Comic books and anime often come hand in hand, since Manga is a form of comics that most anime are based off of. At least 2 anime in someone’s top ten list have originated from a manga, and it truly shows with some animes. With the flashy action and deeper stories that both manga and comics have in common, it’s no wonder that many comic books fans enjoy anime. The difference between manga and comics books can be noticed easily yet since there are so many similarities, there’s plenty of anime’s based on manga that comic books fans might want to try out. These anime could get you into the anime genre more if you’ve been looking to try it out, but you’re more interested in western comics. Here are the top 10 must-watch anime shows for comic book fans.
Large Titans in a world, motivation given from the beginning, and a character we both love and hate? Sounds like a comic book already and that’s without mentioning any of the action in Attack on Titan. It’s no wonder that Attack on Titan is a great recommendation for comic book fans, it’s based on the manga! All the action scenes were originally in a “comic”, and it truly feels that way with how the animation is somehow fluid yet disorienting. All the action in Attack on Titan gets you hyped beyond belief. A great example of how the stakes are always present is the first transformation Eren has, turning him into a Titan. It’s breathtaking and we can’t help but compare it to comic books. It seems as if all hope is lost, reminisces about his lost loved ones with a great speech, then transforms into a Titan and wreaks havoc upon those who took everything from him.
Compare it to the comic “World War Hulk” when Hulk comes back to Earth and demolishes anything and anyone who stands in his way while dishing out justice/vengeance on those who took the only thing he cared about in life. The intensity and raw power that are shown in Eren’s transformation and Hulk’s return to Earth are quite similar and show how similar these two media can be. Even reactions from witnesses of the savage power are similar. In Attack on Titan and World War Hulk, the witnesses are watching in shock and awe as they see someone go beyond the strength they previously imagined. Attack on Titan is a great anime to try out and throw yourself into if you’re primarily a fan of comic books.
Set in a world where a prophecy claims that 4 heroes will save the world, each wielding a different weapon, The Rising of the Shield Hero focuses on one particular hero. If you guessed “The Shield Hero” then you know how to read titles. A quick summary is that the Shield Hero has a hard time in the world, isn’t liked very much by the public, and eventually is falsely accused of a crime and must get his way through the world to clear himself. Although this premise has been used many different times in all types of media, it’s still an interesting plot that can be entertaining if done right.
A great example of this in comics is Daniel Way’s run of Deadpool. Compare how a hero (or anti-hero) is constantly accused of doing the wrong thing, despite doing good. Compare how both involve said protagonists trying to show people that they are good, but they keep getting set up. Compare how they both involve fantastic action sequences and dialogue that keeps your eyes locked onto the screen.
The Rising of the Shield Hero truly captures how comics/manga action can keep you in suspense, even when you know what the outcome is. The best part is that they both constantly throw you for a loop and misdirect you. You think you know the outcome, you’re sure of it and yet you’re wrong. It’s no surprise that The Rising of the Shield Hero is a great jumping point into anime for comic books fans, as it originally started as a novel, then was adapted into a manga, and now it’s in anime form.
Freeing an entire country from the grasps of an empire isn’t an easy task and Code Geass truly shows this. It’s set in an alternate world where Japan has been conquered by the Britannian Empire. It follows the next heir being expelled from the royal family and taking his revenge against the Britannian Empire. Going up against an entire empire has its stakes and it shows. Despite the anime sounding like it’s going to be all action, it has quite a bit of dialogue-heavy scenes to show the world and integrate you fully.
The best comic book event ever that we can compare this to is the X-Men House of M event. House of M is set in a world where Mutants are the higher beings and Humans are looked down upon. A complete 180 turn from how the Marvel world is normally. Some people realize this sudden change, some don’t. You follow heroes trying to set the world back to the way it was, freeing everyone of the spell that changed the world. Both have this intensity and high stakes, both have interesting dialogue to put you into the world fully, and both are revered as great jumping-in points for their media. House of M is a personal comic event favorite of ours, and Code Geass is a personal anime favorite of ours, so trust us when we say that jumping into Code Geass from a comic book mentality is one of the easiest transitions ever.
Another evil empire plot but this anime has a lot of unlikely heroes in the mix and an intense story. Akame Ga Kill involves death, sadness, and a story that won’t even end up mattering much because of how connected you feel to the characters. The story is amazing of course but the characters are where Akame Ga Kill truly shines. Even down to the villains being fun to watch. We know we’re supposed to root for the heroes to win but the villains feel like real people, and we just want what’s best for them!
Now if you’re looking to get into anime from a comic book standpoint, Akame Ga Kill is a great anime to try out. We can’t directly relate it to any specific comic since that could mean spoilers but the action and plot in Akame Ga Kill mirror many great comic book events. It’s the gritty comic book you’ve always wanted to see animated!
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. One Punch Man’s story and the plot are largely built off the satire that a hero is so strong, that he only needs one punch to win. It’s great to watch the fight scenes that don’t have Saitama, our “One Punch Man”, but we’re always ready to see him in action. Even if that action scene is only a couple of frames. One Punch Man is based on a manga so it means it’s going to resemble a comic book very heavily but where it differs is the entire premise of “so strong he only needs one punch”. We like seeing our hero go through hell to finally win a battle but there’s something so entertaining about one simple punch ending a fight.
Now, One Punch Man is one of a kind so there aren’t many comics related to it in premise but one comic that it reminds of us heavily is “Invincible”. One of our favorite comic runs and it’s recently gotten an animated show on Amazon Prime. It follows a young man who has superpowers since he’s half-alien (like superman’s) but he needs to find his way through the confusing and violent world that these superpowers have put him in. He doesn’t one punch anything, but One Punch Man feels like a great satirical take on a comic like Invincible. Next time you want to try out anime then the funny, yet action-packed anime “One Punch Man” is a great place to start.
A world where people have superpowers or “quirks” and some don’t, and those with “quirks” are trained to harness their powers for the good of humanity? Sounds very much like the X-Men! My Hero Academia takes place in a world where people with quirks become professional heroes and are idolized by the public. We follow a young man, Midoriya Izuku, who doesn’t have a quirk but due to being worthy, the power of “All Might” is bestowed upon him. It’s great to see those with quirks evolve into a different person, whether it’s good or bad, and seeing them fight with their powers is truly something to behold. It mirrors the X-Men very much with a school that helps educate those on how to use their powers properly, and with only some people having powers. The difference is that in My Hero Academia, most people have quirks while in the Marvel universe there are only a handful of Mutants. The parallels are very clear from the powers that characters have, to the action scenes with said powers. Some powers help cancel out others, some are super powerful, it’s a big mess of action that we love to see in animated form.
We highly recommend My Hero Academia if you’re into comics books, specifically X-Men, and you want to try out an anime. If that’s not your cup of tea, we do suggest you try out the “X-Men” anime which is a direct anime version of the X-Men. It’s not nearly as good as My Hero Academia but if you want a more direct jump into anime from comic books, then the X-Men anime is where to start. Alternatively, to that alternative, there’s a Wolverine anime as well so you could try that out if you’re looking for some power-filled comic book anime action.
A gritty feeling of hopelessness and skillful combat, Darker Than Black fills the world with humans and “supernatural” abilities, except they must do a specific action after using their power. In this world, we find a protagonist who doesn’t have any cost for using his power. Although this may seem like another flashy world where people have powers, it’s not. The powers are more of an addition to the story, while the story more revolves around uncovering the truth about their powers and those who have them. The best comic book we can relate this to is any Batman storyline. A specific one would be Batman: The Long Halloween. Fill your world with a large roster of enemies, have your protagonist go against them, and uncover the truth in the end for the good of the people. It’s quite intense and both feature a gritty world where you feel hopeless without the protagonist. Darker Than Black is a great anime to get into if you like that feeling from comics.
One of the highest points in Darker Than Black that we find goes unmentioned in the soundtrack. An EDM-type soundtrack that gets the blood pumping yet makes you feel uneasy. That soundtrack mixed into the world of Darker Than Black gets you feeling the same way a Batman comic would and it’s why we recommend Darker Than Black as a jumping point for those who like gritty comics and are looking to get into anime.
The Baki Netflix series is one of the most intense anime’s we’ve ever watched. We follow Baki Hanma who has trained to become the strongest fighter in the world, as he’s hunted down by others who want to take that mantle from him. Strong fighters are already great but what puts this intensity far above other animes is the minimal “superpowers” and a larger focus on humans who are just extremely strong. You could easily consider Baki’s foes to have superpowers from how they move and the damage they can take/give but in the end, they’re just regular humans. Hand-to-hand combat with super intense fight scenes where people get hurt is just what a comic book fan ordered when trying out anime for the first time. If you’re more into the “realism” of comic books like how Batman has no powers or how Captain America is still “human” then Baki is a great anime to start with. Our favorite part of Baki is finding how a character was able to do the “impossible” feats they’ve done. It can all be explained and sets you into the story.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many comics that are like Baki but the fighting styles, plot, and characters all closely resemble those of a comic book. Makes sense since the original Baki series was based on a manga series! Don’t forget that every character is covered in muscles from head to toe, ripped beyond belief, just like a comic book where even the weakest character has more muscles than a professional bodybuilder. However, what makes Baki such a great jumping point into anime is the entire animation style. Some anime have the characters moving super quickly in flashy action scenes, while Baki does the opposite. Baki has the characters doing large, damaging hits that only show for one frame. It mirrors how reading a comic book is, as you must use your imagination to see how they got from throwing the punch to the punch landing. Baki does the same, you’ll see the punch windup and then the punch hitting spectacularly. If you love how comic panels give you that feeling of intensity, then you’ll love Baki’s fight scenes.
One of our favorite anime that often goes unseen, Parasyte follows a young man who’s been conjoined with a parasite and now has powers through said parasite. These parasites normally take over the human but our protagonist, Shinichi, managed to cut off the circulation to his arm and trapped the parasite in his hand only. Slowly throughout the show, he evolves from being a scared young man to a confident fighter. What makes Parasyte a great anime to watch if you’re a comic book fan is that Shinichi’s evolution isn’t from himself but the parasite attached to him. Sounds very much like our favorite symbiotic relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom. Seeing Eddie Brock slowly lose humanity but gain powers through the symbiote parasite “Venom” is interesting to no end. We see the parasite change who is he from villain to hero, we see the parasite go to other hosts, and we see how it affects those around him. Of course, this all depends on the comic run you read, like the 2018 Venom series by Donny Cates.
If you love the current run of Venom by Donny Cates, then Parasyte will be a joy for you to watch. It’s amazing seeing your protagonist evolve in every direction, yet still wanting to root for them. Parasyte does exactly this while keeping you entertained throughout the entire show. We recommend Parasyte as your jumping-in point if you love the recent Venom run by Donny Cates!
Death Note must be one of the biggest and most well-known anime ever. Everyone has heard of this anime whether they’ve watched it, heard of it, or heard of the god-awful live-action adaptation. What most don’t realize is that the anime was an adaptation of the manga series, which ended only 5 months before the anime began airing. Now, you may think that since Death Note doesn’t revolve much around action but primarily around thriller themes that it’s not much like a comic book, but we could not disagree more with that. If you like comic books, then you’ll love Death Note but it’s going to have to be a specific genre of comic books. We’re talking about thrillers and a good example is “The Walking Dead”.
Now, although zombies and a book that kills people are very different, they both have a lot of the same themes of thriller, mystery, and suspense that progress the story in directions you wouldn’t expect. The Walking Dead comic series was amazing, and we loved every single part of it. Even the slower bits where there’s no action and only plot progression. Those downtimes where it’s just about the thriller themes are great. Honestly, it shouldn’t even be called “downtime”, as it keeps you on your toes the entire time with just dialogue. If you liked The Walking Dead comic, then give the Death Note anime series a shot. You’ll love the tiny bits of action that are included but the story is where you get invested. Nothing is better than media that gets you invested in the characters and story due to making it feel real.
These are our top 10 must-watch anime shows for comic book fans from a comic book fan’s perspective! Being a fan of comic books doesn’t mean you have to read them constantly, but if you’re a fan and you’re looking to get into anime then try one of these 10 anime. If you’ve ever wondered the difference between Manga & Comics Book is, then check out our article on that too! We haven’t been disappointed so far as comic book fans, so we hope you enjoy these anime recommendations! Thanks for reading anime fans!