Studio Manglobe was created in 2002, but unfortunately, declared bankruptcy in 2015. Manglobe was a studio that never played by the rules. They didn’t gain views with countless amounts of fanservice or cute moe lolis. Instead, Manglobe was well versed in a variety of cultures, and most of their series were geared towards adults. Even though Manglobe is no more, we still remember the great anime they produced.
With this list, you will be introduced to ten of the best anime from Manglobe. However, we’ve excluded OVAs and movies. We’ll also be mentioning each series as a whole, so don’t expect one season to be lower on the list while the other season is higher. This is so that we can introduce you to more anime by this legendary studio. With all that said, let’s get onto the list.
10. Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2011 to Dec 2011
Two private academies. One an all-girls school, and the other all-boys. The decision is made to combine the two schools and make one big co-ed academy. But instead of combining the two schools right away, a test run is established so that the girls can feel comfortable with the sudden change. Enter the guinea pig males, discovering what’s it’s like to be around girls for the first time.
Sounds like your typical visual novel scenario, yes? Well, it’s not about the premise, but the execution of its story. The main character, Shingo, and his harem are more than just your average ecchi anime stereotypes. The characters are given enough screen time for you to understand who they are. This does make things harder in the best girl department, as you grow to love all of them. By the end, you are left with a satisfying conclusion, and you’ll wish that all harem anime were like Mashiro-iro.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 2013 to Jun 2013
Nai isn’t having the greatest night. Falling captive to a wealthy human-eating ghoul, Nai doesn’t seem to have many options but to give up. To his convenience, Gareki, a thief, just so happens to be robbing the ghoul’s home. The two decide to help one another and escape from the ghoul, only to find themselves in a secret organization called Circus. Circus may just have the answers Nai and Gareki need in order to find what they’re looking for. The two just have to get past all the monsters and crime syndicates first.
If you’re a fan of gorgeous men fighting, then this anime is for you! There aren’t too many circus themed anime, so Karneval really stands out in the style department. The dashing men each have their own special ability or weapon. This makes every battle pop and you can’t look away. What’s also very interesting is that this anime is a josei, aka geared towards older women. Most josei and even shoujo are romance, but Karneval is unique by being a mystery fantasy with no romance whatsoever. With no bland female lead, you get to enjoy all the stunning men for yourself. That, and not get upset over the lead not choosing the clear best boy of the harem.
8. Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke (Unlimited Psychic Squad)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 2013 to Mar 2013
P.A.N.D.R.A is a group of rebel ESPers who save fellow ESPers from being mistreated by humans. As a rebel group, P.A.N.D.R.A uses violence in order to achieve their mission. Some may say their methods are so cruel, that they should be considered as the villains. But, see the world through P.A.N.D.R.A’s, then determine whether or not the rebel group are truly villains. Especially their leader, Hyoubu Kyousuke.
The Unlimited is a sequel spin off to Zettai Karen Children. And in the parent story, Hyoubu was the main antagonist. You don’t need to see the original story to watch this spin off, though. Zettai Karen Children was a cute comedy with little girls trying to stop Hyoubu from destroying the peace. The Unlimited, while still funny, is a more serious anime with Hyoubu as an adult. Even though he’s a villainous protagonist, you end up rooting for Hyoubu to succeed. You start to see more of a human side to Hyoubu as he slowly becomes more of an anti-hero than a villain.
7. Saraiya Goyou (House of Five Leaves)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2010 to July 2010
Akitsu Masanosuke is a highly skilled samurai, but was let go by his previous samurai group. Homeless and suffering from social anxiety, Akitsu was hired to be the bodyguard for Yachi, the leader of the gang “Five Leaves”. Although a skilled samurai, can Akitsu fix his social anxiety with the help of a gang? Can he even be called a loyal samurai by being with a gang? Or perhaps Akitsu should learn not to judge a book by it’s cover, and read its pages instead.
Saraiya Goyou is not your everyday samurai anime. There’s no action, or crazy evil villains. Instead, we have a very mature story about a man who needs help. Someone who is trying to understand others, while also learning about himself. Five Leaves is a gang that steals from anybody, but not always with bad intentions.
With Akitsu’s character design alone, you can see the depression and stress. Akitsu’s hair is out of place, his eyes are droopy, and he’s never seen without a frown. It’s also very rare for themes such as mental disabilities to be adapted. Even though you may be the best, that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. And that’s what this anime is trying to explore.
6. Deadman Wonderland
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2011 to Jul 2011
Surprised that a middle schooler gets to be put on death row? Or how about an amusement park with the hype of the entertainment being the deaths of inmates? Unfortunately, 14-year-old Ganta was framed for the brutal murder of his entire class, and sent to Deadman Wonderland. Deadman Wonderland is where death row inmates play games for the masses to enjoy, only to die right in the middle of it. What’s worse is that Ganta was given the power of Deadman; the ability to shapeshift one’s own blood into a weapon. Out for revenge on the person who framed him, while surviving many deadly obstacles in the park, can Ganta make it out in one piece?
We jump from an anime with no action, to an anime with tons of it. Deadman Wonderland is epic, with its twisted world and characters. You cannot trust anyone, no matter how sweet they look. The opening theme pumps you up for another brutal but epic murder. The mystery of who framed Ganta, and the mystery of the park itself is also very intriguing. Deadman Wonderland is very gorey, but if you’re into that sort of thing, then be sure to watch the uncensored version. Sadly, Deadman Wonderland is infamous for its less than satisfying conclusion. However, the manga is completed, so you can also continue on from there.
5. Michiko to Hatchin (Michiko and Hatchin)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct 2008 to Mar 2009
Produced by the director of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe, comes Michiko to Hachin. Hatchin is a foster child, treated an awful lot like Cinderella. But that means a fairy Godmother is sure to appear, right? One day, she does! Except this fairy Godmother is Hatchin's biological mother, Michiko. A wanted woman who escaped from prison to find her long lost husband. Michiko whisks Hatchin away as they try to escape from the police, gangs, and some crazy citizens. This was not the fairy tale story Hatchin was expecting.
Michiko to Hatchin is a fun and wild ride. With the anime taking place in Brazil, you’re introduced to a whole new world that no other anime has explored before. The soundtrack was composed by a famous Brazilian musician, to give you those Brazilian vibes. Even though Michiko saved Hatchin from her horrible foster home, Michiko isn’t that much better at being a parent. We get a unique style of a mother-daughter series filled with crime and escape. If you’re looking for something completely different from your average anime, then Michiko to Hachin should be at the top of your “must watch” list.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2015 to Sep 2015
Ergastalum is a city filled with drugs, mafias, prostitutes, and Twilights. Twilights are hired as assassins and bodyguards, using their enhanced super human abilities to carry out the job. Within this chaotic city lies the Handymen, and its members Worick and Nicolas. They do the jobs that the police don’t want to bother with, and the jobs that the mafia could use an extra helping hand for. Suddenly, more and more Twilights are starting to terrorize the very “order” in Ergastalum. This may be a bigger job than the Handymen can handle.
Here’s a hard cold seinen for you mafia fans out there. Gangsta is the very definition of gritty (I mean, look at that title, am I right?). Gangsta also stands out with its mafia crime genre, as the Twilights add a more supernatural element to the series. There’s action with both swords and guns, making you pumped up for the next battle. This was Manglobe’s last anime before they went bankrupt, so the least we could do was honor them with their final work. And what a way to go, becuase Gangsta definitely leaves an impression.
3. Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (The World God Only Knows)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2010 to Dec 2010
Keima Katsuragi is known by all as “The God of Conquest” for capturing the heart of any and all women. Except that’s only when he plays dating sims and visual novels. Keima prefers anime waifus over real life waifus. One day, someone challenges Keima to prove his God-tier skills. Accepting the idiotic challenge, Keima was tricked into winning the hearts of evil spirits roaming around the earth. But wait, this means he'll have to talk to actual girls!
One of Manglobe’s most popular anime ever! So popular that it has 3 seasons. The World God Only Knows sounds very similar to Date A Live, but remember that this anime came first. Keima’s otaku tendencies and “godly” powers to swoon women are hilarious. And believe it or not, there are actually serious moments throughout the series. This is one of the best ecchi harems out there by making you laugh, swoon, and keeping you at the edge of your seat.
2. Ergo Proxy
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Feb 2006 to Aug 2006
A post-apocalyptic future where mankind is at the brink of extinction. The earth is mostly uninhabitable, so humans have created “AutoReivs” to assist in humanity’s recovery. Somehow, the AutoReivs are becoming self-aware, and it's up to Re-l to figure out what's going on. By doing so she runs into the dark truth behind humanity’s only safehaven, Romdo.
Ergo Proxy is not for the average anime fan. To watch Ergo Proxy, you need to give your undivided attention to every single detail. Because that one seemingly insignificant scene you zoned out on, will turn out to be very important later on. Ergo Proxy doesn't hold your hand either, as it expects you to figure out and assume things for yourself. But don't let this scare you! If you think you can take on Ergo Proxy, then go for it. After all, it is one of Manglobe’s best.
1. Samurai Champloo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2004 to Mar 2005
Fuu is a clumsy girl. Mugen is a samurai with no technique. And Jin is the very embodiment of the perfect samurai. Together, this odd trio embark on a quest to find “the samurai who smells of sunflowers”. That is, if they don't kill each other first.
Samurai Champloo is perfect for the fall, the color palette of the anime consists of warm yellows, browns, and reds. The characters are lovable in their own way, and the journey is an experience that you don't want to end. Some episodes are more ridiculous than others, such as the ones with graffiti gangs or samurai playing baseball. But it's the overall tone and style of the anime that makes you come back for more. What other anime is going to have a breakdancing samurai with lofi hip hop music playing in the background?
Harems, gore, comedy, and international adventure. Manglobe was truly an epic studio. It's a shame that their series were more popular in the West than in Japan. Manglobe will indeed be missed, as they are a studio like no other. But with what we got, let us know what Manglobe anime is your favorite. Did you think we missed a series or two? Let us know, and we’ll see you real soon. Till next time!