There’s so much anime out there (with even more on the way) that it sometimes feels as though every idea under the sun must’ve already been fully explored. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Numerous compelling story lines and dynamic characters in manga have yet to appear beyond the black and white page and onto the big screen. Too many.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 martial arts manga series that should (and surprisingly haven’t already) become an anime.
The hero of this manga, Yuu Kamishiro, is a tormented soul, relentlessly mistreated by his peers to such a degree that he starts questioning his existence. But rather than fade away, Yuu discovers that the best way to find himself and gain acceptance is not through normal means, but through his freakin’ fists (and a whole slew of martial arts techniques).
The road he must travel descends into the darkest corners of the streets, beating the living crap out of random punks. He ends up getting really good at it, too. So good he gets a special name: Thug Hunter. The stronger he becomes, the closer he’ll get to a state of being, which Yuu calls “Holyland.”
The funny thing is that, instead of being made into an anime, “Holyland” has had two adaptations, both live action productions: a TV show in Japan and a 2012 Korean drama.
There are so many things that make this martial arts manga awesome.
It has a crazy backstory. The main character, Kunitoshi Joukyuu, is treated like crap by his mother. No joke. She leaves him outside for days without any form of sustenance and takes advantage of the fact that she’s a surgeon by making him look at her patients’ insides. Meanwhile, Kunitoshi’s dad, thinking his son is too strong, literally dislocates and/or relocates every joint in Kunitoshi’s body just so it will be harder for him to fight. But it doesn’t work.
Kunitoshi’s school is in the middle of a civil war. Miu Takatori, the daughter of the school president whose institution she’s trying to take over, rallies her students to defeat Rin Kizuki, the daughter of the facility’s chairman.
- There’s “questionable” content. The whole manga comes from the perverted mind of Isutoshi who’s known for hentai anthologies like SNK Monogatari, Bruem – King of Fighters and Gensen Sexy Fighters. In other words, there’s a lot of eroticism. That’s always a plus.
So, that’s three reasons why “Aiki” should be more than just a manga. There’s even been a sequel, “Aiki-S”. But why no anime!?
The more types of martial arts explored in a manga, the better. It’s a known fact. However, this undisputed truth should do more than just make a manga better. It should increase the likelihood that said manga will become an anime.
So when a manga like “Kenji” chronicles the life of a martial artist who, while having a special affinity for Bajiquan, studies Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Bagua Zhang, Chen Taiji Quan, Pi Quan, Xingyi Quan, Xin Yi Liu He Quan, Shaolin Quan, Hung Ga, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Shotokan Karate and more, it’s strange, heck, downright outrageous, that it’s still not an anime.
The kid who’s lucky enough to learn all this great stuff is Kenji Goh, a teenager who’s studied from his grandfather at an early age.
While all of these types of martial arts are pretty cool, there’s a reason why Kenji likes Bajiquan the most. The style features explosive, short-range power that’s famous for kick-ass elbow and shoulder strikes. (See the gif below.)
What makes “Full Contact” so great is that the main character doesn’t really want to learn martial arts … and, yet, he has no choice.
How did this happen, you ask? See, Ryuuichi Otawa had just been dumped by his girlfriend because he was weak. Legitimate reason, right? But this leaves Ryuuichi vulnerable. So, of course, while watching a martial arts tournament on TV, he wonders out loud if he could ever be strong. And, of course, Ryuuichi’s mom just so happens to overhear this and does something about it … by enrolling her beloved boy at Kiryu Dojo boarding house where he fights every day (and gets his butt whooped on a daily basis). How is this not a show?
“Gun x Clover” is similar to “Full Contact” in that the main character, due to forces beyond his control, gets himself in a situation that could cause him much bodily harm. Except, in this case, death is more likely.
In this world, there’s apparently a school that trains students to become the best mercenary bodyguards. But for some reason, a merc escort student with no rank whatsoever somehow gets assigned the mission of protecting someone so important that no one, not even the best mercenary bodyguards, have survived.
A manga where someone is in over his head? Always entertaining.
It’s always amusing when a main character has humorous flaws that are detrimental to his line of work (like being warrior who’s great at learning martial arts but doesn’t actually want to learn it). It’s even better when that same character defies expectations of how he should act (like a warrior, whom you’d think would be inherently badass, can’t stop himself from drooling all over the place whenever he sees a pretty girl). Meet Bi-Kwang.
This is the story of Bi-Kwang, with all his faults, who ends up getting entangled in the mission of a cross-dressing swordfighter, a pretty girl named Hwa-Rin Dahm.
“Double Arts” is a very intriguing manga that unfortunately got cancelled (hence why no anime has been made).
Anyway, one of the main characters in “Double Arts,” Elraine Figarette, has an insane career (as one of the Sisters), where the life expectancy of each “employee” is drastically shortened once one chooses that way of life. It essentially kills the Sisters over time because they absorb toxins from people who are infected by an epidemic ravaging the world called “Troy.” Of course, Elraine becomes terminal, soon succumbing to seizures, the final stage before death.
The other character, Kiri Luchile, is immune to Troy and can prevent the disease from manifesting in Elraine by touching her … but he has to all the time. Conflict!
Okay. That’s great. So where’s the fighting? There are assassins who are targeting the Sisters. There we go! Plus, Elraine and Kiri soon find themselves traveling with two amazing fighters — Fallan Denzell and Sui — who both have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves.
The irony is that the manga was cancelled before Elraine and Kiri could master a martial arts style invented just for them: the titular Double Art. What a waste!
Okay, so the main setting of this story is probably in one of the coolest places ever. Incidentally, it has an equally awesome name: The Unabara State or, the Haunt of Demons. Here, sinful martial artists who thirst for nothing but power and live for the utterly amazing sensation of going wild in battle chill out doing, well, sinful, wild stuff.
But there’s a problem. The ruler of this powerful state, Washitzu Naosata, wants a successor. And as the leader of a state filled with sinners, it makes sense that he would decide to send his 31 sons – yes, 31 sons – out on a quest to find powerful martial artists whom he’ll pit against each other to the death. The winner will, of course, be the successor.
One of the contenders is Kurogane Gama, the son of a man who’s rumored to have killed 1,000 Unabara martial artists.
So, there are fights to the death (at least 15), a guy whose dad has a pretty intense reputation and it all takes place in a state called the Haunt of Demons? Yeah, this is just plain awesome.
Teppuu follows Ishidou Natsuo, an immensely gifted athlete, who joins a martial arts club just so she can beat the crap out of a person because that character’s facial expression is too cheerful.
The fact that Ishidou is incredibly talented at sports (and bored because of it) makes her the perfect kind of character to get her ass whooped. And the surprise she gets later on just makes this story even better.
You know how Naruto wants to become Hokage? Remember how, at the beginning of the show, no one liked him and that Naruto wasn’t very good at ninjitsu (or, well, anything)? Well, the main character in this manga thirsts after a seemingly more unachievable goal.
Ushio Hinomaru wants to become a Hinoshita Kaisan, which is the highest possible rank you can achieve in professional sumo.
That alone seems hard. But there’s more. Hinomaru is pretty small. A skinny, little twerp who wants to wrestle with big, heavy guys in a sport where you normally use your strength and size to win? Sounds ridiculous. But it doesn’t stop Hinomaru. Rather than give up on his dreams, Hinomaru decides to join the sumo club, Oodachi High School.
Stories about kids who not only want something they most likely can’t get, but pursue them in extreme ways is always a thrilling read. And, for now, that’s the only way we can enjoy it … by reading.