More Than Any Other Manga, This One Is Dying For Anime Adaptation

By Douglas Helm | Published

Lone Wolf and Cub

Anime is arguably more popular than it has ever been, as evidenced by the many attempts to adapt it to live-action and the surprising box office successes of anime films, like Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train. However, we wouldn’t have many of the best anime of all time if it weren’t for the mangas they’re adapted from. But that doesn’t mean that every great manga gets an anime adaptation, and perhaps one of the most egregious missed opportunities is the fact that the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series hasn’t been adapted yet.

Lone Wolf and Cub is a genre-defining manga and one of the greatest of all time, but it’s never been adapted into an anime.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the legendary Lone Wolf and Cub manga, created by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima, hasn’t been adapted at all. There have been six films, four plays, and a television series of the source material, with the films standing out as particularly popular and acclaimed. However, you would think that all of these popular adaptations would eventually lead to the series getting adapted into an anime as well.

The Lone Wolf and Cub manga follows Ogami Itto, an executioner for the shogun who must take on the life of an assassin after facing false accusations from the Yagyu clan. On his mission for vengeance against the Yagyu clan, he takes along his three-year-old son, Daigoro. Together, the two become known as the Lone Wolf and Cub.

Lone Wolf and Cub originally ran from 1970 through 1976, first translated into English in 1987.

Lone Wolf and Cub (1973)

To say that Lone Wolf and Cub is an influential manga series would be a vast understatement, as the immensely well-regarded series even has a trope named after it. The Lone Wolf and Cub trope can be seen in numerous major films, video games, and TV shows, such as The Mandalorian, Leon: The Professional, The Witcher, The Last of Us, Road to Perdition, Logan, and many, many more. It would seem like an obvious move to make such an influential series into an anime.

But, perhaps part of the reason that Lone Wolf and Cub manga hasn’t been adapted yet is because of how well-known and influential it has become. With so many different properties applying the trope of the Lone Wolf and Cub, it’s possible that the premise wouldn’t get the same amount of attention since it’s not necessarily original anymore, which is ironic because it literally is the original version.

Logan demonstrates the Lone Wolf and Cub trope

However, just because a trope is widely used doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth watching, as evidenced by the massive popularity of the aforementioned shows and films that use the trope, not to mention the fact that Lone Wolf and Cub already has a built-in fanbase. Even if that wasn’t the case, who wouldn’t want to see a well-animated samurai anime based on one of the best mangas of all time?

To say that Lone Wolf and Cub is an influential manga series would be a vast understatement, as the immensely well-regarded series even has a trope named after it.

There are plenty of talented, fantastic anime studios that could easily take on a Lone Wolf and Cub adaptation and beautifully animate it in a modern way that is also faithful to the iconic original art style. The manga’s story is timeless, and it’s not hard to see the anime version becoming incredibly popular. Plus, any studio that takes it on would have plenty of material to adapt.

The Lone Wolf and Cub manga spans 28 volumes that total around 300 pages each, making the entire series roughly 8,700 pages of material. It’s not hard to imagine that this adaptation could be multiple seasons, and if the studio knocked the first season out of the park, then it could be another hugely popular anime in the near future. However, it’s probably not a great idea to get your hopes up because you have to imagine that if this manga was going to get an anime adaptation, someone would have already done it by now.