10 Japanese novels that need an anime adaptation

Anime draws inspiration for its narratives from many diverse and multifaceted sources. While the manga industry remains the most prevalent and saturated market for anime adaptations, some creators look elsewhere for ideas and broaden their horizons by adapting unconventional media formats to anime.

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The rise of light novels, video games, visual novels, and even adaptations of true-life stories shows that anime is an inventive and limitless medium that doesn’t have to rely solely on manga for inspiration. Adaptations of conventional literary works are less common in the industry. However, shows like tatami galaxy and Welcome to the NHK prove that literature can be an excellent source material for anime. The world of Japanese literature is full of unique and brilliant works that would translate beautifully into the anime medium and expose more people to the exciting prowess of the country’s literary scene.

10 The strange plot of The Woman in the Dunes would make it a perfect psychological anime

cover of the book the woman in the dunes

the woman of the dunes is the most well-known and critically acclaimed novel by famous Japanese writer Kobo Abe. The narrative revolves around an amateur entomologist from Tokyo who embarks on a journey to a remote Japanese village. There, the man gets trapped by the locals and is forced to share a shack buried in a sandbox with a local woman, whose life resembles a constant cycle of digging up their home from advancing dunes.

The novel possesses a creepy and surreal quality, landing beautifully in the visual style of anime. Without the creative limits of film, an anime adaptation of the book can be endlessly effective.

9 In The Miso Soup Could Potentially Revolutionize Anime’s Horror Scene

miso soup book cover

Japanese horror animation stands in a unique departure from examples of the genre in other media. While mind-numbing Japanese horror movies and novels cause audiences around the world to be scared by their own shadows, the anime industry doesn’t do the genre justice.

If it fits right, Ryu Murakami In Miso Soup can break the streak of misfortunes of the genre. The novel follows a Japanese nightlife guide for foreigners, Kenji, and his three-night tour with a disturbing tourist Frank, who must be hiding some sinister secrets beneath his inoffensive exterior.

8 Musashi would become an excellent addition to the historical subgenre of anime.

Musashi book cover

Anime is a great way to learn about the unique periods of Japanese history and become familiar with the country’s cultural customs. Musashithe 1939 novel by respected Japanese historian Eiji Yoshikawa would certainly enrich the historical anime subcategory.

Unlike many other specimens of the genus, Musashi keeps its narrative very close to real life. However, that doesn’t stop the book from being incredibly engaging. It examines the rich and multifaceted life of the most legendary Japanese swordsman of the 17th century, Miyamoto Musashi, immersing himself in all aspects of his extraordinary existence.

7 Dragon Sword and Wind Child is the hidden gem of Japanese fantasy

Dragon Sword and Wind Child Book Cover

While the fantasy genre has been one of the most prolific anime categories for decades, Japan’s best-known fantasy novel has yet to receive an anime adaptation. Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara is a brilliant, award-winning fantasy novel for young adults.

Follow the exciting adventures of a young maiden named Saya. She learns herself to be a reincarnation of the rumored Water Maiden and is taken from her ordinary rural life into the exciting world of demons and monsters. The novel is just the first part of the author’s iconic fantasy trilogy, which leaves room for multiple sequel adaptations.

6 Kokoro explores the great changes in society through the eyes of a single viewer

kokoro book cover

Animation is a medium that can appeal to both adults and children. As a result, the anime is filled with mature, heavier stories that explore the psychological turbulence of the characters and delve deeper into the human psyche. kokoro by Soseki Natsume is a dark and depressing novel that focuses on themes of isolation, loneliness, and human perception of the passage of time.

Similar to Osamu Dazai no longer human, explores the sorrows of its unpleasant but authentic protagonist. The novel chronicles the transition between the Meiji era and modern Japan through the hero’s friendship with an older gentleman, Sensei.

5 The memory police could appeal to any fan of dystopian stories

Book cover of The Memory Police

Following the traditions of Japanese dystopian fiction, Yoko Ogawa creates a charming yet terrifying universe in her masterful novel, The memory police. The story takes place on an unnamed island where things and people randomly disappear, seemingly for no reason.

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Once something disappears without a trace, it is soon forgotten by everyone except the Memory Police. In the rare case that someone does not forget the disappearance of an object, they take it away, being forgotten anyway. The fascinating universe created by Yoko Ogawa would be perfect for a tense and suspenseful anime dystopia.

4 The Box Man can tremendously enrich the experimental anime scene

book cover of The Man in the Box

Kobo Abe’s satirical masterpiece the box man is one of the most unconventional novels created by the famed author. The book transports readers into the strange mind of a Japanese man who abandons the conventions of contemporary lifestyle and creates his own little universe inside a cardboard box that he carries on his back.

The man refuses to return to the world he considers insane, choosing to observe it from the periphery. the box man is a brilliant experimental commentary on the state of modern society, which will be perfect for an offbeat director like Masaaki Yuasa to adapt.

3 A Kafka On The Shore Anime Could Introduce More People To Japan’s Best-Selling Author Haruki Murakami

kafka on the shore

All fans of Japanese literature have heard of Haruki Murakami, one of the most respected and internationally celebrated contemporary Japanese authors. His unorthodox writing style melds magical realism with postmodern traditions, resulting in fiction that feels both surreal and grounded.

While most of Murakami’s work can be transformed into vibrant and offbeat anime, his best-selling novel kafka on the shore might be best suited for the medium. The wonderfully strange yet moving book swaps the stories of Kafka, a 15-year-old running away from an abusive home, and Nakata, an illiterate old man who can talk to cats.

two The adaptation of Snow Country would be a love story unlike any other romantic anime

Snow Country Book Cover

The romance genre of anime generally focuses on contemporary settings, with the couple in question being teenagers struggling to make their feelings known. However, history is full of heartwarming love stories that blossom between far less conventional people.

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In the case of Yasunari Kawabata snow country, a hateful love story blossoms between a provincial onsen geisha and a wealthy, married ballet critic. The novel presents the audience with a poignant and melancholy relationship destined to fall apart, set during a major historical shift from traditionalism to modernization.

1 Lonely Castle In The Mirror creates an offbeat fantasy world seemingly perfect for anime

Cover of the book The Lonely Castle in the Looking Glass

lonely castle in the mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura is one of the most unique investment fantasy books to come out of Japan in recent years. She blends different genre tropes and pushes the boundaries of young adult fiction with outstanding literary skill and prowess. The novel’s teenage protagonist becomes a target of bullying, forcing her to avoid school.

One day, he finds a portal in his mirror that leads to a creepy castle. Inside, she has to collaborate with six other teenagers and find the key to escape in six months. Unlike many other fantasy novels, the book focuses more on exploring its characters’ relationships and personal problems, which makes it infinitely more memorable and relevant.

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