10 Best Anime Based On Properties That Didn't Originate In Japan – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Anime are usually adapted from manga, light novels, or visual novels. However, there are also many anime based on non-Japanese stories.
When fans think of the best anime, they’re usually thinking of something based on a manga, light novel, or visual novel. It’s safe to say that many anime fans assume that most anime come directly from something that was created in Japan.
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However, from some of the best fantasy anime of the 2000s to many of the classics from the legendary Studio Ghibli, there is also a plethora of amazing anime series that is adapted from properties that came from outside Japan.
The series is a direct-to-DVD anthology that contains several different stories following the adventures of Batman. Each one is written by a different creator and includes stories by Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer, as well as Batman: No Man’s Land architect Greg Rucka. But while the scripts were written by Western creators, the animation studios were powerhouses like Production I.G. and Studio 4°C. It’s a must-watch anthology for fans of Batman, even if the rest of the Bat-Family is suspiciously absent from the stories.
Marvel’s made plenty of effort to get into anime before, which is why the X-Men and Blade both have anime series now, even if very few people have ever seen them. Marvel Future Avengers feels like the most successful of them all, as it focuses on the Avengers teaching a generation of kids to be the next Avengers after they were kidnapped and experimented on by Hydra.
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Fans of the Marvel Universe will find tons to love here, as each episode has a different set of Marvel characters making an appearance. People might be surprised to find that this anime features villains like Kang the Conqueror and heroes like the Winter Guard.
It’s not uncommon for famous characters to be turned into anthropomorphic animals today. However, Sherlock Hound is from the early 80s. TMS Entertainment created a full 26-episode series that took Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes‘ characters and made them all into dogs. Yes, that includes his assistant Watson, as well as his greatest enemy Professor Moriarty. To top it all off? One of the directors responsible for this series is Hayao Miyazaki himself.
The original Witchblade comic was first published in 1995, and it’s actually seen a ton of mainstream success. Aside from a very good revival by Ron Marz in the 2000s and a live-action television series, there was also a Witchblade anime in 2006. The anime got rid of the New York setting and Sara Pezzini and instead focused on Masane Amaha, a new owner of the Witchblade power and her adopted daughter Rihoko. The series had plenty of intrigue and some solid action scenes that made it a cult classic for 2000’s era anime.
Similar to other anime anthology series like Batman: Gotham Knights and The Animatrix, Disney managed to get their legendary science-fiction series into the anime world. A series of short films animated by some of the top studios in the anime world from Studio Trigger to Kinema Citrus, each one gave a different vision of the world of Star Wars. The series has everything from droid stories to alternate history fights between samurai Jedi and Sith.
Moriarty the Patriot takes the Sherlock Holmes and turns it on its side. In this world, William James Moriarty isn’t a villain for the sake of gaining power and wealth but instead uses his own wealth to take down nobles who abuse their power and ruin the lives of the poor. With that in mind though, Sherlock Holmes isn’t exactly a bad guy either. He’s a detective looking to discover the person orchestrating these massive crimes and is also interested in fixing the flaws in this rigid system even though he’s going about it in a different way.
The Romeo x Juliet anime maintains all the characters everyone knows about, but instead of the Montague and Capulets just disliking each other, the Montagues wipe out the entire Capulet family with one exception: Juliet.
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Juliet escapes death and spends 14 years hidden away, eventually becoming a vigilante everyone calls the Red Whirlwind, helping to protect the people of Neo Verona. But when she falls in love with Romeo, the two find themselves trying to keep their love alive in the face of all odds.
In order to shake things up, the people at Studio Gonzo took the Count of Monte Cristo and set it in the year 5053. Gankutsuou goes all out with the sci-fi, bringing in aliens and evil spirits alike. The series follows Viscount Albert de Morcerf, who meets the Count of Monte Cristo during an opera performance and becomes friends with him over time. Becoming close to the Count, Albert introduces him to the other French aristocrats, giving the Count his opportunity to take his revenge on the people he feels betrayed him years ago.
Deltora Quest is based on a popular series of children’s fantasy novels from Australian author Emily Rodda that ran from 2000 to 2005. The series was so popular that, in 2007, Japan created an adaptation of the series that covered the first eight novels of the franchise spanning 65 episodes. The story centers around the quest for the gemstones that created the belt of Deltora. The gems were from all seven tribes of Deltora and allowed the person with the belt to defeat the Shadow Lord centuries ago. When the Shadow Lord returned, he immediately destroyed the belt and scattered the gems, leaving a young man named Lief to go on a quest to recover them and save the lands.
Howl’s Moving Castle is a loose adaptation of the novel by the same name from Diana Wynne Jones. Director Hayao Miyazaki has called this one of his greatest creations, and it’s won multiple awards and was even nominated for Best Animated Feature by the Academy Awards. The film follows Sophie Hatter, a young girl transformed by the Witch of the Waste into an old woman. Eager to return to normal, Sophie begins working with Howl and a number of strange beings in Howl’s living castle, traveling to find the witch across a land in the middle of a war.
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Staff Writer for CBR, Sage Ashford has also written for Comicon as well as other sites such as The Gamer, and has been doing freelance work since 2014, and been working for CBR since 2017. His focus is primarily on spreading the word on obscure anime, comic books, and games whenever possible. Follow him on Twitter @ sageshinigami, or on Twitch @ sageshinigami.


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