12 Anime That Has No Manga

Credit: Sunrise

Credit: Sunrise

Much of the anime we watch has source material, ranging from manga to light novels. For anime-only fans, there’s always going to be that struggle of trying to avoid spoilers from manga readers or memes all over social media. 

But then again, there’s also a bunch of anime series that didn’t come from a manga or have no source material. Here’s a list of anime that was not adapted from the manga.

  1. Death Parade

    This series was created by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse. Its origins actually came from a short film titled Death Billiards, which was also produced by Madhouse as a part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013.

    The story follows Decim, an arbiter to the afterlife. He doesn’t exactly judge whether the dead end up in heaven or hell—it’s whether they get reincarnated or sent into the void. Mainly set in a bar, the dead play different kinds of games as a basis for Decim’s judgment. The opening theme is super catchy!

  2. Wonder Egg Priority

    Created by Shinji Nojima, this anime is about Ai Ooto, who is struggling after the death of her best friend. She somehow ends up purchasing a Wonder Egg, which upon breaking in her sleep results in the creation of a dream world where she has to help people in various situations. 

    Wonder Egg Priority tackles numerous sensitive topics, so it’s best to check the trigger warnings first.

  3. Cowboy Bebop

    Directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, this iconic sci-fi anime follows a group of space bounty hunters in their ship called Bebop. It was a big hit in the United States, perhaps due to its Western influences such as film noir, which doesn’t make it seem like a “typical” anime. All of this alongside the amazing music by Yoko Kanno is what makes it even more iconic.

    Netflix is releasing a live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop this fall.

  4. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

    While Code Geass does have a lot of manga and light novels, the anime is the original material. It follows Lelouch Lamperouge, who obtains a mysterious power called the Geass, which grants him “power of absolute obedience”. With this power, he assumes his position as the leader of a rebellion against the Holy Britannian Empire.

    The original character designs were by Clamp, an all-female group of manga artists.

  5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

    Dark psychological thriller meets magical girls in this series by an artist collective called Magica Quartet. Students Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki cross paths with a magical cat-like entity who calls himself Kyuubey. At the expense of granting them a single wish, these two must become magical girls and fight witches in order to protect the world.


  6. FLCL

    This creation by Kazuya Tsurumaki is chaotic at best. Naota Nandaba’s seemingly ordinary life is disrupted by a woman named Haruko Haruhara, who runs him over with her Vespa. An attempt to revive him involved Haruko hitting him in the head with her bass guitar, which eventually causes a bump on Naota’s head that opens a portal where robots come out.

  7. Yuri!!! On Ice

    Professional figure skater Yuri Katsuki is currently in somewhat of a slump after losing at the Grand Prix Final. His idol, fellow skater Viktor Nikiforov, suddenly flies to his hometown and offers to be his coach. 

    This creation by Sayo Yamamoto and Mitsurō Kubo, produced by MAPPA, is a shōjo fan favorite especially because of the romance between Yuri and Victor.

  8. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

    Mankind has been forced to live underground for years, and the main characters Simon and Kamina have a desire to go up to the planet’s surface. The two end up encountering a small mecha that helps them reach their desire. Upon reaching the surface world, they learn that there are numerous enemies that they must defeat.

  9. Neon Genesis Evangelion

    Here’s another mecha anime, but mixed with trauma and depression. While a manga of the series does exist, it was adapted from the anime, not the other way around. Created by Hideki Anno, the story follows Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy who pilots a mecha to fight beings called Angels. 

    Known for its psychological themes that may or may not give you an existential crisis, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a must-watch for any anime fan who loves these genres.

  10. Samurai Champloo

    So imagine the Edo period of Japan, but with a lot of hip-hop involved. Samurai Mugen and Jin are saved from execution by a waitress named Fuu. In exchange, she hires them to be her bodyguards and to assist her in finding a samurai who smells of sunflowers. This series was also directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, a few years after Cowboy Bebop.


  11. Great Pretender

    Produced by Wit Studio and written by Ryōta Kosawa, this anime is about the schemes of con artists Makoto “Edamame” Edamura and Laurent Thierry. Teaming up with various associates, the plot follows their elaborate scams around the world, targeting the rich.

    Great Pretender does have a manga, but the anime came first.

  12. Serial Experiments Lain

    Lain Iwakura is an introverted and awkward junior high school student who doesn’t really interact with her peers. When the girls from her school receive an email from their dead classmate Chisa, Lain finds out that she got an email too. She was never really into computers, but this email has changed her whole life since.

    Written by Chiaki J. Konaka, this avant-garde psychological series explores philosophical themes alongside computers and technology.

    Related: 12 Best Anime Villains Of All Time Ranked

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