13 Anime That Had Drastically Different Endings Than The Manga

Have you ever watched an anime and loved it so much that you had to read the manga, only to find out that the story is completely different? Or have you ever watched an anime adaptation of a manga you loved, only to discover that it ends in a wildly different way? 

Anime original endings can be a good thing - a lot of people enjoy Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) for its unique plot, and Bunny Drop ends before the manga goes off the rails. But in other cases, they're kind of a disappointment. The Promised Neverland would have been so much more interesting if it had ended the way it was supposed to, and Fruits Basket (2001) needed a whole reboot to undo its mistakes.

  • Bunny Drop
    Photo: Bunny Drop / Production I.G

    If you liked the Bunny Drop anime, you probably shouldn't read the manga. The series is about a young man named Daikichi who winds up adopting his grandfather's six-year-old illegitimate daughter, Rin. The story does a great job of exploring how a traumatized little girl and a busy single man with little experience and support manage to bond and create a life together. It's heartwarming and wholesome, and it stays that way until the end.

    The manga ruins all of that with its ending. It turns out that Rin and Daikichi aren't biologically related, which is supposed to make what happens next seem more acceptable, but doesn't.

    When she's sixteen, Rin develops romantic feelings for Daikichi. Instead of saying something like “I've been raising you for ten years and this is inappropriate, let's get you some therapy,” he agrees to marry her after she graduates from high school. Seriously, just stick to the anime.

  • The Promised Neverland
    Photo: The Promised Neverland / CloverWorks

    The Promised Neverland Season 2 has been severely criticized for how it handled its story - especially when it comes to the ending. The anime was a jumbled, nonsensical mess that involved the caretakers who once raised children as demon food teaming up with the kids against Peter Ratri, and everybody heading to the human world - specifically, modern day New York City - except for Emma and a few others, who stayed behind to tie up loose ends through a montage that gave little information about what she was doing. It was extremely unclear why anything was happening, for both manga fans who knew what they were missing and anime-onlys who didn't.

    In the manga, the events of the series coherently lead up to the end. While the children do go to America, it's to a futuristic version of America that needs to be rebuilt. Also, Emma doesn't just stay behind to do who knows what, she forges a new promise with the Demon World God in which humans and demons could live together peacefully if Emma sacrifices her place in the new world. She's brought to the human realm with no memories of her friends or her experiences. They do find her again, and tell her about what happened, so ultimately it's a happy ending. More importantly, it's one that makes sense.

  • Soul Eater
    Photo: Soul Eater / Bones

    Soul Eater is a popular anime, but its popularity isn't because of its ending. In the anime, the series ends with Maka slamming her fist into Asura, defeating him with the vague “power of friendship.” That kind of thing might fly in Yu-Gi-Oh!, but in this case, it seemed totally ridiculous and out of left field.

    The manga takes the story a lot further. After the demises of both Death and Medusa, the Witches and the DWMA decide to end their long-term war. This prompts Death The Kid to stop making Death Scythes altogether, dismantling the basic premise of the series that existed at the start. 

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
    Photo: Fullmetal Alchemist / Bones

    If you want to watch a manga-compliant version of Fullmetal Alchemist, you should go with the 2009 series, Brotherhood. The first series follows the manga for the first few arcs, but then sharply diverges, resulting in a totally different storyline that has nothing to do with what happens in the manga.

    The manga's main villain is Father, a homunculus with aspirations of godhood. He created the other homunculi in order to gather enough power to achieve his goals. The protagonists had to stop him because what he wanted to do involved sacrificing thousands of people. After defeating him, everyone settles down and lives their lives - notably, Ed and Winry get married and have kids.

    Father doesn't show up in the 2003 anime at all. Instead, the villain is Dante, a woman who repeatedly transfers her body to other people in the hopes of gaining immortality. She has to use the homunculi and other people in order to create a Philosopher's Stone. The ending of the series revolves around defeating her, but it also includes a very strange twist - Ed is pulled through the Gate into the real world - specifically, Munich, Germany during World War I. There's no indication that our world even exists in the original manga. 

  • Tokyo Ghoul: Root A

    Tokyo Ghoul: Root A
    Photo: Tokyo Ghoul: Root A / Studio Pierrot

    After Season 1, which mostly follows the manga, Tokyo Ghoul began to wildly diverge from the manga storyline. This was a controversial choice that left a lot of manga fans feeling pretty disappointed. The second season, Tokyo Ghoul: Root A, doesn't just change the ending, it changes virtually everything about the series.

    We'll focus on some of the major changes toward the end. One is that in the manga, Kaneki leaves Anteiku to start his own group with many of his allies and friends with the intention of opposing Aogiri Tree. In the anime, he joins Aogiri Tree in order to get stronger and learn more about them. Another major difference is Hide's fate - in the manga, it's implied that he might have passed away, but in the anime it's quite clear, and quite dramatic. 

  • Deadman Wonderland
    Photo: Deadman Wonderland / Manglobe

    The Deadman Wonderland anime adaptation only covered the first five volumes of the 13-volume series, which meant that a lot of material wasn't covered.

    In the anime, the finale centers around Ganta working with Nagi to defeat Genkaku, the leader of the Undertakers. Though several people are able to escape from the carnival prison, Ganta chooses to stay behind in order to protect those who can't escape. In the final scene, Shiro sings him a lullaby, which he remembers hearing before his classmates were slain at the start of the series.

    The manga's ending is a lot more poignant. It goes into much more detail about Shiro and Ganta's shared past than the anime does, and it features a battle between the two of them. Shiro desperately wants Ganta to end her life, because she can't stand all of the suffering she's been through and wants to be taken down by the person she loves. Ultimately, Ganta can't bring himself to do it. Besides their conflict, the prison itself is completely dismantled, and the epilogue focuses on the various fates of the prisoners.