5 Incredible Japanese Spins on Western Media

A web-manga adaptation of Back to the Future from the superb illustrator Yuusuke Murata of One-Punch Man and Eyeshield 21 is set to premiere later this year. While this adaptation is sure to be amazing and already features some astounding artwork, it also adds to the amazing and bizarre list of Japanese takes on Western media. These five adaptations and crossovers are truly great in their own special way and should be experienced by anyone with a fondness for the original material.

Batman Ninja

Move over DC Extended Cinematic Universe.

The upcoming Batman Ninja CGI animated film is one of those things that you didn’t realize you needed in your life until it was brought to your attention. Confirmed for a 2018 release, this film reimagines the Dark Knight as a hero sent back in time to feudal Japan to prevent the Joker from creating an empire modeled on his twisted ideals. With some of the most talented names in anime behind this project, Batman Ninja will inevitably be brilliant in both concept and execution.

While the recent Berserk anime adaptations have left many skeptical of CGI animation, this film really does look like it might be something special. The more bizarre and unexpected situations the world’s most popular superhero can be placed in, the better.

Sherlock Hound

I’m sure this is exactly how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle imagined his characters.

Didja’ ever wonder what it would be like if classic Sherlock Holmes stories were reimagined with anthropomorphized animal characters? Well, this anime has you covered! Sherlock Hound is a 1980s Italian-Japanese animated show that has the classic characters reimagined as humanoid dogs.

This anime is nothing less than utterly ridiculous and therefore wonderful. In this anime, Sherlock Holmes – whose name is, of course, Sherlock Hound – is a red fox, Dr. Watson is a Scottish Terrier, and the villainous Moriarty is a gray wolf with a monocle and a diabolical mustache. The entire 26-episode series is available for free on YouTube with the first episode having only 190,000 views, which is nothing less than a travesty.

Attack on Avengers

A clash between two titanic franchises.

Attack on Avengers is a one-shot manga that pits the iconic titans from Attack on Titan against classic Marvel characters like Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. This manga is non-canonical, completely ignores a good chunk of the lore and rules from each franchise, and is an absolute joy to experience.

Despite functioning as more of a promotional, very branded experience, this manga feels like a schoolyard debate brought to life. If you’d like to see the Hulk fight the Female Titan and Star-Lord blast an even more gigantic Colossal Titan, this manga is definitely worth your time.

Supernatural the Animation

On top of everything else, this anime gives us a beautiful Kansas cover.

Ya’ know Madhouse? The acclaimed studio behind anime like One-Punch Man Season 1, Death Note, and Perfect Blue? Well, they also made an anime adaptation of the incredibly popular show Supernatural. Despite seeming like something conceived in a fever dream, Supernatural the Animation is real and surprisingly good.

This anime isn’t groundbreaking or especially unique in its execution, but it’s still a solid adaptation. It’s at least as good as some of its more recent seasons anyway. In fact, after watching a few episodes, Supernatural’s premise might just work better in an animated medium. At the very least, this official trailer is a delight.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal

What a weird game this was.

For years the PlayStation consoles have been the best way to experience games from both Western and Japanese developers. While the Xbox consoles continue to struggle to find a large consumer base outside of the U.S. and the Nintendo Switch is only now starting to draw in third-party developers, PlayStation has always been the best way to experience the greatest and weirdest games from around the world. This is made startlingly clear in the crossover fighting game, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal.

In this bizarre game, some of the most famous PlayStation characters duke it out in a collection of iconic settings. These included characters like Metal Gear Rising’s Raiden, Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, God of War’s Kratos, and Parappa Rappa. While this game didn’t sell exceptionally well and received ridicule for being a Super Smash Bros. clone, it is still a fantastic blend of the diverse characters present in the PlayStation library of games.

BONUS: The X-Men Animated Series Japanese Opening

This is way cooler than it has any right to be. You’re welcome.

 

Lucas DeRuyter

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison and am majoring in Political Science, Communication Arts, and minoring in Entrepreneurial Studies.

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