There are a lot of TV shows out there, and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been more significant. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? We’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, most fabulous, and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to shows based on American comics. From X-Men to Batman, there’s an excellent choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites feel free to comment below and we’ll add them when we can!
X-Men (2011) is a beautiful adaptation of the beloved mutant superheroes. This anime evokes a strong understanding of its source material and portrays our heroes refreshingly. Granted, fans should go into X-Men (2011) expecting a Japanese take on American superheroes.
For instance, this series has our cast traveling to Japan to handle the mutant issues and businesses in that region like rescuing mutants who display powers from Japan’s traditional front. The anime does mishandle a few well-known arcs from the comics but doesn’t deter too far from the source material.
As for characters, everyone retains their colorful personalities, from Beast being a genius to Wolverine angering everyone any chance he gets. The anime does focus on a villain who isn’t as prevalent as Magneto, Apocalypse, and others. However, he has a decent enough goal to keep viewers interested in seeing his downfall.
Batman: Gotham Knight
Batman: Gotham Knight is an intriguing take on the cape crusader. This anime’s treated like an anthology film and spans several intriguing stories centered around Batman’s daily mischief. Most of the shorts are fun and add a layer of intrigue that’s worth your time.
Some shorts fall flat though and will leave you with a mixed reaction. However, this film’s treated as a lead-in to The Dark Knight, so it may be best for viewers to lower their expectations while watching this. While fans shouldn’t expect many iconic bad guys to show up in these self-contained narratives, they do touch upon lesser-known themes in the franchise.
This anime has a genuine understanding of Bruce and Batman’s characters. These set pieces focus on his character’s mundane and crime-fighting life while detailing the public’s perception of his deeds. While the short runtimes limit their creativity to explore Bruce/Batman’s life further, what they provide is exceptional enough to warrant your time.
This is a fun interpretation of Batman with jaw-dropping visuals and exhilarating action sequences. While it doesn’t capture Batman in all his glory, this anime adaptation serves as a nice addition to any Batman fan’s repertoire.
For those unaware, Witchblade is an American Comic created by Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri and written by Brian Haberlin and Christina Z with art by Michael Turner. Despite the source material featuring heavy sexual themes and violence, the anime interpretation by Studio Gonzo doesn’t offer as much.
Anime fans who aren’t fans of ecchi-themed anime can rejoice as the main character’s dashing appearance doesn’t serve as the crux of this narrative. In simple terms, this anime is about a mother who’ll do whatever it takes to protect her daughter. She’ll stumble upon selfish organizations and maniacal scientists that’ll keep her and the viewers on their toes.
This anime doesn’t offer a faithful adaptation of its source material but provides enough subtle homages to it that’ll please fans of its comic. The anime’s pacing is fine but runs into issues regarding its ending. Many will feel like it’s rushed while others will turn a blind eye to it given the circumstances our protagonist finds themselves in.
The fights and characters carried this show. It spends a nice amount of time fleshing out our protagonist Masane while granting side characters unique personalities to help them stand out. The fights have fluid animation and mesmerizing visuals that’ll get fans’ excited. While it isn’t a perfect reimagining of Silvestri’s work, it does a decent job of getting a kick of out our new and older fans.
Ironman (2010) follows Tony Stark, who gets captured by terrorists after being wounded by shrapnel from one of his weapons. During his captivity, he develops the iconic Iron Man suit and escapes. He vows to change the world for the better and embarks on a trip to Japan.
Years later, Tony heads to Japan to offer a hand in the Arc Station project. At the same time, Tony announces his retirement as Iron Man as he wishes to produce robotic warriors called Iron Men to handle his heroic work for him.
Unfortunately, his ceremony doesn’t go swimmingly as he’ll be attacked by the Zodiac Organization’s combat mecha. The story doesn’t offer anything entirely new in theme and premise. Like the first few Iron Man films, this anime has Tony battle numerous figureheads who are after his technology.
Character designs looked decent, and the animation provides fans with enough stunning visuals to keep them invested. The anime’s interpretation of Tony Stark may offer some similarities to his western counterpart, but Tony Stark displays different mannerisms and makes different decisions. If you’re looking for an Iron Man anime that offers some similarities and differences from the source material, check this one out.
Cannon Busters is a Netflix Anime series based on LeSean Thomas’s 2005 American fantasy comic. The anime adaptation features likable characters, a well-written narrative, and enough action to keep you glued to your seats. The anime is split into 12 episodes.
It highlights the journey between two robots and a dangerous fugitive. These characters’ lives aren’t dull as they’ll be chased around by multiple assassins, criminals, and mercenaries. At the same time, the anime builds upon our cast steadily as they focus on their mission regarding the heir of an intense kingdom.
Like its characters, the anime excellently builds upon its world over time. Cannon Busters balances its action and humorous moments well. Fans will be full of adrenaline seeing our characters in battle and will laugh hysterically at some jokes presented in the work.
If you’re looking for a fun action-packed anime with enough adventure components to keep you hooked, check out Cannon Busters.
You can read our thoughts on Cannon Busters in our full-season review here!
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers
Imagine taking the concept of Pokémon, but instead of the creatures, you summon the Avengers. That is essentially what you get with Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. This anime isn’t worth taking seriously as it aimed to entertain a younger demographic. However, it features some worth for adults.
This anime’s premise revolves around a group of kids capturing and summoning heroes like Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk via magical disks. Their mission is to prevent evildoers like Loki from taking over the world. Marvel Disk Wars evokes a strong adventurous feel to it.
Think of this as the early Dragon Ball days, when Goku and his friends searched for the dragon balls to prevent them from getting into their nemesis’ hands. That said, the Marvel heroes don’t retain all their powers from the comics or feature films. However, they aren’t pushovers either.
If you head into this anime expecting a fun show with epic clashes, you’re in for a decent time.
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is a subpar anime. It introduces some romantic elements that fall flat and lacks proper handling. On the other hand, the story has some depth to it. Some moments will keep you guesstimating and it reaches a surprising climax.
The chemistry between Black Widow and the Punisher felt great. While Black Widow’s character isn’t as faithfully treated as Punisher, these characters played off each other well. Fans will adore seeing their ideals about justice clash as Punisher leans more into factual reasoning than Black Widow does.
The characters’ designs strike a decent balance between their MCU and comic iterations. There are a plethora of fun action scenes and fights to keep viewers invested too. If you’re looking for a decent anime to watch that follows Punisher and Black Widow as its protagonists, give this one a shot.
Blade (2011) revolves around the iconic vampire hunter visiting Japan for mission purposes. In Japan, Blade confronts the man who killed his mother, Deacon Frost. Eventually, he’ll encounter Existence, an organization composed of vampires modified by Frost. By the end, Blade hopes to rid himself of Frost and his cronies.
This is a simple revenge-themed storyline that’s told well enough. It has a few excellent emotional moments that’ll get fans riled up toward its climax. The whole anime can feel repetitive at points as it feels like Blade’s embarking on a wild goose chase throughout the series. However, it offers some satisfying bloody fights.
Some scenarios feel contrived but offer enough entertainment value. If you can look past this anime’s repetitive fights and plot points, you’re in for a fun time with this one.
Lady Death: The Movie
For those unaware, Lady Death is a fictional goddess that appeared in American comic books published by Coffin Comics. She was created by Brian Pulido and made her first debut in a comic series called Evil Ernie in December 1991. Since then, she’s appeared in multiple other works.
Like our Marvel and DC heroes, Lady Death eventually received an anime iteration from a now-defunct anime studio called A. D. Visions. This anime takes place in 15 century Sweden and follows a young girl named Hope who has been accused of being the Devil’s wife. She gets sentenced to death but receives a golden opportunity at life from her father.
Unfortunately, she’d have to surrender herself to him and visit Hell. She denies her father’s offer and transforms into the powerful warrior Lady Death. Therefore, we follow Lady Death on her journey to challenge Lucifer in hopes of claiming Hell for herself. This is one of those anime adaptations that alters a few things from the source material.
People who’ve never read a Lady Death comic can hop into this anime without worry. While it changes a few things from the source material, it offers something refreshing. The anime’s art style and animation are wonderful to gaze upon. This movie features some intense bloodshed and misery. If you’re looking for a brutal anime to watch that offers a decent narrative, check out Lady Death: The Movie.
Catwoman: Hunted (Hunted) is a more recent anime project that’s gained mixed reception. This anime boasts a self-contained narrative following one of DC’s most notorious characters. This anime follows Catwoman who is on a mission to swipe a precious jewel.
However, this mission won’t be an easy one as she’ll be crossing paths with powerful villains, Interpol, and Batwoman. Fans are torn between this anime because of its portrayal of Catwoman and how some fights feel more talkative than action-centric.
On the flip side, Hunted offers an eye-catching opening scene and an impeccable art style. Everyone looks great in motion as the characters exhibit wonderful facial expressions and reactions to situations. The voice acting can be hit or miss.
This is a refreshing anime that shows that DC doesn’t need to rely on its heavy-hitters to tell a fun story. If you’re a fan of Catwoman and want to see what she’d look like under an anime-lens, check out Catwoman: Hunted.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years based on American comics!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!
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