Unless you’re a resident of Japan, anime and manga come to you from a foreign land in a foreign language. Certain terms, words and ideas can get lost in translation between two different cultures. The same thing can happen even within different Japanese mediums when anime are adapted from manga and light novels. Because of this, the special adaptations that meet the quality of or surpass the original work are all the more special. Today we’re going to look at the top 10 most recent anime adaptations that do their original works justice.
10. Asobi Asobase (Asobi Asobase: Workshop Of Fun)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 - September 2018
Hanako, Olivia, and Kasumi are three “ordinary looking” high school girls. Spend more than a couple of minutes watching their interactions and you will discover that those looks are entirely deceiving. These girls have their own histories and challenges that they’re each trying to overcome together while still managing to seem normal to others. Olivia cannot speak English at all despite her looks and heritage, Kasumi is horrible at games, and Hanako is well...she’s Hanako. Asobi Asobase was a truly special gem that brightened the Summer 2018 line-up and filled us with gut-busting laughter.
9. New Game!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 - September 2016
Suzukaze Aoba has been a fan of the video game series Fairies Story since she was a little girl. While she hasn’t grown much bigger in size, she has gotten closer to her goal in becoming an employee of the storied development company that released her favorite classics. On her first day at Eagle Jump, Aoba learns that she’s going to be working on the latest entry into the series alongside her idol and inspiration. As New Game! continues, we see the hardworking and cute ladies that make up the inner sanctum of the cutest development team you’ve ever seen. While it’s usually difficult to translate a 4-koma style manga into a full cours anime, New Game! was one we enjoyed watching throughout.
8. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2016 - March 2016
Satou Kazuma, who died and was reincarnated into a fantasy world, was tasked with defeating the demon lord and along the way, he got stuck with the goddess who messed up the whole process. Taking the typical hero’s journey and spinning it completely on its head, Konosuba took a popular light novel series and adapted it into a show that could deliver some of the biggest laughs in all of anime. Kazuma may have failed to live the fantasy life he always imagined in another world, but we the audience have nothing to complain about. Give Konosuba a watch if you’re not afraid of useless goddesses.
7. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2017 - April 2017
Kobayashi-san had a wild alcohol filled night and ended up making a whimsical dragon fall in love with her, resulting in her gaining a splendid new dragon maid. Seems simple enough, but because of their interaction all sorts of dragon-folk are finding their way into Kobayashi’s life and it’s interfering with her normal peace filled days. Good thing they’re all such interesting characters. Dragon Maid was a more than perfect adaptation of the original manga and had us ooh’ing and ahh’ing at dragons in ways we didn’t think possible. A wholesome work.
6. Ballroom e Youkoso (Welcome to the Ballroom)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2017 - December 2017
If you told us Japan had made a compelling sports shounen out of ballroom dancing of all things prior to this show, we’d have laughed in disbelief. Yet the evidence stands to prove otherwise, and Ballroom e Youkoso is a fantastic series. It’s a funny and dramatic story of how the rough around the edges middle schooler Fujita Tatara overcomes his difficulties with dance and has a remarkable transformation. This one definitely lived up to the original work in every way.
5. Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (Teasing Master Takagi-san)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 - March 2018
Takagi-san was a series near and dear to our hearts as we’ve read the manga for a long while now. It’s very refreshing to inform you that it’s as funny and light-hearted as the manga it’s based on. Showcasing the daily school lives of the proud and easily fooled Nishikita and his classmate and bane of his existence Takagi, this series explores playful young love at a slow and steady pace. The two are constantly competing in humorous ways, but Nishikata can never get ahead of the ever masterful Takagi-san. This will probably remain our favorite young couple for many years to come, so we hope you enjoy it as well.
4. Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus' Bride)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2017 - March 2018
Love takes many forms and comes from many different reasons, and no truer proof is the tale of the Sleigh Beggy Chise and her new master and betrothed the Ancient Magus Elias. Thinking that she is alone in the world and has no worth or future, Chise places herself up for auction and finds herself bought by one of the world’s most peculiar individuals. Seeing more to her than meets the eye, he agrees to train her and help her uncover the truth behind her circumstances. As the two come to know more of each other, they find themselves complimenting each other’s weaknesses in very deep and human ways.
While the series seemed to take an eternity to go from the initial screening to the first cour and then finally its second, it was a magnificent journey. One that was worth every bit of the wait readers and viewers took to see it through. We highly recommend Mahoutsukai no Yome if you’re looking for a very human story with very few humans in it. It’s a one-of-a-kind adaptation you don’t want to miss.
3. Owarimonogatari 2nd Season
- Episodes: 7
- Aired: August 2017 - August 2017
Arguably one of the most character-driven narratives ever adapted, the Monogatari Series has delivered some of the most fantastically emotional arcs we’ve ever witnessed. There’s quite a bit of nuance to the series, and many of the more complicated ideas and setups were abandoned in the past due to the constraints of anime. Araragi Koyomi has had many adventures, but this one will be his last. Starting with the cliffhanger which was shown in Koyomimonogatari, the story reaches its conclusion… If only things were that simple.
The circumstances of every oddity that has ever come into contact with Araragi Koyomi has had one focal point. One purpose, one drive, one deciding factor. The being known as Oshino Ougi has their own circumstances, and Araragi is dead center in their schemes and has been from the very start. It’s a tall order to comprehend, and the complexity of this final arc takes the series to its highest point. Delivered in a shotgun rush of 7 episodes released over two days, it was a fitting end to the series, and one we enjoyed thoroughly.
2. Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2018 - Ongoing
He’s not a bad slime you know? At least that’s the case now, as he used to be your average, typical Japanese salaryman. Reincarnated as the most basic of dungeon monsters, Rimuru Tempest won’t let anything stop him from living his second life to the fullest. Isekai stories are all the rage right now in manga, and Slime is our favorite we’ve come across so far. We were worried about how the anime would pace the story, but it’s done a great job and we’re thrilled to continue watching it.
1. Made in Abyss
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2017 - August 2017
The town of Orth is the home to many adventurers and all of them seek to challenge themselves by exploring a region called the Abyss. Inside the Abyss is the remnants of a lost civilization, fantastic and deadly creatures, and treasures beyond human understanding. Rika was the daughter of one of the most famous delvers to ever set foot in such a treacherous place, but news has come that her mother has died down there like so many others. Undeterred and in disbelief, Rika ventures into the Abyss with Reg, a robot boy thought to have some connection with the bottom layer of the Abyss Rika intends to visit. As her protector, he will face unfathomable horrors as they seek to discover the truth of her mother’s whereabouts on what is assuredly a one-way trip.
Made in Abyss isn’t just the best adaptation of a manga we’ve seen in recent years, but also one of the best anime we’ve ever seen. Even the briefest interactions between characters are meaningful. Every scene has a purpose and both answers and raises new questions in a single breath. We, like many others in the story, have been captivated by the Abyss and cannot wait for more from this series.
There’s nothing more satisfying to anime fans than a good adaptation. Original series are great and it’s always a pleasure to be pleasantly surprised, but there’s something all the more special about seeing something brought to life in familiar ways. We’re more than happy with the adaptations on this list, how about you? Share your thoughts in the comments with us right now!