able to tell from the moment they watch one of its several films. Expect nothing but the best from this anime.

So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime based on light novels through the years!

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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