Manga-to-anime and light novel-to-manga are the two most popular adaptation styles in the industry. However, there are times when an original anime receives a manga adaptation.
Most of these works are promotional tie-ins that serve as quick previews, and others are extremely faithful adaptions. They serve their purposes, but a lot of fans feel that anime-to-manga adaptations are downgrades due to lacking voice acting and motion. But not these works! These adaptations either expand the anime’s story, are interesting retellings, or offer new perspectives.
1Neon Genesis Evangelion
Mangaka: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Genre: Action / Drama / Mecha / Psychological
Quick Pitch: Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the more extreme anime-to-manga adaptations. The manga was supposed to start shortly before the anime, to help build hype, but the anime’s production delays ruined those plans.
The manga does feature some big changes in the cast’s relationships and the number of angels they have to battle, but the core story is largely intact. However, fans may appreciate the deeper backstories and clearer motivations.
2Shirobako: Kaminoyama High School Animation Club
Mangaka: Kenji Sugihara (Story) / Mizutama (Art)
Genre: Comedy / Drama
Quick Pitch: This is a prequel explaining how the main cast met in high school and first came up with their dreams of creating anime. Ema, the shy key animator, is the main character and her beautiful drawings spark an idea in Aoi’s heart.
3Plastic Memories: Say to Good-bye
Genre: Drama / Science Fiction
Quick Pitch: Plastic Memories: Say to Good-bye follows Michiru and her partner Zack. The manga dives more into Michiru’s backstory and explains her standoffish personality towards Tsukasa.
4The Garden of Words
Mangaka: Midori Motohashi
Genre: Drama / Romance / Slice of Life
Quick Pitch: Motohashi’s adaptation is faithful to Makoto Shinkai’s movie, and it’s amazing how the art is able to capture the movie’s feelings. However, the manga does have a different ending, which brings a different perspective to the story’s themes.
5Darker than Black: Shikkoku no Hana
Mangaka: Yuji Iwahara
Genre: Action / Drama / Science Fiction / Supernatural
Quick Pitch: Darker than Black: Shikkoku no Hana takes place a year after the original anime and completely replaces the events of season two! It’s like Iwahara was given a reset button, which he used to focus on Hei and Yin investigating a how people are being granted Contractor-like powers.
6Psycho-Pass: Inspector Shinya Kogami
Mangaka: Midori Gotou (Story) / Natsuo Sai (Art)
Genre: Police Procedural / Science Fiction
Quick Pitch: A prequel that stars Kogami as a rookie inspector who is joining Division 3. Besides Tomomi Masaoka, all of Kogami’s colleagues are fresh faces investigating grisly crimes.
75 Centimeters Per Second
Mangaka: Yukiko Seike
Genre: Drama / Romance
Quick Pitch: The manga is a faithful adaptation of Makoto Shinkai’s movie, but it does expand more on Takaki’s time in senior high and focusing on Kanae’s feelings for him. This addition really impacts the last half of 5 Centimeters Per Second.
8Angel Beats!: Heaven’s Door
Mangaka: Yuriko Asami
Genre: Action / Comedy / Drama / Supernatural
Quick Pitch: Heave’s Door is a prequel to the anime and explains how Hinata became the co-founder of the Shinda Sekai Sensen. Even though it’s a prequel, you should watch the anime first in order to get the story’s full impact.
What are your favorite anime-to-manga adaptations?