There’s no agony quite like having to wait an entire seven days for another episode of your favorite series. Binging content is commonplace in the spoiled world we find ourselves in, but sometimes that’s simply not an option. With the fifth season of My Hero Academia currently airing on Funimation, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few superhero-stuffed series to nibble on while you wait for Saturday to come around again. And who knows? One of these may become a new favorite.
Overcome that pesky decision fatigue and pick one of these (bingeable) superhero series to make a new obsession.
1. Samurai Flamenco
The collective anime fanbase has a very bad habit of forgetting that Samurai Flamenco exists, and that needs to be remedied. The premise may sound almost laughably familiar: Masayoshi Hazama wants to be a superhero, but has approximately zero superpowers. (That’s a prerequisite, right?) In his quest, he meets plenty of people eager to cheer him on, including Hidenori Goto, a police officer who has his life turned upside down after becoming entangled in Masayoshi’s epic quest.
Balancing both well-executed comedy and action, its story is surprisingly inspiring. You might start sewing your own hero suit after all is said and done.
Samurai Flamenco is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
HEROMAN is strange. A joint venture between Studio Bones and Stan Lee, the 2010 series takes place in America, and follows Joey, a typical student living a typical life. The release of a new toy robot has our protagonist believing that getting his hands on one may be his key to become a superhero. Stumbling upon a broken model, with a little help from a very well-aimed bolt of lightning, the HEROMAN not only returns to working order, but transforms into a giant robot, ready to defend the planet from aliens summoned to the planet Earth by Joey’s science teacher.
It’s a lot.
The series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Hamatora isn’t perfect, but it does give us X-Men vibes. It inspired confidence in Japan, getting two anime series, a video game, light novels, stage plays, you name it!
In an alternate 2014, certain special humans are found to possess supernatural powers, giving them a leg-up in life and allowing them to enjoy privileges others could never fathom. Nice and Murasaki, two of these special cases known to the world as ‘Minimum Holders,’ start a detective agency to discover some serious truths.
Its story of corporate greed may strike a chord in some viewers, and while the animation sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, we think its twelve episodes are worth binging.
Hamatora is streaming on Crunchyroll.
If you’re a fan of My Hero Academia but want something darker, Zetman might just give you that boost of superhero angst you need. The series began in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump as a one-shot in 1994, with a more mature manifestation running in Weekly Young Jump between 2002 and 2014.
The 2012 anime series follows two rival superheroes as they attempt to find out where their powers came from, while also protecting humanity from terrifying monsters called Players. The author, Masakazu Katsura, is a huge Batman fan, and some themes and stylistic choices may come through in his storytelling and art style, so keep an eye out.
The anime series isn’t currently available to stream, but it has been licensed by VIZ. Consider picking it up.
5. The Reflection
Who knew Stan Lee dipped his fingers into the anime pool so frequently? Created by Lee and Mushishi director Hiroshi Nagahama, this 12-episode series is all kinds of strange, featuring a soundtrack by Trevor Horn, the prolific British musician who brought us ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ and who launched Seal to stardom in the 1990s. (Because why not?)
A strange event known only as ‘The Reflection’ gives superpowers to those least expecting it, with some becoming heroes and others becoming villains… but why? That’s the mystery that needs solving, and while the funky animation is likely to either turn you on or off, let me just add one important fact: Stan Lee writes himself into the story as a villain. That’s beautiful.
The Reflection is streaming on Crunchyroll.
6. Concrete Revolutio
We might be biased, but anything directed by Seiji Mizushima has our immediate attention. Produced by Studio Bones, Concrete Revolutio: Superhuman Phantasmagoria is a colorful trip through an alternate Earth: one where superheroes, ghosts, aliens, magical girls, and giant robots all coexist.
The thing is, you’re not supposed to know about them: the Japanese government keeps track of all superhuman beings in the country, and takes action to destroy them if they pose a threat. Jiro Hitoyoshi starts on a quest to recruit new superhumans to help with this important duty, but things aren’t as cut and dry as they seem.
Concrete Revolutio is streaming on Funimation.
7. Tiger & Bunny
This entry is as obvious as One Punch Man, but if this 2011 smash-hit has somehow escaped your notice, this is your sign. Don’t take our word for it: in a 2017 NHK poll, Japanese people named Tiger & Bunny their number one series ever.
It’s hard to say where that staying power comes from, but we’d argue it’s the varied cast of characters: superheroes with corporate sponsors vying for the most TV time as they rescue civilians from burning buildings and fetch cats from trees. Each heroic action earns them points, and at the end of the season, one is named ‘King of Heroes.’ Throw in a murder mystery and some slapstick, and you’ve got one of the best entries into the genre.
What did you think of our picks? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Have a question about anything listed? Come join our community over on Discord, and let us know if we missed any of your favorite hero-packed series! Also, stay up to date with the newest in Japanese pop culture and subculture news by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!