While it’s clear that anime has inspired many American TV shows and movies, the two are inherently different. And while you’ll find anime shows and movies adapted from a wide variety of media, like light novels, manga and drama series, only once in a blue moon is an anime entirely based on a Western TV show. So we’ve compiled a list of anime based on American TV shows.
Marvel Anime is a series of four 12-part anime seasons and two films produced by Marvel Entertainment and Japanese animation studio, Madhouse. Madhouse had total freedom to reimagine the X-Men, Iron Man, Wolverine, and Blade for a Japanese audience.
Batman: Gotham Knight
DC beat out Marvel to the anime game in 2008 with the anthology film, Batman: Gotham Knight. Comprised of six short anime stories, the film takes place in the events between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and follows Batman battling the villains of Gotham City.
While taking much of its influences from anime, the series used different artistic styles for each of the short anime films in the anthology, mirroring the feel of different comic books.
Supernatural: The Animation
As one of the most successful supernatural shows in the US, it’s no surprise that Madhouse would create an anime version of the long-running CW show. The anime series, Supernatural: The Animation, covers the first and second season of Supernatural but also adds original content exploring the Winchester brothers and expanding the storylines of secondary characters.
In the English language version of the series, Jared Padalecki voiced his Supernatural character, Sam, while voice actor Andrew Farrar played his brother Dean for all but the last two episodes when Jensen Ackles took over.
Powerpuff Girls Z
With the popularity of American version of The Powerpuff Girls and the magical girl genre, it’s no surprise that there would be an anime version. Powerpuff Girls Z isn’t just an anime version of the popular Cartoon Network series, it reimagined the style, storyline, and characters in many fundamental ways. The characters were designed by famed Sailor Moon animation director, Miho Shimogasa, and unlike the US version, the three girls are in eighth grade, are unrelated to each other and the Professor, and they use weapons in their fights. But despite these big differences, fans still spotted many similar themes between the two versions.
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance
The 1986 fantasy film Highlander tells the story of the immortal Connor MacLeod born in the Scottish Highlands during the 16th century. The cult classic spawned several sequels, novels, animated shows and, of course, an anime film.
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance was a partnership between Imagi Animation Studios and Madhouse Studio. It recounts the age-old battle between immortal warriors, shown through flashbacks and concludes with one final duel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legend of the Supermutant
One of the main reasons for creating an anime is for merchandising possibilities. This also applies to the anime version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TV Tokyo produced the two-episode Original Video Anime (OVA), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Legend of the Supermutant in 1996 and ’97 as a tie-in with Japanese Ninja Turtles toy lines.