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10 Manga Better Than Their Anime Adaptations – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Anime adaptations can bring a manga series to life, but sometimes, the original comics are the best way to enjoy a series.
Japanese animated shows are often based on a pre-existing manga series or light novel franchise, with a few exceptions. Often, an anime series can match the original black-and-white manga series or even improve upon it, and anime can provide heartfelt voice acting, thrilling music, and slick visuals to increase the immersion. From time to time, though, the anime will fall short.
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Some animated series, long or short, simply cannot capture the spirit of the source manga, and this could be for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the budget is too limited and the animation ends up cheap, or the visual style is changed too much or the original story’s material is shortened and rearranged in ways that upset the fans. Or, the anime simply doesn’t cover enough of the manga and ends up feeling like an extended trailer or preview for the manga.
The late Kentaro Miura created something truly special with his hit series Berserk, which launched all the way back in 1989. It’s a dark fantasy series following the mercenary swordsman Guts, and while the series has many dark and violent moments, it also has a stubbornly hopeful side and even a tender side.
All that, combined with Mr. Miura’s jaw-dropping art, makes Berserk an unforgettable classic for manga and graphic novel fans. However, the 1997 anime was limited in scope, and the 2016-17 anime had awkward 3-D animation that fell short by any standard, especially the original Berserk manga’s standards.
Ken Akamatsu’s action fantasy series Negima! might not be on the reader of current manga/anime fans, but it was a big hit in the 2000s, and manga readers are in for a treat if they visit this franchise. There is certainly an anime, but it didn’t cover even half of what Mr. Akamatsu’s manga had.
The series is 38 volumes long, many of which are available in three-in-one omnibus editions. Negima! offers colorful characters, incredibly detailed art, and even an exciting isekai sequence in the latter half of the story. The short anime simply can’t keep up; Negima!‘s manga is the best way to check out this series.
The Way of the Househusband created some unflattering buzz when its anime was released on Netflix, mainly due to its minimalist animation approach. The idea was to capture the rich panels of the original manga by making everything move very little, but many fans agree that this is a failed experiment in animation technique.
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Fans who want a charming, creative comedy series can check out Kousuke Oono’s original manga series instead, which is still ongoing. The volumes are rather short, but the amusing premise and rich art are worth it all the same. Tatsu’s intense facial expressions are best represented in the manga, not the anime.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul has become a household name for fans of seinen manga and anime, and there is also a sequel series, Tokyo Ghoul :re. These both have anime adaptations, but arguably, the manga is the way to go, even if Tokyo Ghoul‘s anime does have a popular opening credits song.
The anime rearranged and cut some material, and this made it an awkward watch for fans of the manga. Newcomers may be best off with Sui Ishida’s original manga to get the proper Tokyo Ghoul experience, and they can also savor Mr. Ishida’s gritty, dark art style. The manga looks rough, but in a compelling way that few other manga series can match.
It’s true that One-Punch Man‘s first anime season was a solid piece of entertainment, especially with its exciting into song, lovely outro song, and everything in between. However, the long-anticipated second season was a major letdown. Manga fans avoided this issue entirely by sticking to the comics.
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The One-Punch Man manga features stunning art by Yusuke Murata, and at times, the art quality rivals manga giants such as Berserk in sheer detail and quality. Best of all, the OPM manga storyline goes beyond the anime’s material, providing a more complete experience.
Shuzo Oshimi’s dark drama manga The Flowers of Evil is all about teenage angst, despair, and much more, mainly set in a rural Japanese town where frustrated youths struggle to find a reason for their existence. It’s grim stuff, but it’s told in a compelling way, complete with striking art on each page and intense facial expressions.
The anime fumbled with Mr. Oshimi’s hit manga series, since it used experimental 3-D animation styles to render its characters. Many fans disliked this style, and The Flowers of Evil‘s anime is overall a weak representation of the compelling original manga. It’s manga-only for this one.
Junji Ito is widely hailed as the king of horror manga, and it’s easy to see why. His art has a distinct visual style with incredible detail and atmosphere, and the still, black-and-white images are always eerie and grisly. The anime of Gyo and other Junji Ito series, however, fail to capture the magic.
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Many of Mr. Ito’s works have been animated, but the results are mixed at best, and fans might not like how these animated series keep changing the plot and even the characters. Horror fans are best off with the manga, especially since nearly all of Mr. Ito’s works come in deluxe hardback editions, from Gyo to Tomie and the fan-favorite Uzumaki.
The anime adaptation of A Silent Voice is fairly well done, and it largely captures the spirit of the original manga series. It also boasts some lovely music in its OST. As a whole, the manga and anime versions of A Silent Voice are roughly on parity, though the manga has a slight edge.
The original manga, unlike the anime movie version, doesn’t cut any material, so it tells the whole story, down to the finest detail. In a drama series like this, tiny details can make all the differences for characters, so fans of the anime movie are urged to read the manga to fill in the gaps.
Natsuki Takaya’s hit shojo manga series Fruits Basket launched in July 1998, and while the series was still ongoing, an anime version was made in 2001. Of course, that anime was incapable of finishing the story correctly, and it also altered the story’s tone.
A lot of Fruits Basket‘s best drama appeared in the second half, so the anime ended up becoming a comedy version of the franchise. Fruits Basket has its humor, but it’s not supposed to be pure slapstick like that. Fortunately, the 2019 anime version did the original manga justice.
The current Bleach anime does have its merits, such as a decent English dub and a unique OST. However, the Bleach anime is really showing its age by now, especially since it is fullscreen instead of widescreen, and is not in HD. To today’s anime fans, Bleach‘s anime may look fuzzy and cheap.
Fortunately, Tite Kubo’s original manga has no such issues. Fans loved his original art style, and it only got better from there. Mr. Kubo is known for using sparse backgrounds to emphasize his characters, and his art is incredibly detailed. Bleach‘s manga is also known for its hard-hitting use of black and white while making minimal use of gray or shading, not to mention memorable uses of camera angles and closeups.
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Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read. You can reach him at lkemner2000@yahoo.com.

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