Bleach is finally seeing its final arc get animated since the anime ended around a decade ago. It is commonly understood that the most popular anime are adapted from popular manga. From Devilman Crybaby to Attack on Titan, there are countless examples of popular manga eventually receiving an anime adaptation.
But not every manga eventually sees itself transferring over to another medium. Of course, there are the usual cases of whether the said work was popular enough or their content was considered too risqué for any studio exec to greenlight. Yet, there are many titles deemed exemplary works of fiction that, to preserve their integrity, it’d be best to leave them as is.
10 Fire Punch
By Tatsuki Fujimoto
Before there was Denji, there was Agni. Fire Punch was Tatsuki Fujimoto’s first successful serialized manga series. Set in an apocalyptic frozen wasteland brought on by a witch, one young man constantly on fire is beset on a path of revenge. If there was doubt that Chainsaw Man could get any more violent, depraved, or bleak, then Fire Punch is here to answer all of those simultaneously.
In many ways, Chainsaw Man is Tatsuki restraining himself on how far he can go with his themes. Content aside, where Fire Punch excels is in how Tatsuki crafts his story through his art. His cinematic frame of mind is perfect for this, and Fire Punch is no exception, as each major sequence is in its perfect frame to perfectly land a joke or execute an action scene.
9 Boy’s Abyss
By Ryō Minenami
There aren’t many stories that manage to make a protagonist suicidal and not come off as exploitative or the butt of a joke. Boy’s Abyss is not for the faint of heart, as it’s a tale that looks into the void and isn’t afraid to stare back. Protagonist Reiji Kurose is on the brink of accepting his abysmal life without much of a fight until a pop idol arrives in his dead-end town and turns his life around.
If animated, Boy’s Abyss may only appeal to a limited audience, or scared studio execs would interfere and warp the story to make it more accessible to broader audiences. This would hamper the overall slow-burn feel this story has laid out as it ultimately becomes a psychological thriller to save the sanity of its protagonist.
8 Oyasumi Punpun
By Inio Asano
Quite possibly one of the most famous manga that could essentially be considered a graphic novel, Oyasumi Punpun has yet to receive an adaptation to another medium. Going by graphic novel standards, there probably is a good reason why it should not be.
Maus and Watchmen are considered some of the best graphic novels of all time. Both are lauded as great fictional works for the literary world, but only the latter was ever adapted. Maus shares with Oyasumi Punpun in that they both feature characters with anthropomorphic features. The artwork is better conveyed and makes it more unique by featuring bird-faced characters that would be lost if it were to be animated or made live-action.
7 20th Century Boys
By Naoki Urasawa
To this day, only three of Naoki Urasawa’s works have been adapted into the anime medium. Of all of his most popular works, 20th Century Boys still has not received an adaptation. But seeing that this tale is the closest Naoki got to his idol, Osamu Tezuka (aside from Pluto), that’s probably a good thing.
Within the manga community, there is an award named after Astro Boy author, Osamu; Naoki was awarded this three times. Though unfortunately, 20th Century Boys would not be the one to grant him that award. Regardless, this is a story that is best viewed through Naoki’s art and how he contextually takes a story that could’ve easily been a Stephen King work and set it in an Osamu-like manga.
6 Choujin X
By Sui Ishida
Mangaka Sui Ishida has already run into one of his most beloved works to be turned into one of the most infamous manga adaptations of all time. Though Studio Pierrot has redeemed itself with the revival of Bleach, the same amount of care was not given to Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul.
Choujin X is Ishida’s alternate version to the X-Men and a deconstruction of the “chosen one” archetype. They are no longer tied down to a serialized schedule and are allowed to draw and release at their own pace. So far, there have only been 34 chapters released. If there were to be an adaptation, studios would have to wait a moment until there were 50 or more chapters released before studios could get serious about adapting.
5 Yakuza Fiancé: Raise Wa Tanin Ga Li
By Asuka Konishi
Instead of an anime adaptation, Yakuza Fiancé has a premise that would better serve as live-action. Not all manga adaptations eventually translate into anime; they may sometimes find themselves in the three-dimensional realm. The trials and tribulations of being the granddaughter of a powerful yakuza boss of Osaka could easily be better delivered in this format.
The dichotomy between Yoshino’s slice of school life balanced with her life within the yakuza is already an interesting dynamic. Add in an arranged marriage plot, and all hell breaks loose for the stubborn soul. Sappy soap dramas wish they could have conflicts as good as the one Yakuza Fiance sets up and feature a strong and independent protagonist such as Yoshino to boot.
By Yukinobu Tatsu
Even though it is a new and highly popular manga, Dandadan by the brilliant Yukinobu Tatsu should not be animated. The art is truly spectacular. The detail they give to each panel, especially so for a double spread, is Kentaro Miura level.
However, many debates surround the late Kentaro Miura’s most famous work, Berserk, regarding whether or not it should have been adapted in the first place. Whoever manages to pick up Dandadan for adaptation might, unfortunately, run into disaster, as they might fail to live up to the expectations that Yukinobu’s art set.
By Takehiko Inoue
Leave it to Takehiko Inoue to write another popular manga series around basketball. Only this time, his series Real revolves around wheelchair basketball instead. His best-known work, Slam Dunk, already received its anime adaptation, but most fans would prefer the original source material.
Currently ongoing in its publication, Real has shown no intention of slowing down. This may also have been a factor in why Inoue’s other work has been put on hiatus for the time being. Nonetheless, Real is a tale that is best exemplified on the page as it recounts the struggles of protagonist Togawa as he comes to terms with the accident that cost him his leg.
2 Die Wergelder
By Samura Hiroaki
There could be a whole list of Samura Hiroaki’s bibliography that should never be animated, given its content. Many argue that his most famous work, Blade of the Immortal, should not have been adapted in the first place because its tale was better drawn out on the page than on the screen.
One of his current serializations, Die Wergelder, stands on the fence about possibly being animated despite its racy content. Compared to some of his other works, more notoriously his one-shots, Die Wergelder may come off as “tame.” Although Samura’s art is still considered absolute, once studios adapt it, they fail to capture its essence.
By Takehiko Inoue
Oft compared as a companion piece to Kentaro’s Berserk, Inoue’s Vagabond is considered to stand alongside it as it shares a lone swordsman on a journey to achieve more strength. That’s about where the series similarities end. From there, the differences only become clearer.
But one stark difference between the two is that Vagabond has never been adapted into an anime. Whether that be because of Inoue’s wishes or other complications, there has been no attempt made. This is probably for the best, as the series thrives upon basking in Inoue’s art and how each scene is framed.
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