As superheroes dominate the big screen in live-action, studios are beginning to explore a mostly-untapped area of the superhero genre: animation.
Both Marvel and DC have released straight-to-shelves animated movies — Warner Bros. is known for their expansive brand of DC Universe Animated Original Movies — but it's only in recent years big studios are beginning to adapt their superheroes into animated films.
Walt Disney Animation Studios turned Marvel Comics' Big Hero 6 into a beloved family film, while Warner Bros. Animation built The LEGO Batman Movie 24 years after bringing Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to theaters.
They'll next take Teen Titans GO! to the big screen in July, while Sony readies the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for December.
Another relatively untapped style is anime, among the most popular forms of entertainment in the world.
Marvel is in the game with a second season of Future Avengers on the way as Warner Bros. is set to release Batman Ninja — with character design by Afro Samurai's Takashi Okazaki — sometime this year.
Marvel previously teamed with Madhouse for Marvel Anime, adapting Iron Man, Blade, Wolverine, and X-Men into anime series as well as two movies, Iron Man: Rise of Technovore and Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, while Warner Bros.' tried their hand at the style in 2008's Batman: Gotham Knight.
Should they ever choose to do so, Marvel already has a wide amount of material ready to make its jump to anime on the small screen: the Marvel Mangaverse.
The oft-forgotten Marvel Mangaverse re-imagined Peter Parker as the last living Spider-ninja following the death of his beloved uncle, Benjamin-sensei.
Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider-Clan saw Peter as a member of the eponymous Spider Clan, enemies of the dangerous Shadow Clan. The group was lead by Venom — murderer of Peter's uncle — before its decimation at the hands of Daredevil.
The series depicted manga takes on iconic Spider-Man friends and foes Black Cat, Green Goblin, Kingpin, and Otto Octavius, and its those manga roots — plus the fluidity of an agile character like Spider-Man — that would make Legend of the Spider-Clan a no-brainer for a page-to-anime adaptation.
Bruce Banner discovered the Negative Zone, only for terrorist organization HYDRA to dupe the scientist into powering a weapon of mass destruction with the newly-discovered dimension.
The resulting catastrophe cost the lives of thousands, driving a guilt-ridden Banner insane. Later, his mind erased by new boss Tony Stark, Banner forgot the events of the disaster — only to be exposed to gamma radiation, transforming him into a 245-foot tall green-skinned creature called the Hulk.
The Kaiju-inspired Hulk was unlike any other depiction of the character, and — oh, yeah — it lead to the Avengers assembling a friggin' Iron Man Megazord to battle the giant destructive monster.
The Mangaverse was also home to superhero siblings Tony Stark and Antoinette 'Toni' Stark, who operated as the high-tech Iron Man and Iron Maiden, respectively.
Marvel has explored the idea of a woman taking over the Iron Man mantle in the form of Rescue (Pepper Potts) and, most recently, Ironheart (Riri Williams), but the original "Iron Lady" came packing a large mecha attachment inspired by the Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory anime — making the iron-suited siblings ripe for an anime adaptation with lots of mecha action.
The Mangaverse re-imagined T'Challa, still king of Wakanda, as a shaman who possessed the ability to shapeshift.
This ability saw the African king transform, literally, into a Black Panther — turning his skin into black fur, his teeth into fangs, and his hands into vicious claws — while other, more human forms granted T'Challa the ability to fly with falcon wings sprouted from his back.
T'Challa was pitted against his sister, T'Channa, who donned an armor suit and dubbed herself Doctor Doom.
The Fantastic Four — or the Megascale Megatalent Response Team — saw Marvel's first family re-imagined as Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic, Sioux Storm, the Invisible Woman, her sister, Jonatha Storm, the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm, the Thing.
The four exhibited superhuman abilities by way of their suits — Jon's metatalent, for example, allowed her to envelop herself within a plasma-like energy, while a human Ben Grimm could manipulate rocks and turn them into a rocky armor — making for a wildly different take on the superheroes-slash-adventurers.
Felicia Hardy's Mangaverse suit was even more risqué than the slim-fitting catsuit sported by the anti-hero and sometimes villainness in her more mainstream appearances — a suit that would make even Motoko Kusanagi blush — one she used to prowl around as the high-tech Black Cat.
Still, the long-clawed cat burglar couldn't keep her paws off a Shadow Clan amulet that had fallen into the possession of Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin.
This Felicia borrowed heavily from Ghost in the Shell: her cat-like agility came from her cybernetic body, granting her abilities and reflexes not exhibited by simple humans.
Her adventures saw her tangled up with shady Kuji Kuri leader Kingpin as well as the magic-wielding Mandarin, enemy of Iron Man.
Logan, still a member of the X-Men in this continuity, is mostly similar to his mainstream counterpart in that he boasts three protruding metal claws from each hand.
This Logan also sometimes sports a white mane, and a prosthetic right hand able to unleash three energy claws (his original hand was apparently blown off by teammate Cyclops, whose super-suit wields a giant beam on his forehead, making him look even more like the mythological creature from which he gets his name).
"How can we make Wolverine even cooler? Give him glowing energy claws," is probably something someone said at one time, and it would look slick to see Wolverine use those energy claws in motion.
Another Mangaverse character prepped and ready for an anime is the blade-wielding Elektra Natchios, who in this continuity slaughtered 1/3 of the Fantastic Four.
Killed by the Shadow Clan and resurrected by the Hand (who at one time enlisted Elektra to bring them the shield of Captain America), Elektra eventually did battle with her lover Matt Murdock — who she also killed.
Mangaverse Elektra is both more brutal and even more tragic than her 616 counterpart, and her tale would making for one hell of a series.
Hank "Antman" Pym was a teenage scientist-slash-rock star who once released an album called "Alien-Ant Asylum."
Like his mainstream counterpart, Pym could control and wield the power of ants — which he often did with an ant-controlling guitar that utilized frequencies used to command the ants, replacing Ant-Man's helmet.
The young Bruce Banner fan was later seemingly killed by the Hand, his beloved guitar being held in the group's trophy room. Bummer. Still, an aged-down Ant-Man who uses an electric guitar to unleash an army of ants on his enemies is wild enough to work in an anime — maybe just leave out the part where he's killed by ninjas.
Steve Rogers suited up as Captain America in a less patriotic and bulky armor, utilizing a pink energy shield as his go-to crime-fighting tool.
He was also President of the United States, operating secretly as Captain America, who lead the Iron Avengers — his team of superheroes whose combat vehicles were able to assemble into a giant Iron Man mecha called Ultimate Iron Man, which they used to battle the Horsemen of Apocalypse and a skyscraper-sized Hulk.
If President-by-day, robot-piloting-Kaiju-punching-superhero-by-night doesn't sell you on what would be an insane Captain America anime, nothing will.