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10 Anime Based On Marvel Comics – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Comic books and anime don’t cross over nearly enough, but when they do, it can be pretty special as proven by the Marvel Anime series.
There are few forms of entertainment that are as versatile as anime and it’s impressive to see how the medium can develop completely original stories, adapt manga source material, or turn to inspiration that’s even more unconventional. Even those that aren’t familiar with the comics industry have at least heard of Marvel and the comics label has found countless ways to reinvent their most beloved and established characters.
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There are also a decent amount of superhero anime series that adopt comic sensibilities for an anime context. The most exciting examples of this are when popular Marvel properties can get a crazy facelift, and anime has some unique examples of this.
The most prominent examples of anime series working in collaboration with Marvel are a collection of four Marvel Anime series that were produced by Madhouse. Marvel Anime: X-Men adopts a refreshing angle from the many other X-Men animated series that exist.
It’s set after the events of the Dark Phoenix Saga and Jean Grey’s death. The fractured X-Men are sent to Japan to protect innocent mutants from a group of organ-harvesting villains known as the U-Men. Marvel Anime: X-Men‘s story angle is one of its strongest assets and its take on the characters feels authentic.
Madhouse produced two direct-to-video movies that extend the boundaries of their Marvel Anime universe and tell particularly epic stories. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore cleverly casts Ezekial Stane as a parallel to Tony Stark and his madness leads to a mission to eradicate humanity with machines with the use of a powerful villain named Technovore.
Rise of Technovore feels big in scope and it assembles a large cast that puts Iron Man together with Hawkeye, Black Widow, War Machine, and even the Punisher, which gives the story a bit of a pseudo-Avengers feel.
Some of the circumstances around the different Marvel Anime series and how they get these superheroes to Japan can feel contrived, but Wolverine is actually someone with a rich history that has roots in the country. 
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Wolverine is present in Marvel Anime: X-Men, but Marvel Anime: Wolverine turns him into more of a brooding lone wolf who tries to save his lost love to a life of crime. Wolverine teams up with a powerful female ninja and it’s a pulpy action-filled story that takes advantage of Wolverine’s rage. A brief appearance from Cyclops also doesn’t hurt the anime.
Marvel has so many superheroes in its stable that it can be easy to forget that legacy characters like Dracula are also technically within the Marvel Universe. Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned is an especially ambitious effort for the early 1980s.
It’s a feature-length movie that tells an oddly sympathetic Dracula story where he finds himself under attack after he steals Lucifer’s bride-to-be for himself. There are lots of different takes on Dracula, but Sovereign of the Damned specifically pulls from Marvel’s The Tomb of Dracula by the prolific Marv Wolfman. It’s a strangely important piece of Marvel anime.
Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers is easily the most anime of all of the Marvel anime series. Marvel Disk Wars adopts a monster hunting aesthetic to the iconic superheroes and its focus is on the five children who can summon Avengers through devices called DISKs that they’re trapped in.
These kids must retrieve and save more heroes from DISKs before evil organizations find them first. It’s a bizarre angle, but one that embraces anime’s structure and tropes. At 51 episodes, it’s also the longest of any Marvel anime series.
Blade is a bloody Marvel character that’s perfect for the hyperbolized world of anime. Many anime deal with hunters of the undead and a character like Blade can truly let loose when they have the limitless freedom of animation. 
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Marvel Anime: Blade doesn’t stray too far from Blade’s origins and the anime pits him against Deacon Frost, the vampire who’s responsible for the death of Blade’s mother, as well as a malevolent growing faction of vampires known as “Existence.” Marvel Anime: Blade is a satisfying adaptation and the character even briefly crosses paths with Wolverine during his escapade in Japan.
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is the final effort from Madhouse’s Marvel Anime universe and it certainly tries to conclude things in a big way. The anime movie’s plot isn’t overly complicated and it involves Black Widow and Punisher working together to prevent S.H.I.E.L.D. technology from being sold by terrorists.
Despite the rote nature of the story, it delivers some very impressive fight sequences and benefits from a cast that also includes Iron Man, the Hulk, Hawkeye, and even Captain Marvel and Thor in smaller roles.
Another famous Universal monster that’s technically a part of the Marvel Universe is Frankenstein’s Monster. The Monster of Frankenstein is a direct-to-video anime movie from 1981 that was produced following the success of Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.
The Monster of Frankenstein is surprisingly over 90 minutes long and it re-tells the standard creation story between Victor Frankenstein and his Monster. However, The Monster of Frankenstein is specifically based upon Marvel’s comic adaptation by Gary Friedrich and Michael G. Ploog. It’s more of an odd entity than anything else.
Iron Man is a Marvel character that’s truly exploded over the past decade thanks to his Marvel Cinematic Universe representation. There are no shortage of Tony Stark stories, especially ones that involve his technology going out of control and getting in the wrong hands.
Marvel Anime: Iron Man puts Tony up against a compelling antagonist when the suit that he makes to take over for himself post-retirement, the Iron Man Dio, rebels and gets controlled by an old ally that Tony thought was dead. Marvel Anime: Iron Man presents an interesting take on the character’s typical tales of hubris.
Marvel Future Avengers is a more recent and unique Marvel anime series that’s currently available to watch on Disney+. The 39-episode anime looks at three teenagers who have been genetically modified by HYDRA, only to get rescued by the Avengers and trained to apply their new powers to become the superheroes of tomorrow.
It’s a charming premise and it’s a lot of fun to see these budding heroes learn from these larger than life figures that they idolize. There’s also easy chemistry between the members of the Avengers, which includes some encouraging members, like the Wasp. 
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Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, who lives in the cultural mosaic that is Brooklyn, New York. Daniel’s work can be read on ScreenRant, Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, and across the Internet. Daniel recently completed work on a noir anthology graphic novel titled, “Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales” and he’s currently toiling away on his first novel. Daniel’s extra musings can be found @DanielKurlansky on Twitter.


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