Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Based on Light Novels From The Last 5 Years

Tuesday's Top 5

I am going to credit the idea for this list to Lethargic Ramblings and their excellent post last week In Defense Of Light Novel Adaptations. While reading it I suddenly really felt like making this list and while I limited it to the last 5 years to make the selection easier, it was still pretty hard to narrow this list down to a top 5. I’d love to know some of your favourite adaptations so be sure to leave me a comment below.

It is important to note I am not basing this on how well adapted the story is, given I haven’t read the source material for a lot of my picks. I’m just discussing anime that were really fun to watch that happened to be adaptations of light novels.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Sword Art Online (original series not in the last 5 years) and Alderamin on the Sky.

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Number 5: GATE


I know some people don’t like GATE and there are quite a few issues with the story, but that doesn’t actually stop it being really fun. There are some interesting character moments and a little bit of political commentary. None of it gets enough development when there is a harem and silly comedy to get on with, but it still makes for a fairly engaging story at times. Overall, this is an anime I had fun with and it reminded me of Stargate and other shows I liked a lot as a teen.

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Number 4: Chaika – The Coffin Princess


This is another show that has its silly moments, but the first season at least is quite interesting. I really enjoy watching the saboteurs helping Chaika to recover the body parts of the former emperor while evading pursuit. There’s some great moments and fun fights as well as a nice dash of magic to keep things moving along. The second season kind of fell apart a bit as it tried to cram so much information in as it attempted to rush to a resolution, but at least it does end the story so things aren’t left open and unresolved.

Number 3: Lord Marksman and Vandis


There is no surprise that I love this series and Tigre is one of my favourite bow wielding characters. While I’ll admit, Lord Marksman and Vanadis is an odd mix of military tactics and harem fantasy with the mix not sitting particularly well at times, it is certainly a unique viewing experience and one that I found fairly memorable. Not to mention, Tigre is awesome.

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Number 2: Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon


Right, so now we get to just one of my favourite binge worthy anime titles. DanMachi is fantastic fun. Okay, you can’t take it overly seriously given the main character has extreme plot armour and it is definitely a fantasy on a power trip but this is just great fun. Exploring the dungeon, nearly getting killed, interacting with others, nearly getting killed, eating good food, nearly getting killed… There’s just so much enthusiasm and fun plus it features one of the best fight sequences ever just after the midway point. This is one series I loved (though the spin-off was pretty bland).

Number 1: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash


It kind of had to be. After all, this was the anime that actually inspired me to finally take up reading light novels and I don’t regret that at all. While the slow pace of the show may put some people off, I found Grimgar to be a truly delightful viewing experience. I loved how it dealt with human emotions and the real survival aspect of living in a fantasy world where you may not have the right skill set for hunting and killing. I really fell in love with this anime and I’m really enjoying reading the light novels. Though it has left me wondering why there is no second season of this.

And that’s my list but I’d love to know what would make your list.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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39 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Based on Light Novels From The Last 5 Years

    1. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I’m completely in love with it. There’s definitely some rough edges to it, but I think the way they deal with the emotional aspects of being trapped in another world makes it fairly unique to most shows that just kind of skim over the less fun parts of suddenly having to fight for your life.

  1. Great list! There are some real gems on that list. I know I would have a hard limiting my favorite adaptations to just five. There have been a lot of good ones in recent years.

    1. I know. And sometimes I’m not even aware that something was based on a light novel until much later so there’s probably some great titles I’ve totally overlooked.

  2. My favourite is, and always will be, Hataraku Maou-sama! until proven otherwise.

    Ichiro from this season’s Boueibu Happy Kiss looks a lot like Tigre, and so lately I keep doing double takes when I see that screenshot you keep using of the latter…well, on to the PTW pile Lord Marksman and Vanadis goes…

    1. Hataraku Maou-sama, did that come out in the last five years? If yes, I totally missed that when making this list because I love it. I actually have the first volume next in my to be read pile, I just haven’t written reviews on the last five books I finished while travelling so I haven’t started it yet.
      Great choice.

      1. If we’re talking about the anime, that was from spring 2013 so it narrowly makes the list. If we’re talking about the release of the LNs in Japan, that started in 2011 and doesn’t count, and if it’s the English release, that was from 2015 and does count.

  3. Wow, glad I was able to inspire this one!

    Some great picks here! Chaika is definitely a top-tier series, especially due to its unique set up (which I briefly talked about in my post you linked), and DanMachi is also really great as well.

    Grimgar is a series I came away mixed from, but I can see why it’d be your top pick for sure.

    Still hoping for a HakoMari Anime some day… That’d be a top contender for sure if it existed!

    Great list.

    1. I just wish Chaika hadn’t felt so rushed in its second season. I think it needed another 13 episodes to actually tell that story properly. The first season however was fantastic fun.

      1. I agree. It’s like the reduced episode count of the second season caused things to feel a little rushed towards the end, which is a bit of a shame.

        But at least it ended, which is more than we can say for most LN adaptations.

        1. That’s true. They did give us an ending even if it wasn’t quite as satisfying as it might have been given sufficient episodes. But when compared with so many that just kind of stop mid-story, you have to appreciate that they brought it to an ending.

  4. An extra “like” to your post for highlighting “Gate”. Not sure what it is in that show, but something there really speaks to me. I would love to see a third season.

  5. DanMachi and Grimgar are definitely great light novel based anime. Very happy that DanMachi got a Season 2 announcement recently and I’m hoping at some point Grimgar will get one too. I haven’t seen Lord Marksman but seems like an enjoyable watch. I might have to watch it soon.

  6. I knew Grimgar would be your number one XD I didn’t expect to see a few of these on here for you though. Haven’t seen a good chunk of these either. Interesting list 🙂

    1. Grimgar had to be number one. I know you aren’t the biggest fan, but I just loved it. Have you watched Lord Marksman and Vanadis?

        1. It has some harem aspects and some fanservice that just does not seem to fit with the rest of the story, but it is quite an interesting anime. The battle sequences use this really weird effect where a narrator just kind of takes over and moves literal chess pieces around to explain how the troops are set up before you get to watch a small segment of battle. For some people this kind of throws the immersion out but for me, I kind of enjoyed getting the cliff notes version of the fight and then we could get on with more plot developments. Still, Tigre is fantastic. I would love to see a sequel because I would love to know what he does next.

          1. It was at least a bit different. As I said, didn’t work for everyone but at least it makes the show a little bit different from the norm and it gets its point across.

          2. That’s the kind of thing I like to see, so I think that will be enough for me to get some enjoyment at least. The reviews are pretty mixed so I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it outside of the more unique aspects but that’s enough to get me interested.

          3. The fanservice elements are definitely a little bit intrusive at times as are most of the girls’ costumes. Still, if you ignore that, it is a decent political fantasy that needs a sequel.

          4. Ah, sounds like a soft “6” show at worst for me so good to know. I’ll let you know when I get around to it 🙂

            I have a new reviewing philosophy since I’m ahead with scheduling: In general, I watch it, I review it.

  7. Number one would unquestioningly be Grimgar for me too. I’d have to think long and carefully below that level. I wish Mother’s Rosario was a standalone show… Because I don’t really want to put SAO II on the list as the GGO and Calibur arcs were, substandard at best.

    1. Yeah, if SAO season 1 had been in the five year period I’d have put it on, because I loved it. SAO 2, not so much. Even with Mother’s Rosario it just didn’t quite capture what I liked about the original.

      1. I liked Rosario because it finally gave Asuna a chance to really shine on her own… It also gave us a look at the wider applications of VRMMO technology. And the final line really changes your perspective on Kayaba Akihiko.

    2. That’s actually a really neat idea: Mother’s Rosario was my favorite part of the second season, and nearly of the entire series. I would totally second expanding it into its own series or arc.

      1. I have long said that if Mother’s Rosario was a standalone story, not connected SAO, it would be counted among the greats.

    1. Having read further in the light novels I definitely want more Grimgar. Even if they don’t follow the source, the anime left us with so much more to explore with both the characters and the settings and I just loved the tone of the show.

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