Superhero comics and anime have been influencing one another for a long time. In fact, some of the most popular anime of the last decade include superhero series like My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man, while 2018 saw the release of Batman Ninja–just one of many Batman stories that draws inspiration from Japan.
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The Dark Knight has a rigid moral code and is always ready for a good fight. Given his aggressive and uncompromising nature, it seems like many classic anime characters–both heroes and villains–might very well make for iconic Batman villains should they ever cross his path.
10 Death Note: Light Yagami Wields The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
The Death Note is a magical notebook that can kill anyone simply by writing their name in its pages. When high school student Light Yagami acquires one, he uses it to kill criminals. Then, he begins killing innocents to protect himself from discovery.
Light is a true genius when it comes to analytical thinking and strategy. However, his decision to target all criminals for death reveals a childishly narrow-minded concept of morality where non-violent offenders and serial killers are treated equally. Even Batman, who has dedicated his life to stopping crime, would be horrified by Light’s actions and would do all he could to put an end to them.
9 Tokyo Ghoul: Ken Kaneki Is A Gothic Vampire
Batman is a brooding gothic antihero who stalks the night. Since criminals prey on the citizens of Gotham, the Dark Knight targets them, filling them with fear.
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The protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul, Ken Kaneki, was turned into a ghoul (or half-ghoul) after an organ transplant saved his life by harvesting the innards of a ghoul. It also needs to be noted that ghouls are basically vampires, feeding on human blood to survive. Batman has fought vampires before and would put a stop to Kaneki, or any other ghouls feeding on the people of Gotham.
8 My Hero Academia: Stain Exposes Superheroes’ Hypocrisies
Superheroes have become a popular anime genre in recent years, and the most successful series is My Hero Academia. One of the main villains of the series is Stain, who is committed to exposing the hypocrisies of “heroes” as self-interested glory-seekers who don’t actually care about people.
Batman is a deeply flawed hero who is motivated by his desire to punish wrongdoing but who fails to address the systemic issues that cause criminal behavior. Some of the Dark Knight’s greatest stories expose his ideological oversights, and Stain would be an ideal villain for such a story.
7 Akira: Tetsuo Is An Out-Of-Control, Traumatized Psychic Gangster
Akira forever changed the cultural landscape of anime fandom outside Japan. One of its main characters, Tetsuo, is a teenaged bosozoku who gains psychic powers. Traumatized by the life he has lived in the poverty and gang fights of Neo Tokyo, Tetsuo uses his new abilities to unleash a destructive force upon the city.
Many of Batman’s enemies suffer from trauma or mental illness of some sort. Everything about Tetsuo from his gang life to his traumatic childhood would be familiar to the Dark Knight. Batman might even sympathize with Tetsuo, but Gotham’s protector would feel obligated to neutralize such a threat.
6 Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta Is An Arrogant Alien Invader And Master Martial Artist
Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta is a villain-turned-hero who then becomes villainous again much later. He is a Saiyan, a powerful alien species obsessed with battle. More importantly, he is a Saiyan prince who has dedicated his life to becoming one of the strongest warriors in existence. At the start of his character arc in the anime, Vegeta is bent on conquest.
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Batman has fought numerous overpowered alien invaders and has even taken on gods. With the right Batsuit, the Dark Knight might even be a match for Vegeta, at least during the period of the show known as the Saiyan Saga.
5 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gendo Ikari Wants To End The World
Neon Genesis Evangelion is another classic anime that revolutionized the medium, infusing Kabbalic mysticism and psychoanalysis into a mecha series. The organization NERV works to protect humankind from powerful supernatural beings known as Angels, even as they simultaneously try to both control and eventually end the world.
Gendo Ikari is the leader of NERV, a cold and calculating man who willingly alienates and even kills those around him to achieve his goals. He is driven, focused, and unrelenting, and while he seems completely devoid of empathy, Gendo is a genius. Meanwhile, Batman is possessed of a similar drive to meet his goals, even as he alienates and injures those he loves. The Caped Crusader would try to stop Gendo from destroying the world, but the two would also serve as dark reflections of one another.
4 Hellsing: Alucard Is A Powerful Vampire Who Wields Dark Magic
The vampire Alucard has a strangely ambiguous moral code. He is a predator and a true sadist who revels in killing his enemies with impressive displays of his magical abilities. However, he primarily hunts other supernatural entities in service of Britain’s Royal Order of Protestant Knights.
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Batman would want to stop any monster who feeds on people, but he would also probably recognize the importance of the work Alucard does. Both characters would find it difficult to kill the other, but seeing as Alucard is already undead, Batman might use lethal force.
3 Battle Angel Alita: Alita Kills The Criminals She Hunts
Alita is a teenaged girl whose brain was preserved from ages past and awoken into a modern cyberpunk dystopia. She was put into a powerful cybernetic body and became a bounty hunter. The criminals who cross her path rarely survive. Alita also began to question the unjust hierarchy of dystopian life amid the poverty around her while the floating city of Zalem above had wealth.
Batman’s number one rule is that he does not kill. However, while he will happily throw murderers in jail, he is only interested in targeting individuals and chooses to ignore the larger systemic issues that cause greater loss of life. Alita threatens his commitment to non-lethal tactics. More significantly, her decision to attack Zalem exposes Batman’s own complicity in allowing dystopian regimes to go unchallenged.
2 Samurai Champloo: Mugen Is A Brash, Greedy Sword Master And Bandit
Mugen is one of the three protagonists of the Sengoku Era chanbara anime Samurai Champloo. He is a master swordsman whose unconventional style of fighting involves acrobatics and improvisation that take advantage of his environment. He is also a thief, murderer, drunkard, and ill-mannered brute.
Considering that Batman has been sent into the Sengoku Era at least once before in Batman Ninja, it is not unreasonable to think these two might meet. The reasons why Batman would fight someone like Mugen are obvious. Meanwhile, Mugen would consider the fight to be good sport.
1 Attack On Titan: The Titans Are A Threat To Humanity
As massive giants who eat humans, the Titans are classic monsters: strong, ravenous, and destructive. Batman normally fights against human enemies (or superhuman ones) but he has faced off against monsters, including giants. He’s already skilled in swinging from rooftops, which would give him the requisite skills to fight these massive monsters in the same way the Survey Corps does. Fighting the Titans would not be a matter of justice, but of saving human lives.
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About The Author
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Theo Kogod is a freelance writer, educator, researcher, and activist. He helped found the magazine 3 Feet Left as its Resident Writer while working as an English teacher in Japan. Since then, he’s written for various online publications, including CBR, Screen Rant, The Gamer, and The Comics Vault. His published fiction includes the prose superhero story “Typical Heroes” released by Diabolical Plots and the sci-fi story “Antediluvian” in the anthology A Flash of Silver-Green. He currently lives in North Carolina with his spouse, two adorable cats, and an ever-growing book-hoard.
You can find him on Twitter at @TKogod.
You can also watch his videos on YouTube under the name Theo Kogod, where he posts sporadically.
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