One of the greatest aspects of the anime medium is its ability to portray the wild and fantastic in ways that live action cinema simply falls short of (though CG helps).
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones might make a great live action film, but it was pure magic as an animation from the much praised and lauded Studio Ghibli. In fact, novels have provided a plethora of anime titles.
The Little Broomstick (1971) by Mary Stewart became Mary and The Witches Flower by Studio Ponoc. Hideyuki Kikuchi’s first and third Vampire Hunter D novels were made into Vampire Hunter D, and Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust respectively.
Even Agatha Christie had her two most iconic detectives adapted into an anime on NHK.
So, without carrying on, here are five novelists whose works would make great anime!
1. Kurt Vonnegut
What title specifically? Pick one, any one, and you’d find material worthy to adapt into some exciting anime!
Vonnegut’s explorations of war, time travel, and whether free will human agency exists are wealthy topics for an anime premise. Slaughterhouse Five, or Breakfast of Champions come to mind readily, of course, but Timequake or the Sirens of Titan have my personal vote. Or, Hell, mix a couple of them together given how often the same characters pop up!
Kilgore Trout could only make for an intriguing anime protagonist, and it would be intriguing to see the aliens from Tralfamador brought to life the way only animation can bring the otherworldly to life.
2. Haruki Murakami
Honestly, this surrealist postmodern author with hardboiled sensibilities has written a plethora of titles that would make for fun films or anime, several of them have been adapted to live action, Norwegian Wood (2010) specifically standing out.
But Murakami’s debut novel ‘Hear The Wind Swing’, its follow up ‘Pinball, 1973’, and finally ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ forming the loose “Trilogy of the Rat” would be perfect for adaptation into an anime series, especially if the distant sequel novel ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ were added into the mix.
Centered around the unnamed narrator, his friend “The Rat” and the enigmatic oracular Sheep Man, there’s plenty of madcap here that blurs the lines between reality, dream, fantasy, and sober grittiness.
If only Satoshi Kon were still with us!
3. William Gibson
‘nuff said. Moving on!
4. Terry Goodkind
With anime like Attack on Titan, Berserk, Goblin Slayer (there’s that anime again!), and Redo of Healer about, dark fantasy is clearly a ripe genre for anime right now, which would make Terry Goodkind’s enormous Sword of Truth series a no-brainer for an anime adaptation. As Legend of The Seeker is roughly 12 years behind us, now would be a good time to return to the celebrated high fantasy world with its brutal edge, and over the top magical powers.
Goodkind’s heavily detailed, fleshed out universe has all the work put in material wise, all it needs is a studio willing to put Zedd to the screen.
5. Madeleine L’Engle
And not only her 1962 ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, but the whole Chronos & Kairos series that ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is contained in. Three families, two generations, 13 books in total! L’Engle’s mix of spirituality, religion, fantasy and sci-fi sensibilities make for an awesome blend, and it is laced in overtly, as well as subtly throughout this vast series, animation would do it more justice than the last two live action outings by Disney has!
‘Chronos & Kairos’ could be brought to life as a series, or standalone animated films blending several of the books together at a time. Hey! Makoto Shinkai! Do you got a moment, maybe two?
These are just five authors that come to mind, there are countless other writers out there with extent works that would make exceptional anime.
Feel free to sound off some of your own favorite authors in the comment section below!