Let me be perfectly clear on what we're talking about in this blog. We are looking at manga and manhwa that have been created that are so epic that they deserve a direct anime of them. Now when we say this, we mean an anime that directly copies the manga (i.e. Dragonball and Naruto series). Mangas and Manhwas that have had anime that were different from the original do still qualify, but ones that have had movies or series (canceled or otherwise) that were identical to the manga series are not (sorry, Gantz and Tsubasa). Also, manga and manhwa that only have live interpretations still qualify.
NOTE: These are NOT in any particular order.
A drama-filled martial arts manga of your typical wimp from school who was picked on so much that he stopped going all together. However, during his self-incarceration, he secretly studied boxing and found himself roaming the dangerous night life of Japan, gaining the underground name of "The Gangster Killer". While still a very scared boy, he goes through the wringer when fighting some of the greatest martial artists within these gangs.
The story is extremely great with its telling of the boy's struggles, both in boxing and building himself as a person. The manga also delves very deep into the world of martial arts, and firmly describes the real mechanics and principles of the styles portrayed, from Boxing to Karate, and more. With the time one can lose in reading this wonderful manga, it's a wonder why they're not animating it.
And just for the record, Dong-Ho does not do Kamishiro Yuu any justice whatsoever.
Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru
Yes, yes, it's another fighting manga, but this one, like Holyland, follows the principles and doctrine of real martial arts. An on-going series following the life of not-so-average college student Kohinata Minoru. A young man who grew up in the world of gymnastics gains an insatiable fascination for the world of karate, particularly from a monster student by the name of Muuto Ryuuji.
The manga follows his development from just a green-eared child to an up-and-coming karateka. At the same time, it does teach the reader about multiple different principles of martial arts, and society's views on various types of people. Very fast-paced and very artfully beautiful in its portrayal of the real MA world, it's about time we see that on the big screen... or at least on our big screens.
One of the greatest psychological manga of all time, Liar Game even gives the twisted story of Death Note a run for its money. In fact, the manga itself makes you back-track chapters and think hard in analyzing the story as you go along. It follows the unfortunate luck of Kanzaki Nao, a girl too honest for her own good, who gets caught up in a secret gambling ring that deals in making many people gamble millions that they don't have in order to win millions more. However, the millions each person starts with is a loan, and they have to pay back that loan after each game. Should they not make enough, they spend the rest of their life in servitude to pay back this debt.
Trapped in this terrible ring, Kanzaki Nao enlists the help of the world's greatest con artist, the mysterious Akiyama Shinichi. While there have been numerous live-action retellings of this story, and they have never done it any justice, especially the newer season 2 of the Korean version.
Former and No longer #7
Recently, Noblesse has received an ongoing anime OVA in early March 2016. This beautiful manwha no longer needs a place on this list. But spoilers!
From the genius mind of Son Jae Ho and the talented hand of Lee Gwang Su, comes one of the greatest supernatural stories of vampires. Noblesse follows the secret member of the vampire society, Kadis Estrama D'Raizel (or Rai for short), as he finds himself awoken after centuries of sleep in a strange, new world. Not knowing what to do, he quickly tries to hide himself by dressing himself to fit into society, finding himself mixed in with students of a Korean school that was ironically run by his servant of many centuries, Frankenstein.
From here, we follow his growing love for humans, and the life that they all lead, longing to fully immerse himself into it so that he may enjoy a real life. However, the vampire society still exists, and its war with the werewolves has long since evolved as a secret society within the humans have discovered how to modify themselves to be just as strong as the non-humans, and have been controlling the world for quite some time.
This trifecta war starts to involve Rai's utopia, and he will do anything to protect it. With large landscapes, beautiful scenes and artfully intense battle visuals, Noblesse needs its own anime right now.
The God Of High School
From the creative mind of Park Yong Jae, GoH is a very nail-biting and exciting supernatural martial arts manhwa that has sadly been completely off the radar of all anime studios. Follow the adventures of Jin Mori as he joins the international martial arts championship that is GoH to find clues of the disappearance of his grandfather, Jin Tae-Jin. Teamed up with Han DaeWi and Yuu Mira, Mori discovers many dark secrets behind the tournament's backers, and even more about the world they thought they were living in. However, the greatest and most disturbing secrets are of Mori's past.
With an extreme myriad of different kinds of kinds of characters, and loose ties to many mythologies (and mainly tied The Journey To The West), GoH strikes a tune with the harp of almost any reader's heart. While still very much in the category of reading for guys, it's still very well balanced for all genders to read. Now we just need to be able to watch it.
Until Death Do Us Part
Another action manga, Until Death Do Us Part is one of the greatest manga with a mix of martial arts and science fiction. Meet Tooyama Haruka, a young girl who was born with the very unique ability of precognition. She was discovered and is now chased by a notorious underground syndicate. Luckily, her ability allowed her to flag down an equally notorious blind swordsman by the name of Hijikata Mamoru.
The manga follows the escapades of Mamoru protecting Haruka from the syndicate that is EX-SOLID, while more powerful soldiers appear to claim the girl, and higher technology is used. While classified as a science fiction, the science itself is set to be very modern and seem very possible in today's society, or even within the next couple decades. This manga deserves an anime adaptation, and will not have justice until it gets it.
Another delicious mind-bender, but this time in the world of gambling. In Gamble Fish, we follow Shirasagi Tomu as he infiltrates as a transfer student into the elite high school of gambling known as Shishido Academy. While it seems he's just a cocky gambler, he's actually the son of the world's most famous gambler, Shirasagi Gokujima, and looking to find and rescue his father. To find him, Tomu is put through the wringer with multitudes of dangerous and potentially fatal games of "chance".
It's so sad to say that this manga will never get a chance to publish into an anime as there is an extreme amount of fan-service (up to full, but all NON-displayed nudity) of 14-16 year old girls. However, if a publisher can find a way around this fan-service (or censoring) without changing anything about the story itself, we may yet be up for some beautifully mind-screwing action on screen.
In Early 2017, Drifters has received an ongoing anime series that is faithful to the manga, and therefore is no longer placed on this list, but here's some spoilers that might interest you!
Yes, this did receive a 3-minute short with the Hellsing Ultimate Video Series, however, it just does not count of having its own movie or episode. Made by the minds and artists who brought us the delicious Hellsing manga series, Drifters is a slow-moving (but still ongoing) manga that does well to tickle the humor of not just the typical fan of samurai, but also anyone who enjoys history of the western world from philosophers to wild-west buffs, not including all the blood and crazed faces we've come to know and love from our dear friend Hirano Kouta.
In Drifters, we get to watch Shimazu Toyohisa supposedly die in the Battle of Sekigahara and wind up in a different world rather than actually dying. There, he finds himself strangely teamed up with Nasu no Yoichi and Oba Nobunaga to survive a world of oppressed humans, elves and dwarves, and being hunted as he's labeled as a Drifter (Humans transported to fight for the people and oppressed).
To get a full anime adaptation actually in production would just be the perfect follow-up release after we've just coming down from our high with Hellsing.
Another action-packed manga, Übel Blatt is definitely one with an extremely rich story. Despite it not having much of a premise, the story itself is more than deep enough to keep you reading page to page. From the amazing mind of Etorouji Shiono, and published by the awesome Square Enix, Übel Blatt is one of the greatest fantasy-themed action manga of all time. Köinzell (formerly Ascheriit) seeks revenge against the Seven Hero Lances whom have been known for 20 years to have saved the kingdom for defeating the Wischtech. However, all is not always what you've thought.
Accompanied by Ato, Geranpan and Peepi, Köinzell makes his way through the Szaalenden Empire in one of the most artfully beautiful adventures in manga for the last 15 years.
With Square Enix as its main publisher, we know that if they give a green light to an anime adaptation, it would be the best we'll ever watch on the small screen (and possibly the big screen).
Okay, a slight lie as this is my personal favourite out of all the manga in this list, and the one I think absolutely MUST have an anime direct adaptation. From the brilliant mind of Yoshiaki Tobata and the skilled artistry of Yûki Yugo, Akumetsu is literally the greatest mind-bending seinen manga ever made. Shou Niikura is your average student in a government that screws over the people, which made them responsible for the death of his best friend, Katsuragi.
Akumetsu is an army that dons devil-like masks, killing corrupt politicians via suicide kills, all in intimidation to the nation's Prime Minister, Murase Shintaro, to end the corruption and to save the nation and to prevent another event like with Katsuragi. The Akumetsu carry out their judgments constantly while evading the top-class detective, Yamada Mamoru skills, and the snooping of his classmate and love-interest (who wants to be a journalist), Nagasawa Shiina.
The absolutely biggest mind f*** of manga to date, yet still action packed and a perfect balance of drama and actual facts of how certain actions affect a country's economy and even its effect on the people itself. Not only does it make you contemplate and overload your head in figuring out the story, but also screws with your mind on the country that you yourself live in.
Undoubtedly, Akumetsu absolutely must see a small and big screen direct adaptation.
Noman Chowdhury on June 30, 2020:
Can You suggest me some Underrated romance manga?
Emilea Andrews from UK on August 05, 2017:
i'm pretty sure there's a lot more underrated mangas, but you nailed the top ones!
Fredoh Anitan from Philippines on August 05, 2017:
Interesting list! Gave me a few binge reading ideas... Mwahahaahah
Shinzuu Katame (author) from Maine, USA on June 07, 2017:
This is a list of manga that NEED a faithful anime adaptation. Unfortunately, Liar Game has not received it.
nipster on June 04, 2017:
I knew liar game existed because there was a Japanese drama series and IT WAS LIT but I didn't know they made an anime about it. I'll have to check it out.
Tabari on May 14, 2017:
Drifters got an anime adaption recently, so you can take that off the list as well.
lol123321 on June 08, 2016:
no added doulou dalu?
kotobukijake on May 16, 2016:
An interesting topic, and one that is slowly getting my attention the more manga I read. I have to admit that I've only even heard of a couple of your choices, and on the whole they seem pretty action-oriented, but I certainly agree that good stories should get a shot at animation. Of the manga I've read/ am reading, "Chibi Vampire" (Karin), Skip Beat! and Mahou Sensei Negima! really need more faithful/ complete adaptations of their respective mangas, though Negima! in particular has had a pretty decent anime life already. I know there is zero chance of a Yotsuba&! anime (the creator was displeased with the adaptation of his Azumanga Daioh, for some reason), but I still want to see it. I'd also be on board with an anime for A Devil and Her Love Song. However, of all the manga out there, there are few more desperately in need of an anime than Kaoru Mori's gorgeous and fascinating series Otoyomonogatari (A Bride's Story), an historical drama set on the steppes of central Asia. Here's hoping this one (and some of your favorites) see the (green)light of day.
Dingleberry on April 07, 2016:
Puiu on January 12, 2016:
Really good list
Mamoru X Haruka on August 18, 2015:
Until Death Do Us Part is always one of my most favorite manga, i can't understand why it doesn't have an anime when so many boring animes were made.
Bryan on July 11, 2015:
Why isn't Gamaran on here?
Rob on June 14, 2015:
Feng Shen Ji
Dear on June 01, 2015:
O.o, Akumetsu would never made into anime...
It's politics related, Japan politics even...