10 Naruto light novels that deserve anime adaptations
Naruto is a large series with many episodes, manga chapters, and other forms of tie-in media like movies, OVAs, and video games. The fact that Naruto light novels exist shouldn't be surprising.
What is surprising is that, of the total of 29 light novels that exist, only eight have had anime adaptations released thus far: Itachi Shiden, Naruto Shinden: Parent and Child Day, Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness, Sasuke Sunrise, Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding, Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, Konoha Shinden: Steam Ninja Scrolls, and Naruto: Mission: Protect The Waterfall Village!
These stories are all good and were positively received as novels and in anime form, owing to their action scenes and previously unforeseen character development (especially for Itachi and Shikamaru). This had a lot of fans questioning when, if ever, would the other Naruto light novels get an anime adaptation.
That's the question we're here to answer today. This article will cover 10 Naruto light novels that absolutely deserve an anime adaptation, and why.
Disclaimer: As all of these titles have been released, there are spoilers included. This list is likewise based on the author's opinions only.
The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Ninja and 9 other Naruto light novels that should get an anime adaptation
1) Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky
What if Naruto had an airplane hijacking plot similar to the movie Air Force One? That's about as much of a comparison as can be made to Kakashi Hiden, as the newly minted Sixth Hokage faces a trial by fire when an experimental aircraft is hijacked by a rogue ninja terrorist group known as the Ryūha Armament Alliance.
This book details Kakashi and Guy's race to stop the terrorists before they kill all the hostages aboard. What complicates matters is that help from Naruto Uzumaki is not coming.
Kakashi Hiden is at the top of many lists that deserve anime adaptations because it's about Kakashi and Guy, has plentiful tense action scenes, and introduces the Blood Prison into the Naruto canon since the movie isn't canon.
2) Sasuke Retsuden: The Uchiha Descendants and the Heavenly Stardust
This entry may be seen as cheating, given that the 2023 Naruto Super Stage at Jump Festa 2023 announced that there'd be an adaptation in 2023. It was only just announced, however, so it counts for this list. The gist of this light novel: Prison isn't fun. Readers are given a close-up of the rather terrible conditions one is forced to endure as they slowly understand that there's more to the prison than meets the eye.
This novel deserves the upcoming anime adaptation it's getting in 2023 for it's dark subject matter. Similar to the Blood Prison movie, Sasuke undergoes rather awful treatment inside the prison even as he looks for a cure for an illness Naruto has. To make matters worse, some prisoners are going missing really quick, and if the guard lizard Menō is any indication, there are rumors of nasty monsters (like dragons) roaming about.
3) Sakura Hiden: Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze
It's funny how fans' opinions have changed over the years regarding Sakura Haruno, so much so that her light novel is considered a fan favorite. The summary of this novel is as follows: Sakura is working day and night as a doctor in the Hidden Leaf Village when a concerning bit of news reaches her ears - Sasuke has been accused of attacking the Hidden Sand Village and other places.
After teaming up with Ino and Sai, it's up to the three of them to solve this mystery and put a stop to the true culprits. This light novel is a mystery story with a few twists here and there that'll keep viewers guessing. It's also good at giving Sakura some space for character development and more to do following the fourth Great Ninja War.
4) Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage
The light novel starring Gaara post the Fourth Great Ninja War deals with a rather pressing concern: Gathering overdue funds as compensation to families of shinobi who died during the war, and rehabilitation costs for those who were injured from the daimyo of the Land of Wind. It's already a depressing concern, and isn't the only one on Gaara's plate.
As it turns out, he also has to officiate Temari's wedding, deal with a rogue ninja, and somehow find himself a wife by order of the Elders of Suna. With all these issues, it's a wonder the new Kazekage gets anything done.
This is deserving of an anime adaptation owing to the fact that it focuses on Gaara, on larger issues of politics in Naruto, political marriages, and even the issues of displaced people following the war.
5) Akatsuki Hiden: Evil Flowers in Full Bloom
This is an anthology light novel dealing with Sasuke stopping by a village during the Blank Period time. In the village, he is forced to stop and listen to how a family was killed by the Akatsuki forces. What follows is an anthology of stories with the now dead Akatsuki members as the centerpieces.
Every story is tied to each member's backstory or character in some way: Itachi and Kisame deal with two feuding brothers, Deidara and Sasori aid someone who makes art in clay form, Hidan and Kazuku deal with a bounty target obsessed with Janshin, and so on. The moral is that although Akatsuki members may have committed horrific crimes, they were also human beings at the end of the day.
6) Sasuke Shinden: The Teacher's Star Pupil
A peaceful train ride for Sasuke and Konohamaru is derailed when bombs suddenly go off and nearly kill everyone aboard. After fending off the attackers, with many of them dying in the process, the duo are left with a big mystery and only one witness who can be questioned: an idol singer.
While this mystery story has Sasuke advertised as lead, it also focuses on Boruto's version of team 7 as they protect and investigate into the idol singer. The four of them must figure out the connection before more bombings take place. This is recommended for an anime movie of sorts, similar to One Piece: Red because of the idol comparison.
7) Kakashi Retsuden: The Sixth Hokage and the Failure Boy
When Kakashi visits the Land of Redaku to see if the legends of being a favorite of Sage of the Six Paths are true, he sees a capital city in ruin and destitution. Suspecting corruption at first, he infiltrates the royal palace only to discover that even the new Queen is distraught by the devastation as she tried to use a device called the Shuigu to produce rain and clean water, but ended up causing a flood.
The general point of this particular story is not only finding someone who can use the Shuigu, but investigating as to what else might be going on. It's a story of corruption, desperation, and helping those less fortunate. It also focuses on Kakashi's actions during Boruto, and would find the popular character that got into the top five of the Narutop99 poll.
8) Naruto Retsuden: Naruto Uzumaki and the Spiral Destiny
A point to note about the Retsuden trilogy of novels is that they all intersect at some point. They all deal with the Land of Redaku, they all have Naruto falling sick because of an unknown illness, and they all feel like different pieces in a large puzzle. Naruto's part in the story is the last one in the trilogy, and focuses on the titular protagonist.
With a mysterious illness affecting his ability to do ninjutsu, and assassination attempts being foiled around him, Naruto is forced to stay home with Orochimaru, helping him and Hinata likewise. The mystery only deepens from there. This trilogy of novels deserves their own arc, if not their own movies, because of how deep they dive into issues of international politics, technology, and even biology.
9) Shikamaru Shinden: A Cloud Dancing in Forlorn Falling Petals
While the events of a Boruto arc called the Mujina Bandits Arc took place during the second chapter of this manga, that doesn't count as an anime adaptation. After a rather fearful comedic night at home, dodging Temari's wrath at missing their wedding anniversary, Shikamaru is summoned to the Five Kage Summit.
The gist of the meeting is the aftermath of the events of Boruto: The Movie, wherein the Kage are all debating why Konoha had tools like the Shinobi Gauntlets and scientific ninja tools. With Konoha charged with conspiracy to enact war, Shikamaru must get to the bottom of this claim. A detective story with damaging political ramifications focused on Shikamaru sounds like something many fans would eat up if it was animated.
10) The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Ninja
In what can only be described as "what if Naruto was written by Akira Toriyama?" this light novel is written as if Jiraiya himself was its author. It includes a map of the book's world, Jiraiya's autograph, and a photo of him, Minato Namikaze, and Kushina Uzumaki.
Here's a gist of the story: Following a major war between the village of Kotsu and Konton, a ninja named Naruto Musasabi and his best friend Tsuyu must save Konton from a ninja that seeks to use a world-devastating device to destroy their nation. It features giant monsters, mass destruction weapons, and more than a few things that would make Dragon Ball fans laugh.