Creativity is a great, big melting pot, as artists the world over pull influences from all corner of the globe. While the anime style of Japan and the comic book style of the West long stayed separate, the late '90s saw a rise in comic artists incorporating anime style into their art, and, eventually, comic book influences cropping up in manga and anime. But despite stylistic inspiration, anime and comic books remained very separate. But there are plenty of fan artists that seek to take the comic book characters they love and combine them with the anime that influences them, creating something entirely new.
While the major comic companies have dipped their toes into commingling with anime and manga, the results have often been... less than great. (The less said about the Marvel Mangaverse and the Wolverine anime, the better). But enterprising fans around the world have realized that superheroes and villains are malleable, able to be redesigned to fit into just about any style. This has lead to a flood of anime-inspired redesigns of comicdom's biggest names, combining Western heroes with Eastern influences to create a unique mesh of the two. Some of these redesigns are so impressive, they leave fans wishing these fan costumes were actually canon. So join CBR as we bring you 15 anime-inspired fan costumes SO GOOD, it will leave you desperately wishing they were real!
15 NINJA HARLEY QUINN
With her lightning-quick reflexes and agile movements, Harley Quinn is basically a ninja in everything but name. This made Harley a perfect fit for the ridiculous Batman Ninja, allowing the bubbly psychopath to embrace her shinobi side in feudal Japan. But fan artist Roburii opted for a different approach for a ninja Harley, and we love the end result.
While the Harley of Batman Ninja was unquestionably ridiculous, rocking an outfit that was 90% ruffles, Roburii's Ninja Harley is more understated, looking like a long-lost Ninja Gaiden bad guy. It's a fun costume that combines the best of western supervillains with an anime ninja baddie, and we love it.
14 PRETTY ANIME BOY SPIDER-MAN
Anime is bursting with shows following the adventures of pretty boys and their equally pretty friends. Shows like Free! and Yuri On Ice have become runaway successes, thanks in part to their beautiful protagonists. While pretty boy anime might be all the rage these days, there exists an easy way to improve this popular anime sub-genre: add Spider-Man!
Fan artist Agacross imagines a universe in which Spider-Man is the star of a bishonen show, giving the Wall-Crawler the slender frame and wispy hair popular within the genre. This just makes us want a show in which a beautiful Peter Parker deals with a life of high school romance and superheroics, with plenty of equally pretty super hero pals thrown in for good measure. This costume may not be official, but we sure wish it was.
13 MAGICAL GIRL WONDER WOMAN
When you really stop and think about it, there's quite a few similarities between Wonder Woman and your standard anime magical girl. Spinning around to transform? Check. Pledging fealty to a deity, and swearing to protect others in the name of that deity? Double check. A ridiculous weapon? You better believe that's a check. Yep, Wonder Woman is the closest thing DC has to a magical anime girl, and one fan artist helped to image what Wondy would look like if she went full Sailor Moon.
Artist NoFlutter took DC's legendary Amazonian and gave her the anime treatment, subbing out the famous stars-and-stripes onesie for a flowing skirt and complimentary jacket. Throw in some sparkles and stars, and you've got a Wonder Woman that wouldn't look out of place next to Tuxedo Mask.
12 GUNDAM IRON MAN
Whether you're an anime fanatic or a comic book nut, there is one thing that unifies all nerds: a love of sweet mechs. While Iron Man might be comicdom's reigning robot, the long running Gundam franchise is considered the preeminent mech in anime. But what if you were to combine the two? Well, you'd be left with one truly awesome mash-up, as this fan art proves.
In this piece from 3D modeling artist Mars, Iron Man is given a giant robot make-over, adding eye-catching tails and bulky shoulder pads to Tony Stark's famous suit. If Stark were to lumber into battle in this massive mech, we bet Loki would stop bothering the Avengers so much. It's a shame this fan costume isn't cannon, but we can always dream!
11 MY HERO ACADEMIA AVENGERS
These days, you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger series in anime than My Hero Academia. Over in the world of comic book movies, The Avengers rule the box office with an iron fist. Despite their shared stories of superpowered battles and the struggle of good versus evil, these two white-hot properties haven't crossed over just yet. But that didn't stop a trio of cosplayers from bringing a My Hero/Avengers mash-up into the world.
Cosplayers xkirakelly, myladygabriella, and cutiepiesensei took the two biggest superhero series in the world and smooshed them together, creating costumes for "Captain Deku," "Iron Bakugo," and "Thordoroki." This re-imagining resulted in some truly fantastic costumes that leave fans the world over desperately wishing such a mash-up became cannon.
10 GIANT ROBOT SUPERMAN
When Tetsujin 28 debuted on Japanese airwaves in 1963, the anime captured the imagination of kid's everywhere, bringing viewers the weekly adventures of a plucky kid and his giant robot. The series became a cultural insitution in Japan, much like Superman in the West. While the two properties couldn't be more different, this didn't stop one enterprising comic artist from combining them to create an amazing new costume.
Artist Cliff Chiang, of Paper Girls and Wonder Woman fame, dreamed up a universe in which Superman was a towering kaiju-battling mecha, controlled via wrist watch by a young Clark Kent. "Superman" sounds like the perfect name for a '60s-era anime robot, and this inspired redesign has us wishing such a character really existed.
9 KAMEN RIDER SPIDER-MAN
Japan realized a key element of design long ago that the West hasn't quite grasped yet: flowing scarves make everything cooler. Kamen Rider, Japan's beloved battler of rubber-suited monsters, proved this back in 1972, front-flipping onto the scene rocking his iconic flowing red scarf. Thankfully, artist thechamba realized that Spider-Man was long overdue for a Kamen Rider-style scarf, and gave the world this cool redesign.
Christened "Kamen Raida Supaida," this redesign gives Spidey a sleek build and prominent belt buckle a la Kamen Rider. Top this off with a frayed white scarf to billow in the wind as Supaida battles rubber-suited monsters, and you've got a redesign so slick it's practically begging to be made cannon.
8 GATCHAMAN BATGIRL
Back in 1978, a weird show hailing from Japan hit airwaves in the West, becoming an overnight hit. Called Battle Of The Planets, the series followed a group of bird-themed intergalactic adventurers as they battled the villainous Zoltar for the fate of the universe. Known in its native Japan as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, this little series proved kids the world over love watching color-coded space ninjas. But we can think of one thing that would improve the color-coded space ninja formula: the Bat-family.
Artist Jordan Gibson mashed Gatchaman and the Bat-clan together, giving us a Batgirl clad in go-go boots and a spiffy helmet that wouldn't look out of place high-kicking the forces of Zoltar. This is a costume that's as understated as it is eye-catching, and it leaves us wishing space ninja Batgirl was a real thing.
7 ANIME JUSTICE LEAGUE
There exists a dark timeline with the Marvel Universe. A timeline filled with darkness. A timeline so terrible, it deserves to be totally forgotten. We refer, of course, to the Marvel Mangaverse. Marvel's ill-fated foray into anime-ing its characters may have lead to some real head scratchers (S&M geisha Punisher? Furry catgirl Tigra?), but it was a concept with plenty of potential. It almost makes you wonder how such an experiment would fare in DC. Thankfully, one fan artist offers us a glimpse as to what a DC mangaverse could have looked like.
Artist taresh crafted an anime-inspired Justice League, but here we are showing the new robotic tech of Batman, and a spiky haired anime-protagonist Superman. This is the kind of Justice League we could see yelling out the names of moves while battling the likes of Despero and Darkseid, and it leaves us wanting to see more.
6 SAILOR MOON AVENGERS
Look, the Avengers are great and all, but we've always said the team's biggest problem is that they aren't a group of magical teenage girls juggling high school and battling monsters. Thankfully, artist nna decide to fix this glaring issue by crafting an entire Sailor Moon-inspired Avengers squad!
Appropriately dubbed the "Sailor Avengers." the redesign sees Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Hulk, and Black Widow getting the magical girl treatment, trading out the spandex for color-coded skirts and tiaras. Nna even went the extra mile, designing a magical girl Loki that wouldn't look out of place fighting the forces of good alongside Queen Nehelenia. No word on the Avengers-equivalent to Tuxedo Mask, but this fan design has us wishing we could learn more about this world.
5 KAMEN RIDER SUPERMAN
We've said it before and we'll say it again: scarves make everything better. Take a nondescript ninja and give him a scarf? Automatic buttkicker. Take a giant robot and slap a scarf on it? Kinda weird, but unquestionably awesome. Turns out, this rule-of-scarf even applies to the Last Son Of Krypton, as one fan artist proved.
Artist JoeMDavis crafted this Superman redesign, which sees Supes dropping the red underoos for a sleek military-style button down top, a slick belt buckle logo, a helmet that would give Gundam's Chars a run for his money, and that sweet, sweet scarf. It's a unique re-imagining of the Big S, and we desperately wish we could see more of it.
4 ONE PIECE AVENGERS
Marvel's Avengers manage to save the world time and time again thanks to a combination of unique skills and trust in each other. Turns out, these guiding principles aren't just useful for saving the world; they can also help to make you the king of the pirates. Or perhaps both, as this fan re-imagining shows.
In this piece from artist Andimoo, anime's most popular pirates are mashed together with Earth's Mightiest Heroes, giving us Captain America Luffy, a Rorona Zoro Thor (complete with a Mjolnir in his mouth!), and a Hulk Chopper, among others. While Eiichiro Oda may never pen the Avengers, this redesign leaves us wishing he would.
3 SPEED RACER FLASH
Sometimes, you stumble upon fan art so great, so inventive, that it makes you downright upset that it's not actually cannon. Such is the case with Cliff Chiang's inspired re-imaging of The Flash as a Speed Racer-style speed demon.
On a doodle sheet filled to the brim with fun redesigns (a Space Cobra Green Lantern! An Ultraman Aquaman!), The Flash stands out. Dubbed "Flash Go Go Go!," this mash-up casts the Scarlet Speedster as the driver of a souped up car that looks straight out of '60s anime. We can see a poorly dubbed Flash racing anime in our mind's eye, and it just leaves us wishing this fun redesign was cannon.
2 DR. STRANGE GUNDAM
Sure, Doctor Stephen Strange does an admirable job protecting all of time and space as the Sorcerer Supreme. But in the end, Dr. Strange is just a man. But there's an easy solution that would help Dr. Strange be even better at his job: turn him into a giant honkin' robot.
Enterprising artist aburaya tonbi took Marvel's master of mysticism and gave him the Gundam treatment, turning Strange into a lumbering mech, complete with a flowing "cape" composed of metal wings and a prominent Eye of Agamotto. Marvel has done the whole "take superheroes and turn them into giant robots" thing before, but never quite this successfully, leaving us wishing this fan design was real.
1 SAMURAI X-MEN
The great thing about the X-Men is they work in just about any time period. Marvel's Merry Mutants have been cowboys, thespians from the 1600's, and even grimy cyberpunk hackers. But one fan artist created a truly inspired piece that whisks Professor X's team to a time period they have never populated before: Feudal Japan.
Artist genesischant crafted the "Jidaigeki X-Men," referring to a genre of Japanese pop culture that deals with the Edo period of Japanese history. With Rogue as a traditional Japanese ghost, Gambit as a yakuza gangster, and Professor X as a wise samurai master, this is a redesign dripping in inspiration. With anime set in feudal Japan currently all the rage, we're dying to see this redesign of the X-Men get the anime treatment.