Angel Beats! was originally supposed to be a 26 episode anime. However, executives inexplicably cut down the number of episodes from 26 to 13, forcing a lot of subplots to either be cut off or rushed.
Arata The Legend's creator Yuu Watase wrote in her personal blog (via ANN) about suffering this treatment. Her editor thought her readers were morons, would bulldoze her ideas in favor of his own, tell her to "draw it exactly the way I tell you," and was inconsistent with his demands. Fortunately, that editor was replaced starting with the Yataka Arc.
The entirety of the "Blue Knight" saga and the subsequent story arc in Astro Boy were the result of executive meddling. Apparently Astro's willingness to work with the police and try to change the social order from within made him unpopular with the new generation of student radicals in the late 60s who believed that modern society was corrupt beyond all redemption and called Astroboy a hopelessly idealistic anachronism. Tezuka's editors at Shonen magazine noticed this and ordered him to make the series Darker and Edgier and have him fight against the forces of law and order. Tezuka handled this fairly well, however. Instead of simply turning Astro into the sort of violent, twisted, anarchic Anti-Hero that was popular at the time, he created an engaging story driven by a charismatic Anti-Villain antagonist and gave Astro reasonable motive for his actions. Tezuka had him waver back and forth between accepting and rejecting Blue Knight's extremism before denouncing him once and for all. In the subsequent "Astro Reborn" story, however, he becomes a more destructive Anti-Hero due to losing his memories, but eventually reverts back to his old self, partially due to the Darker and EdgierAstro Boy not selling well after all. This may be one of the rare cases where Executive Meddling actually did some good, as the Blue Knight saga is one of the most well-liked stories by modern fans and was highly influential in later adaptations; then again, Tezuka himself always regretted letting Astro abandon his pacifist ideals to embrace the Blue Knight's extremism, however briefly.
This often comes up as an In-Universe plot point in Bakuman。, as Mashiro tells Takagi about the differences between good and bad editors, and this is particularly relevant with regards to Miura, who becomes Mashiro and Takagi's editor when they get their first series. Miura is fairly new, and he feels pressured to get a series going, one that he launched himself (To him, their first series doesn't count because Hattori launched it, and if anything, Miura feels responsible for getting it cancelled by not noticing Mashiro's declining health). As such, he prefers to go what he believes is the relatively safe route of doing a gag manga, while the main characters don't see it as compatible with their styles. This leads to many arguments about their manga, including one in which Miura goes so far as to insist that Takagi find someone else to work with if Mashiro won't go along with Miura's suggestions, which Miura apologizes for later. However, when Takahama, another mangaka under Miura asks for a new editor due to feeling as though Miura won't let him write what he wants, only to get refused and told that if he feels that way, it's the same as admitting he doesn't have enough talent. Mashiro and Takagi then conclude that they've been blaming Miura too much and resolve to think up a good idea on their own.
Tite Kubo mentioned in an interview that he'd originally planned to continue the sequence of Urban Fantasy stories that Bleach opens with and to further develop Ichigo's other classmates. However, Shueisha overruled this, ordering him to hurry up the schedule and introduce the Shinigami, so as to kickstart the Myth Arc. The fandom is split as to whether this was good or bad.
Kubo admitted that he had never planned for the Arrancar Arc to go on as long as it did. However, the Arrancars were unexpectedly popular so the editors wanted more time devoted to them. Due to each character having to be given A Day in the Limelight the arc stretched on for years, creating considerable Arc Fatigue within the fandom until Aizen was defeated.
The Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo anime was Cut Short because of complaints from a Japanese Parent-Teacher Association. The sequel manga, Shinsetsu Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, was also Cut Short due to lukewarm fan reaction.
Code Geass suffered this from Day 1. Sunrise initially had little to no faith in the show because of director Goro Taniguchinote Reports variously blaming his being relatively new and untested or his perfectionism, giving him 25 episodes rather than the originally requested 50 and severely limiting the staff's resources, forcing them to piggy-back off of other Sunrise shows being made at the same time. After it became a runaway success, Sunrise gave the staff more leeway, but still interfered in other ways.
The initial series plan involved an idealistic rookie soldier and his ideological conflicts with his battle-hardened C.O. (which was recycled as the base for the idealistic Suzaku vs. the hardened Lelouch conflict); when Sunrise rejected this concept, the creators took it back to formula and after some retooling (introducing new elements like the Geass power and C.C. herself) made it the show it is today.
According to Word of God, the show being moved to an earlier time slot screwed the staff up in two ways, firstly by forcing them to tone down the content and secondly by making them feel like they had to take time out of the plot to get new viewers acquainted with the premise, which is usually blamed for the first handful of episodes feeling like rehashes of parallel episodes from the first season. This also forced the staff to essentially throw out their original plans for the show's second half, adding in a one-year Time Skip and starting from there.
For the American airing, [adult swim] didn't give Geass much love either. [as] gave the show very little advertising and kept shifting its time slot around and eventually landed into a dead early-morning time slot where next to nobody would be awake. Since this was a time before DVRs became commonplace in cable and satellite hook-ups, the show suffered agonizingly in ratings, and was booted from the network after one rerun, which began at a reasonable time slot, but was pushed back to the same early-morning slot as its premiere run had suffered. This made viewers stop caring and CN ended up with their rights to the show expiring after only two runs.
When Cyborg 009 was first adapted into an anime in the '60s, executives felt they needed a Kid-Appeal Character. Thus, they took the Shapeshifting Cyborg 007/G.B. and transformed him from his mid-forties to a Former Child Star and the second youngest of the cyborgs (with 001/Ivan remaining the youngest as an infant). Ishinomori disliked the change, but briefly incorporated it into the manga as a sort of Sleep Mode Size that was phased out after the '60 series ended.
Due to this error, it lead to their personalities (as Ohba and Obata first envisioned) being rewritten for the plot with the design swap: The one who became "Near" was meant to be the darker and more vengeful one (and be the elder), while the one who became "Mello" was originally envisioned as being calmer, younger, and more effeminate.
Executive Meddling by the editors of Shonen Jump took down Double Arts and Medaka Box — the former was well loved by older readers (as seen by extremely huge omnibus sales), but younger readers (who fill out the survey cards) hated it. It attempted a retool into a more fighting based series, but the damage was done. Medaka Box pulled the Genre Shift off more successfully, switching from a slice of life series to a fighting series, to an over the top fighting parody, back to a slice of life series again once it was popular enough not to risk being canceled.
Shonen Jump also demanded some drastic plot changes to Dragon Ball. For example, they're the reason the Cell arc in Dragon Ball Z kept constantly changing villains (first it was Android 19 and 20, then 17 and 18, then Cell, then suddenly Cell had two more forms that looked completely different and quickly transitioned from the second to third). Both his current editor and his former one kept telling Toriyama the villains he picked for the arc weren't good enough, so he kept having to shoehorn new villains or new looks for the villains in. Honestly, in hindsight, the changes were probably for the better.
Digimon: The Movie was also subject to executive meddling resulting in the combination of three movies into one. Jeff Nimoy personally didn't care for the idea and would've preferred to only use the first two movies, however the runtime wasn't long enough.
Want to know why Nozomi from Elfen Lied didn't make it to the anime version, despite being so important in the manga? Because the anime director hated her, thought that "it doesn't make a difference whether she's there or not" and refused to put her in the anime cast. Which is fairly hilarious, considering she's the reason the series is called Elfen Lied.
Averted in Ergo Proxy. Being made for a pay-per-view satellite channel, the series creators were given much more freedom than if they were under other networks and pretty much told to do whatever they wanted.
Lisanna returned from the (not quite) dead in Fairy Tail when Mashima's editor insisted he find a way to bring her back. Considering the broken base revolving around her, whether or not this is a good thing depends on who you ask.
One might consider the entire post-Raoh Fist of the North Star story, as covered in the manga and the Hokuto no Ken 2 anime, a product of a desire to keep the story going. Unfortunately the result couldn't keep up to the legendary status of the original, and almost all subsequent licensed works (with the possible exception of a single PlayStation game) have been set in the first half of the manga.
The Gundam franchise has had to deal with this from the very beginning:
The original series got it on both sides of the Pacific. In Japan, it got poor ratings in its first run and the sponsors tried to cut it down from 49 episodes to 39, but Tomino and the staff begged for an extension to wrap things up, giving it the highly unusual 42-episode run it ended up with.
On top of that, Tomino's intent of creating a serious war drama was repeatedly hampered by the demands of the toy company Clover, which acted as the show's sponsor. While Tomino was pretty good at gaming the system to get what he wanted, there are at least two lasting marks of Clover's influence on the franchise:
Clover demanded that Tomino give the Gundam a bright paint job, since his intended design of white, gray, and red wasn't eye-catching; Tomino countered that the Gundam was supposed to be a weapon of war and not a parade float. Clover won this battle, resulting in the famous "parade colors" of white, blue, red, and yellow; in a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, these colors became so iconic that almost every Gundam protagonist's machine sports them. As for Tomino's white-and-gray version, it still exists as the "rollout color" version of the Gundam, with the more festive version being labeled the "demonstration version".
The second big change was the addition of more Toyetic mecha, including the G-Fighter and many Zeon Monster of the Week designs like the goofy Zakrello and knightly Gyan. When Tomino got the opportunity to turn Gundam into a movie trilogy, he excised almost all of these, even going back and replacing the G-Fighter with the Core Booster, a more realistic fighter plane. And most of those Monster of the Week designs have their own fan-following, particularly the Ugly Cute Acguy.
In America, the original series was massively unpopular (presumably due to their following the insanely popular Gundam Wing with the much older and rougher original), leading to rumors that Cartoon Network used 9/11 as an excuse to quietly cancel the show before it had even run once.
Yoshiyuki Tomino wanted Victory Gundam to start off slow and with Character Development, not even introducing the titular Gundam until episode 4. Sunrise refused, and forced him to make the show action-packed from the start. As a result, the first four episodes are in Anachronic Order; the first aired is Tomino's intended Episode 4, after which the original 1-3 are aired as a "flashback" to explain How We Got Here.
When asked to make the Japanese guy the hero of G Gundam (against original planning), they gave it to them - Domon Kasshu, colossal Jerk Ass for half of the series.
G Gundam is a rather famous example overall, because at times director Yasuhiro Imagawa was practically in open war with Sunrise over the series. Sunrise wanted a Tournament Arc, so Imagawa introduced it and then quickly shoved it to the side to focus on the Devil Gundam plotline.
The Dub Name Changes were mandated by the bigwigs at Sunrise and had nothing to do with Bandai America. This has carried on for years, as any time Domon appears in a video game like Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, it'll be called "Burning Gundam" instead of "God Gundam".
On the other side of the Pacific, the Bluewater voice actors wanted to go back and redub the first 20 episodes after they finished the series, saying that their performances weren't as good because they didn't have a feel for the characters yet. However, Bandai wouldn't let them.
Like the original series, Gundam X was chopped down to 39 episodes, due to the series being tossed around the schedule.
For the dub, the iconic salute "Sieg Zion" was changed to the more generic and boring sounding "Hail Zeon". All other references to the Nazis or Hitler were also covered with references to fascism instead.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED had a few problems with this as well. When the sales of the GAT-X103 Buster Gundam models were lagging behind the others, Bandai asked Sunrise to make Dearka pull off a Heel-Face Turn. It is highly likely that Mu La Flaga's Heroic Sacrifice was altered because of this, removing his helmet from the Special Editions.
Gunnm / Battle Angel Alita: The author was working on a special celebration chapter — chapter 100 — which would be the headliner for the phonebook sized Ultra Jump magazine in Japan. It was around this time that his publisher's legal department approached him with censorship demands for the reprints, demanding he change a line using the word "crazy" as it "may offend people with incurable mental disorders." The suggested changes were "mad" or "angry" instead. He caved in because they also cited a part of his contract stating that if he missed the deadline on chapter 100, they would prohibit all future reprints of Gunnm, effectively ending his career. He later regretted it, especially when he discovered they had made similar changes without his knowledge. He approached them with an ultimatum — either the legal team apologize to him for overstepping their bounds and recall the edited versions, or he'd switch to a different publisher. They didn't, so he did.
The translators working on Initial D originally wanted a straight translation, but Tokyopop executives demanded various changes, resulting in the translators writing an open letter to the fans in which they joked about releasing the manga shrink-wrapped with White-Out and a felt-tip pen.
The big, big beef was the "Fast and the Furious"-ization. You can see it in the hip-hop dialogue and cheesy nicknames (gradually done away with in the later volumes). Given the Love It Or Hate It nature of FaF, this is understandable (although still a bit extreme). Strangely enough, without this executive meddling, it's unlikely that any American manga company would've taken a chance on a title as unusual as Initial D at all.
Executive Meddling gave Macross its name. Originally to be called Megaroad (or, to give the sponsor-imposed tag, Super Dimension Fortress Megaroad), one of the producers from Big West suggested changing the title to Macbeth, as he was a huge Shakespeare fan. Kawamori and the rest of the staff weren't keen on the name, but didn't feel they could really outright oppose the man who authorized the checks for production money. So, instead, they suggested a compromise name — Macross. And The Rest Is History.
Parodied in-universe in the second episode of Mangirl!. Hana proposes lots of ridiculous and cliched modifications to the author's manga...but only after the author asks if she wants to change the story. The others draw the line at Hana's suggestion to name the heroine after her.
The series infamous Gainax Ending was caused by executive meddling as well, mainly because of budget restraints, among other things, causing the entire final two episodes to be mostly stock footage. "Congratulations!!!"
Ironically enough, one could say that Sasuke from Naruto owes his existence to this; when Masashi was working on the series, the editor told Masashi that Naruto needed a rival, thus creating the spotlight-stealingdivisive character we all know.
Originally, Clefairy was to be the mascot, but Pikachu was chosen because of its popularity.
Interestingly, Clefairy is the protagonist's partner in the obscure note For English fans anyways since it is hard to translate properly as it relies heavily on cultural and crude humor. Japanese gag manga "Pokémon Pocket Monsters", making it something of a Canon Foreigner. It also makes a brief cameo in the anime.
Throughout the first 22 episodes of Pokemon: Best Wishes, a Story Arc develops concerning the new and improved Team Rocket seeking out a meteorite with special powers. It was all set to conclude with episodes 23 and 24, a two-part event where Team Rocket obtained the meteorite but became engaged in a fight with Team Plasma over it, causing earthquakes and destruction to Castelia City. Episode 22 aired, the two-parter was all set to air...and the Tohou earthquake and tsunami happened. Thus, the two-parter was pulled from the air due to being considered Too Soon by the TV executives. While this is understandable, despite promising to air it eventually, they ultimately never aired it, perpetually leaving the audience without payoff for the arc and retconning it out of canon when creating an alternative arc about Team Plasma.
Then there's the refusal to re-air 'Electric Soldier Porygon' despite removing the seizure-inducing flashes, or even allowing Porygon and its evolutions to appear in episodes...
After the Seizure Incident, the animators were forced to make a new episode, "Pikachu's Goodbye", but fortunately, it ended up as one of the most memorable episodes of the series.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion has been accused of this due to the writer being told to write an open-ended conclusion in order to potentially continue the show (rather than the conclusive ending he planned on). However, while the basic plot was in place at that point, the entire script had yet to be written. It wasn't until the writer was given a suggestion for the ending by the director that the plot was finalized. This has lead to some of the Fan Dumb believing the writer was forced to change the ending against his will late into the production and half-heartedly shoving in an Ass Pull ending, despite the Madoka Magica series being a collaborative project.
The executive meddling in The Nineties English dub of Sailor Moon resulted in the transformation of the lesbian couple Haruka and Michiru into the implied incestuous lesbian couple Amara and Michelle by making the two cousins in an attempt to get rid of any homosexuality. The dubbers did make them cousins, but didn't bother to remove any of the romantic implications between them, possibly as a Take That to the executives. On the other hand, Sailor Moon owes its very existence to executive meddling. When creator Naoko Takeuchi was trying to think of a new series, it was her editor who suggested the heroines wear sailor suits (he had a thing for them) and thus began Codename: Sailor V. However, they had a fight over the length of the skirts — her editor wanted longer skirts, but Takeuchi fought for the short length they have today.
Also, on the Topic of Sailor V, it was meant to be a 1 shot comic that became popular and was continued. When Toei got wind of it and wanted to make it into an OVA, she was asked to expand it into a team format. Sailor Moon was soon created and V was made into a member of her team under the name Sailor Venus. Due to Moon's quick popularity, the OVA starring Sailor V was never made and her series was wrapped up after Sailor Moon's despite being much shorter.
Moreover, Takeuchi originally only planned the manga to last one year, and the anime was also intended to only be a 46 episode series, ending with the deaths of the main characters at the end of the Dark Kingdom arc. The popularity of the franchise led to the anime getting more series and naturally, Takeuchi being required to keep stretching out her storyline from series to series.
When DiC got ahold of Sailor Moon, they decided to jumble up the episode sequence a bit, by airing the original season, then jump to the second half of Sailor Moon R before heading back to the first as a mini-series called "The Doom Tree Saga". Nice plan, only there's the problem that "The Doom Tree Saga", despite being filler, explained how everyone returned to normal after the end of the first season. This only lasted one run before the "The Doom Tree Saga" was restored to its rightful position.
There's also the anime adaptation of Sailor Stars. Toei changed the Sailor Starlights from women who dress in drag to full-out gender benders who are men in their civilian forms and become women when they transform. They also get ascended to main character status, while they stayed supporting characters in the manga. The ending was also changed rather drastically, with Chibichibi's role being completely re-written and Sailor Cosmos never appearing at all. Needless to say, Naoko Takeuchi was not pleased with the changes.
In the most recent print of the manga, the author added some Yonkoma at the end of every volume, explaining how she came with some of the ideas that made it into the final version, some of them are about how she originally intended things to be drastically different until her editor, Osa-P, told her to do some changes, for example, the manga was going to be even Darker and Edgier than it is (Compared to the Anime adaptation) as she planed to get the Sailor Senshi killedpermanently at the end of the first act, including an early and graphic death for Sailor Mercury. Maybe those changes were for good as Sailor Mercury became one of the most popular characters in Japan and the series grew into one of the most commercially successful animes of all time. Also, Sailor Mercury was going to be an android or a cyborg, something that was later used for Hotaru/Sailor Saturn.
Saint Seiya ended prematurely because of this. It was planned to have two more big story arcs which would focus more on the Gold Saints, but the series was canceled and it took the anime more than ten years to finish afterward.
Shaman King was hit hard by this. Apparently, due to a decline in popularity, Hiroyuki Takei was ordered to HURRY IT UP. So he ended up rushing through the later chapters, resulting in a convoluted mass of plot points and character deaths (which is meaningless as the characters in question usually come back to life shortly thereafter or immediately come back as a ghost), and culminating in a cliffhanger ending. Fortunately, due to fan outcry, Takei eventually finished up the series properly and fixed the rushed chapters.
The ending we got, in a way, we got due to a case of meddling that got fans involved. Rather than just release it in volume form, the executives decided to first hold a survey for fans to request the final volume. This final volume was made, and was just the chapters they hadn't collected. The executives then told fans that they had to rebuy the series in new volumes to get the ending, and that if the sales even began to fall they'd be canceled. Let's just say fans were not amused....
The author of Skip Beat! wanted a minor character to be a middle-aged man, since the character was a successful director and therefore logically should be of a respectable age. The editor said no, "This is a shoujo manga, dammit!", and the character ended up about 30.
A 4th anime season of Slayers was due to follow immediately from the 3rd, Slayers TRY back in The Nineties reportedly called "Slayers AGAIN", but it was rumored to be canceled when Megumi Hayashibara, the Japanese voiceover actress for the female lead, was bogged down with work, making everyone else virtually lose all interest. It wasn't until 11 years later that a new television series was actually released. Now there are no hopes for a new season due to season 4 and 5's mediocre ratings.
The Light Novel writer deemed season 3 Canon Discontinuity because he disliked how it came out (not that it stops its popularity with the fans, though)
And now the prequel light novels are ongoing because of obligations from the magazine they're published in. As of this writing, they're on hold, but the writer made it clear that he has absolutely no intention to continue the regular series.
Ikumi Mia blames part of the failure of Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode on her Nakayoshi director limiting her to two volumes and telling her not to focus on the previous series's characters.
Executive Meddling actually produced the original series as well; Ikumi-sensei wanted to do a horror series focusing on a much darker catgirl, without a colourful cast of Kemonomimi friends. Ichigo's predecessor wasn't even a Magical Girl.
Warrior Cats: Graystripe's Adventure was originally meant to be a single volume manga called The Lost Warrior. Then somebody had the idea to release it on the same day as The Sight. The artist was only a third of the way done, so it ended up being split into three volumes, and further manga in the series have followed suit.
The You're Under Arrest! Manga's quite possibly one of the shortest (and rarest) licenses that Dark Horse Comics ever published stateside. This was because creator Kosuke Fujishima only wanted a select amount of stories (sixteen in total) released correspondingly with the Anime. The chapters in question were all made towards the end of the run.
In the beginning, Yu-Gi-Oh! wasn't about the infamous card games but about various games of all types, but since the Duel Monsters card game was quite popular (and conveniently marketable), Kazuki Takahashi had to retool the series to revolve around it.
It's rumoured that Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was cut short because Yuki Judai's voice actor was fired and the show's developers didn't want to spend the extra cash to replace him in the middle of a season; as a result, the show was forced to wrap up half-way through its run, and its successor, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds was rushed to air to make up the difference.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga suffers the same fate as the anime, as it had to rush its ending to make room for Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL's manga, despite how well the GX manga series has been received by the fans.
Crow of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds was supposed to be the Big Bad of the final arc, but when the Blackwings cards started selling like crazy, Konami demanded a character to represent its newest cash cow. Because they wanted the deck to be represented by a protagonist, Crow had to be shoehorned into the role of a good guy, changing the entire plot and creating one of the most disliked characters of the series.
Also, the anime was supposed to end with the Dark Signers arc, but due to how well-received it was, executors demanded another season. Seeing as the DS arc is generally regarded as the best arc of the franchise, what would already have been a bad move by itself was made worse since no one had planned out anything.
YuYu Hakusho was supposed to end with the climactic Chapter Black arc, but one last arc was created due to editorial request, and later ended prematurely by the author himself.