The nature of adaptations means that the manga is often better than the anime. The animation is so expensive to make that manga side-story content usually has to be cut, sometimes a character or two will be dropped, and you rarely get anime that follow the manga until the end.
There are a select few anime that manage to go beyond their source manga, preserve the story, and have become iconic for their quality
Gintama works well as a manga, but the anime is just amazing. The voice cast breathes life into the characters, the timing for the jokes are perfect, the soundtrack is epic, and the action scenes are some of the best in the industry (especially Gintoki vs Takasugi).
2. Lupin III
I wouldn’t be surprised if there are fans aren’t aware the Lupin III is based on a manga, and wouldn’t blame them. The last manga volume came out in 1981. Since then, the anime has tackled all sorts of original stories in their various incarnations, ranging from dramas to comedy and expanding on the personalities of characters like Fujiko and Goemon.
You can make an argument that a majority of music anime are better than their source material simply because of the auditory experience. What makes K-On! special (and the only music series on the list) is due to how much KyoAni expanded on the gag manga. The core jokes are still present, but KyoAni fleshed out the cast’s personalities while cleaning up the art style. In fact, the anime is a very different experience to the manga.
4. Initial D
Initial D benefits so much with having the race scenes animated and Europop pumping in the background. The manga is great in its own right and goes more in-depth with the technical side of the cars. But the anime is more thrilling thanks to seeing the races in motion and the sounds of the engines.
5. Hidamari Sketch
Who would think that a series about an art club would be better as an anime than a manga? Not to knock the manga (which is a great yonkoma series), but Shaft worked their magic with the series. Hidamari Sketch was co-directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (known for directing Monogatari and Madoka Magica) and he introduced his unique style of artistic vision with this series.
6. Kuroko no Basket
Like the music genre, you can argue that a majority of sports anime are better than the manga. Kuroko no Basket is one of the better ones since it’s a full adaptation of the manga. Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s original art style and story is kept intact, but the seeing the basketball games animated gives the anime an extra edge.
What anime do you think are better than the manga?