Sword Art Online, written by Reki Kawahara and originally published in 2009, has ranked in the top 10 every year from 2011-2019 and takes the number one spot on the list of top light novels of the decade.

In addition to reporting its list of top-voted bunkobon and tankobon-format novels for the year, the 2020 edition of Takarajimasha’s Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! (This Light Novel Is Amazing!) guidebook revealed the list of series that rank as top light novels of the decade. Reki Kawahara’s Sword Art Online topped this list with 1,728.95 points.

Here is the complete list of top 50 light novels of the decade:

  1. Sword Art Online1728.95
  2. A Certain Magical Index 1503.41
  3. The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! 1452.75
  4. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? 816.67
  5. Alderamin on the Sky 718.67
  6. No Game No Life 702.9
  7. Ascendance of a Bookworm 690.14
  8. The Irregular at Magic High School 682.83
  9. Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki 674.01
  10. Monogatari Series 660.69
  11. Haganai 618.85
  12. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend 611.56
  13. Baka and Test 589.44
  14. Ben-To 574.9
  15. Kino’s Journey 560.64
  16. 86 546.78
  17. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai 542.71
  18. Accel World 541.38
  19. Overlord 529.06
  20. Durarara!! 523.61
  21. OreImo 500.93
  22. Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World 499.45
  23. Classroom of the Elite 488.85
  24. So I’m a Spider, So What? 488.7
  25. A Sister’s All You Need 460.87
  26. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers 429.96
  27. Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! 429.95
  28. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation 416.28
  29. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere 389.74
  30. Gamers! 388.76
  31. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime 387.31
  32. The Princess and the Pilot 380.49
  33. Rust-Eater Bisco 377.92
  34. Tokyo Ravens 353.12
  35. Kokoro Connect 352.4
  36. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash 349.14
  37. Kono Koi to, sono Mirai 344.02
  38. Aria the Scarlett Ammo 340.99
  39. Escape Speed 323.59
  40. Moon & Laika 318.4
  41. Remake our Life! 308.59
  42. Circlet Girl 300.98
  43. Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina 297.23
  44. The Devil Is a Part-Timer! 295.27
  45. Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru 289.53
  46. No-Rin 287.56
  47. The Saga of Tanya the Evil 287.4
  48. Student Council’s Discretion 277.37
  49. Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor 276.12
  50. Goblin Slayer 275.67

The method used for calculating points varies from year to year, but the rankings take into account both online poll results (conducted in September every year) as well as votes from collaborators that include influencers, critics, and members that are a part of the light novel industry.

[su_quote cite=”Reki Kawahara”] When I heard that Sword Art Online received the most points among all light novels in the 2010s, I was very happy and honored. I believe that the 2010s is the era where light novels leap from the internet to the page. SAO was unquestionably an online novel, but it was serialized on my personal website, and I myself debuted through winning a newcomer’s prize (albeit for a different work). Thinking about it, SAO is representative of the transition period… doubly so now that it’s been selected for this ranking. I wonder what new trend will come upon the light novel world in the 2020s. I’m looking forward to seeing what works I’ll encounter after the curtain rises.[/su_quote]

As of April 2017, Sword Art Online had printed more than 20 million copies of the novel series worldwide. Seven million of those copies are from oversees countries outside of Japan.

Notably, My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected, written by Wataru Watari, was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2015, at which point the publication no longer tracked votes for the series. Considering it had 1,150.20 at the time that would automatically place it in the top five, but it’s reasonable to assume that the series would have broken the top three, if not possibly taking the number one spot for itself.

The overall number of points that qualifying books receive has increased in recent years, which is why the newer series trend higher on this list. For example, while 183.61 points allowed Sword Art Online to top the rankings in the 2012 issue, The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! has been given 399.33 and 392.95 points over the last two years, respectively.

What’s your favorite series on the list?

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