Okay, I’m excited! Let’s get started!
Not all great anime comes from a manga source. A great example being Yuri on Ice!!! But most anime are adapted from a manga, novel, light novel, etcetera. Unfortunately, not all adaptations live up to the expectations we have. It could be that it follows a different storyline or different characters along the road. Maybe it’s set in a different place and time. Sometimes they only share the same universe as the source. Some anime are also left in cliffhangers, be it because the manga isn’t finished or something happened behind the scenes which affected production.
Living in Puerto Rico means that bookstores are far and rare. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and Yu Gi Oh! on Toonami, and had no idea there was an actual book or manga for most of them. It wasn’t until years later that the beautiful store of Borders opened up in Mayaguez, P.R. that I first came into physical contact with a manga. It also started my routine of saving up my lunch money so I could buy as many manga and books as possible. Those which, sadly, I would have to mostly throw away because of cat pee. Cat owners unite!
The point is that I was one of those people that only ever paid attention to anime, for one reason or another, and didn’t pay any attention to manga. But that’s just sad. There are some interesting and great manga that get overlooked because they don’t have an anime adaptation. Some of these do get a drama adaptation and, while that’s great on a whole other level, it’s still no anime.
I just want to point out a couple of manga that I believe should be adapted into anime. Why? Because watching them is a whole different experience from reading them, and these manga deserved to be experienced. (And please be true to the source if ever adapted.)
1. Juvenile Orion: Aquarian Age
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Adventure, Supernatural, Shoujo, Harem
First up is the first manga I ever bought, read, and obsessed over – Juvenile Orion: Aquarian Age. Now, this manga has a card game, like Yu Gi Oh, and also has an anime adaptation and an anime movie, but like I stated before, it’s not a true adaptation. Yes, it’s in the same universe, but it follows different characters.
This manga is simply amazing and I’m probably being biased, but I believe that whoever has a chance should read it and experience it. I’m a sucker for stories where supernatural beings live among us normal folks and a person who always thought to be powerless turns out to hold great power. The main girl, Mana Kirihara, transfers to a new school where she reunites with childhood friend, Kaname Kusakabe, who isn’t as friendly as he used to be. As the story progresses, she finds out she is a “Mind-Breaker,” and Kaname is also a supernatural being – part of the Darklore Faction, who was reacting to her dormant powers. She is able to “control” other beings from different factions.
The five factions consist of E.G.O. or Evolutional Girls Organization, Arayashiki, Erasers, Darklore, and Wiz-Dom. They all have their own beliefs and set of powers. For example, the Darklore are descendants of mystical beings of ancient times like werewolves and demons, while Erasers are aliens who earned their name after their ruthless attacks on Earth. There is also another faction called the Polar Empire. But it isn’t really shown in the manga. Even so, the ones presented are really interesting. Especially if you like supernatural stuff.
Another thing to note is that this manga follows the Smurfette Principle, meaning it focuses on one girl who ends up surrounded by a lot of male characters that obsess in some way or another over her. So… it’s basically a reverse harem. This can annoy some people, but I don’t mind it since I really like how the characters relate to one another and the whole “different factions” aspect catches my attention. Again, I just have a thing for supernatural stuff in a high school setting. Sue me.
The only downside I find concerning Juvenile Orion is that it leaves you wanting more. Sometimes that’s a good thing – a sign it’s well-written – but it’s a bit grating when you know there won’t be more, later on.
2. Hana-Kimi or Hanazakari no Kimitachi e
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Gender Bender, Harem, Shoujo, Drama, School Life
Next up is Hana Kimi. Like Juvenile Orion, this is one of the first manga I ever bought and read. And since it was over 10 volumes, I would buy some volumes and my cousin would buy the others and we would lend them to each other. This manga has several drama adaptations, – Korean, Japanese and a Taiwanese adaptation, specifically. And they’re really fun to watch (I especially enjoy the Taiwanese one). But they don’t really follow the story to the end, which is a real pity. The female protagonist, Mizuki Ashiya, lives in America and learns of high school high-jumper, Izumi Sano. She quickly becomes his fan and after some time she decides to transfer to his boarding school in Japan. But he goes to an all-boys school so she decides to cut off her hair and pretend to be a boy. The story then follows her as she tries to keep her secret from her male peers and grows closer to her idol.
Having been adapted into so many dramas should be enough incentive of how popular this manga is, which is why it’s a pity it’s still without an anime adaptation. It makes you laugh, cringe, and cry. It will make you angry and sad. It’s just great. The characters are funny and while some of the plot can be predictable, what story isn’t? It’s still a fun read.
3. Strobe Edge
Genre: Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Drama
Strobe Edge. This manga. It just makes my heart burst and has me grinning like an idiot. The author is the same one who made Ao Haru Ride and honestly… I prefer Strobe Edge. While many may say that Ao Haru Ride is more complex and has more serious drama, which is true in a sense, there is something sweet and innocent about Ninako falling in love for the first time and discovering all the complex feelings that comes with it.
Like I mentioned, this manga follows a sweet and caring girl, Ninako Kinoshita, who falls in love with a popular boy (shocker!), Ren Ichinose. Ren, as I’ll so eloquently put it, isn’t a buttsneeze, and is actually nice. But the catch? He has a girlfriend who he has been dating for a few years now. Ninako learns of this and decides she still wants to silently love him so she can still be with him as a friend.
Sometimes it’s nice when it doesn’t feel like too much drama, and even then there is drama and it isn’t all black and white. It’s a shame it hasn’t been adapted into an anime, but it does have a live-action movie. It’s cute even though it feels rushed, but if you’re interested in this manga, then you should give the movie a chance.
Also for those who read Ao Haru Ride, you can spot this couple in the background being all cute and adorable in chapter 25.
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, Psychological, Seinen, Drama
All the previous manga on this list are centered on romance, with Juvenile Orion being the only one that also has some action. But Holyland is an action-packed fighting manga. I learned of this one from my brother and I fell in love with it pretty quickly. The art style was a bit “eh” for me at first, but it wasn’t long before I grew used to it and even liked it.
Unlike the other ones I’ve mentioned, Holyland has a darker feel to it. It deals with bullying, suicidal thoughts, drugs, and lots of violence. But it also features amazing friendships, characters with great perseverance and even a little bit of romance, at least in my eyes. The manga presents different styles of martial arts, from boxing to kendo and how these characters use their abilities to their own advantage, be it to gain respect on the streets or to survive on their own. Or to put it more plainly, they answer malice…
It isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a bit more real in the sense that just because the characters are “the good guys,” doesn’t mean they will win in the end. Like I said, it isn’t black and white. But it does present amazing character development that doesn’t feel forced or rushed. And you can end up rooting for the “bad guy” a couple of times, (Taka!)
Holyland presents a world were adults barely exist and troubled kids take to the streets at night to try and find their “holyland.” The protagonist, Yuu Kamishiro, is one of these kids – a victim of bullying, and one who contemplated suicide. The story follows how he takes to boxing, after finding a book about it, as a form of escape and later gains a reputation on the streets as the “Thug Hunter.” The reader follows Yuu as he develops from a lonely, lost, and afraid kid to one who gains real friends, and some enemies, as he grows stronger. As the story progresses, Yuu grows to be someone with a purpose, who gains confidence in himself after each confrontation.
Holyland can be a bit heartbreaking. The dark themes prove how cruel and heartless those in a position of power can be. It shows how far a person can be willing to go when pushed to the edge. But this all makes it worth the read. The fact that there are explanations about each fighting style presented and their advantages over one another is also fun and interesting. It piques your interest to learn more about them as the story progresses. In the end those who like reading about underdogs, street fighting, strong friendships, and overcoming yourself should definitely give Holyland a shot.
5. High School Debut
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Slice of Life, School Life, Shoujo, Sports
High School Debut – O’ how I love this manga. Well… I love all the ones mentioned, but I digress. Like Strobe Edge it isn’t adapted into an anime but there is a live-action movie. Those curious who give the movie a chance should be tempted for more and turn to the manga. Or if you want to save time for yourself, then just head straight to the manga.
The manga follows Haruna Nagashima, a cheerful and energetic girl who had spent her middle school days playing softball. She dedicated herself to the sport and was pretty darn good at it. Inspiring and talented she made the most of her softball days. This all meant she didn’t have time to spare for dating.
Enter high school. Haruna decided to change that. While she had no idea how dating worked she made it her mission to study up by reading “girly” magazines and “dressing up” in order to attract a potential boyfriend and fall in love.
As the story goes, she is pretty hopeless but manages to get older and (shocker!!) popular classmate, Yoh Komiyama, to become her “coach” in love. But she must follow his rules of no crying and no falling in love with him.
After many trials and meeting new people she falls in love, gets heartbroken, then falls in love again and has her feelings returned, thus finally getting a boyfriend. What I like about this manga is that you get to enjoy watching the couple grow. How their feelings develop, deepening over time after stressful and at times a bit predictable ordeals.
It would be a fun read, the main characters being total opposites but fitting together in a sweet way. The other supporting characters also help drive the story forward and aren’t, well… annoying. Which I sometimes find some side-characters to be. Also, people who like romance manga where it doesn’t end once the main characters get together will enjoy it. In other words, like all previous manga mentioned, this one should be given a chance.
6. Yankee-kun to Megane-Chan
Genre: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Shounen, Romance, School Life, Harem
Last up is Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. This manga follows delinquent Shinagawa Daichi and class rep Adachi Hana through their high school days. Adachi, a former delinquent who decided to reform herself and make the most of her high school days, decided to become the class rep. She didn’t want a repeat of her middle school days.
Being in the same class as Shinagawa has her pestering him to join her in making the best of their high school days. Adachi insists on Shinagawa joining her in participating in the student council among other committees and events. At first Shinagawa is determined to ignore her, no matter how much she insists she can’t really deal with all those “weak” male classmates of them. As the manga develops they become friends and Shinagawa ends up giving into her demands/pleas more often than not.
In a way, it reminds me a bit of High School Debut. Both have female protagonists that decide to change once they enter high school and seek the male protagonist’s help to do so.
This manga doesn’t have an anime adaptation, but Shinagawa makes a cameo appearance in the creator’s more popular manga, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. Yamada-kun has been adapted into both an anime and a live-action drama series. I’ve seen the anime and am looking forward to watching the drama.
Now I might be a little biased, but I honestly recommend all of the manga I’ve mentioned to anyone interested and really wish to see them in anime form. I’ll keep hoping for the best and should/will/might be paying more attention in case anything does come up.
Most of them are really funny to read, falling in the comedy genre, and their plots are interesting and fun. There is a little bit for everyone, I think. If anyone has a manga that they wish to see as an anime, then leave a comment! I’ll be sure to check it out (Once I finally have Internet back home.)
Remember to have fun and stay out of shark-infested waters!