As anime has gotten more popular recently, the medium has had a shift from original works with new ideas and unique art styles into the more carbon-copied, manufactured genres of isekai or slice of life. Of course, there are outliers such as Konosuba, Re-Zero, Toradora, and Spy Family; but for every Mushoku Tensei, there are probably fifty shows like Gate that leave you wondering who even approved this show. Meanwhile, many well-regarded mangas aren’t ever made into shows for one reason or another. I’ve compiled a list of five manga that haven’t been adapted yet and should be.
1. I Am A Hero (Kengo Hanazawa)
I Am A Hero is a typical cliche zombie story where the reader follows a neurodivergent, middle-aged manga artist assistant and his chaotic journey through the apocalypse. I feel that this story would translate immaculately to the medium of anime since it would perfectly encapsulate the feeling of confusion intended for the reader. Throughout the story, Hideo Suzuki (the main character) sees visions of people talking to him and things of that nature which I feel would create a very spontaneous and interesting atmosphere when made into a show.
2. Vagabond (Takehiko Inoue)
Vagabond is one of the most well-renowned seinen manga, up there with the likes of Berserk and Vinland Saga, and yet it still hasn’t been adapted into an anime in any capacity. Vagabond is a coming-of-age story of sorts that takes place in 1600s Japan. Following a man named Shinmen Takezo, an ex-soldier who was banished from his hometown for killing multiple members of the town in a misunderstanding. Afterward, he changes his name and becomes a ronin set on becoming the greatest swordsman. I and many others have wanted this to be adapted because of how similar it is to many already existing popular shonen. What separates Vagabond from the rest is that its realistic setting allowed the author to focus less on fighting or power progression but more on the motivations of the characters. Every fight serves to provide a deeper understanding of characters on both sides, to showcase a change in the mentality of characters, or to drive forward some larger plot point.
3. Dandadan (Yukinobu Tatsu)
Dandadan is probably going to be the newest series on this list as it came out in April 2021. Every new chapter has hundreds of thousands of people reading weekly. It’s an action shounen/slice of life/romance story about aliens and the supernatural. It has a very fleshed-out, charismatic cast of characters. It has elaborate fights and it stands out in its ability to make you feel connected to its cast and story. It has taken the manga community by storm recently, so this is less a staple of manga that deserves to be adapted but rather a manga that I would be amazed at if it didn’t get adapted into an anime in the next few years.
4. Fire Punch (Tatsuki Fujimoto)
Fire Punch is a manga that I think would be very likely to be adapted due to it being the first work of Tatsuki Fujimoto, the author of Chainsaw Man which has recently blown up with the advent of its anime adaptation as well as the second phase of the manga. This would leave Fire Punch as a likely candidate for adaptation if not for the darker nature of pretty much all of the arcs. Fire Punch has parts that detail slavery, torture, human trafficking, cannibalism, and all of the worst of society including things I probably shouldn’t say. This isn’t a bad thing narratively, in fact, I think that the extreme nature of the story is the majority of the appeal; it allows you to understand the feelings and motivations of characters while making the reader feel deeply invested in them.
5. Gachiakuta (Kei Urana)
Similarly to Dandadan, Gachiakuta is a pretty recent release that has already received widespread praise from viewers, video essayists, and others within the industry. Also similarly to Dandadan, I think that Gachiakta has the beginnings of a great, and successful series. Kei Urana, the author of Gachiakuta, previously worked under Okhubo (creator of the popular series Fire Force and Soul Eater) while creating Fire Force and it shines in Gachiakuta. It has many of the things that I enjoyed about fire force; recognizable characters, an interesting power system, a mysterious setting, a lovable cast, and of course amazing artwork. As well as them simply having similar storytelling methods. Because of how short it is currently there hasn’t been time for it to find a unique personality, but after reading the first 30ish chapters, I can tell that once it has time to clearly define itself it will live up to expectations.
Bottom line, if you’re like me you already know and enjoy these series so spread the word, recommend it to friends, talk about them on social media, and make them so popular that studios want to animate them. If you haven’t heard of any of these check them out, you’re welcome. Specifically, “Dandadan” and “Gachiakuta” need your attention; as new releases, if they don’t gain enough traction they won’t be able to continue serialization, let alone be adapted into anime.