Adapting a piece of media from one medium to another is always an arduous process. Transforming a manga into an anime means turning a static story expressed in a series of panels into a fully kinetic show. While most anime are solid adaptations of their source material, others don’t fare as well and lose the aspects that made it a great series in the first place. These six manga suffered such a fate and are better read, as their anime adaptations fail to live up to the source material.
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins is a pretty solid shōnen manga that has a collection of strong characters and some of the most interesting fights in any shōnen series currently in publication. However, it suffers from an overstuffed ancillary cast and too many plot threads that often end up being mediocre at best. The anime only exacerbates these problems.
The Seven Deadly Sins anime has some pretty poor pacing. Where side characters or events that set up bigger moments only take up the occasional chapter or two in the manga, the anime spends most of or an entire episode focusing on blander characters and events. The Seven Deadly Sins is a grand story that jumps around between characters quite a bit, which makes it far better suited to a written and drawn format than an animated one.
The One Piece manga is easily one of the most imaginative and fun manga ever written, and perhaps even one of the best stories ever conceived. Moreover, the composition of the manga is wonderful, and the series conveys information through the artwork as much as speech bubbles. The anime starts as a solid adaptation of this epic tale, but the quality of the show drops severely in later arcs.
Much like Naruto, the One Piece anime suffers greatly from abundant filler and slow pacing. Once the anime caught up to the manga, the pacing slowed to a crawl, and lengthy filler arcs popped up at almost every opportunity. Between this and the dip in the animation quality of the more recent episodes, the manga is leagues better than the anime at this point and is the only way people should experience this prolific series.
Tokyo Ghoul – and the sequel series Tokyo Ghoul:re – is perhaps the most thoughtful, emotionally impactful, and well-executed manga currently in publication. It genuinely seems like series creator Sui Ishida outlined every chapter in the series before penning the first one and the series is still going strong after more than 300 chapters. The only way the anime could be bad is if told a different story than the manga, which is exactly what it did.
The original Tokyo Ghoul anime is alright, if not a bit poorly paced and unresolved by its final episode. The sequel series, Tokyo Ghoul Root A, follows an almost completely different storyline than the manga and skips some of the most emotional and climactic moments in the series. Considering how far off of the source material the anime goes, it’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming Tokyo Ghoul:re anime adaptation manages to adapt the manga, as many characters are in entirely different circumstances or have different motivations.
Berserk (2016 and 2017)
The Berserk manga is one of, if not the best manga ever created. It’s an impactful story about the trial of the human spirit, the infinitely expansive ambiguous space between good and evil, and complicated relationships and feelings. To top it all off, even the earliest chapters are gorgeous. The 1997 anime adaptation holds up surprisingly well by modern standards, but the most recent anime seasons are simply terrible.
Berserk fans desperate for new content from the slowly produced series were overjoyed to hear that a new Berserk anime was on its way, but this sadly turned out to be a monkey’s paw of a wish. Between the poor CGI animation, horrible camera movements, and rigid character models, the new Berserk anime is so bad that it’s spawned jokes and memes. Every manga reader in the world owes it to themselves to experience Berserk, but not a single anime fan should subject themselves to the 2016 and 2017 Berserk anime.
The Citrus manga is a somewhat thoughtful and respectful story about two young women coming into adulthood, interpreting the world around them, and exploring their sexuality. The anime, though, is a collection of scenes where an underage girl explicitly molests her underaged step-sister despite her cries for it to stop.
The Citrus anime is extremely problematic, loses all of the tact of the manga, and continues the long trend of the exploitation and sexualization of young women in anime. There is a right and wrong way to handle fanservice in anime, and the Citrus anime definitely falls into the latter category. The Citrus manga may not be perfect in its exploration of queer romance and identity, but it’s far more respectful and nuanced toward the subject matter than the anime.
Ya’ know Fairy Tail? Well, the author, Hiro Mashima, created a series before Fairy Tail called Rave Master that might be better than his second and more well-known work. The Rave Master manga is well plotted out and paced, plays with some interesting story ideas, and takes place in a world that is fun and cool.
The anime is pretty heavily padded and only gets to the halfway point of the manga, so reading Rave Master is far and away the better way to experience this series. It may not be perfect, but if you need something to fill the soon-to-be-burrowed Fairy Tail, Rave Master will fit quite well.