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Dueling Shows: Anime & Manga

Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Dragon Ball (1984-1995) YuYu Hakusho (1990-1994) Shonen series featuring power levels and martial arts tournments. During the period of Yu Yu Hakusho's release, Dragon Ball was at its all time high in popularity, being the best selling manga in Japan. Yu Yu Hakusho was one of the few series that was capable of competing with Dragon Ball both critically and commercially. Dragon Ball. Both series were highly popular at the time of release. Yu Yu Hakusho was able to compete with Dragon Ball during its prime. In the rest of the world, while Yu Yu Hakusho was popular, Dragon Ball had higher ratings and more mainstream recognition. Years later Yu Yu Hakusho is better remembered for having the stronger Character Development while Dragon Ball is still a Cash Cow Franchise, despite ending nearly two decades ago.
Pokémon (1997-present) Digimon (1999-present) and Monster Rancher (1999) Mon series about kids Walking the Earth. Usually involves defeating some sort of Big Bad too. All three went off in different directions. Though all three were Merchandise-Driven, Pokémon become a blatant merchandise show after its third season, while Digimon and Monster Rancher remained plot-driven series. Monster Rancher was the first to go, dying quietly right at the end of the Mons boom of the early 'Aughts. Digimon soldiered on for a few more years before it too died with the end of Digimon Frontier. However, it was revived a few years later with Digimon Savers, and Digimon Xros Wars. Meanwhile, Pokémon is still a massive titan of a franchise (in its sixth generation, as of 2014, with the most recent release of Pokemon X and Y). The common refrain of the Poké-Digi Fandom Rivalry is "Pokémon has better games, Digimon has a better anime series."
Yu-Gi-Oh! (1998-present) Duel Masters (2004-2006) Anime show about kids/teens engaging in Card Games with the fate of the world at stake. Yu-Gi-Oh was inspired by Magic: The Gathering. Duel Masters was meant to be an anime version of Magic: The Gathering, but ended up getting its own game. Yu-Gi-Oh spanned three sequels (and counting) and the card game became a worldwide fad. Duel Masters was discontinued in America, but still a top Trading Card Game in Japan.
Death Note (2006-2007) Code Geass (2006-2008) Anime show starring a megalomaniacal Teen Genius who is randomly selected by an Enigmatic Empowering Entity (who then sticks with him for the duration of the series, out of sight because of his Secret Identity) to receive a single, specific godly super power, which he decides to use to fulfill his extant dream of remaking the world for the better. His actions mean he may or may not be a villain. Features strong Black and Gray Morality. Both shows premiered in Japan at roughly the same time, although Death Note was based on a manga. The tone of Death Note is somewhat darker, grittier and more realistic and features Shinigami, while Code Geass allows for occasional filler episodes, has somewhat more levity while still somehow being more violent and still quite darknote , and features Humongous Mecha. Critics-wise, Death Note was far more influential than Geass. However, while interest in Death Note has diminished with the end of the franchise, Geass's hype is still strong among otaku fans, fueled by the promise of incoming new material.
Eden of the East (2009) FutureDiary (2011) Anime show featuring a group of individuals who recieved cellphones with special properties, forced to take part in a twisted elimination game. Future Diary started earlier as a manga, but was adapted into anime years later. Eden of The East had its rightful share of love from critics and viewers as well, but nothing like the fad caused by Future Diary, mostly thanks to its gruesome story and unusual heroine.
Super Dimension Fortress Macross Genesis Climber Mospeada Transforming Mecha and an Idol Singer fight Scary Dogmatic Aliens. Similar enough that both were kitbashed together into... Robotech. Although Macross spawned multiple continuations in Japan.
Maria-sama Ga Miteru Strawberry Panic! Show about Schoolgirl Lesbians set in an Elaborate University High. StoPani borrows many elements of Marimite but takes the Schoolgirl Lesbians factor farther. Marimite, undoubtedly. Although Panic! has its fair share of fans, it is no match for Marimite's immense longevity and status as the quintessential girls love series.
Kaitou Saint Tail Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne Catholic Phantom Thief Magical Girl. Jeanne is a Grimmification of the cute, fluffy Saint Tail premise, with the title character as a jaded Broken Bird whose Mission from God isn't actually as holy as she thinks it is. Draw.
Kaze no Stigma Shakugan no Shana Female redhead protagonist, check. Flaming sword, check. Combat schoolgirl outfit, check. Accomanying/obligatory Zettai Ryouiki, check. Fanservice-laden supernatural/magical schoolgirl light novels/shows, with varying degrees of competent male sidekick/love interest. A clear victory for Shana. Although the Stigma light novels came out in January of 2002 and Shana's came out in November of the same year, the Shana anime was renewed for two more seasons, while Stigma's wasn't. Both manga adaptations are completed, but Shana's light novel series is also still in production and has nearly twice as many volumes as Stigma's, which stopped at 12. It probably helped Shana that the author of the Stigma light novels passed away.
Serial Experiments Lain Boogiepop Phantom Mind Screw anime with similar designs Boogiepop is technically older, being based off a book series which started a few months before Serial Experiments was released. Serial Experiments Lain. It's considerably more well-known and considered one of the prime examples of anime, while Boogiepop is considered more of a Cult Classic.
Saikano Elfen Lied Two ultimate weapon girls trying to live a normal life, despite that enemies are after them. Both of these works are based on mangas and Darker and Edgier works. Both have Downer Endings. Elfen Lied wins in popularity, Saikano in overall quality.
Rosario + Vampire Vampire Knight High School romance between a human and a vampire. Rosario + Vampire is (initially) a light-hearted comedy compared to the more dramatic Vampire Knight, but both manga have their share of funny moments and tense ones. Both sell pretty well in Japan, and even better in North America.
Hidamari Sketch Sketchbook Quirky Slice of Life show, originally Yonkoma, about quirky girls being quirky in a quirky art school, with lots of Scenery Porn and Navel Contemplation. Sketchbook was first, and has more and quirkier girls; Hidamari Sketch goes more deeply into the relationships between them. Hidamari Sketch is clearly more popular, judging by the sheer amount of memes this show has brought forth. It also was made into four seasons, whereas Sketchbook got stuck with just one. Still, Sketchbook holds its own, if only for the appearance of Kate, who became a Memetic Mutation in her own right.
Genesis of Aquarion Eureka Seven Transforming Mecha series with the protagonists piloting a legendary robot fueled by The Power of Love. Both mecha are designed by the same guy Aquarion sways more to the Super Robot size and contains lots of fanservice and innuendo in contrast to Eureka which is mostly Real Robot and less in need of censorship. Both series aired around the same time and so did their sequels, and both debuted in Super Robot Wars Z. Aquarion is carried by Funimation and is locked out of a key demographic because Verizon FiOS dropped the channel late 2012. Eureka Seven is carried by [adult swim], which is available in all markets.
Kotetsushin Jeeg Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Super Robot animes with Transforming Mecha that work mainly on Rule of Cool. They aired on the same season, Spring 2007, and both have a suprising large ammount of common elements, even drills. However, Gurren Lagann keeps basically one-upping itself while Jeeg is a more standard Monster Of The Day show, but it's the sequel of an anime from The Seventies, hence being the "original". Gurren Lagann has a much larger fanbase, sold a lot more, got two movies, several Spin-Off manga, generated a lot of merchandise and developed tons of memes. Jeeg got first into Super Robot Wars.
Sky Girls Strike Witches Scantily clad young females operate fantastic flying machinery to fight creatures that copy the appearance of other things. Strike Witches leans more toward the Mecha Musume concept whereas Sky Girls has a more classical Humongous Mecha theme. Both series feature character designs by Humikane Shimada and contain quite a bit of fanservice, although Strike Witches really ups the ante by giving none of the girls any pants. Both OVAs were created at roughly the same time, though Sky Girls was turned into a TV anime first. Strike Witches, hands down. There's a large shared fanbase between both franchises in Japan, but Strike Witches achieved Internet infamy, receiving much more exposure both domestically and overseas.
Aoi Hana Sasameki Koto Teenage girls come to grips with their homosexuality, on top of the rumble and tumble associated with growing into adults. Aoi Hana takes a rather serious approach, which deep insights into the minds of the characters, interspersed with some comedy. Sasameki Koto is more of a Slice of Life comedy, although it has its share of serious moments as well. The manga of Aoi Hana had been around a few years already when the anime came out and by then had already garnered an extensive fanbase, due to its thoughtfulness and sensitivity to the subject. Sasameki Koto hasn't been around quite that long, but its comedic style may appeal to a wider audience, so it's hard to point out a true winner.
Naruto 666 Satan/O-Parts Hunter A determinator with a demon inside him seeks to rule the place that abused him and makes friends and enemies along the way. Well, the authors are twin brothers... Naruto by a mile.
Ikki Tousen Koihime†Musou Romance of the Three Kingdoms Gender Flips Ikki Tousen is based on a manga series, is a High School AU, has more fanservice, and focuses on fighting. Koihime Musou is based on a Visual Novel, takes place in the Three Kingdoms period and focuses on Adventure Towns. Ikki Tousen's third season aired alongside Koihime's first, and was repeated again for their fourth and third seasons, respectively. Draw. The series are different enough that they both have success. Both shows have actually acknowledged this and are working together.
GR: Giant Robo Raideen Darker and Edgier, CG-enriched remake of classic Giant Robot franchises. It can't be a coincidence that these two shows launched within mere weeks of each other. They're very similar shows in many ways. They're also both very similar to RahXephon, a series that was, itself, based on the original Raideen. They both flopped, but GR wasn't even fansubbed.
One Piece Naruto One young man with odd powers gathers True Companions and makes his mark on the world In theory they're fairly different given their different settings, but in practice both revolve around cool abilities and fights, with a villain that starts as Plucky Comic Relief before revealing his true nature and sparking a global war. It's Shōnen, there's only so much that changes from the formula. Also, the Dueling Pair gives us a meta pirates vs. ninja, which might have been started from the competing fandoms. Functional Tie. One Piece completely overshadows Naruto in Japan, but Naruto completely overshadows One Piece everywhere else, partially due to early botched dubbing and getting established too late. Both have their fans, although Naruto is more regarded as a Guilty Pleasure due to its vocal Fan Dumb.
Blade Blood-C Two anime about a Vampire Hunter Both premiered during the same season and are based on estabilished franchises - Blood-C is based on Blood: The Last Vampire and Blade is adaptation of Marvel Comics series Blade comes out slightly more ahead due to keeping pace with its story while Blood-C takes a while to Grow The Beard.
One Piece Fairy Tail Shōnen series about a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits led by a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero whose main concept is The Power of Friendship. The former is about pirates, the latter mages. Luffy aims to be the Pirate King, while Natsu wants to look for his missing dragon-parent Igneel. One Piece also ran in publication in 1996, while Fairy Tail ran 10 years later. Plus, despite being from different authors, both series have VERY similar art styles complete with picturesque characters all over the place. They both have quirky characters, scantily clad women, and similar types of humor. Both shows are popular in and out of Japan, but even though Fairy Tail is becoming moderately successful (with a movie in the works), One Piece wins by a long mile, if only because it has been around for a longer amount of time.
Slayers Fairy Tail Both shows are more or less Dungeons and Dragons type adventures staring a hod-headed hero with flame magic. And is reckless with it. And they both like to eat. A lot. While the two settings are similar, Fairy Tail has a more Shōnen action genre feel to it than Slayers does. While both of them are big hits, Slayers wins this round because it has been around longer and was more of an anime touchstone than Fairy Tail.
Code:Breaker Out Code Superpowered teenaged boys join up with The Organization and partner with muggle girls and save humanity from equally superpowered enemies. This appears to blatant copying, with Out Code being the shonen-er version of Code:Breaker. The main difference seems to be the aims of their enemies: CB's Big Bad wants superpower supremacy while OC's Mad Scientist wants to begin a huge Bizarre Baby Boom. Also, the lead of CB has fire powers while OC's lead is electric. Code:Breaker. While Out Code ended at three volumes, Code: Breaker has 21 volumes and an anime adaptation.
Sword Art Online (2012) Accel World (2012) The journey of a young VR gamer who joins a high stakes MMO RPG/fighting game where he makes lots of friends and earns his own Unwanted Harem despite having already picked up a girlfriend. Both come from light novels by the same author and share a setting, though AW is set a few decades further into the future (SAO started being written years earlier as a webnovel, but both went together to the bookstore and AW made it to the TV one season earlier). There is even a special story featuring both protagonists fighting each other. So far SAO's fanbase and sales are higher, but both are doing quite well, being the two best selling light novels of 2012.
InuYasha Kyo Kara Maoh Ordinary High-School Student stumbles into a portal that leads to the past and happens to be the reincarnation of the previous ruler.   InuYasha by being mind-blowingly famous. It has spawned a 57 volume manga that has sold almost 50 million in Japan alone, a 193 episode anime that sits on many "best anime" lists, 4 films, and a bunch of videogames. To its credit, Kyo Kara Maoh is pretty famous in its own right and currently stands with 117 episodes and 17 volumes.
The Idolmaster (2005 - now, spinoff anime (Idolmaster: Xenoglossia) launched in 2007 while a more faithful anime adaptation launched in Summer 2011) Uta No Prince Sama (2010, anime launched in Summer 2011, with a second season confirmed for 2013) Music-driven series, with some emphasis on group dynamics and Power of Friendship. Most obviously, the two series are aimed at different demographics (iM@S appeals to both boys and girls, while UtaPri is more focused toward girls). UtaPri also has quite a bit of yaoi subtext compared to the yuri in iM@S. The Idolmaster has the much larger (and more paying) crowd of males, while UtaPri has a smaller but more hardcore following of females. iM@S is still too strong to beat as a whole, but the second anime might bring UtaPri a second wind.
Zetsuen no Tempest Magi - Labyrinth of Magic Shōnen fantasy series heavily inspired by classics of literature Zetsuen draws its "Spirit Inspiration" from the works of William Shakespeare while a good part of Magi's main cast is named and modeled after "V.I.P.'s" from the Arabian Nights. Both manga had their debut around the same time, and their anime adaptations first aired on the same week and channel. Zetsuen did well, but Magi is the only one still ongoing.
Phantom Requiem for the Phantom Canaan These two gunkata drama/thriller series debuted the same year. Phantom is about a young amnesiac man caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and forced into a crime syndicate. Canaan features a girl targeted by a crime organization and relies on the title character for protection. Both series based on visual novels Close call, but Phantom seems to be the victor having the most acclaim among critics for its high quality animation and solid writing for the first half of the series. Phantom received a simulcast from FUNimation while Canaan was eventually licensed by Sentai Filmworks.
Naruto Bleach A determinator who has to coexist with thier Super-Powered Evil Side. Both are among the most popular Shonen series still in print. Naruto. Both series started off high and ranked among the most popular Anime/Manga series, but later years have not been kind to Bleach. Bleach has seen a rapid decline in popularity (getting overshadowed - at least for a while - by new comer Toriko). To add insult to injury, the ratings to the anime dropped to the point where it got cancelled and lost its time slot to a Naruto spinoff of all things. Last, but not least, Naruto is a lot more well-known to non-anime/manga fans than Bleach is.
AKB0048 Love Live! Nine aspiring idols aiming to reach stardom while saving the day in the process (or vice versa). Love Live! is part of a large multimedia project and the anime series started at the same time of the second season of AKB, which is fueled by the tie-ins with its real-life counterpart. Love Live! by a country mile. The first Blu-Rays of Love Live!'s first season more than the entire AKB0048 series by several orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the first blu-rays for the second season broke anime sales records. While AKB0048 was decently popular, Love Live! was a significant hit, consistently ranking high in popularity wherever it is applicable, while AKB0048 was rarely spoken of after it ended. Both are getting English releases, with AKB being the only one to receive a dub. However, this is due to the practices of Love Live!'s licensor, rather than popularity.
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Valvrave the Liberator Pick a bunch of teenagers with loose screws, give them cutting edge robots and send them to kick some bad guy's ass IN SPACE! Majestic Prince is based on a manga while Valvrave is an original story. Both air on the same day, but different timeslots and channels. Critics tend to say that Valvrave is too overhyped while Majestic Prince but the viewers do not seem to care much about it.
Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri (2010) Pretty Rhythm series (2011) & Aikatsu! (2012) Anime adaptations of arcade rhythm games with collectibles to dress up characters aimed towards little girls.   Lilpri did reasonably well, but currently only manga versions are still running. Pretty Rhythm is quite a hit but despite starting a year earlier, it pales in comparison with Aikatsu which is hailed as the biggest threat to the Pretty Cure franchise. The real winners, however are the viewers (including adults who watch them).
Freezing Infinite Stratos A boy joins a school where girls are trained to become weapons of mass destruction and seeks to live up for the legacy of his legendary older sister while earning his own Unwanted Harem. IS has a much lighter tone and focuses more on the harem aspects of the story while Freezing is packed with nudity and gore. Both anime series aired their first and second seasons together. Freezing has even more blatant MarySues and the author's personal fetishes as fan service. It also has given the main character a larger harem he doesn't deserve. IS is considered a major title while Freezing was relegated to cult status.
Pretty Cure Mai-HiME, Lyrical Nanoha All feature the main female characters being physical attackers compared to the standard magical girl at the time. All three premiered in the same year of 2004 (with Pretty Cure being the first one of all of them) All 3 have been successful at the time of release, with Mai-Hime getting two sequel series and Nanoha having multiple anime and manga sequels. And while all three are hits with Otaku, the real winner financially and commerically is Pretty Cure with 10 seasons to date (with an 11th to air soon), and has consitently generated up to 10 billion dollars on merchandising a year, and continously overshadows even the early established long runners Super Sentai and Kamen Rider in terms of TV ratings and Non-Serial Movie sales tickets.
Code Geass Valvrave the Liberator A Teen Genius who got kicked out by The Empire and leads a rebellion to overthrow it. Both shows shared the same company, Sunrise Entertainment. Also, Lelouch and L-Elf can be compared.  
Dragon Ball Z Naruto An orange-wearing optimistic character is having adventures with his rival who wears blue and constantly switching sides, and a woman that he loves who has quite a temper.   While they were probably equally as big at their peak, Dragon Ball's been around longer.
Outlaw Star Cowboy Bebop and Trigun (to a lesser extent) Late 90's Space Western anime featuring a gunslinging badass and his diverse Five-Man Band having various misadventures as they try to make ends meet whilst dealing with more sinister forces. More popular in America than Japan thanks to Toonami and [adult swim]. All three anime aired in the same year in Japan and later on Toonami and [adult swim]. Each apply the Space Western to a different place on the Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic, with Bebop the realistic, Outlaw the fantastic, and Trigun in the middle. Definitively Cowboy Bebop, with Trigun a close second. Bebop is considered the best anime ever made by many. Trigun is a beloved classic and its manga continued past the anime for years. Both have also received animated midquel films. Outlaw Star, while considered a good, fun, classic anime in its own right and having the spinoff Angel Links, has not received the same amount of critical praise and is not as well remembered. Those who do remember Outlaw Star do so with fondness, so it's not really a loss. Outlaw was one of Toonami's most popular shows, helping to spawn one of its most beloved promos, Dreams, and was a part of the Toonami 2012 April Fools' Day line up alongside Trigun. Along with Bebop it was one of the most successful anime Bandai Entertainment released in America. All three anime are considered a trinity of sorts, and share Friendly Fandoms.
The Noozles (Wonderous Koala Blinky) (1984) Adventures of the Little Koala (Koala Boy Kokki) (1984-85) Series catering to the "koala-mania" sweeping Japan in 1984 when Tama Zoo in western Tokyo acquired its first koala, and the Australian government sent six koalas to Japan as a goodwill gesture. Noozles was a fantasy-oriented series with a human protagonist which took a turn for the dramatic halfway through; Adventures of the Little Koala was a light-hearted Slice of Life series with a purely anthropomorphic animal cast. In the United States, at least, a draw; both series were re-run on Nickelodeon from around 1987-93, and both are generally fondly remembered by their target audience of the time.
Sword Art Online (2012) Log Horizon (2013) Both are based on ongoing light novels about a large group of MMORPG gamers being trapped inside the game. In SAO the gamers are unable to log out or remove their VR helmets, but the Evil Programmer promises to free them if anyone can reach his tower and defeat him. In LH the gamers are transported to a physical version of the game inhabited by real people instead of NPCs, with no obvious clues as to how they got there or how to get back. SAO focuses mostly on action scenes and Japanese Spirit, while LH focuses on political intrigue and attempts to recreate modern technology. LH is more lighthearted than SAO. Sword Art Online is definitely more popular than Log Horizon and was even aired on the Toonami airing block. However, the fan reaction to Sword Art Online is relatively polarizing due the character and plot writing issues. Log Horizon has a much smaller fanbase, but the writing, Character Development, and storyline is more praised than SAO. Regardless, Log Horizon has become a Sleeper Hit in and outside of Japan and has become one of Sentai Filmworks successful shows.note  Both of them are winners as they both receive a second season in the following year.
Attack on Titan (2013) Black Bullet (2014) Humanity fighting in a defensive war against Eldritch Abominations in a post-apocalyptic setting and are both known to kill off a large number of characters. Both are grimdark action series with the main character being voiced by Yuuki Kaji and both have reasonable Character Development and Tear Jerker moments. Attack on Titan puts more emphasis on straight-up action and takes place more in the medieval/Renaissance time period. Black Bullet takes place Twenty Minutes into the Future with sci-fi elements, puts more emphasis on philosophical and political themes, and is more inspired by Gen Urobuchi and Nitro+ works. Attack on Titan does not have lolis while Black Bullet does note . Hands down, Attack on Titan is the winner in terms of popularity and reception and was even aired in Toonami. Black Bullet, on the hand, had a poorer premise since it gave a wrong impression as being a Lolicon pandering series and had received mixed, but positve reactions.note . However, both Attack on Titan and Black Bullet have become Sleeper Hits in Japan and internationally since their respective anime aired and are one of the most watched anime in Crunchyroll. Black Bullet even overtook Naruto in the number one spot in Crunchyroll's popularity rankings note . Regardless, both Attack on Titan and Black Bullet enjoy an increase of manga and light novel sales respectively since their anime airing.

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