If you know anything about me it is that I love both comic books and anime as equally as I do movies and video games. All four have really helped me survive a childhood that, while it wasn’t bad in comparison to what others have gone through, it was an emotionally trying childhood as I have suffered with auditory hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder since I was a young child. As far back as I can remember, because of what I had been growing through, it was because of these four distractions that I was able to survive my childhood and even now up until adulthood. It’s something that I have to reminded myself of even as I am feeling at my lowest most days. But I am getting side-tracked here.
Because I am a fan of all four entertainment forms, it has often been one of my favorite enjoyments to see when these four mix together to entertain fans of their genres. Often times, we have seen movie take inspiration from anime, comics, and video games. Likewise, video games have been inspired by movies, anime, and comics. But it is rare that we get to see anime and comics intermingle with each other. For some reason comics and anime really don’t seem to intermingle with each other, and I don’t quite understand why because they both are more similar to each other than to either video games or movies – especially because most anime are directly inspired by the storytelling genres of manga and visual novels.
It’s because of that I often wonder what would be if some anime were adapted into comics; but more so, I often wonder what comics would make great anime series. I feel more so about comics adapted into anime than the other way around because of the long history and stories that comics have provided throughout the years. Imagine some of comics most fabled and iconic stories adapted into an anime series. The Death of Superman, Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Panic in the Sky, Watchmen, Maus, the origins of Cyberforce, the Flash, Captain America… all these stories and more adapted into the dynamic and hyper-visual stylings of anime – it would make for some pretty interesting and entertaining series. And that is why I have often thought of this… especially in regard to the following ten series that I will be listing below.
Honorable Mentions: Cyberforce, Gotham Academy, Heroes for Hire, Invincible, Superman
Though I am not a huge fan of the Batman character as a whole, even I can’t deny that he has some of the best and most intriguing stories in all of comics. The Dark Knight, Hush, The Killing Joke, Knightfall, The Long Halloween… the list is nearly endless with how many tales have been told about the Batman and his supporting cast of heroes and villains. Each of those stories would make for some pretty entertaining anime series. And the less said about Batman Ninja, the better.
Bloodshot is one of the comics that I would like to see adapted into an anime series, not because of its iconic stories or its storied history, but rather because of what I think that an anime production company can do with the character and his powers. Imagine what kind of anime series they can produce with a character who can regenerate and morph his body at will. I think that the Bloodshot character’s characteristics would play well into the general conventions of the anime genre and make for some pretty action-oriented series.
When I think of the stories of Green Lantern, it reminds me of space-faring anime series like Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Voltron, and many others that took place in the far reaches of space. I’m not saying that these stories match those such as Blackest Night, Emerald Dawn, Circle of Fire – but the setting is one of the most popular settings in anime, and if they could bring those Green Lantern stories to life through the anime medium, I believe they could be some of the most entertaining anime series made.
Grimm Fairy Tales
Grimm Fairy Tales is a more adult-oriented comic series out there right now – and my favorite indie series. And seeing as how a majority of the stories that are featured in the Grimm Fairy Tale comics and given a slight, often horrific twist, I believe these can be some pretty interesting anime series in the same vein of Another, Boogiepop Phantom, Serial Experiments Lain, and Hell Girl; especially if the producers of said anime series would adapt the connecting stories of the Grimm Universe that includes those of the Wonderland series.
When I think of Harley Quinn and how an anime series could be made based on her character, I immediately think of series like FLCL, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, and Kill la Kill as these series feature stories that are really over the top and often times feature a heroine or protagonist that are sometimes as equally as unhinged and uncommon as Harley Quinn. I think that’s why an anime series based on this character would make for a really popular series and one that I feel most general anime fans would be really into.
Spawn is perhaps the most adult and mature series I can think of being on this list. The dark and moody stories that are often times featured in the pages of the comics, they could remind anime fans of such series like Devilman, the Blood series, Elfen Lied, Parasyte, and others that seem to draw in the more mature anime fans out there. And given how critically acclaimed and admired the Spawn animated series was when it was on HBO, if the same kind of production values were implemented into an anime series based on that comic, it could be just as popular or more so.
Even though most comic book fans would consider the Justice League a more iconic team, I will always insist that The Avengers are the most human and relatable of the two teams and that their long list of memorable and iconic stories have endured the test of time more so than those of DC’s super team. Stories like the Kree/Skrull War, Civil War, Avengers Disassembled, Avengers Forever, and Breakout are just some that immediately come to mind as being some of the best, and some of the best material that could easily be adaptable into entertaining anime series.
Do I really need to explain why The Punisher would make for a great anime series? A man who is waging a one-man war against organized crime to avenge the death of his family. That is practically an anime trope in waiting right there. And with the generally uncensored nature that an anime series can provide as a vessel for these stories, imagine just how chillingly violent these stories can become. We even got a glimpse as to what a Punisher anime series would look like when Marvel and Madhouse produced the direct-to-video film Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, and it was one of the best anime films I saw in 2014.
Wonder Woman is a character that I have always felt never got the kind of respect that the character really deserves, at least not until the release of the Wonder Woman film in 2017. Even still, as a strong and inspirational female lead character, I believe that she would fit in perfectly with a lot of the most popular anime out there today – many series which feature strong, independent, and indominable female lead characters. You could say that out of all the comic book properties I am talking about here, Wonder Woman would be the one that could easily fit in as an anime series than all the rest.
This is cheating a bit as we already got a 12-episode anime series featuring the X-Men in a collaboration between Marvel and Madhouse, but that always seemed like more of a tease to me as it showed just how well-adapted the world of the X-Men are to the world of anime. The X-Men anime series is still one of my favorite anime series of the past decade. But seeing just how well the X-Men were suited as an anime series, I really want to see more of it, and I hope that there is something in the works to get that going. Imagine stories like The Dark Phoenix Saga told in anime form. Man, I am gushing just thinking about it.