13 Best Dark Fantasy Manga With No Anime Adaptations

The dark fantasy genre is much more expansive than people would expect. And, there are still plenty of great manga yet to be adapted into anime.

Highlights

  • The fantasy genre is incredibly diverse, encompassing action, adventure, romance, mystery, horror, comedy, and dark themes.
  • Dark fantasy manga often feature protagonists who have suffered or hate their new world, with scary monsters and dangerous magic.
  • Some notable manga in the dark fantasy subgenre that deserve an anime adaptation include “Helck,” “Reincarnation of the Suicidal Battle God,” and “What Do You Wish For With Those Murky Eyes: Record of Highserk War.”

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The fantasy genre is an all-encompassing one, even more so than many other ‘standard’ genres simply because there are just so many different types of stories that easily fit within the `fantasy` definition. For example, there are action, adventure, romance, mystery, isekai, horror, comedy, and even dark themes that can (and do) all work exceptionally well within a fantasy setting.

Dark fantasy stories and manga, in particular, are the focus here because a lot of them just haven’t had the opportunity to get an anime adaptation yet. So, let’s look at some of the best examples of manga in the dark fantasy subgenre that absolutely deserve their own anime.

Updated September 18th, 2023 by Jacob Buchalter: A genre of manga that seems to always be popular with longtime enjoyers of this medium is the dark fantasy genre. These are stories that involve worlds filled with magic, demons, or some other fantastical concept. However, instead of most other fantasy series where things typically work out for the best and the main cast learn the love the new world they’re exploring, these series tend to be the opposite. Usually, they involve protagonists who have suffered their whole lives or ones who were forced into this new world and hate every second of it. Monsters are actually scary in this sub-genre of manga, magic is even more dangerous, and there are barely any happy endings to be found. So, let’s take a look at even more of these series that are in desperate need of an anime adaptation.

13 Helck

Helck - Viz Cover Image With PNG Of Helck On Top

Name

Status

First Published

Helck

Completed

2014

Whereas a lot of these stories readers will see below start pretty dark and steadily get lighter and lighter, Helck is the opposite. At first, this manga, with an absolutely unique art style, seems like the standard isekai setup of a Demon King and a Hero, only this time a human Hero is trying to be Demon King, and is actually winning the contest to do so. So Vamirio, one of the strongest of the Demons (known as a Heavenly Kings) spends the first arc of the series basically acting like a pseudo-Saturday-morning cartoon villain and trying all sorts of tricks and traps to make sure the human Hero, Helck, doesn’t make it to the end of the competition.

But, as the story progresses and Helck and Vamirio go from enemies to the closest of friends while retaking the Demon King castle as part of the ‘competition’ things steadily become so much darker. The more that the history of humanity in this story gets unveiled as well as Helck’s past, the more impressive it is that the series manages to balance comedy and tragedy so well. All in all, one of the rare blends of a Dark Fantasy series that also integrates comedy throughout.

12 Reincarnation of the Suicidal Battle God

Reincarnation Of The Suicidal Battle God Sample Panels

Name

Status

First Published

Reincarnation of the Suicidal Battle God

Ongoing

2021

So as not to leave out a whole medium with Manwha and Webcomics, let’s talk about a series called Reincarnation of the Suicidal Battle God. This is a series with a concept a lot of experienced manga readers are familiar with; the protagonist dies trying to save the world or something similar, reincarnates or reverts to their younger self, and can now prepare even more thoroughly for the looming threat. However, RotSBG has this standard setup and that’s the only real commonality. Everything else about this story is exceptionally unique. For one, its art is both fantastic and memorable. Two, it has a main character who isn’t meek, naive, or airheaded like most adventure protagonists tend to be. And three, the world-building is well integrated with the narrative itself and plays a part in all of the important battles. All-in-all it may be a bit less ‘grimdark’ than many other series on here, but is no less deserving of an inclusion.

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11 What Do You Wish For With Those Murky Eyes: Record of Highserk War

What Do You Wish For With Those Murkey Eyes Cover Image

Name

Status

First Published

What Do You Wish For With Those Murky Eyes: Record of Highserk War

Ongoing

2022

There are so many series out there these days about some modern-age teen pulled (or reincarnated) into a grimdark world of fantasy and magic. However, the majority of these series almost immediately make the protagonist too strong or too comfortable, ruining the atmosphere and tone they initially set up. Thankfully, this series (absurdly long name incoming) What Do You Wish For With Those Murky Eyes: Record of Highserk War, is different.

The main character in this series is so incredibly tired of the world he was reincarnated into, as it’s a medieval-esque world thats constantly at war. To survive, there’s no real way other than to become a soldier, but to be a soldier means both committing and witnessing a lot of atrocities. Fans of this subgenre will quickly recognize how similar its world feels to the Golden Age Arc of Berserk but with plenty of its own unique twists.

10 20th Century Boys

Famous Image From 20th Century Boys Manga

Name

Status

First Published

20th Century

Completed

2006

It’s so absurd to think that one of the most beloved manga of all time, 20th Century Boys, still doesn’t have an anime adaptation (though it has multiple live-action films). This series dates all the way back to 1999 and is both written and illustrated by the renowned Naoki Urasawa (best known for series like Pluto and Monster).

No other manga handles the concept of a psychological mystery like this one does, and at no point in this manga are readers going to be able to accurately guess what’s going to happen next. It’s a lot less ‘fantastical’ and more based in reality, but that absolutely doesn’t mean there aren’t fantasy elements involved throughout. The initial concept of the series, with kids who come up with their own ‘end of the world’ scenario thats actually coming to life, is already interesting. But the way it builds on this foundation and constantly subverts the readers expectations is a major reason why 20th Century Boys is so beloved to this day.

9 Ranga Crimson

Ranga Crimson Volume 1 Cover Art

Name

Status

First Published

Ragna Crimson

Ongoing

2017

What if there was a series like Berserk but instead of Guts having to lose everything and claw his way up to becoming one of the strongest beings alive, his future self just handed him all that power and ability? That’s Ranga Crimson. But, instead of Apostles and Demons, it’s Dragons. To summarize the start of this story in a few short sentences, Ragna was nobody. He followed Leo, a genius Dragon Slayer, and did everything to stay by her side, but he didn’t amount to much. Eventually, Leo dies heroically, and Ragna spends the rest of his life on a quest for revenge before finally surpassing the limits of humanity and essentially turning his whole body into a living silver sword.

Then, to stop this tragedy and save the Leo of the past, he manages to go back in time thanks to some help from the King of Dragons named Crimson and ‘transfer’ all of his knowledge and powers into his past self. It’s an incredibly interesting concept and one that doesn’t go the way people might expect. In fact, all of this summarization was just the first few chapters of the story, and where Ragna Crimson’s narrative branches out from here is something no one could have predicted. Also, great news, as it does have an adaptation coming by Silver Link at the end of October 2023.

8 It’s Sudden, But I Came To Another World! But I Hope To Live Safely

It's Sudden, But I Came To Another World! But I Hope To Live Safely - Two Cover Arts Side By Side

Name

Status

First Published

It’s Sudden, But I Came To Another World! But I Hope To Live Safely

Ongoing

2019

Not many manga fans expected to see an isekai recommendation here, but this story (let’s just call it Isekai Demo Bunan to circumvent its ridiculously long name) is a perfect blend of fantasy, dark themes, and interesting character dynamics. Unlike the standard isekai protagonists, this one (who doesn’t really have a ‘name’ so people call him multiple different ones like ‘Shisho’ and ‘Candidate’) is incredibly weak. He has no special abilities given to him by this new world, only the same innate comprehension talents he had in his original world. And on top of this, he basically has zero magical power, which is something that almost everyone else in the world has in spades. So really all that Shisho has going for him is that he’s one of those standard ‘smarter than you’d think’ protagonists.

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While this story isn’t obscenely dark, Shisho would have absolutely gone down a much darker route if he hadn’t run into the very definition of a model knight, Illias. Shisho is a self-described weak human, and because he’s weak and understands this weakness, he has no qualms about doing whatever he needs to do in order to survive. Thankfully, Illias usually keeps him on the straight and narrow, but not all the time, and the moments where it dips into a much darker tone are some of the highlights of the series overall.

7 Dai Dark

Dai Dark - Four Main Characters Standing Side By Side

Name

Status

First Published

Dai Dark

Ongoing

2019

From the same mind that brought the wild ride that is Dorohedoro, here comes Dai Dark. Q Hayashida is the author of both these series, (though Mappa Studios made the anime adaptation). Though, let’s be honest, any fan of Dorohedoro could immediately guess Dai Dark was also from Hayashida based on the art, general tone, and absurd setting. Dai Dark is a story set in space all about a boy named Zaha Sanko. Zaha Sanko is a native of the ‘Dark’ a dimension that only exists inside black holes (heavily implied to be ‘Dark Matter’), who ends up being chased around the universe based on some ‘grand rumor’ that using his bones with grant a person any wish they desire.

From here, Zaha just tries to eke out a living in the vast nothingness of space alongside his Package of Darkness, Avakian, and has to constantly fight off people aiming for his bones. Alongside him are Shimada Death and Hajime Damemaru, two other absurd existences with their own unique abilities over Death and Regeneration that Zaha basically stumbles into bonding with. Overall, it’s just a roller-coaster ride of a series that is the very definition of unpredictable fun.

6 Solo Leveling

Solo Leveling - Main Character With All His Shadows

Name

Status

First Published

Solo Leveling

Completed

2021

Next up is a bit of a loophole, as Solo Leveling is absolutely a dark fantasy series without an anime adaptation, but there is one currently being worked on for it (though it’s coming in about a year at the time of writing this). Still, the artwork is so absolutely stunning in the original manwha that people should still read it first before watching the adaptation. Solo Leveling is part of the fantasy genre that seems to be very popular in Korean manwha and webtoons where the world goes through some sort of massive change that brings dungeons, character classes, levels, and all sorts of other fantasy/video game tropes into existence. And, out of all the dungeon-themed manwha out there, Solo Leveling is by far the most popular. So popular in fact, that they’ve even picked the series back up after its ‘ending’ to continue it with new story threads and side stories.

Sung Jinwoo, the main character of the series, starts off as so many other isekai protagonists do, as a weak and pitiful fighter barely keeping the lights on. But, through one hellish event that leaves Jinwoo trapped in a mysterious dungeon, Jinwoo is blessed with a double awakening in the form of this gaming-inspired ‘player system’. This system presents Jinwoo with quests constantly that can grant him all sorts of rewards, his own shop full of purchasable items, and so much more. And, while his initial power scaling from here is pretty slow, the more time that passes the more absurd Jinwoo’s powers and abilities start to become.

5 Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint

Omniscient Readers Viewpoint- Kim Dokja Mid-Battle Looking Toward Camera

Name

Status

First Published

Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint

Ongoing

2020

Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint has a lot in common with Solo Leveling, as both of them are South Korean webtoons or manwha that deal with a world changed by the appearance of some fantasy element. But, while Solo Leveling focuses a lot more on dungeons and ‘levels’, ORV is built around another common Korean manwha trope, the use of incarnations. Basically, these are historical or mythical existences, human or otherwise, that became so powerful or renowned during their life that they ‘ascended’ to become god-like deities usually described as ‘constellations’ or ‘incarnations’. Some common examples are characters like Sun Wukong, angels like Metatron and Micheal, the Greek Pantheon of Gods such as Zeus or Hades, and so on. Essentially, imagine the Gods of Record of Ragnarok are watching this story from above.

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In this setting, Earth has suddenly become a survival game built around entertaining these incarnations, which for humanity means that suddenly their lives are constantly in danger and all sorts of magic, monsters, and mythical creations have now become real. Only one character knows exactly what’s happening or what will happen next and it’s a simple salaryman by the name of Kim Dokja. However, the only reason Mr. Dokja knows what’s going to happen next is that these events are exactly the same as the ones that happened in his favorite web novel he had been reading for the majority of his painfully average life.

4 I Am A Hero

I Am A Hero - Main Character Walking Around In The Rain

Name

Status

First Published

I Am A Hero

Completed

2009

I Am a Hero is another story like Dai Dark with an incredibly unique writing style and tone. At first, this might seem like it’s a dramatic story about a down-and-out mangaka who has a lot of issues to work on and generally feels unfulfilled in his life. But, very quickly, this story gets a whole lot darker as a zombie-esque outbreak begins to spread and suddenly Hideo has to tough it out in a post-apocalyptic world.

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Overall, I Am a Hero is a very nihilistic story with some truly unsettling artwork and a lot of psychological horror showcasing the depths of human desire, but those moments are also usually balanced out with a lot of moments of self-growth and levity. It’s extremely depressing in some areas, but it always manages to keep the reader on the edge of their seat with how unpredictable just about every situation and character in the story manages to be.

3 Ubel Blatt

Ubel Blatt - Main Character With All Swords Out

Name

Status

First Published

Ubel Blatt

Completed

2004

Moving onto another seinen series, here’s Ubel Blatt. Now, before getting into anything related to Ubel Blatt’s story, know that anyone who loves Berserk (even the new chapters)will likely find something they enjoy in this story. Both series are drenched in all kinds of death, gratuitous gore, political intrigue, a misunderstood and emotionally numb main character, as well as a whole lot of great sword fighting.

That said, the main difference between the two is that instead of having a big, strong, and stereotypically `manly` MC like Guts, Ubel Blatt has Koinzell, a half-elf who is small, childlike, and very scrawny in appearance. Either way, it’s a story that easily deserves an anime adaptation, just hopefully not one to the same `level` of quality as the 2016 Berserk anime.

2 Fire Punch

Fire Punch - Main Character Dealing With Being Hurt And Being Surprised

Name

Status

First Published

Fire Punch

Completed

2016

It only seems apt to talk about Fire Punch, given that the author, Tatsuki Fujimoto, just had his more recent work, Chainsaw Man, adapted into a stunningly beautiful anime and is currently in progress with the next big ‘chapter’ of the manga. And, while Chainsaw Man seems to be beloved by all, not enough people know about the series that predated it, Fire Punch.

Now, compared to Denji, the MC of this story (who goes by Agni) is much more of a `straight man` which may not seem that interesting at first. But, Agni’s circumstances and combinations of superpowers that lead to him becoming Fire Punch both more than make up for his relatively bland personality in the earlier parts of the story. Plus, being the ‘straight man’ in a world full of the most absurd people a person could imagine is hilarious in its own way.

1 Psyren

Psyren - Banner Of All Main Cast Of Characters

Name

Status

First Published

Psyren

Completed

2007

Psyren is the last dark fantasy manga on here, and it’s one of the all-time classics for the subgenre. For anyone who has read something like Gantz, Btooom, Darwin’s Game, or has even watched Sword Art Online, Psyren has something in common with all of them. The main characters are dragged into a sudden deadly circumstance that they have to fight their way out of using supernatural abilities. In Psyren, the characters are pulled into a `mysterious` version of Earth where creatures called Taboo live. Additionally, those dragged into the Psyren `game\` get exposed to particles that give them supernatural psychic abilities of all different types such as telepathy, telekinesis, or mind control.

There’s a lot to this story, and the events of the Psyren game as well as the characters around it only get more complicated over time. But, it features some of the most creative iterations of psychic powers in any form of media, has a compelling of likable characters, and it’s a dark fantasy candidate easily worth an anime adaptation.

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Anime

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