Every year since 2005, a light novel guide book titled Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! (This Light Novel is Amazing!) is published in Japan, featuring lists such as top 10 most popular light novels and top 10 favorite light novel characters. To create their final listings, the poll works with multiple categories of voters: the homepage survey (general public), collaborators (critics, writers, bookstore workers, bloggers, etc), and a monitor group (teens who have read over fifty of the year’s light novels). This typically leads to a final list that includes not only the most popular works, but also some relatively overlooked titles that are well-received by those in the light novel industry. Light novel series that have won in the past include Zaregoto, Spice and Wolf, Book Girl, A Certain Magical Index, and Sword Art Online.
This year’s top light novel in the rankings is My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected (Oregairu), which placed #1 the previous year as well… and the year before that! The series also won the male character listings once more with Hachiman. The artist for Oregairu, Ponkan 8, also won for top light novel artists.
Shocking plot twist! Oregairu‘s Yukino placed second for the female character listings. For 2016, she has been ousted by Index‘s Mikoto. Perhaps not so shocking actually, considering she won each year from 2010 to 2014. How did Mikoto get so popular?
Top 10 Light Novels
- My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong as I Expected (Oregairu) [#1]
- Sword Art Online [#2]
- Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin (Alderamin on the Sky) [#10]
- Eirun Last Code: Kakuu Sekai yori Senjou e (Eirun Last Code: From the Fictional World to the Battlefield) [new]
- Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? (Do You Have What The End? Are You Busy? Shall You Save xxx?) [new]
- No Game No Life [#3]
- A Certain Magical Index [#4]
- Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Danmachi) [#11]
- Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) [#14]
- Escape Speed [#7]
The number in brackets notes the light novel’s ranking from last year. It seems Oregairu has made itself quite at home in the top spot? English volumes for that series will begin releasing this year in June.
Two new light novels made the top ten, while the rest of the spots were more or less just shuffled around, with Danmachi and Saekano moving up a few spots to make it in this year.
Top 10 Male Characters
- Hachiman Hikigaya (Oregairu) [#1]
- Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) (Sword Art Online) [#3]
- Touma Kamijou (A Certain Magical Index) [#2]
- Accelerator (A Certain Magical Index) [#4]
- Tatsuya Shiba (The Irregular from Magic High School) [#5]
- Sora (No Game No Life) [#6]
- Bell Cranel (Danmachi) [#8]
- Saika Totsuka (Oregairu) [#9]
- Sakuta Azusagawa (Seishun Buta Yarou Series) [new]
- Sadao Maou (The Devil is a Part-Timer!) [#19]
For the most part, this list was just the same as last year. The only two new characters to make it in are for the final two spaces: Sakuta from Seishun Buta Yarou (a new works winner [#7] for 2015) and Maou-sama from Part-Timer. Bumped out from the top ten are Rentarou Satomi (Black Bullet) [#7] and Sorouku Ikuta (Alderamin on the Sky) [#10].
Top 10 Female Characters
- Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Magical Index) [#2]
- Yukino Yukinoshita (Oregairu) [#1]
- Iroha Isshiki (Oregairu) [#12]
- Yui Yuigahama (Oregairu) [#3]
- Asuna Yuuki (Sword Art Online) [#4]
- Megumi Katou (Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata) [#14]
- Shiro (No Game No Life) [#10]
- Miyuki Shiba (The Irregular from Magic High School) [#11]
- Othinus (A Certain Magical Index) [#5]
- Index Librorum Prohibitorum (A Certain Magical Index) [#6]
Again, a lot of similarities to last year. Oregairu took second, third, and fourth, with Iroha being the new addition to the top ten. With those votes split three ways, Misaka from Index ended up taking the top spot once more. Bumped out from the top ten are Shino Asada (Sword Art Online) [#7], Komachi Hikigaya (Oregairu) [#8], and Misaki Shokuhou (A Certain Magical Index) [#9].
Top 10 New Works
- Eirun Last Code: Kakuu Sekai yori Senjou e
- Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?
- Imouto sae Ireba Ii
- Shitayomi Danshi to Toukou Joshi
- Tatakau Panya to Automaton Waitress
- Isekai Shokudou
- Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
- Hakozoko no Elpis
It’s difficult to say much about new works. If anyone has read one of these (presumably in Japanese), feel free to comment on them!
Top 10 Artists
- Ponkan 8 (Oregairu) [#1]
- Kiyotaka Haimura (A Certain Magical Index) [#2]
- abec (Sword Art Online) [#3]
- Kantoku (Imouto sae Ireba Ii, The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat) [#6]
- Kurehito Misaki (Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata)
- Suzuhito Yasuda (Danmachi, Durarara!!)
- Yuu Kamiya (No Game No Life, Clockwork Planet) [#8]
- Kurone Mishima (Rokudenashi no Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!)
- Tsunako (Date A Live) [#10]
- Saki Ukai (Black Bullet) [#5]
The first three places were the same as last year. But congratulations to Kurehito Misaki, Suzuhito Yasuda, and Kurone Mishima for making it to the top ten this year!
I’ll end this post the same way I did last year, by including the rest of the light novels that ranked in the top sixty. How many of them do you recognize?
Top Light Novels (#11-60)
11. The Irregular from Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei)
12. I Don’t Have Many Friends (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai)
13. To Aru Hikuushi e no Seiyaku (Oath of a Certain Pilot)
14. Imouto Sae Ireba Ii
16. Kono Koi to, Sono Mirai. (This Love, and That Future)
17. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers (Rokka no Yuusha)
19. Shitayomi Danshi to Toukou Joshi
20. Tatakau Panya to Automaton Waitress
21. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
22. Seishun Buta Series
23. Isekai Shokudou
24. Kino’s Journey (Kino no Tabi)
26. Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
27. Accel World
28. Zesshinkai no Solaris (Solaris the Abbysal)
29. Re: Life in a Different World from Zero (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)
30. Hakozoko no Elpis
31. Rokudenashi no Majutsu Koushi to Akashi Records
32. Koukyuu Rakuen Kyuujou: Harem League Baseball
33. The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat (Hentai Ouji to Waranai Neko)
35. Kusuriya no Hitorigoto
36. Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
37. Wa ga Hero no Tame no Zettai Aku
38. Namapo Aniki
39. Haken no Kouki Altina
40. Dokusou Tanpen Series: Nozaki Mado Gekijou
41. The Devil is a Part-Timer! (Hataraku Maou-sama!)
42. Sekai no Owari no Encore
43. Sky World
44. Wizard’s Brain
45. Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu)
46. Ore no Kyoushitsu ni Haruhi wa Inai
47. Rasen Jikuu no Labyrinth
48. Aria the Scarlet Ammo (Hidan no Aria)
49. Cop Craft Dragnet Mirage Reloaded
50. Chuuko demo Koi ga Shitai!
51. Clockwork Planet
52. Date A Live
53. Kagerou Daze
54. Ashita, Boku wa Shinu, Kimi wa Ikikaeru
55. Hitotsu no Umi no Pallas Athena
56. Youkoso Zitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e
58. Orihara Izaya to, Yuuyake wo
59. Uchuujin no Mura e Youkoso Shinomura Nougyou Koukou Tanteibu wa Mita!
60. Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho