Five anime better than their manga and novel source material, according to fans

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Only a small fraction of the huge quantity of anime that Japan produces starts off as animation, with the rest being adapted from preexisting works such as serialized comics or novels. But because making anime is so much more capital and labor-intensive than drawing a manga or writing a book, oftentimes fans prefer the original, lamenting that the creator’s genius is watered down when he has to relinquish control to the many disparate interests that make up an anime production committee.

But the jump to animation isn’t always seen as a step down in quality. A recent poll asked fans which anime they thought had surpassed their source material, and here are the top five responses.

Japanese Internet portal Nico Nico News asked 500 adult men and women which anime series they felt were more entertaining and interesting than the works they sprang from. To be fair, the four manga and one novel series the answers pointed to are all massively successful, but even still, these fans thought their anime adaptations took those same stories and did them one better.

5. Sword Art Online (3.8% of responses)

Starting off, this tale of gamers trapped inside a fantasy online role-playing game is the only non-manga in the top five, instead being based on a series of books by author Reki Kawahara. “The director did a wonderful job with the anime,” said one fan, “and it also delved deeper into the characters’ emotions than the books.” Another felt the anime more clearly established its setting than the novels, which helped him settle in and start enjoying what the show had to offer.

4. One Piece (4.8%)

It might seem weird to see the most consistently popular series in the history of manga on this list, but the Straw Hat Pirates check in at number four. One anime lover explained her answer with “The anime’s fight scenes do a better job of making you feel like you’re right there in the center of the action.” Also, the vocal cast has had over 15 years to fine-tune their performancse, and for some, silently reading Luffy and friends’ manga dialogue just can’t compare.

3. Gintama (7.2%)__Hideaki Sorachi’s manga can rightly be called unique and genre-defying, mixing elements of comedy, action, science fiction, and traditional samurai drama. One respondent wouldn’t necessarily call it pithy, though. While he appreciates the story-telling and humor, “The original can get wordy and bogged down,” making the anime the less painful way to consume the many different elements the series has to offer.

2. Dragon Ball (9.2%)

Similar to the situation with "One Piece," "Dragon Ball’s" voice actors have had a very long time to figure out the best way to portray their characters, and one respondent pointed out that the manga version can’t match the excitement of the anime’s sound effects as the characters pummel and shoots blasts of energy at each other. Plus, it’s hard to convey what a good dancer Goku is in still pictures.

1. Attack on Titan (11.6%)

At the top, and by a pretty wide margin, is the anime version of Hajime Isayama’s epic tale of man vs. naked giant. Even as each new volume of the "Attack on Titan" manga sells in huge numbers, it’s not too hard to see why many prefer the animated version.

For starters, even readers of the "Attack on Titan" manga seem much more enthralled with its setting and characters than its artwork, so the shift to the cleaned-up designs used for the anime version aren’t a minus in many fans’ eyes. Plus, as cool as the idea of the heroes using their 3-D maneuver gear to zip through the air and fight towering monsters is, the sense of speed and height involved comes across much more dynamically in animation. And last, but no least, there’s the soundtrack, which alternates between oppressively somber and dramatically adrenalin-filled, right in step with the psychological state of the on-screen characters.

This acceptance of seeing "Attack on Titan" in a different medium than it began in is especially interesting in light of the upcoming release of a live-action theatrical installment to the franchise. Will fans end up loving it even more than the anime? That remains to be seen, but at least it looks like many will give it a shot.

Source: Nico Nico News

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The 10 best anime of the fall season, according to Japanese otaku -- Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence -- Just say no! Five anime that fans hope never get live-action remakes__

© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I liked Attack on Titan anime (I never read the manga). in general it's true, the manga is better than the anime. Anyway, I have to say that I prefer old Japanese animation, produced in the 70s and 80s. I miss my childhood heroes. :/ The stories were more complex and dramatic, also in cartoons for kids. Since Pokemon was created, animation for kids became dull and silly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Boy do I ever agree about anime earlier. For me personally it was the 80s and 90s anime that was the golden era. Hand drawn, creative and very story driven, they had to do a lot more with a lot less. The stuff today relies far far too much on cd computer cell shading and panty shots for views. I really miss the older Pioneer anime and the comedies of the time period.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Kuribo1: I guess concepts like fanservice and panty shots didn't even exist at that time. I don't like Japanese animation produced in the 90s very much, though. I think in the 90s the decline was already started. The fact is that anime became always more for a niche market, while during the 70s, 80s, and also the 90s, they were way more mainstream. And most of anime had solid plot, peculiar kind of art style, and were family oriented. Everyone in Italy, who is 30 or older, knows characters like these, for example:





I miss those days of my childhood...

P.S. I'm female, anyway. :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd also throw Initial D into the mix! Especially the later series where they used cell shading & CG!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would say also Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi. It's such a beautiful and mature romance, and the anime was simply perfect, even more emotional than the manga. Amazing animation, art-style, music.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I watched the titan anime before I started reading the manga. I loved it, because with sound and animation you can get a better sense of how gruesome their world is. The manga is also great. NOW HURRY UP WITH SEASON 2

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Orange Road, for the old folks here. Urusei Yatsura, natch. Maison Ikkoku is a toss-up, both the manga and anime are fabulous. Akemi Takada's redesign of Takahashi's characters was a welcome thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Any manga I have read hasn't made it to anime yet, And maybe I'm strange but I prefer newer anime than older.Vampire hunter D type didn't do it for me. SAO did

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Peter Payne wrote: Orange Road, for the old folks here. Urusei Yatsura, natch. Maison Ikkoku is a toss-up, both the manga and anime are fabulous. Akemi Takada's redesign of Takahashi's characters was a welcome thing.

Can't argue with that. I sometimes worry that a lot of the more "popular" titles being touted as best are purely there because us older fans don't really make that much of a noise anymore, not to mention that the people supporting titles such as the ones that this article pushes are too young to remember Takahashi's earlier works such as Urusei Yatsura, not to mention Orange Road.

Having said that, it doesn't mean that the new stuff is all bad (though it is notable that a lot of formula anime seems to dominate right now). For example I have a lot of time for the Aria series and occasional oddities like Azumanga Daioh (I'm not sure if I like the manga more than the anime in that case).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites