It’s no secret that a lot of anime and manga were inspired by Western cartoons and comics. Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy has plenty of classic Disney in its DNA, from Mickey Mouse to Pinocchio. Dragon Ball’s Goku has many similarities to Superman. Then My Hero Academia’s creator, Kōhei Horikoshi, took inspiration from Spider-Man and X-Men, among others, to make his chart-topping strip.

Marvel is as big in Japan as in the West, from licensing the memetic, tokusatsu Spider-Man TV show, to the Marvel Vs Capcom games. They’ve even made their own Marvel anime & manga since the 1970s, though they’ve varied in quality and in ease of access over the years. Some are interesting to check up on, while others are a must-read/watch for any keen Marvel fan.


My Hero Academia: Best Arcs In The Manga, Ranked

Given the unique story developments they bring to the My Hero Academia manga, these arcs are easily the best.

9 Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

MyAnimeList Score: 5.78

Marvel Anime and Manga- Marvel Disk Wars

  • Studio: Toei Animation.
  • 1 Season, 51 Episodes.
  • DVD/Blu-ray only.

Tying a cartoon series to a toy line is a solid route to success. It worked for He-Man, Transformers, and My Little Pony. Though some were more successful than others, since Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers just came and went. In the show, Dr Akatsuki created Digital Identity Securement Kits (DISKs) to detain supervillains. But then Loki turned up and used the tech to free some super criminals, and trap the Avengers.

Now it’s up to the Doctor’s sons and their friends to stop them and free the Avengers for good. In the meantime, they use them as Beyblade-esque powerups to help turn the tide when things get challenging. As toyetic as it is, the show holds up quite well as a Saturday morning cartoon, and features some neat character moments, like Wolverine comparing the tech to the Sentinels, and Blade recreating his sword fight from the 1998 movie.

8 Marvel Future Avengers

MyAnimeList Score: 5.68

Marvel Anime and Manga- Marvel Future Avengers

  • Studio: Madhouse.
  • 2 Seasons, 39 Episodes.
  • Available on Disney+.

For something a little more conventional, Marvel Future Avengers makes its youngsters trainee superheroes instead of Marvel-based Pokémon trainers. Adi, Chloe, and Makoto are teens raised, trained, and genetically engineered by HYDRA to fight the Avengers. But when they realize HYDRA are working with the Masters of Evil on something called the ‘Emerald Rain Project’, they defect and join the Avengers’ side to stop them.

Their goal is to stop the evil organizations, figure out what part they had planned for Makoto in their schemes, and save the other teens in their hold. It also adapts some stories from the main comics, like its own take on the Winter Soldier storyline, and features Kamala Khan and the Inhumans. Weirdly, the series was made during Marvel’s anti-X-Men phase where the mutants were verboten, yet it still managed to use Deadpool significantly for a few episodes.

7 Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

MyAnimeList Score: 6.26

Marvel Anime and Manga- Avengers Confidential Punisher Black Widow

  • Studio: Madhouse.
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 22 minutes.
  • Available to Buy/Rent from Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube, Vudu, DirecTV and Google.

There have been all sorts of animated Marvel projects in Japan, but there were only a few that were part of the Marvel Anime project. Made between 2010 and 2012, it was a series of four animated series and two movies made by Madhouse, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, and Marvel themselves. The Iron Man and Wolverine series were meant to be the big hitters, but they ultimately only received moderate acclaim.


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The Punisher is one of Marvel’s most brutal and bloody characters, but do The Punisher games live up to his namesake?

Their spin-off movie, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, caught on better. Caught by SHIELD, the Punisher is forced to work with Black Widow on a mission to stop the terrorist organization LEVIATHAN. The two heroes made for a neat, odd couple take on vigilantes, and there are some nice cameos from the other Avengers. Though it has a few oddities in it, like making the obscure villain Egghead one of Widow’s old flames.

6 Marvel X Shonen Jump+ Super Collaboration

MyAnimeList Score: 7.12

Marvel Anime and Manga- Marvel X Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration

  • Features Stories from Kazuki Takahashi, Hachi Mizuno, Takeshi Sakurai, Toyotaka Haneda, Ken Ogino, Sanshiro Kusama and Hikaru Uesugi.
  • 1 Volume, 6 Chapters.
  • Fan Translations only.

Getting into the manga side of things, Shueisha’s digital platform Shōnen Jump+ joined forces with Marvel to produce Marvel X Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration in 2019. It’s a series of one-shots by different manga artists that all take place in the same continuity. Or at least that’s the case according to Marvel, who said they all take place on Earth-346. Its most popular inclusions would get separate English releases, but others are still Japan-only.

For example, Akuten Wars’ author Hachi Mizuno made a series of joke comics called Avengers: Gag Reel. Vocchi-men’s Toyotaka Haneda did a story about Ant-Man worrying about his daughter spending a year out in Japan. While the strip by Lady Justice’s Ken Ogino took the form of a series of interviews with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Bruce Banner.

5 Secret Reverse

MyAnimeList Score: 6.56

Marvel Anime and Manga- Secret Reverse

  • Written & Illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi.
  • 1 Volume, 2 Chapters.
  • Available in English via Viz Media.

Starting off in the Super Collaboration, late Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi made Secret Reverse. In it, Iron Man and Spider-Man attend a gaming convention to see Reijiro Kaioh, the man behind the famous card game ‘Secret Reverse’, introduce his Deathal machines. They’re meant to help play the game, but are actually portals that’ll allow interdimensional monsters to come through and take over the world.

In other words, it’s a Yu-Gi-Oh plot where Webhead and Shellhead lay out the monsters directly instead of laying out their card decks. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds thanks to Kaioh’s interdimensional technology, but it makes for a pretty exciting manga. Just one that’s more action-heavy than the heroes’ regular strips. It’s also one of the last projects Takahashi worked on before he passed on in 2022.

4 Marvel Anime: X-Men

MyAnimeList Score: 6.32

Marvel Anime and Manga- Marvel Anime X-Men

  • Studio: Madhouse.
  • 1 Season, 12 Episodes.
  • Available to buy from Vudu and Google.

One of the reasons the Marvel Anime: Wolverine series got a cool reception was that Wolverine’s design looked more bishōnen than fans were used to. He still had the pointy hair and mutton chops, but the gruff, old Canadian now looked more at home in a mid-2000s action anime than with the X-Men. It’s a fairly minor issue compared to its other faults (dull villain), as it was meant to be an anime take on the guy.


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The MCU is set to add Mutants to the franchise, but what exactly can they do with icons like the X-Men?

Luckily, the Marvel Anime: X-Men series went with a more traditional Wolverine. He and the other X-Men reunite after the death of Jean Grey to save Armor from the U-Men in Japan. It has the strongest, most consistent art of the four series, blending its comic origins with the anime look most effectively. That and it has some sturdy acting from the likes of Steve Blum and Cam Clarke as Wolverine and Professor X respectively.

3 Marvel Anime: Blade

MyAnimeList Score: 6.21

Marvel Anime and Manga- Marvel Anime Blade

  • Studio: Madhouse.
  • 1 Season, 12 Episodes.
  • Available to buy on Amazon, Vudu, Apple TV, and Google.

Most fans and critics ended up preferring Marvel Anime: Blade out of the whole ensemble. Here, the daywalking vampire hunter heads to the East to track down Deacon Frost, the vampire that killed his mother, and a mysterious organization of vampires called ‘Existence’. As simple as it sounds, it becomes a globetrotting adventure as Blade travels all around Asia to stay on Frost’s trail, facing off against a rich variety of vampiric foes.

The series has a lively plot as well. Blade gets introspective about his life, while trying to clear up a misunderstanding with Makoto, his partner-turned-nemesis-turned partner again. His mentor, Noah Van Helsing, lightens things up with his cool attitude, and even Wolverine turns up when Blade passes through Marvel Anime: Wolverine’s Madripoor. The only downside is Frost, who’s a duller figure than Stephen Dorff’s take in the Blade movie.

2 Deadpool: Samurai

MyAnimeList Score: 7.39

Marvel Anime and Manga- Deadpool Samurai

  • Written by Sanshiro Kusama.
  • Illustrated by Hikaru Uesugi.
  • 2 Volumes, 17 Chapters.
  • Available in English via Viz Media.

Also borne from the Marvel X Shonen Jump+ Super Collaboration, Deadpool: Samurai sees the merc with a mouth head to Japan to stop Loki from taking over the country. Mainly because Tony Stark offered him a ton of money if he somehow managed to succeed in subduing the Norse god. His only aid comes from Sakura Spider, “a young girl with a familiar yet unimpressive backstory”, and Neiro Aratabi, a pop idol with a symbiote called Kage.

Deadpool is one of those heroes who can really get annoying if he’s played up to excess. Thankfully, he’s toned down enough to help his strange sense of humor land more effectively here. Like when he accidentally summons My Hero Academia’s All Might for help when his Wonderswan gets knocked out of his hand. There isn’t much of a narrative, but what’s there is held in place by its funny gags, quips, and occasional bites of the hands that feed, so to speak.

1 Spider-Man: Fake Red

MyAnimeList Score: 7.45

Marvel Anime and Manga- Spider-Man Fake Red

  • Written & Illustrated by Yusuke Okawa.
  • 1 Volume, 14 Chapters.
  • Available in English via Viz Media.

Being Marvel’s flagship hero, Spider-Man has received the most manga adaptations as well. Spider-Man: The Manga followed the comic’s beat with its heavy hero drama, while Spider-Man J went all chibi. Spider-Man: Fake Red takes things in a more curious direction. As Spider-Man goes missing, then Japanese American student Yu Onomae comes across a Spider-Man outfit in the trash while walking back from school.

Being a Spider-fan, it’s a dream find, especially when it comes with working web shooters. But he finds himself having to rescue people and fight crime without the Spider-powers to go with it. Plus, he’s still wondering what happened to the real Spider-Man. It makes for a good Spider-story with endearing characters and a nice, unfolding mystery that builds up to a climactic showdown between the two Spider-men.


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