4 J-Drama Manga Adaptations to Put on Your Watchlist

After a long day, it’s a great time to cozy up with some TV time. I always like to seek out live-action adaptations of manga, anime, and books I’ve enjoyed. While live-action shows can be a hit or miss, you can’t deny your curiosity in seeing how the source material will be adapted. Here are some notable live-action manga adaptations that I’ve enjoyed and that you should add to your TV watchlist.

Hana Kimi

Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Hana Kimi), which translates to For You in Full Blossom is a 2007 live-action drama based on the manga of the same name. Actress, Maki Horikita, plays the protagonist Ashiya Mizuki, a Japanese girl in the United States who one day sees the young athlete Sano Izumi compete in the high jump on television. Sano gets injured one day in America while trying to help Mizuki escape from some gangsters and as a result stops high jumping. Mizuki blames herself for the incident and decides to go to Japan and help Sano find his love for high jumping.

It’s very similar to Ouran High School Host Club with the romance storyline and school setting. This isn’t a heavy plot-based drama, but rather a funny, wacky, no-nonsense show (you have to watch it to see what I mean). I ended up falling in love with all the characters and their hilarious antics in the end. It’s entertaining and each episode makes the viewer laugh out loud.


This series revolves around Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who is disturbed by his ability to see the supernatural, and Yūko Ichihara, a powerful witch who owns a wish-granting shop. When Watanuki asks Ichihara to remove his ability to see spirits, she grants it on the condition that he pays for his wish by working for her.

CLAMP is an absolute legend in the anime/manga community for sure. This is a great series looking to dive into a light supernatural fantasy as the main character works a part-time job in a mischievous and sometimes a bit eerie wish-granting shop. You get to meet some mysterious creatures and people as Watanuki works to pay off his wish. It’s not too scary and it can be spooky at times, but I love this series overall. It is truly the definition of fantasy and I love that Yuko has this aura of suspense throughout the series.

Midnight Diner

Based on the manga, this series focuses on a late-night diner in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, its mysterious chef known only as “Master,” and the lives of his customers. The customers of the diner find simple yet profound connections with one another based on the shared love of particular dishes and experiences

If you enjoy human/slice-of-life shows, then Midnight Diner is a must-watch. It’s soothing and has a simple format. There are no extra embellishments to the show’s overall plot nor does it have outlandish sitcom situations. I appreciated the variety of stories told by the people featured in each episode people’s shared over a good, hearty, nostalgically Japanese meal. The food aspect alone draws the viewer in with its stunning and mouthwatering recipes created by Master.

Vampire Host

Rion, a naive, loudmouthed teenager, investigates a host club full of vampires when she suspects they must be related to the disappearance of a lot of people in the neighborhood, including her best friend. In the process she begins to befriend them, especially the leader Suou, with whom she develops a romantic relationship.

Vampire Host is a comical story about what happens when a regular high school girl meets a vampire who works in a vampire-themed host club! It’s a goofy show that is very cheesy. It’s nonsensical and is not to be taken too seriously. Each episode takes on a different supernatural occurrence ongoing in the neighborhood and the romance aspects are very cute.

What are some of your favorite manga TV adaptions to watch?


About Rachel Moulden

Rachel is a fandom nerd who loves to create new stories. Outside of Fandom Spotlite you can find her writing books, chatting about all things pop culture related, and gushing about all things bookish on her book blog, Life of a Female Bibliophile. When Rachel is not busy writing you can find her jamming out to anime OSTs, indulging in a good cup of coffee, or watching too many K-Dramas. Check out her middle-grade debut novel (Lost Love: My First Boyfriend) available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. You can follow her on Twitter at @bibliophilelyfe and Instagram at @lifeofafemalebibliophile.

View all posts by Rachel Moulden

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