Sometimes a great manga, light novel, or game just doesn’t get the anime adaptation that it deserves. Maybe the anime had a troubled production behind the scenes, maybe it was a victim of endless filler episodes or a mediocre anime-original ending, or perhaps it’s an old classic that’s in dire need of a modern update. With the recent resurgence of high-quality reboots like Devilman Crybaby, Fruits Basket, and Dororo, we think it’s high time that these ten shows get their shot at the spotlight once again. Let’s get started!
10. Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho (Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files)
- Episodes: 112
- Aired: October 1992 – January 1995
This beloved shounen series was a staple on Toonami’s lineup in America and garnered many fans for its exciting battles and great worldbuilding, but its writing started to go downhill after the iconic Dark Tournament arc. Togashi was forced to write the Three Kings arc by his editor, and even the anime couldn’t save it from just being a tired retread of what we’d already gotten before. If a new studio could retool Yu Yu Hakusho’s story from the ground up, incorporate more of the spirit detective work that was present in the manga, and give the show a satisfying ending, we’d leap at the chance to see it.
9. Pandora Hearts
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2009 – September 2009
Ah, the dreaded anime-original ending. It’s possible to veer from the source material and successfully wrap up the show on a dramatic note (Gantz and the first season of Noragami managed this pretty well), but more often than not, the completely new ending clashes horribly with the rest of the story and leaves viewers with more questions than answers.
Such is the case for Pandora Hearts, which started out as a promising adaptation of the original dark and serious manga, but got so wrapped up in comedy shenanigans that it fell apart at the seams. A reboot that sticks with the dark tone and actually resolves its plot threads would be a godsend to fans of the series.
8. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Let’s just get this out of the way—the first two seasons of Higurashi look like hot garbage. The art is certainly a step up from the amateurish drawings in the visual novel, but Studio Deen could’ve put so much more effort into character design and animation than they did.
We would love to see a remake of this classic show with modern animation that more clearly shows the characters’ wild range of emotions and the horrors they inflict on each other. Updating the setting to the present day would also be intriguing, since the interconnected and two-faced nature of today’s technology would mesh well with Higurashi’s themes of inner darkness and an unstable reality.
7. Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan
- Episodes: 94
- Aired: January 1996 – September 1998
The Kyoto arc of Rurouni Kenshin is one of the best pieces of ‘90s shounen out there, but after that, the anime takes a detour into Filler City and never leaves (eventually leading to the show getting cancelled). And while the 2011 OVA series that retold the Kyoto arc has beautiful new animation, its rushed pacing turns what could’ve been a solid remake into an unwatchable mess. With such richly detailed characters and settings, so much more could’ve come from this series.
Honestly, we don’t want to support Nobuhiro Watsuki anymore because of his criminal charges, but if it was possible to forcefully tear his creation away from him and do something new with it (Star Wars-style), we’d be all for it.
6. Deadman Wonderland
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 – July 2011
Deadman Wonderland is what happens when an anime studio tries to cram way too much of the source material into just 12 episodes. It’s rushed, leaves out important characters and storylines, relies too heavily on gory shock value, and barely wraps up any of its plot threads by the end. You can tell from the fantastic art direction and worldbuilding that there’s a gleaming diamond hidden somewhere in this mountain of coal, but you’d have to turn to the manga to see more than a glimpse of it.
A more restrained and reasonably paced adaptation could work in the nuanced characterization that Ganta and Shiro have in the manga, as well as incorporate story elements that were carelessly left out of the first anime. C’mon, seinen gore-fests deserve love just as much as anything else!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 – September 2007
Similarly to Pandora Hearts, Claymore is heavily dragged down by its anime-original content. The last six episodes or so diverge from the manga and sell the intriguing story short by ending it in the most boring and disappointing way possible. Some fans also take issue with Raki’s obnoxious personality and uselessness in fights—he eventually gets better in the manga, but a broad-strokes reboot could make him a more powerful and mature ally right from the get-go. It could also rework the narrative so that Clare actually gets to meet (and possibly fight) her moral opposite, Roxanne. There’s so much undeveloped potential here to tap into!
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: October 2007 – March 2008
While Clannad is widely considered to be one of the most emotionally moving anime ever made, its incredibly dated art style tends to drive away new potential fans. The cutesy moe look worked well enough for the time, but as with Higurashi, the characters’ simplified features can’t quite capture the complexity of what they’re supposed to be feeling. With more realistic and detailed designs, viewers could experience this tearjerking tale in a completely new way.
A reboot could also update the setting, use more progressive relationship dynamics, and create a more satisfying ending than the deus ex machina that After Story gave us. If Fruits Basket can come back, why can’t Clannad get the same treatment?
3. Fate/Stay Night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2006 – June 2006
The Fate franchise is a massive collection of games, manga, anime, and more that spans multiple universes and stars dozens of characters across a richly detailed world. Its fights are some of the most intelligent and exciting in modern anime history, and Ufotable brings them to life with jaw dropping spectacle in Fate/Zero and their other adaptations.
Unfortunately, Ufotable wasn’t behind the anime version of Fate/Stay Night, which is the best place to enter Fate from a storytelling standpoint. Studio Deen (there’s that name again) fumbled through this adaptation with sloppy animation and clumsy writing that attempted to merge all three visual novel endings into one. If Fate/Stay Night is eventually remade into something respectable, the franchise would be much less intimidating and confusing for new fans.
2. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 1998 – March 1999
Masami Tsuda, the author of Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou, absolutely despised the anime adaptation because it shunted the romance plot to the side in favor of screwball comedy. She was so incensed that she demanded Hideaki Anno be fired as the director halfway through the season, and he was hastily replaced with the animation producer after quitting in frustration. After that, the anime had no clear direction and just spun its wheels for the last 8 episodes while gradually running out of budget (to the point where still frames, live action segments, and paper puppets on sticks were used to fill time).
Tsuda’s original manga is a beautiful love story that absolutely deserves better treatment than what it got the first time around. Please make it happen, anime producers!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – September 2016
Kentarou Miura’s magnum opus Berserk is consistently ranked as one of the greatest manga of all time, with a sprawling story and illustrations so detailed that they should be hung in museums. It’s just begging to be brought to life in gorgeous modern animation by a studio that truly cares about this masterpiece just as much as longtime fans always have, like David Productions does with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But that adaptation has yet to come for poor Berserk.
The first anime from 1997 did an excellent job with the Golden Age arc, but its animation is very dated at this point. As for the rest of the story, all we have are the catastrophic CGI monstrosities from 2016 and 2017... At least we have Vinland Saga to tide us over until someone finally makes a Berserk adaptation that does justice to Miura’s work.
We’d also love to see a remake of Tokyo Ghoul that more closely follows the manga as well as modernized updates of shoujo classics like Skip Beat and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. With reboots being so popular these days, we may not have to wait too long!
Do you agree with our list? Which anime series do you think needs a reboot? Are there any that you like just the way they are? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!
For as long as anime has existed, there is always a large amount of titles (regardless if they are successful or not) that fans feel don’t live up to their potential to the point that they deserve a reboot in order to achieve that.
For the past 10 years, fans have been treated to some reboots of iconic titles such as Ushio to Tora, Sailor Moon, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Ghost in the Shell, along with some other modern hits like Fullmetal Alchemist to be more representing of their source materials. And there are some reboots that have been subjected to controversies such as Berserk (due to its animation, change of voice cast, and how it handles its source material) and Initial D (due to the changes in voice cast and doing away with the Eurobeat soundtrack). With so much anime out there that really would benefit from a reboot, we can only choose 10 and here we go.
10. Air Gear
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2006 – September 2006
Kicking off this list is Air Gear, based on the manga by Oh! Great, the pen name of Ito Ogure. Though his breakout hit, Tenjo Tenge, was met with criticism and controversy, Air Gear managed to wow audiences worldwide. Though some fans want a second season, manga fans prefer a reboot due to numerous changes and removals between the anime and its source material such as how Ikki received his Air Treks.
The series may be 10 years old but it has always maintained its universal appeal with a concept that still feels fresh and original. However, manga fans criticize the anime of being disorganized and having a weak ending, but still praise it for its soundtrack and English dub (which hopefully won’t be sacrificed for a new anime). Plus, with Obama’s term nearly coming to an end, it would also be nice to see his fictional counterpart, John Omaha, be portrayed in anime form before he leaves office, or maybe he could be replaced with a counterpart of the winner of the 2016 presidential election. That alone is a good enough case to make for a new anime.
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1998 – September 1998
Yes, there was the Badlands Rumble movie back in 2010 (which took nearly 10 years to make), it was more of a fan service project as opposed to a full reboot. A reboot that also adapts the Maximum series gives audiences a totally fresh take compared to the original 1998 series. One example is that it gives audiences a different look at the origins of Wolfwood and his development, which could surprise audiences familiar exclusively to the initial anime and with no exposure to the manga. In addition, the Gung-Ho Guns are given more depth in the source material and bringing that in animation form would be fresh.
Last, the series also expands more on Knives and his rivalry/relationship with Vash and explores more of the identities in conjunction with their origins. With Maximum long finished, hopefully, Nishimura and Madhouse can return and give audiences the full story in animated form, and Imahori Tsuneo can still compose the soundtrack with its distinct funk. Hopefully, the Japanese and English versions can bring back Onosaka Masaya and Johnny Yong Bosch as Vash himself. Without them, Trigun would not have its identity as an anime.
8. Ranma 1/2
- Episodes: 161
- Aired: April 1989 – September 1992
At number eight is Takahashi Rumiko’s break out hit in the Western world, Ranma ½. The anime adaptation maintains the foundation of the manga but due to the anime being caught up with it, significant portions of the series consequently consists of episodic fillers that fail to take it in any concrete direction. Now that Takahashi-sensei’s other hits such as Inuyasha have gotten its proper animated send-off and Kyoukai no Rinne is pacing itself on a seasonal basis to be devoid of filler, it would be nice to re-start the series that solidified Takahashi-sensei as an action artist.
Compared to the anime, the manga does a great job of bringing all the characters full circle along with Ranma and Akane’s relationship. A new anime would help widen that closure and it would be nice to see the battles Ranma has with Kumon Ryu, Herb, and Saffron animated. The only fall back would be the absence of two legends in the world of seiyuu, Suzuoki Hirotaka (most famous as Captain Bright in Gundam) and Nagai Ichiro (also famous as Karin in Dragon Ball) as the voices of Kuno and Happosai, to truly make it feel whole. Along with a reboot, the original seiyuu of Female Ranma, Nabiki, Kasumi, Shampoo and Akane have to reunite as DoCo to contribute to the soundtrack.
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2004 – November 2004
With a new CG movie recently been released, another obvious choice that makes perfect sense to get a reboot is Gantz. Despite its reception from many casual anime viewers, hardcore fans felt the anime was underwhelming and the ending is unfortunately very convoluted and forced. With the success of the franchise going as far as having a new CG movie and a two-part live action movie starring some of Japan’s top stars (Ninomiya Kazunari and Matsuyama Ken’ichi), it’s only fair this anime gets a new adaptation.
The rest of the original source material offers so much more and goes to insane levels that would really be amaze audiences. Plus, many of the high octane and violent action sequences would totally be awesome in 1080p. What really happens to Kei and Masaru? Do they leave Gantz and go onto regular lives? Maybe we can read the manga, but have it in animation with livid color and voice acting makes it more connecting and contributes to the magic of animation.
6. Fruits Basket
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2001 – December 2001
In sixth place, we have Fruits Basket, based on the hit Shoujo manga by Takaya Natsuki. Though the anime aired throughout the last half of 2001 the manga ended in 2006, and a sequel to the manga, Fruits Basket another, is presently in publication. As proof of its popularity, a new anime should make perfect sense! For starters, fans that prefer anime over manga want to see how the Souma curse is broken and all the numerous loose ends in the original anime tied up!
There have been some previous statements by Adam Sheehan of FUNimation, its North American licensor, of having made their own efforts to make a sequel and were given some reasons why it hasn’t been made yet. Though there is a small number but the biggest reason why this hasn’t happened is because Takaya-sensei didn’t like the anime and was critical of the director Daichi Akihito and for some of its significant changes that also irritated fans of the original source material.
In reality, manga-ka do have the authority to say yes or no to an anime adaptation and Takaya-sensei probably wants to find someone who can do the job right. Many of Takaya-sensei’s criticisms have transferred onto how the establishment of the characters is presented in both versions to the point that a reboot can redeem some of this.
5. Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2008 – March 2009
Despite its success with a more casual audience, more dedicated fans felt disappointed with this anime, especially with the second installment being more filler based. The animated series has numerous inconsistencies with how it uses its characters and nothing at all feels right for those that tend to pay attention to detail. Though season 3 redeems the flaws of season 2, so much damage has been done to the point that the series needs a reboot to get season 2 out of the official canon. It essentially has the same issues as the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist series but times 50.
At this point, as opposed to a reboot, we have a higher chance of getting a new season in the coming years. Hopefully, whatever installments come, it won’t justify the need for a reboot. Either way, fans are positive it can still maintain the same animation staff due to its excellent use of lighting in presenting the tone of the series.
4. Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2008 – March 2009
Another hit anime that its hardcore fans wish for a reboot of is Soul Eater and some message boards have made up rumors about it just to troll fans. A majority of the case for a reboot can also be referenced to out Top 10 Annoying Anime Filler list. With the series being filler dominated due to being caught up with the manga, the series ends without any fulfilling conclusion. Though in theory a sequel can be made, the anime does take some creative differences with the manga that do anger purists, and a reboot can fix numerous problems and still keep fans of the original anime.
For starters, both versions differ on how to achieve Death Scythe status. In the manga, a person must collect 99 evil humans souls and one of a witch, while the anime introduces a fresh concept known as the Kishin Egg, which takes care of the souls. Plus, the use and introduction of many characters vary to the point that it could qualify as its own article. The fact that we mention that alone is why this anime is in dire need of a reboot beyond its fillers.
3. Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2004 – October 2004
At a very close third place, an anime that would most certainly benefit from a reboot would definitely be the controversial anime, Elfen Lied. Kanbe Mamoru, the director of the series has even admitted he wanted to be more faithful to the manga but studio politics and budgets wouldn’t allow him. Whether you have seen this anime or not, when we say this anime is controversial, we mean controversial due to not only its surface qualities of its disturbing in your face use of violence and nudity, but how it explores other touchy issues such as incest, abuse, isolation, discrimination, and ultimately; nature vs. nurture. Though the anime has its own conclusive ending, so much is left out. Plus, there are some characters that die in the anime, who still live in the manga and play a significant role as the series progresses.
A reboot based on the original work would give audiences more information on the Diclonius, and further contribute to the nature vs. nurture argument. In addition, the characters have a lot more expansion and development, and Lucy’s capabilities differ between both versions and how those powers are expressed have their own unique features as well which you either have to read to find out, or hope for a reboot (and let's hope the reboot can keep Lilium as its theme song).
2. Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO)
- Episodes: 43
- Aired: June 1999 – September 2000
Though the live action was treated to a reboot in 2012, many fans feel that it’s time to have its own animated reboot as well. If the original GTO anime can be a response to the success of the 1998 dorama, why can’t fans be treated to the same in response to the 2012 version?
The original anime doesn’t give the full story on why Onizuka decided to become a teacher and how he changed his image with his pompadour hairstyle (which is popular amongst Japanese biker gang members), to his Eminem-like hairstyle. Including his full backstory would most definitely help Onizuka’s overall development in his role as a teacher as it does in the original manga. Though the 1999 anime loosely tells why, it doesn’t concretely show why.
The 1999 anime as a whole, relies too much on telling as opposed to showing which is probably its biggest flaw. A new anime could also bring in adaptations of the side stories of Onizuka’s cop friend, Saejima, which was a big hit in the manga. And by the time this reboot finishes (as in it faithfully follows the manga), maybe it can pave way for animated versions of its sequels, 14 Days in Shonan (the 2012 dorama actually does borrow some material from this series) and Lost Paradise.
Last, positive dedicated fans still want to keep Takagi Wataru as the voice of Onizuka and maintain its original soundtrack with the likes of legendary J-rock bands such as Porno Graffiti and L’arc~en~ciel.
- Episodes: 1 (Feature Film)
- Aired: July 1988
Ranking at number one, what many would call the gateway for Gen-X anime fans is the groundbreaking hit by Otomo Katsuhiro, Akira. The Blu-ray proves that its animation continues to hold up to this day, and there have also been numerous homages to Kaneda’s power slide in both Japanese and Western media. The fact that this movie still resonates to this day truly proves its staying power. Due to the anime being a movie, so much material from the manga (which Otomo-sensei didn’t finish two years after the premiere due to being involved in the movie) was either cut, or changed altogether in addition to story development and character dynamics to fit the running time of a feature film.
The equally hit manga further dwells into the themes of war, human experimentations, religion, the Japanese education system, and the rapid changes in Japanese youth while the movie covers them more superficially. With so much to explore, it is time for Akira to have a faithful adaptation, but we are positive that fans want the original seiyuu cast to come back and maintain its intense soundtrack. For the animation itself, whoever has the responsibility of doing a reboot has big shoes to fill. And since the movie accurately predicted that the 2020 Olympics would take place in Tokyo, it would only be fitting that now is the best time to reboot Akira.
For some honorable mentions, we’d like to throw in Violence Jack (we know how controversial this is, but if you read the manga, it is excellent enough to justify a reboot), Legend of the Five Star Stories, and Tokyo Ghoul.
For a good majority of these titles, they all share a common quality that they ended prematurely before the manga, and fans have the utmost confidence that the manga itself has plenty of creative material that would wonderfully transition in animated form. Some may get new seiyuu, some may retain the old ones. When rebooting, there are some natural concerns such as maintaining not only the seiyuu but also other remaining qualities such as the soundtrack and same animation team.
Can we have a reboot of Cowboy Bebop without the talent of Kanno Yoko? Most certainly not! So when rebooting, on one hand, fans know what they want, but could we sacrifice qualities that made it great the first time for the benefit of a fresher version? Who knows for sure, but if complete quality storytelling and character development is what you want, hopefully, this list satisfies you. Other than that, you’re free to give your own list in the comments.