We all know that a manga or light novel is the blueprint for more than 90% of the anime we watch. It is their success that determines the anime adaptation. However, it’s not common to see the anime failing when the manga was a success. This can be especially frustrating to the fans, and they usually go up online to spew their hate on the creators. It is to be noted that in this article, we will not be talking about filler episodes (as annoying as that can get sometimes). No, we will talk about the numerous shows that decided to take things into their own hands and change the endings, or certain events.
The two main problems fans have about anime are rushed plots and altered endings. These two factors can make the whole thing look lazy. Sometimes, the manga has not reached the ending, but the animators want to wrap everything up. Or the manga is too big and the anime budget does not allow everything to be included. At that time, they decide to go ahead with their own ending or omit certain parts. That often ends up changing the entire canon and altering the story to become something entirely different. And for some reason, animators still continue to do that.
With the number of episodes that Bleach has, it may be hard to think that they freestyled with the story. But that is what happened, and moreover, Bleach was notorious for not following the manga. In fact, the anime got canceled due to that very reason. It is something that bugs fans to this day. There are so many episodes that are just fullers, and never gave the anime the ending it deserved. Let’s hope that the upcoming Thousand-Year Blood War does a better job at being faithful to the source.
2. Black Butler
Black Butler is a series that started off strong. It did a faithful render of the manga, but by the end, just gave up. The second season missed the main storyline by a mile and did not follow the canon one bit. This confused and annoyed fans, as it really did give off a sense of not belonging to the storyline it started with. It’s a bit sad, especially since we know that the series is quite long, with 161 chapters and 29 volumes. It is better to stick to the manga after season 1. If you badly want to watch the canonic storyline in anime, check out Black Butler: Book of Circus when the Circus Arc comes. Next is Black Butler: Book of Murder that adapted the Phnatomhive Manor Murders Arc. Finally, you can see the Luxury Liner Arc in the Book of Atlantic movie.
3. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul did fans a huge disservice when they started off strong and was something entirely else by season3. Aside from not following the main story, the anime also got a little too involved with cliches and tropes, more than the anime did. The manga continues strongly throughout and fleshes out the characters properly. If you are an anime-only, your confusion at Tokyo Ghoul: re is understandable. Many events and character backstories were skipped there. The advice is to switch to the manga after season 2 and continue reading throughout.
4. God of High School
It was a happy day when Crunchyroll announced that they were adapting God of High School. Fans got happier still when they announced that Studio MAPPA is the animation studio. But the anime came, and it missed a lot of stuff. They tried to fit the first arc into 13 episodes, and that was a bad move. With the amount of fan following, they could’ve made it 24 or 25 episodes like they did the first season of Jujutsu Kaisen. It is cruel when you follow the chapters closely and find out that episode six starts with chp. 22, jumps to chp. 24, and then leaps to chp. 39. The anime is stunning, but the fights are short. My advice: stick to the manhwa.
5. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland, aka, the biggest anime betrayal in 2020 deserves to be on this list. Season one started off so well, and the story and world were explained to perfection. Many who watched the show couldn’t wait for the next season to arrive, so they started with the manga. Imagine the shock when the new season arrived, and it took an Incredible Hulk-sized jump across various arcs.
Let’s start with the return of Norman. He was truly believed to be dead, and readers got the chance to miss him dearly. He was believed to be dead for 44 chapters in the manga until his return. But his quick return in the anime, as he had just gone on a little holiday, took a lot of emotional elements away. The return of Isabella is another part.
Next, the anime missed the Goldy Pond Arc, one of the best, and nail-biting arcs in the series. Fans were dying to see it animated, as it is very intense. By removing the arc, the character Mister never made it to the anime, and he was an excellent character. The final episodes of season 2 also contained a lot of time skips that no one asked for. Therefore, stick to the manga after season 1.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist was and is a very popular series. But it did land in hot soup when the anime went their own way with the ending as the manga was unfinished. When the manga ended, it was vastly different, and the anime ended up losing a lot of logic, and so did the characters. But that is when they decided to animate it once more, and this time, the mangaka Hiromu Arakawa also closely kept watch over the series. And that is how we got Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. If you are planning to watch the series, go for Brotherhood.
Hellsing started off strong and faithfully adapted the manga. But as the manga was unfinished, it ended up being an overall rough adaptation. But thankfully, we have Hellsing Ultimate for just that purpose. Just like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hellsing Ultimate does proper justice to the manga. Out of the 13 episodes Hellsing has, 6 are filler. Meanwhile, Ultimate follows the original story closely, and the animation is also fantastic.
Claymore is a wonderful manga, and the anime was equally good until the ending happened. The animators did their own thing with the ending, and it ended up bombing hard. They finished things off earlier while the manga was still ongoing. The characters weren’t properly fleshed out by that time, and the final fight did not pack the same intensity. Here’s how you can enjoy the series. When you reach the Suicide Mission in the North Arc, switch to the manga. The manga does a brilliant job at this arc, and it is followed by a time skip, that is integral to the series. You will get to see some mini-stories as well, and understand the characters a lot better.
9. Elfen Lied
Yes, this disturbing and violent anime is also vastly different from its source material. The thirteen episodes and OVA have tightly packed the numerous volumes, and are sometimes not told in the correct order either. There are way too many differences, but we will cover the ones that are notable. Let’s start with the ending itself. The anime makes it vague about whether Lucy is alive or not. In the manga, she does survive the bridge incident. However, she loses her horns, and with that, her murderous side. Only Nyuu is left. The horns grow back later, but Evil Lucy does not return. Also, Dr. Kurama, Mariko’s father dies in the anime. But he survives the bridge explosion in the manga.
10. Rosario + Vampire
Here is another show that took matters into its own hands and caused a major change in the storyline. Let’s start off with the fan service. The manga did a good job focusing on the plot, and the fanservice was a lot less. However, the anime put way too much fanservice and decided that their focus should be on the romance and love triangles. The fanbase is divided on this since obviously there will be anime watchers who love fanservice and complicated romances.
In conclusion, it is best that you do a little bit of study if you get deeply invested in a series. Sometimes the anime just fails to deliver justice to the source material.