7 Best Dark Fantasy Manga Without Anime

Dark fantasy manga: Because so many various kinds of stories may be comfortably filed under the “fantasy” label, the fantasy genre can be thought of as a catch-all category. Action, adventure, romance, mystery, isekai, horror, comedy, and even dark themes are all excellent choices for stories set in a fantasy world.

Since many works of dark fantasy, both in literature and manga, have not yet been given the treatment they deserve in anime, that genre is the focus here. This being the case, let’s take a look at some of the best examples of dark fantasy manga that would be perfect for an anime adaptation.

1. Dai Dark

Let’s kick things off with a new manga called Dai Dark by the same creative mind behind Dorohedoro. Dai Dark’s art style, general tone, and ludicrous setting all point to it being written by Q Hayashida, which would be obvious to any reader familiar with the Dorohedoro series.

If you haven’t heard of her or read any of her other works, Dai Dark is a space opera centred on a young man named Zaha Sanko. A resident of the dimension “Dark,” which exists exclusively within black holes, Zaha Sanko is pursued across the galaxy due to the legend that if one uses his bones, they would be granted their deepest wish. Zaha now merely exists in the great emptiness of space with his Package of Darkness, Avakian, where the only way to acquire fine bones, which function as currency in the Dark domain, is to constantly fend off those going for his bones with his blood-like weapons of Darkness.

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2. Solo Leveling

Next, there’s a gap; despite the fact that Solo Leveling is unquestionably a dark fantasy series, an anime adaptation is currently in development for it. Nonetheless, the original manwha’s artwork is so breathtaking that viewers are encouraged to read it before viewing the adaptation. Solo Leveling is a subgenre of fantasy that appears frequently in Korean manwha and webtoons, in which a cataclysmic event causes dungeons, character classes, levels, and other fantasy/video game tropes to appear in the world for the first time. And among the many dungeon-related manwha, Solo Leveling is the most widely read and discussed.

Like many other isekai protagonists, Sung Jinwoo (the protagonist of this series) begins as a feeble fighter with lofty aspirations. Nonetheless, Jinwoo is granted a “double awakening” in the form of this sort of magical “player” system after experiencing one hellish event that traps him in a mysterious dungeon. The system provides Jinwoo with a steady stream of quests that can lead to a wide variety of benefits, including a personal storefront from which he can sell a wide variety of items to customers.

3. Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint

Both Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint and Solo Leveling are popular South Korean webtoons (known as “manwha” in the country) about a world altered by the introduction of fantasy elements. Unlike Solo Leveling, which places greater emphasis on dungeons and levels, ORV is based on reincarnation, another prevalent concept in Korean manwha. These are beings from history or mythology, whether human or not, who attained such great power or fame during their lifetime that they were elevated to the status of a god. A few examples would be Sun Wukong, the angels Metatron and Michael, the Greek gods Zeus and Hades, and so on.

All types of magic, monsters, and fabled creations have suddenly become real, and human life on Earth has become a survival game designed to amuse these manifestations.

The only person who knows what’s going on and what’s going to happen next is a regular salaryman named Kim Dokja. And Mr. Dokja only knows this because he read about it in the same way in his favourite web fiction he has been reading for the better part of his adult life. The plot quickly spirals out of control, and by the end of the series, Dokja has developed a humorous rivalry with the show’s protagonist.

4. I Am A Hero

Similarly to Dai Dark, the writing style and tone of I Am a Hero are completely original. At first glance, this may appear to be a dramatic tale about a struggling mangaka who has a lot of problems to solve and is generally unhappy with his life. However, the tone of the story abruptly changes when a zombie-like epidemic breaks out and Hideo is thrust into a terrifying situation.

Dark Fantasy Manga
Dark Fantasy Manga

Image Source: youtube

Overall, I Am a Hero is a very nihilistic story with some truly unsettling artwork and a lot of horrific moments showcasing the depths of human desire, but these are usually balanced out by a lot of moments of self-growth and levity. Although it contains some very downbeat themes, it never fails to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

5. Ubel Blatt

Here’s Ubel Blatt, a seinen series that’s next up on the list. Now, before we go any further, know that any fan of the Berserk series is likely to find something to enjoy in Ubel Blatt’s novel. Both series feature fantastic swordplay and a lot of blood and gore of questionable taste, as well as a misunderstood and emotionally detached protagonist.

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 who is living proof that the good guys don’t always win. Regardless, the plot is deserving of an anime adaptation, though I do hope it won’t be on the same “level” of quality as the 2016 Berserk anime.

6. Fire Punch

After the recent success of the anime adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s most recent novel, Chainsaw Man, it seems fitting to discuss his earlier novel, Fire Punch. And while everyone loves Chainsaw Man, the series that came before it, Fire Punch, isn’t as well-known.

Now, the protagonist of this story (who goes by Agni) is much more of a “straight man” than Denji, which may make him seem uninteresting. Agni’s somewhat boring personality in the beginning of the game is more than made up for by the circumstances, combination of skills (which are somehow even crazier than Denji’s), and the colourful ensemble around him that leads to his becoming Fire Punch.

7. Psyren

Psyren, the last of the dark fantasy manga, is a true classic. Psyren has a lot in common with works like Gantz, Btooom, and Darwin’s Game, as well as works like Sword Art Online, in that the protagonists are “dragged” into a sudden fatal condition from which they must fight their way out. To play Psyren, one must be willing to be transported to a “mystery” Earth inhabited by beings known as Taboo, where they will be exposed to particles that will endow them with various psychic talents.

There’s already a lot going on, and both the Psyren game’s plot and the characters’ backstories will only become more convoluted as the story progresses. However, it boasts some of the most original takes on psychic abilities in any medium, is peopled by interesting and likeable characters, and is a dark fantasy prospect well deserving of an anime adaptation.

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