Anime Vice News

NONSENSE FROM THE NOOB: Does Every Manga Become An Anime?

And when is the anime actually BETTER than the manga?

Even though that's Kaneda, that certainly LOOKS like a throne he's sitting on.
Even though that's Kaneda, that certainly LOOKS like a throne he's sitting on.

One thing I’ve really appreciated about delving further into the worlds of anime and manga here is that doing so has given me a better perspective on the American comics and cartoon industries. Case in point… the movie KICK-ASS’s recent release represents a key breakthrough in that it’s probably the first major motion picture adaptation of an American comic that’s come out barely a month after the comic itself wrapped up. That is, the comic and the movie were developed at the same time and, while the various authors communicated a lot, they both want off in drastically different directions (as it should be obvious to anybody who’s seen both) .

That sounded really novel, at first, until I remembered something I read about AKIRA after watching it the first time. Correct me if I’m wrong (and that’s probably likely), but didn’t the anime come out before the manga had finished? I’ve been meaning to read the mangas for a while, especially since my friend told me that it the plot goes on for a lot longer, with a big portion concering Tetsuo becoming "King of Japan."

The  “cross media” model I’m used to seeing is that you’ll see the printed story, first, and then, once it’s finished, you see a cinematic adaptation (with varying degrees of faithfulness). I assumed, for instance, that EVANGELION was based on a manga. But then a number of you have pointed out to me that manga is actually an adaptation of the anime, not the other way around, and that it’s still going on today (some 15 years after the show ended?). There seems to be some disagreement about which is better executed, too.  I heard something that was just as intriguing about VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE’s origins. That supposedly the anime is actually a combination of two manga series - - one, a shonen take, and the other a shojo take.

Like I said, I find this all really intriguing, because it seems different than the differences (different than the differences... HA!) you typically see in American adaptations. Those changes seem more dictated by suits, while these (at least from my perspective) sound like they’re made by creatives (almost like jazz musicians riffing on a common standard). I’d like to learn more about the whole topic, so I figure you lunatics in the Anime Vice community are the best people to turn to. Could somebody break down how this all works to me? Maybe even list some examples where the anime version of a story was better than the manga, and vice versa? I’m the anime noob… so EDUCATE ME!

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on Amazon.com.

Whiskeyjackon May 6, 2010 at 5:57 p.m.
There's all sorts of anime series that are based on manga projects that were still being written when their animated offspring were born. The first examples that come to mind are all the big long-running shonen series: Bleach, Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball Z. Unlike those series which in theory could continue with more adventures ad infinitum, Clamp's manga X certainly has an end planned out. However the series is still on-going (on hiatus at the moment I think?), but we've seen a movie and a television series, both with their own endings.
 
The general rule of book source > movie still applies, in my opinion to most manga/anime relationships. Some of it will come down to personal taste. I'm sure there are some shows that the majority of fans prefer the anime over the manga, but I don't know what those would be. Personally the Excel Saga anime was much more enjoyable than the manga. In that situation I think the intensity and insanity of Excel came across better in moving pictures and with sound. But YMMV.
 
As for Akira - it started in 1982, the movie came out in '88, and the manga ended in 1990.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on May 6, 2010 at 6:15 p.m.
I do not think so....yet it seems that every manga gets it's own anime show nowadays. I just hate the mangas that get a anime adoption before they are well established. Several great examples of a manga series getting it's own anime show way too soon is Kampfer, Elfen Lied, and Sora no Otoshimono. For example, the Kampfer manga is still ongoing to this day, but the anime only lasted 12 episodes and was put together in a somewhat hurried manner that in the end led to the show suffering from a butchered story/plot of the manga in it's hasty attempt to portray the franchise.  Don't get me wrong....the Kampfer anime is still pretty decent, but it could have been much better if it was put together in a more effective manner.
 
This also happened for the Elfen Lied manga series...it too got a anime adaptation sooner than it should have and as a result, strayed from the great story and concept of the manga in it's attempt to portray the franchise in a new, more bloody light. The show is still pretty good, but the proper ending and several key moments from the manga are left out of the anime (which in the end hurts the quality of the show) and replaced with a different sequence of events that just feels hastily thrown together.
 
This too affected the Sora no Otoshimono anime show....it was also started before the manga had really taken off and suffered from this fate too. The show (which sticks roughly to the manga around 75-80%) is still a blast to watch, but after reading the manga, you realize that the show could have much better if it had been done later on so the franchise could be given more depth by the ongoing manga series (which is still going as of today).
 



Krison May 6, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.
With the Evangelion manga.....  I think it was on hiatus.  They got to a point where they either didn't know or couldn't agree on what would happen.  If it would follow the series, the films, or something else entirely.
 
Escaflowne....umm.....  I think it was all developed separately (meaning the anime wasn't a combined version of the two manga, they were just different retellings).  The film also differs from both manga series and the TV show.  
 
Rahxephon also has I think three different versions: the anime, manga, and film. 
 
Then you have shows like Bleach, mentioned above me, where the manga goes on and on, but the anime gets ahead, and creates its own story lines for filler that don't exist in the manga, until the manga catches up.  Or a show like Full Metal Alchemist, which got ahead of the manga, and wrote its own ending...but which is now being remade to faithfully follow the manga.
 
I don't think there's any one single way it always happens, if that's what you're looking for.  And sometimes it's the creators, but sometimes it's the studios as well.  A lot of what happens to a show depends on how well it's doing.  Even if a creator wants to take it to whatever conclusion, if the studio says "no, it's not doing what we want," the show could end right in the middle of something, or be rushed into an ending.  Like Berserk, which was a show that was planned by its creators to go beyond what was eventually created, and for whatever reason, the show wasn't renewed or continued in any way...so it just stops.  In the middle of a story line, and indeed in the middle of a scene. 
 
But not every manga becomes an anime (in fact, when you look at the enormous amount of manga out there...just a fraction of it gets animated), obviously...and not every anime becomes a manga (because sometimes it goes that way, too; though it's certainly more likely for a manga to be made when there's already an anime, than for every manga to get animated). 
agila61on May 6, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.
And keep in mind that its not always two-cornered -- its sometimes three cornered, with light novels, manga, and anime. Its possible for both manga and anime to follow the light novels, as in Maria-sama ga Miteru.
 
It seems like at least half anime are based on a manga, but any original anime that is a success is likely to spawn a manga, since the financial cost and risk of launching a manga is substantially lower.
Dream moderator is online on May 6, 2010 at 6:56 p.m.
A good number of anime titles tend to be based on manga sources, especially ongoing ones. Many of these titles are made for TV shows, though there are the occasional one-shot OAVs and movies (Akira falls in this scenario). However, the quality of many of these OAV and movie adaptations tend to vary depending on how much of the manga is adapted into them since there's only so much time to devote for a movie or OAV series. Many anime movies I see based on a manga series tend to suck since events are rushed and there's little time to devote focus and depth on multiple characters (X/1999 being a big culprit for this). Some OAV titles I've seen take a small portion of the manga series they are based on and are able to create something decent out of it, though not always perfect (Video Girl Ai and Bastard as examples).
 
Depending on what the animation studio has in mind for the manga it makes an adaptation of and how far the manga has progressed, there are several ways that a TV show adaptation of an anime is handled. If the manga's just started up recently, the makers of the anime would make their title based on the first several volumes of that particular anime and normally run it for a season or two, which for Japan is about three or six months and 11-13 or 24-26 episodes respectfully. This is a common standard with titles getting their first run on TV. The problem with following this scenario is that the anime would lack a proper ending since its source material would still be ongoing and usually, the anime adaptation would alter aspects to the plot and characters if they are going in a direction that the manga had yet to reveal at that point.
 
Popular manga titles that have had a long enough run will either be ran for multiple seasons at different seasons or ran for much longer than the standard one to two season straight run. Titles such as Nodame Cantabile, Black Lagoon and School Rumble were popular enough where multiple seasons were made for it between TV and OAVs during different periods of time. Studios tend to take a section of the manga and use its material for each of the separate seasons. Doing separate seasons allows the manga creator to get further ahead on their work while those working on the anime are preparing the next season when the anime is on hiatus from TV.
 
The big shounen titles (DBZ, Inuyasha, Naruto, Bleach, etc...) tend to run for several years straight racking up episode counts in the hundreds. Because these titles tend to run for longer periods of time, they quite often catch up with their source material from the manga resulting in the anime having to create filler arcs to allow the manga to get further ahead with its plot. In a notorious example of a shounen title resorting to filler, Naruto ran filler episodes for over a year to allow the manga to get further ahead which I do recall hearing of fans having fits over. Beyond the big shounen stuff, there have been some titles geared for other audiences that run close to or over a year like Monster, Nana and Cross Game. These three titles closely followed the events that took place within their manga counterparts with two of the three having clear endings.
 
Then there's the stuff that's not so conventional with how their direction went. In a rare occurrence, the first Full Metal Alchemist series took its manga source material and created a new direction with the storyline and characters that made it a hit despite the manga still be ongoing when the anime continuity had its ending. Popular titles like Hellsing, Evangelion and FMA have recently been given remakes to either be more faithful to their original source material or going in a new direction with its plot to make it more accessible for audiences. 
 
Of course, not all anime is made from manga which is a preconceived notion made by new anime fans. A number of anime titles can also be based on storybook and dating sim games (Kanon and Clannad), video games (Gungrave and the Street Fighter movies), light novels (Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Story of Saiunkoku) or literature (Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo and Howl's Moving Castle). Some titles can also be original and in-house creations from an animation studio. For example, Gainax has a rep for having many of their titles being their own creation instead of having it from another adaptation like Gurren Lagann, Nadia: Secret of Blue Water and Furi Kuri.
 
Escaflowne and Evangelion's manga adaptations are unique in the fact that they were made during production on their anime adaptations and because of the radical changes made in their scripts during production, the manga counterparts come out to be much different than how the final releases of Eva and Escaflowne would turn out for their TV adaptations.
 
@Kris: The manga for Eva is on hiatus because the manga-ka Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who is also a character designer for Gainax's anime titles, is currently at work on the third Rebuild of Eva movie.
FoxxFireArt moderator on May 6, 2010 at 7:17 p.m.
Sometimes a series will begin as a manga and become and anime. Sometimes an anime will become a manga. I believe it's probably all about classic "market saturation". Not unlike what the video game industry does. The way they will at times make a game for every system. Whether the system can handle it graphically or not. The Wolverine Origins game was kind of cool on the PS3 and XBox360. On the Wii, it was among the worst thing I have seen, and I saw Charlies Angels: Full Throttle.
Sometimes it's even video games that are made into animes. Those are more often the porn/hentai games.
 
For the most part. It's not too much unlike what we have in the US. A manga may be published for a few years. If it's popular enough. They will eventually make an anime of it. If that does well. They will start creating anime movies. One such example is One Piece. That series recently had it's tenth movie that was actually written by the series creator, Eiichiro Oda.
 
Sometimes, there is a problem with animes based on mangas. Many manga series come out on a weekly basis. A chapter on average of 18 pages. An anime episode can at times be the equivalent of two manga chapters depending on the events. Some animes in Japan are also weekly with almost no breaks between the seasons at all. We often have breaks between seasons of animated shows that can range from months if not years.
This becomes a problem with anime series that are based on some mangas that are only published monthly, such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater. If you have an anime coming out weekly, but the manga it's based on being monthly. Naturally, the anime will over take the manga. So, the animes will create their own endings that branch off from the mangas they were originally based upon.
More recently, One Piece has been having events added to or stretching events out from the canon manga to create it so it's one episode for one manga chapter. While that is fine. It does feel at times that scenes are stretching on needlessly.

On some rare occasions. An anime may inspire a spin off manga.
 
I believe I went on longer then I originally intended. ** trots away in embarrassment **
taotasticon May 7, 2010 at 6:28 a.m.
No, not every manga becomes an anime.  It depends on popularity, funding, resources, and whether or not the creator actually wants their manga to become an anime.  My favorite shoujo series of all time, Alice 19th and Kare First Love, were never made in anime, something which saddens me to this day.   
 
The problem with some anime adaptations is that the manga is butchered, and an otherwise matur-ish series is made child's play.  Such is the case with Shaman King, which some people cannot take seriously despite the dark turn the manga takes soon after - tada! - the point where the anime ceases following it.  Sometimes, this split is intentional.  Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromo Arakawa specifically told the producers of the first FMA anime that she wanted the ending to be significantly different from what she had planned for the manga, so it was.  Now, with the remake, Brotherhood, the manga ending will be used. 
 
The thing with remakes is again with popularity.  Series like Eva and FMA are insanely popular, so the fact that remakes have been produced is not that big of a surprise.  With Shaman King Kang Zeng Bang, the re-rekease ofthe manga with a new ending, an anime remake is less likely. 
 
Many anime are taken from light novels as well.  In the process, the light novel may also sprout a manga series, almost as a way to get people hyped up for it.  But with original anime, such as Gurren Lagann and Code Geass, who come only from the minds of the studio and are not a manga adaptation, a manga adaptation of the anime will follow a la cash cow.
AHoodedFigureon May 7, 2010 at 2:11 p.m.
Re: Akira, the movie and the manga feel very different.  I actually felt that the book used too many coincidental meetups to keep the plot moving, to the point where I actually became a bit dissatisfied and listless.  But the direction they each go in lends a different feel.  It's difficult to compare them, though, because the anime has definite pacing difficulties, at least for the people I've watched it with over the years; it often feels like it has several endings.  The manga has a nice arc, with minor characters [usually] getting dealt with in nihilistic but refreshing ways.
 
The conclusions couldn't be more different, either, at least if you look at them on the levels they seem to think are the most important...  and I actually think the film did a MUCH better job characterizing Tetsuo before the accident.  I was amazed how little time he gets in the book before it happens.  Just a few scenes was all the film needed to humanize Tetsuo and make his struggle much more sympathetic.
Chengyon May 7, 2010 at 2:20 p.m.
Anime are never better than the manga, well in plot wise. They always try to cram the whole manga into twelve episodes, cutting so much and even leaving the stories unfinished 3/4 of the time. I dont see why barely any anime anymore go past this stupid 12 episode limit. I mean i remember the old days of Dragonball, Pokemon, Gundam Wing, Tenchi ect they all had like a hundered plus episodes i swear.
shelson May 7, 2010 at 2:33 p.m.
 In most cases a manga gets an anime version only to boost its sells, the same may occur with games novels etc,some times resulting in poorer adaptations or unfinished ones. Then there are cases where the story itself calls for some kind of adapatation, (despite the manga selling well or not) taking advantage of the plot to create a more visually appealing environement (sometimes).
I am not aware of the full info about it but i think berserk it's one the examples of it, the manga is still running and the anime is dated from 97/98 with an unfinished ending, that left the viewers craving for more, turning them to the manga version.
There are some case that i think didn't get much texposition here, when a manga is adapted into a live action movie, Old Boy is one great example of it, the manga finished in 98 and the movie adaptation was released in 2003, in my opinion the movie it's so much better than the manga that almost feels like there's not that much in common between the two, blame Chan-wook Park for that! :P
JELEINENon May 7, 2010 at 3:19 p.m.

Escaflowne was invisioned as an anime first.  The manga, though released before the anime started airing, were tie-in products. 
 
The Akira movie was made while the manga was still running.  It's not that uncommon, but in Akira's case it's also a rare example of the manga's author also being the director of the anime, so I don't think it suffers nearly as much as other adaptations of incomplete sources (the above mentioned X movie is usually the poster child for this sort of thing). 

I've found that comedies work the best in getting adapted.  So much of what makes something funny is in the timing, and that's the hardest part to do in print.  For example, off the top of my head, I think both Azudai and K-on! were much better anime than they were manga.

No_name_here staff on May 8, 2010 at 2:38 a.m.
Very glad to get such informative answers to my quandary. I'm just intrigued by it, like I said, because I can't think of too many analogous examples in America outside of KICK-ASS.
 
@Kris: That's interesting that you talk about a number of shows spinning their wheels once they break past their source material. I heard that's the reason there are so many "charging up" episodes of DBZ that seem to be filler.

Dig Deeper into Neon Genesis Evangelion

After its premier in 1995, Neon Genesis Evangelion became famous as one of the most dangerous and groundbreaking anime of all time. It has spawned three ongoing manga and three movies, with three more on the way.

Edit/View the Wiki
Hit the Forums (98 Posts)
Add/View Images (308 Images)
Watch Some Videos (9 Videos)
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

NARUTO Ch. 685 Review

In some ways, NARUTO is becoming the TWILIGHT of manga.

TOKYO GHOUL #1&2 -- Special Review

Fancy a bit of the ol' ultraviolence, my droogies?

When JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Gets Really Gross...

STARDUST CRUSADERS #15 -- Watch & Learn. Squatters, am I right?

Does JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Work as a Horror Story?

STARDUST CRUSADERS #14 -- Watch & Learn. It's scary!

DRAGON BALL's Embarrassing Early Days?

#12 -- Retro Review. The monkey's even scarier!

NARUTO Ch. 686 Review

Things start to get heavy, but they just wind up falling flat.

DRAMAtical mURDER #1 -- Special Review

Must all nerds be bullied?

ARGEVOLLEN #1 -- Special Review

Well, I can say the suit looks cool, at least.

DRAMAtical mURDER #1 -- Special Review

Must all nerds be bullied?

TOKYO GHOUL #1&2 -- Special Review

Fancy a bit of the ol' ultraviolence, my droogies?

NARUTO Ch. 685 Review

In some ways, NARUTO is becoming the TWILIGHT of manga.

When JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Gets Really Gross...

STARDUST CRUSADERS #15 -- Watch & Learn. Squatters, am I right?

Does JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Work as a Horror Story?

STARDUST CRUSADERS #14 -- Watch & Learn. It's scary!

ARGEVOLLEN #1 -- Special Review

Well, I can say the suit looks cool, at least.

Community Spotlight 7/27/2014

July is nearly behind us, and these super users are looking ahead to the Summer releases.

DRAGON BALL's Embarrassing Early Days?

#12 -- Retro Review. The monkey's even scarier!

Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel