14 Anime That Greatly Differ From The Manga They're Based On

Voting Rules
Vote up the anime that diverge the most from their manga source material.

Though many anime derive from manga, not every one of those anime follows its source manga closely. When it comes to anime that are different from the manga, plenty of examples come up. Differences between manga and anime versions can arise for all sorts of reasons: an anime geared towards kids may omit the violence seen in the manga or a studio may need to create filler episodes while awaiting the next manga chapter. You may not realize it, but Pokémon's anime and manga versions differ wildly.

Fans often bristle when their favorite manga aren't replicated faithfully. Imagine waiting for your favorite scene from the manga only to find it's substantially changed or entirely cut from the anime version. On the other hand, such differences mean each version can tell a vastly different story. Just look at the details left out of Akira from manga to anime. Occasionally, the original manga falls short of the anime, which can shift up the plot with exciting and unique filler sagas. 

  • The 2003 version of Fullmetal Alchemist quickly goes off in a different direction from the source manga, a shift that led to the 2009 reboot Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. While the 2003 version retains many of the main characters from the manga, Fullmetal Alchemist features a new antagonist named Dante, a different method for creating Homunculi, and an ending that drops the protagonist into the middle of World War I.

    Though a great story, the original Fullmetal anime is not even remotely the same as the manga - if you want to watch that story unfold on-screen, you'll find it in Brotherhood.

    1,292 votes
  • 2
    1,023 VOTES

    The first season of Tokyo Ghoul sticks more or less to the manga, but that changes dramatically during the second season, Tokyo Ghoul √A. In the manga, Ken Kaneki works against Aogiri Tree, an organization attempting to bring liberation to ghouls through violent means, including kidnapping and terrorism. In the anime, Kaneki takes the opposite approach, joining Aogiri Tree instead.

    On one hand, Tokyo Ghoul √A presents a fresh storyline for Kaneki; on the other, it's frustrating not to see the manga's storyline adapted. In addition to tweaking Kaneki's story, the Tokyo Ghoul anime also removes many of the more violent scenes seen in the manga.

    1,023 votes
  • The first season of Black Butler is a fairly straightforward adaptation of its source material, though many of the episodes do involve filler. The big changes come in the second season, when new characters who never appear in the manga dominate the storyline. Alois Trancy and his demon butler Claude Faustus appear; Claude and Sebastian Michaelis compete for Ciel Phantomhive's soul.

    Most of this material is unrelated to the storyline of the first season, which focused on Ciel's powerful need for revenge against the people who killed his family. A 10-episode OVA, Book of Circus, ignores the second season, instead working straight from the manga. 

    571 votes
  • The Promised Neverland
    Photo: CloverWorks

    When season 1 of The Promised Neverland made its debutboth new fans and fans of the manga alike were impressed by the anime adaptation. Season 2 is a completely different story though.

    Not even a few episodes into the second season, the anime makes a drastic change and skips around 50 chapters of the manga. Of course, manga fans were not happy that the anime skipped over the "Goldy Pond Arc" and its notable characters. Plus, a huge reveal that was meant to happen much later in the story is introduced early on. Since the manga's writer, Kaiu Shirai, is involved with the second season's script, many assume the anime is trying to fix the manga's original ending (which many fans disliked). Whether this change makes for a better story or not, this second season has turned out to be one of the most controversial anime adaptations in recent years. 

    417 votes
  • 5
    358 VOTES
    Photo: Hellsing / Gonzo

    When the first Hellsing manga was coming out, there wasn't a lot of manga material with which to work. This meant that the producers needed to come up with their own villain, a particularly powerful vampire named Incognito. Though the war-hungry Nazis of the manga briefly appear, they take a backseat to Incognito's attacks on the Hellsing organization. 

    Hellsing Ultimate, a set of OVAs which began airing five years after the initial series' 2001 release date, followed the then-completed manga more exactingly.

    358 votes
  • The Fruits Basket manga went on hiatus when artist Natsuki Takaya broke her arm, so the 2001 version of the anime ends less than a third of the way through the manga's plotline. Because of this, the Fruits Basket universe differs wildly from anime to manga. The most pronounced differences involve the main villain of the show, Akito Sohma. 

    In the manga, Akito reveals their identity as a woman, a woman capable of lifting the curse that afflicts the whole family. Yet she remains unwilling to do so because her abusive mom led her to believe that Akito must bind the family to her through the curse, or else face abandonment. In the anime, however, Akito is a man, and is unable to lift the curse - which makes him physically ill - despite a desperate desire to do so.

    That's just one of many differences between the two versions of Fruits Basket, but few change the tone as dramatically.

    508 votes