The Most Popular Light Novel, Ranked

Choose the Light Novel you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 12, 2024 06:43
For enthusiasts of Light Novels, pinpointing which series to dive into next can be a daunting task given the sheer number of stories published each year. Each reader might be searching for a tale that not only captivates but resonates on a personal level. A reliable method to sift through the myriad of options is by consulting a dynamic leaderboard that aggregates the preferences and experiences of a broad audience. This site provides a voter-driven ranking system, allowing every fan to contribute to the evolving landscape of popular Light Novels. By participating, voters help lift noteworthy narratives and guide newcomers towards high-quality content. Your voice is crucial; each vote helps mold a clearer path through the rich tapestry of this vibrant literary genre.

What Is the Most Popular Light Novel?

  1. 1
    29
    votes
    It is one of the most popular light novels, with over 20 million copies sold worldwide. It has been adapted into an anime, manga, and video game series.
    Sword Art Online is a popular light novel series written by Reki Kawahara. The story takes place in a virtual reality MMORPG game called Sword Art Online, where players are trapped inside the game and cannot log out until they complete all 100 levels of the game. If they try to remove the virtual reality headset, it leads to their real-life death. The protagonist, Kirito, embarks on a journey to complete the game and free himself and the other players from their virtual prison.
    • Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Romance
    • Publication Date: 2009 - present
    • Number of Volumes: 23 (as of 2021)
    • Adaptations: Anime series, Manga, Video games
    • Main Protagonist: Kirito (Kazuto Kirigaya)
  2. 2
    44
    votes

    Overlord by Kugane Maruyama

    Kugane Maruyama
    It is a dark fantasy series set in a virtual reality game world. It has sold over 7 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    Overlord is a popular Japanese light novel series written by Kugane Maruyama. It follows the story of Momonga, a player who finds himself trapped in the virtual world of Yggdrasil, a popular MMORPG, after the game shuts down. He takes on the persona of the powerful skeletal sorcerer, Ainz Ooal Gown, and sets out to uncover the mystery behind his new reality.
    • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Isekai
    • Published: 2010 - present
    • Volumes: 14+
    • Anime Adaptation: Yes
    • Manga Adaptation: Yes
  3. 3
    25
    votes
    It is a fantasy novel that follows the story of a young man who is transported to a parallel world. It has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World is a Japanese light novel series written by Tappei Nagatsuki and illustrated by Shinichirou Otsuka. The story follows Subaru Natsuki, a hikikomori who is suddenly transported to a fantasy world. There, he discovers he has the ability to come back to life after dying, only to find himself becoming entangled in a complex web of events that often lead to tragic outcomes.
    • Genre: Fantasy, Isekai, Psychological
    • Original run: 2012 - present
    • Number of volumes: 25+
    • Published by: Kadokawa Shoten
    • First adaptation: Anime television series
  4. 4
    15
    votes
    It is a fantasy novel that follows the story of two siblings who are transported to a world where everything is decided by games. It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    No Game No Life is a popular Light Novel series written and illustrated by Yuu Kamiya. The story follows two brilliant and reclusive siblings, Sora and Shiro, who are known as Blank in the gaming world. One day, they are summoned to a new world by a god known as Tet, where all conflicts are resolved through games. With their unmatched intelligence and gaming expertise, Sora and Shiro aim to conquer this new world and challenge Tet to become the true gods of gaming.
    • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy
    • Published by: Kadokawa
    • Original run: April 25, 2012 – present
    • Volumes: 10+
    • Anime Adaptation: Yes
  5. 5
    31
    votes
    It is a fantasy novel that follows the story of a man who is reincarnated as a slime in a fantasy world. It has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a popular Japanese light novel series written by Fuse and illustrated by Mitz Vah. The story follows the protagonist Satoru Mikami, who is reincarnated as a slime in a fantasy world after being stabbed and killed. As a slime, he gains various unique abilities and embarks on a journey to build his own kingdom.
    • Genre: Isekai, Fantasy
    • Publication: 2013 - present
    • Volumes: 16 (as of November 2021)
    • Anime Adaptation: Yes
    • Manga Adaptation: Yes
  6. 6
    20
    votes
    It is a fantasy novel that follows the story of a man who is summoned to a parallel world as a hero but is treated as a criminal. It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    The Rising of the Shield Hero is a popular Light Novel written by Aneko Yusagi. The story follows Naofumi Iwatani, a college student who is summoned to a parallel world to become one of the four Cardinal Heroes. Naofumi becomes the Shield Hero, which is considered the weakest of the four heroes and faces betrayal and hardships from the start. Determined to prove his worth, he sets off on a journey to protect the world from an impending catastrophe.
    • Genre: Fantasy, Isekai
    • Published: 2012 - present
    • Volumes: 25+
    • Adaptations: Anime, Manga
    • Main Protagonist: Naofumi Iwatani
  7. 7
    13
    votes
    It is a comedy fantasy novel that follows the story of a young man who is transported to a parallel world with a useless goddess. It has sold over 8 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    Konosuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! is a popular light novel series written by Natsume Akatsuki. The story follows Kazuma Satou, a gamer who dies in a comical accident and is sent to a parallel world where he forms a dysfunctional party with three other individuals. Together, they embark on hilarious and unconventional adventures.
    • Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
    • Published: 2013 - present
    • Volumes: 17 (as of November 2020)
    • Anime Adaptation: Yes
    • Manga Adaptation: Yes
  8. 8
    15
    votes
    It is a science fiction novel set in a world where magic exists and is controlled by the government. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    The Irregular at Magic High School is a popular Japanese light novel series written by Tsutomu Satō. It is set in a world where magic exists and follows the story of Tatsuya Shiba, a seemingly weak and irregular high school student with exceptional magical abilities. Tatsuya and his sister Miyuki enroll in First High School, an elite institution for magical education, where they face various challenges and political conflicts. As the story unfolds, Tatsuya's true strength and his role in a larger magical conspiracy become apparent.
    • Genre: Action, Romance, Science Fiction
    • Volumes: 32 (ongoing)
    • Published: October 2008 - ongoing
    • Anime Adaptation: Yes
    • Manga Adaptation: Yes
  9. 9
    11
    votes
    It is a science fiction novel set in a world where magic and science coexist. It has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    A Certain Magical Index is a popular light novel series written by Kazuma Kamachi. The story takes place in a world where supernatural abilities exist, and follows the adventures of Toma Kamijo, a student in Academy City with the ability to nullify any supernatural power with his right hand. As he gets caught up in a war between science and magic, Toma encounters various characters with unique abilities, including Index, a young girl with a vast library of magical knowledge stored in her mind.
    • Genre: Action, Fantasy, Science Fiction
    • Original run: 2004 - Present
    • Volumes: 25+
    • Anime adaptations: Multiple (A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun, etc.)
    • Manga adaptations: Multiple
  10. 10
    6
    votes
    It is a science fiction novel that follows the story of a high school student who unknowingly possesses god-like powers. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and has been adapted into an anime and manga series.
    The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa is a popular light novel series that follows the story of Haruhi Suzumiya, a high school girl with the ability to unknowingly reshape reality. The series combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, and slice of life genres, creating a unique and captivating narrative. Haruhi forms the SOS Brigade, a club dedicated to seeking out supernatural phenomena, with other students who possess unique abilities or are drawn to Haruhi's mysterious nature. The story is told from the perspective of Kyon, a skeptical and ordinary student who gets caught up in Haruhi's adventures.
    • Genre: Light Novel, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Slice of Life
    • Published: June 2003 – May 2011
    • Volumes: 11
    • Main Characters: Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, Itsuki Koizumi
    • Adaptations: Anime TV series, Anime film, Manga series

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Ranking factors for popular Light Novel

  1. Sales figures
    Analyzing the sales numbers of the Light Novel will give a good indication of how popular it is among readers. The higher the sales numbers, the more popular the Light Novel is likely to be.
  2. Reader reviews and ratings
    Checking reader reviews and ratings on platforms like Amazon, Goodreads, or MyAnimeList can provide insights on the Light Novel's popularity and how well it is received by readers.
  3. Adaptations
    If a Light Novel has been adapted into an anime or manga series, it typically indicates a certain level of popularity. Successful adaptations often lead to increased interest in the source material.
  4. Awards and accolades
    Light Novels that have won awards or received critical acclaim are likely to be popular and well-regarded within the community.
  5. Online presence and fan discussions
    A strong online presence and active fan discussions on forums, social media platforms, or dedicated fan websites can be an indicator of a Light Novel's popularity.
  6. Author's reputation and previous works
    If the author of the Light Novel has a solid reputation in the industry or has previously published successful works, it could increase the popularity of their current Light Novel.
  7. Genre and themes
    The genre and themes of a Light Novel can play a role in its popularity. For example, certain genres such as fantasy, romance, or action/adventure tend to be more popular among general readers.
  8. Length of publication and number of volumes
    If a Light Novel has been published for a long time and has a large number of volumes, it might indicate a stable and ongoing popularity.
  9. Localization and international popularity
    Light Novels that have been translated and published in multiple languages suggest a broader appeal and popularity beyond their country of origin.
  10. Impact on the industry and influence on other works
    Light Novels that have created a significant impact on the industry, inspired other authors, or started trends are likely to be more popular and influential.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Light Novel. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Light Novel is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 3370 views
  • 182 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Light Novel once every 24 hours. The rank of each Light Novel is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular light novel

Light Novels, also known as Ranobe, are a popular form of Japanese literature. These novels are aimed at young adults and often feature illustrations, making them a unique blend of visual and written storytelling. Light Novels are typically published in serialized format, with each volume containing a self-contained story that is part of a larger series. Over the years, Light Novels have gained a massive following both in Japan and internationally, with many series being adapted into anime and manga. With so many Light Novels to choose from, it can be challenging to determine which ones are the most popular. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the most popular Light Novels and explore what makes them so beloved by fans.

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