In the world of storytelling, few mediums offer the same limitless horizons as fantasy novels and anime. Both excel in crafting intricate worlds, unforgettable characters, and plots that captivate the imagination. It’s no wonder then that when these two art forms intersect, the result is often spellbinding. Yet, despite the incredible potential for synergy, many fantasy masterpieces still await their anime transformation. From epic sagas teeming with magic and myth to emotionally charged narratives that dive deep into the human psyche, these stories are just waiting to leap off the page and onto the screen. In this article, we spotlight “10 Fantasy Novels That Deserve An Anime Adaptation.”
10 Fantasy Novels That Deserve An Anime Adaptation
- Shades of Magic (Book 1) by V.E. Schwab
- The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
- The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
- Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
- The Once and Future King by T.H. White
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman
- The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
- Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- The Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch
- Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Shades of Magic (Book 1) by V.E. Schwab
Set in a universe featuring multiple Londons, each distinguished by its relationship with magic, this series captivates with its dynamic characters and inventive settings. Kell, a rare magician with the ability to travel between these parallel Londons, serves as a royal messenger and a smuggler of forbidden artifacts. Alongside him is Lila, a resourceful thief with her own dreams of adventure. Their story unfurls across vibrant landscapes, from the dark and dangerous White London to the opulent and magical Red London. V.E. Schwab’s writing perfectly blends political intrigue, personal ambition, and complex moral questions, making the series an ideal candidate for an anime adaptation. Its vividly imagined world, filled with colorful magic and high-stakes action, would translate beautifully to the animated screen.
The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
A dark and complex tale that turns the traditional fantasy hero on its head, the Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock follows Elric of Melniboné, an albino emperor dependent on drugs and a soul-drinking sword to maintain his health and power. Unlike typical heroes, Elric is morally ambiguous, often wrestling with existential dilemmas and ethical quandaries. Set in a multiverse teeming with strange gods, eldritch magic, and nightmarish landscapes, the series delves deep into themes of fate, identity, and the nature of good and evil.
This layered narrative, paired with Moorcock’s intricate world-building, would offer a rich foundation for an anime adaptation. The anime medium, known for its depth of character and visual flair, could do justice to the psychological complexity and surreal landscapes that are central to Elric’s unforgettable journey.
The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
Woven with intricacy and intellectual depth, Gene Wolfe’s “The Book of the New Sun” is a tale set in a far-future Earth where the sun is dying and society has regressed into a blend of archaic and futuristic elements. Following Severian, a young torturer exiled for showing mercy, the narrative is replete with esoteric references, allegorical layers, and philosophical dialogue. These elements would provide fertile ground for a thought-provoking anime that invites viewers to engage intellectually while immersing them in an otherworldly setting.
The series’ blend of the fantastic and the metaphysical could be brought to vivid life through the detailed art and dynamic animation that anime offers. A well-crafted adaptation would not only capture the visual aspects of Wolfe’s rich world but could also explore its thematic depth in a way that’s both stimulating and visually stunning.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Set in a bleak world where ash falls from the sky and mist shrouds the land at night, Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series introduces us to a revolutionary plot to overthrow a seemingly invincible tyrant. The magic system, Allomancy, revolves around the ingestion of metals to grant the user various abilities, and it’s so meticulously detailed that it could be a character in its own right. This unique take on magic, combined with the series’ focus on heists, political intrigue, and rebellion, makes for an exhilarating narrative that would be a perfect fit for an anime adaptation.
With compelling characters like Vin, a street-smart orphan with latent magical abilities, and Kelsier, a charismatic rebel leader, the anime could balance intimate character arcs with breathtaking action sequences. Given anime’s history of successful adaptations featuring complex magical systems and multifaceted characters, “Mistborn” would likely be a resounding success.
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
Spanning from Arthur’s childhood to the downfall of his kingdom, T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King” reimagines the Arthurian legend in a tale filled with humor, tragedy, and complex moral questions. Its unique narrative structure—which evolves in tone as Arthur grows from a naive boy to a wise yet flawed ruler—would provide an opportunity for an anime to similarly mature in style and content over its run. The story’s iconic characters like Merlin, Guinevere, and Lancelot could be vividly reanimated, allowing for a fresh visual exploration of their relationships and personal journeys.
An anime adaptation could delve deeply into the book’s nuanced explorations of power, governance, and human nature, utilizing the medium’s strengths in character development and visual storytelling. Given anime’s penchant for exploring ethical dilemmas and tragic heroes, this classic tale could find new life and relevance on the animated screen.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
In “Stardust,” Neil Gaiman crafts a fairy tale for adults, filled with whimsy, romance, and adventure. The story follows a young man, Tristran, who ventures into a magical realm to capture a fallen star for his beloved, only to find that the star is a living woman. The tale combines elements of traditional fairy tales with Gaiman’s unique narrative flair, resulting in a story that’s both enchanting and surprisingly deep. Its fantastical creatures, lush settings, and intricate relationships would lend themselves perfectly to the anime format. An adaptation could bring out the visual splendor of the magical realm while delving into the complexities of love, identity, and the passage from youth to adulthood.
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin’s groundbreaking “The Broken Earth Trilogy” explores a volatile world ravaged by apocalyptic events known as Seasons, with a focus on a unique form of geology-based magic. The series brings to the forefront complex characters dealing with themes of survival, systemic oppression, and family bonds. Its protagonist, Essun, a mother seeking her daughter in a collapsing world, offers a compelling lens through which the story unfolds. An anime adaptation could vividly capture the physical and emotional landscapes of this seismic world, providing a visual spectacle that matches the narrative’s emotional and thematic intensity.
Anime’s ability to portray fantastical settings and complex interpersonal dynamics would make it an ideal medium to explore Jemisin’s multifaceted world. With its gripping narrative, rich character development, and incisive social commentary, the trilogy is well-suited for an anime series that would attract fans of fantasy and thought-provoking storytelling alike.
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s “Song of Achilles” offers a compelling retelling of the Trojan War, focusing on the deep bond between Achilles and Patroclus. The novel skillfully blends mythological grandeur with intimate emotional narratives, offering a fresh perspective on an age-old story. This intense blend of romance, warfare, and tragedy makes it an excellent candidate for anime adaptation.
The love story at the heart of the novel would gain new dimensions in anime form, where nuanced expressions and artful sequences could add layers to the characters’ internal worlds. In addition, the medium’s strength in portraying action and suspense would bring epic battles and moments of high drama to life, offering a balanced, deeply engaging adaptation.
The Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch
Set in a Venetian-inspired city teeming with thieves, rogues, and shady dealings, Scott Lynch’s “The Gentleman Bastard Series” follows the misadventures of Locke Lamora, a master con artist, and his band of skilled thieves. From elaborate heists to intricate scams, the series delivers a blend of humor, action, and moral ambiguity. This rich tapestry of medieval-style politics and underworld escapades could make for an exhilarating and visually stunning anime.
The medium is well-suited for portraying the detailed cityscapes, high-tension action sequences, and complex character dynamics that the series is known for. Anime’s knack for blending comedy and drama would also make it an ideal vehicle for capturing the wit and complexity of Locke and his compatriots. Through its storytelling prowess, anime could offer a thrilling, character-driven adaptation that captures the spirit and excitement of this captivating series.
Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Set in a gritty, magical world that feels like a blend of 19th-century Europe and fantastical elements, Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows Duology” introduces us to a band of young outcasts planning a near-impossible heist. With characters ranging from a cunning gang leader to a sharpshooter with a gambling problem, the story is a high-stakes adventure that delves into themes of trauma, belonging, and moral complexity.
An anime adaptation could provide the perfect medium for capturing both the pulse-pounding action and the nuanced character development. Anime’s visual dynamism would excel in depicting the series’ various magical elements and diverse settings, from the bustling streets of Ketterdam to the icy landscapes of Fjerda. Its ability to portray emotional depth would also do justice to the complex relationships and backstories of this ensemble cast. This blend of adventure, fantasy, and character-driven storytelling makes the duology a prime candidate for an anime adaptation that would enthrall audiences.