Recommending Books Based on Anime (and Vice Versa)

Over the years, I have watched a lot of anime, and often when I’m reading a book I’ll go “Huh, this is actually a lot like name of random anime!” There are so many good books and anime’s out there and there are so many that have similar plots, themes, and vibes. (Yes, I’m classifying vibes as a measurable thing to use for comparison). So! Here is a little list of some anime that I like and some books that I think correspond with them! If you like that book, check out the anime! If you like that anime, check out the book! If you’ve never read/watched either, do it!

I’ve linked all the anime’s to My Anime List for ratings and synopsis, and all the book covers link to Goodreads!

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First up we have Black Butler and Sorcery of Thorns! The ultimate comparison between the two of these is the demonic servant thing. Black Butler follows Ciel Phantomhive, an aristocrat who made a deal with a demon, Sebastian Michaelis, after his family died in a mysterious fire. Sorcery of Thorns on the other hand features aristocrat Nathaniel Thorn and his mysterious demonic servant, Silas.

Besides for the obvious demon deal parallels’, both of these take place in a Victorian inspired setting, full of aristocratic families and fancy carriages!

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Okay, I know that people are going to disagree with me on this one but HEAR ME OUT. I shall now list the similarities between the masterful volleyball anime that is Haikyu and the garbage fire of a book (that I love) that is The Foxhole Court.

  • They are both sports central
  • Both of the teams wear orange
  • Redheaded main character
  • Redheaded main character that is quite short, BUT fast
  • Uptight tall black haired character who is a genius at said sport and has previously been referred to by a monarch title (King/Queen)
  • Blond character that is incredibly apathetic and claims to hate the sport but is actually quite good at it
  • Team with mascot that is a black bird.

They’re nothing alike plotwise but there are just so? many? similarities? In the way that The Foxhole Court sounds like a fanfiction of Haikyu where Nora Sakavick just changed the sport from Volleyball to Exy.

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AH, okay, if you like murder-mysteries I highly recommend the both of these to you. Both of these are about young girls who go missing, and follow someone trying to find out the mystery of what happened, but they both have a twist to them.

Erased (or Boku dake ga Inai Machi) happens to be one of my favorite animes of all time. It adds a supernatural spin to an already great murder mystery. It follows Satoru Fujinuma who has always had the ability to travel a few minutes into the past whenever an accident/tragedy occurs. But something different happens when he gets accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Instead of being sent back only a few minutes, he gets sent back 18 years to when he was 11 years old. Eventually, he realizes that he was sent back to solve the disappearance and subsequent murder of a quiet girl in his middle school class. I cannot stress enough how GOOD this show is, so good in fact, that Netflix made a live action J Drama adaption of it (check it out too).

Sadie, while lacking a supernatural element, is unique in how the story is told. It follows an investigation into a small town girls disappearance, and is told through a podcast. There are interviews, call transcripts, and a walkthrough of the host’s different theories on the disappearance. It was absolutely amazing, I read through the whole thing in one sitting!

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There are a lot of basic similarities between Marissa Meyer’s Renegades and My Hero Academia. From the superhero organizations and training centers, to some people being born with powers and some not, and the general sense of superiority awarded to those with powers.

Besides for those thematical similarities I think that a lot of the characters in both of these share a general sense of extreme positivity. There’s a lot about friendship and good and evil in both Renegades and My Hero Academia, and they both have an interesting cast of characters with unique abilities!

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Another one of my favorite anime! Baccano! There are vague plot like similarities with Addie Larue and Baccano, in that they both involve people making a deal with the devil in exchange for immortality, but oops, turns out that deal was a little flawed and may backfire on you.

Other than that general plot, Baccano is (imo) leagues above Addie Larue. Baccano switches between time periods, involves gangs in 1930’s US, and has loads of fleshed out unique characters. It’s only 13 episodes yet it still manages to contain alchemists in search for immortality, gang wars, heists, a murderous serial killer on a train, and so much more!

If you read Addie and felt like it was lacking in developed characters’ and general excitement, I’d suggest checking out Baccano!

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These two are SO SIMILAR! Piano prodigy who lives in abusive situation is saved by peppy manic pixie dream girl is a description that can fit both Your Lie in April and A Thousand Perfect notes perfectly. I love both of these and (again) highly recommend them.

They’re both sad and will make you feel things but I rule that the pain is worth it. Also! When watching Your Lie in April you get to listen to pretty music, so that’s a definite plus.

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Gender swap is a pretty big genre in anime that I don’t see a lot in books so I’ve decided to use these two as an excuse to recommend a great girls love gender swap anime and a fantastic gender swap YA book. I do realize that Where I End and You Begin is technically more of a body swap than a gender swap, but I’m going to stick with this comparison.

Girl Meets Girl is about Hazumu, who after getting smashed (and killed) by a spaceship, gets a new body. The problem is the aliens don’t understand human bodies and resurrected Hazumu as a girl. It sounds weird (and it is) but it has a really great f/f love triangle, and overall, is pretty cute.

Where I End and You Begin has Ezra and Wynonna randomly switching bodies while trying to work through high school, prom, and finally asking out your crush. I really loved it, the characters are great, and reading it made me smile.

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Another pretty big anime subgenre is animes that take place in video games! The most popular one is most probably Sword Art Online, but .Hack//Sign is my personal favorite. .Hack//Sign follows a character named Tsukasa who wakes up in a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) with no memory of who he is and how he got there. Is he just a character in the game? Or is he a real person who is somehow trapped in this virtual reality?

Warcross is similar to .Hack//Sign in that they both heavily feature a video game that one can immerse themselves into, but other than that, Warcross is probably more similar to Sword Art Online. But. I’m not explicitly recommending that one because again, I like .Hack//Sign better and am using the faintest hint of similarity to recommend it.

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So for this one, there isn’t much plot similarity between the two of these BUT I feel like there are a lot of common themes. Both The Poppy War and Attack on Titan have main characters who are willing to do whatever it takes for the sake of their people, going so far as to disregard some ethical ~things~.

There’s also some interesting themes of who’s good and who’s evil when it comes to war. I think there’s a lot more mindfuckery in Attack on Titan, but both AoT and The Poppy War series have a good amount violence, gore, and angry determined main characters who might not be making the best decisions.

I can’t really write a synopsis for either of these since I’m pretttyyyy sure I’d end up spoiling both of them, so feel free to click on the pictures to read the official (non-spoilery) synopsis.

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That’s it for now! Like I said, I’ve watched a lot of anime (and read a considerable amount of books), so if you guys liked this, I could do it again sometime! If you didn’t….oops? Sorry? Honestly, your fault that you read this far, but I hope I helped you procrastinate something (as that is the true goal behind Paper Procrastinators).

Do you like watching anime? Do you have any favorites? Have you read any of the books listed here?


26 thoughts on “Recommending Books Based on Anime (and Vice Versa)

  1. This was such an incredible post! I loved the comparisons you draw between them and now I’m so hyped to watch some animes that I had never heard of before! Would you mind if I featured this on my february wrap-up? I’d of course link back to this post and give you credit, no pressure tho!

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    1. Yayyy! I watched the beginning of MHA but then the anime was on break so I stopped, but I’m going to try reading it soon! I recently got the shounen jump app and I have access to all the chapters there, so I figured why not πŸ˜„ Ooh, I hope you like Renegades when you read it!

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    1. Thank you!! Yesss, Black Butler is *so interesting*, and it’s not super long (at least for an anime). I think it’s like 20 something episodes that are each 20 minutes long, so if you have the time you should try it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this idea! I definitely saw so many similarities between Your Lie in April and A Thousand Perfect Notes but they are different in a lot of other ways (when the book was first announced I actually saw a couple of people cry plagiarism, but I completely disagree with them). I often see elements of anime in some books but I’m not so much of an avid reader to say that some books are similar to others. When I first read Warcross I thought that the bounty hunter element was very similar to Cowboy Bebop, which is one of my favourites πŸ˜€

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    1. Yeah! I love both of them they’re both so amazing πŸ₯° I feel like fans of the book would also really like the anime, not just because of the whole piano similarities but because of how they both make you *feel things* πŸ˜‚ Ooh, I’ve never watched Cowboy Bepop, would you recommend it?


  3. love this post chana!! i’ve been trying to get into more anime recently since i missed out in my childhood (aside from like doraemon lmao). your haikyuu/tfc comparisons made me LAUGH but honestly they were genius. i know aot is super popular so your tpw comparison has me going like πŸ‘€πŸ‘€ and you’ve definitely convinced me to give erased a try, especially since i loved sadie!!

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    1. Thank you!! Aaah, okay if you do decide to watch AOT I need UPDATES because that show is ***insane***. Also yessss for erased! I love it so much, and like yes I do love a lot of anime, but I feel like I’m never going to watch one that tops it πŸ₯°

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  4. LOLOL you kNOW my anime/manga love has been intense lately, and i loved seeing all of these recommendations! i technically haven’t finished your lie in April yet, but i remember hearing about its plot and thinking of how similar it felt to a thousand perfect notes ❀️

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    1. I’m telling you quarantine has made me completely regress in terms of becoming reobsessed with anime and manga 😭😭 Yess, my younger brother loves Your Lie in April and he made me watch it and I was immediately like huh, this seems familiar πŸ˜‚

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    1. Thank you!! Oooh, Death Note was one of the first Anime I watched!! I hope you enjoy whichever ones you decided to watch from this list πŸ˜„

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