While most cartoon based on manga, many good shows are actually based on visual novel instead of. Visual novels are a popular style of game in Japan, which are stories that the player must navigate, often making choices that affect the outcome of the story. This can make them a bit difficult to adapt to, but not impossible like many anime series.
Of course, the biggest challenge in adapting a visual novel is condensing all the content within into a clear story. While someone who plays a visual novel can experience all of its different story lines, most anime are limited to a simple story that often requires some major cuts. Some series on this list have overcome this by creating multiple anime to cover the entire story. However, this list will only focus on one entry per franchise for the sake of variety. With that said, here are the 10 best anime based on visual novels.
9 school days
School Days is perhaps the strangest entry on this list as it’s here more because of its iconic place in anime history than because of its quality. That’s not to say the series is bad, as the high school drama about Makoto and his relationship with the two girls Sekai and Kotonoha could be entertaining for audiences who like their stories extremely dark. dark. However, the series finale was so dark that it was infamously pulled from the air due to a real-life tragedy that occurred around the same time as its events. For those who want to know the origins of the “Nice Boat” meme or just want an edgy piece of anime history, School Days is a great watch.
Danganronpa is one of the famous visual novels that has achieved a level of success mainly due to its intriguing premise and many unexpected twists. The story follows a group of talented students at Hope’s Peak High School who are forced to participate in a death game by a mysterious robot bear named Monokuma. While many fans feel this game is better than its anime adaptation, the Danganronpa anime still does a great job of capturing the visual novel’s thrilling story and bringing its characters to life. . This makes Danganronpa a must-see for fans of the death game genre.
7 little murderers!
Little vandals! is an engaging anime about a high school student named Riki as he has to recruit members for a baseball team to revive a group of friends he had as a child called the Little Busters before one of them graduates. . An element of mystery also appears early in the show when one of the Little Busters finds a note asking them to solve the world’s mysteries. While Little Busters! While not the most action-packed show on this list, this is an engaging story that serves as a great slice-of-life romance series for fans of that genre.
6 Ef: A story about memories
Many visual novel adaptations feature a main character facing a multitude of potential romantic partners, but Ef mixes up the formula by having multiple romances between many different characters. Among this cast are Hiro and Miyako who met when the latter stole the former’s bicycle and Renji and Chihiro who want to write a book together. While focusing on so many different storylines and groups of characters seems difficult to do, Ef handles it with seeming ease, delivering a satisfying and emotional story that’s sure to please anyone. Any romance fans.
5 Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited swordsmanship
There have been various attempts to make an anime adaptation of Fate/Stay Night but arguably the most successful is the series made by Ufotable through the Unlimited Blade Works route. The series follows Emiya as he becomes embroiled in the Holy Grail War, in which wizards summon heroic spirits from the past to compete in a battle for survival. The anime is filled with many of the epic battles that the Fate franchise is famous for. If fans want the full story, Studio Deen’s original adaptation will include the visual novel’s main route, and the Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel series will include the darkest route involving the Sakura character.
Some of the best visual novel adaptations are more realistic romantic dramas, and Kanon is no exception. Even though it’s often overshadowed by a certain anime later on in this list, Kanon is still an incredible anime. The film follows Yuuichi Aizawa as he returns to a town from his youth and meets various girls from the past. In the process, he rediscovers memories he had long forgotten, which adds a bit of mystery to this incredibly emotional journey. Although its animation style may seem outdated, Kanon is still considered one of Kyoto Animation’s first masterpieces to this day.
3 Higurashi: When they cry
As one of the only horror films on the list, Higurashi has a rather unique premise and easily attracts viewers. The film follows Keiichi as he moves to a quiet small village before the festival. However, things are not that way and when Keiichi investigates a series of murders and disappearances that appear to be linked to the festival, he finds deeper mysteries and horrifying tragedies of equal degree. What makes the series unique is its repetitive plot structure, which examines alternate versions of the events leading up to the festival in a fascinating way. While not for the faint of heart, Higurashi is one of the best horror anime of all time, showcasing the quality of the visual novels it is based on.
Clannad is often considered one of the most emotional anime of all time, and it lives up to that hype. The film follows Tomoya as he helps a girl named Nagisa reform their school’s drama club. In doing so, he meets many other girls and helps them overcome their personal problems. However, the series gets really great in the sequel series Clannad: After Story, which follows the characters as they graduate high school. Although its visuals may seem a bit dated like Kanon’s, Clannad is still a must-see for any anime fan who wants a movie that will make them cry.
1 Steins Gate;
Stein’s;Gate is an incredible story in its own right, but what makes it top this list is that it feels like it incorporates the structure of a visual novel into its story. The film tells the story of self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintaro, who accidentally discovers a form of time travel. He tries to use this technology to fix various problems but ends up being drawn into a vast conspiracy that pushes him to his limits. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, Steins;Gate will keep viewers on the edge of their seats until the climactic ending. The branching timelines in this series fit well with the games’ typical different paths, making Steins;Gate the best anime adaptation of a visual novel.
Ultimately, these anime all took on the extremely difficult task of adapting their stories from visual novel form to television series and succeeded. There haven’t been many new graphic novel adaptations in recent years, which is a shame as these series prove it can do well. Currently this is the top 10 cartoon based visual novel but hopefully some more excellent shows will be adapted from the other great visual novels that exist today.