The Best Manga that Don’t Have An Anime (Yet)

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The Best Manga that Don’t Have An Anime (Yet)
Credit: Ji-hun Jeong / Naver | Yukinobu Tatsu / Shueisha | Kiyohiko Azuma / ASCII Media Works

The anime world often spoils us with adaptations of the best manga, allowing readers to experience the series all over again. Nowadays, it feels like every great series has been lined up for an anime. However, we’ve uncovered these best manga that don’t have an anime yet.

Whether you’re looking to get ahead of the game or simply find a new story to dive into, these relatively hidden gems are definitely worth checking out!

  1. Dandadan

    Dandadan is one of those great series that blends action and comedy perfectly, making it a really easy series to binge read.

    The series starts with an argument between Momo and Ken; Momo believes that ghosts are real but not aliens, while Ken believes the opposite.

    To settle their debate, they both seek to disprove each other’s beliefs, only to find out that both ghosts and aliens exist.

    What follows is a shounen series full of both supernatural and sci-fi elements, along with plenty of comedy between the two stars.

    Dandadan, despite being a relatively new series, has received glowing praise from fans and critics alike. Many people believe an anime adaptation is a matter of when, not if, and when it arrives, it’ll be huge!

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  2. Frieren: Beyond Journey's End

    There seems to be a growing collection of stories that subvert fantasy anime tropes, and Frieren might just be one of the best examples.

    In this world, the evil demon king has finally been defeated. The story starts by following the victorious heroes as they reminisce over their journey before disbanding, and returning to normal civilisation.

    For the standoff-ish Frieren, though, life is a little different. As she ages slower than the others, she has to watch her former comrades age and pass away.

    Now with a young human apprentice, she traverses the land trying to understand human life and confront regrets from her previous adventures.

    Frieren was first published in 2020 and won the New Work Prize at the 25th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize awards in 2021. The series is ongoing and continuing to get bigger, which will surely lead to an anime in the future.

  3. Kaiju No. 8

    Action shonen always make for popular anime adaptations, and with Kaiju No. 8 being one of the most popular right now, it feels like an adaptation won’t be far away.

    In Kaiju No. 8, Kafka dreams of joining the Defence Force and fighting against giant monsters called Kaiju that threaten the world. However, he can only manage to join the clean-up crew that has to deal with the remains.

    However, Kafka’s life changes when a small monster flies into his mouth and gives him the ability to transform into one of the monsters himself.

    In 2020, Kaiju No. 8 became one of the fastest-growing series ever on Shonen Jump+ in terms of readership, with results comparable to Spy x Family. It also ranked 10th in 2022 in a popular Japanese poll on manga people most wanted to see adapted into an anime.

  4. Yotsuba to!

    There have been fans calling for an adaptation of Yotsuba to for years. However, the mangaka Kiyohiko Azuma (who also created Azumanga Daioh) believes that the unique atmosphere of this charming slice-of-life would be lost, hence no adaptation yet for this great series.

    The series follows the fun-filled adventures of Yotsuba Koiwai, a young girl living in a new city. The chapters follow her and her friends on various small adventures as the child discovers the world.

    As you can imagine, it’s a story filled with all the charm and innocent laughs you would expect.

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  5. The Horizon

    The Horizon is technically a Korean webtoon, created by Ji-Hoon Jeong. However, given the growing popularity of webtoons and recent anime adaptations, there are growing calls to see what is classed as one of the medium’s masterpieces on the silver screen.

    The dark tragedy takes place in a world ravaged by war. Surrounded by rubble and the bodies of the dead, a boy and girl walk together across a long, empty road towards the horizon.

    The story is relatively short but incredibly poignant and touching. If there is ever an animated version announced, it’ll be a very emotional journey.

  6. Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist's Journey

    Akiko Higashimura is a popular mangaka behind the cult classic anime Princess Jellyfish. However, many fans argue that her best work is this autobiographical tale about a young girl forging her manga career.

    Kakukaku Shikajika follows a young Akiko Hayashi who has very detailed dreams about writing manga in high school and marrying her favourite voice actor. However, joining an art class led by the hardline Kenzou Hidaka, who has no interest in manga, opens her eyes to new challenges.

    Many readers see Blank Canvas as a more realistic and heartfelt version of the hugely popular shonen Bakuman.

    Perhaps now is the perfect time for a new, female-led anime series about the hopes and realities many people experience in their relationship with manga and anime.

  7. Shangri-La Frontier

    On the face of it, Shangri-La Frontier is a series we’ve seen a thousand times over in manga and anime. However, it’s been quietly building momentum over the last few years.

    Now, after being nominated for the ​​46th Annual Kodansha Manga Awards, many fans are anticipating a seemingly inevitable anime adaptation.

    The manga, itself based on a web novel, follows a high-school student who loves to beat bad videogames. Shangri-La Frontier is the next game on his list, but as he progresses, he begins to discover that there’s more to the VR game than meets the eye.

    At a time when isekai anime are being created at an incredible pace, this is one you can expect to see in future years.

  8. Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty

    This shoujo manga is a new, modern retelling of the classic fairytale with added supernatural elements. It’s a wonderful blend of romance and the supernatural that would make for a truly beautiful anime if ever created.

    Tetsu Misato is a young, timid boy who takes a job as a cleaner in a famous mansion at the top of a hill. While there, he meets Shizu Karasawa, a young girl living alone in a small building at the end of the garden.

    Tetsu and Shizu get to know each other, and Tetsu slowly learns about the mysterious illness that leaves Shizu confined to her building. When strange supernatural phenomena begin to happen to Shizu, Tetsu’s left wondering how much he really knows her.

    The series is quite small, spanning only 26 chapters. That’s perhaps one reason why no anime has been created yet. Still, we can live in hope that more great shoujo manga get adaptations in future!

  9. Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare

    Boys love and girls love anime and manga are fairly common, but finding series that genuinely and compassionately deal with LGBTQ+ issues can be rare.

    Shimanami Tasogare is one of the very best, and as Japan and the world opens up a little more, perhaps we’ll see this story given some light in future.

    Our Dreams at Dusk follows Tasuku Kaname, a high-school student considering suicide due to fear of being exposed as gay. However, when he sees someone jump off a building and survive, he is knocked out of his thinking.

    Tasuku ends up forming a relationship with the person, known as Anonymous – a non-binary individual that runs a meeting house for people with similar problems.

    The series is an exploration of various issues that the LGBTQ+ community face. With a host of characters from across the spectrum, this touching seinen manga shines a spotlight on lived experiences.

  10. Spirit Circle

    Spirit Circle is another of those manga that is easy to overlook, but when you dig deeper, actually contains so much more than the sum of its parts.

    This action-comedy follows Fuuta – a boy with a birthmark on his cheek who can see ghosts – and Kouko, a girl with a scar on her forehead accompanied by a ghost. Kouko declares Fuuta to be her sworn enemy and attacks him with a weapon known as the Spirit Circle.

    After previous incarnations of himself flash before his eyes, Fuuta is tasked with discovering his and Kouko’s shared past to understand why they are supposedly enemies in the present.

    The series was nominated for one of Japan’s biggest science-fiction awards in 2017, alongside the acclaimed and already adapted manga Erased.

    Spirit Circle has been praised for its entertainment value but also a deep and complex plot that engages even the most experienced sci-fi readers.

  11. Umarekawatte mo Mata

    There’s something special about romance stories that make you laugh and cry at the same time.

    Umarekawattemo Mata, Watashi to Kekkon shitekuremasu ka (Will you marry me again if you are reborn?) is one of the best examples of this and would surely make for an incredible anime experience.

    The story is told by an elderly couple as the husband, Toranosuke, is bedridden in a hospital. He and his wife, Kaoru, reminisce about their life spent in love with each other, from childhood sweethearts through to adulthood. As their time nears the end, the question is asked, but they both know the answer is a resounding yes.

    Almost everybody that has read this manga says that they cried after every chapter. You can’t help but feel this would make for a special 13-episode anime at some point in the future.

    Related: Manga Guaranteed to Make You Cry