Anime is usually based on Manga
, Light Novels
, Visual Novels
or Video Games
. Occasionally there are exceptions.
Anime is always more risky than manga. Pretty much everyone has a manga specifically geared to their interest somewhere, and the largely black and white format of manga makes it cheaper to produce than even the average western comic book. Producing a show is much more expensivenote
. And while a lot of manga is made to be accessible and disposable, the demographics of TV watchers is different. This is the major reason anime is mostly populated by shounen and shoujo, as kids simply have more time. Meanwhile, josei
manga rarely ever gets made into anime, if reaching television at all.
Anime also requires voice actors and a hopefully decent animation budget. On the other hand, it's much easier to make a show based on a known money-generating property. Making a show suddenly becomes lucrative once you figure in things like new merchandise (character Image Song
and soundtracks, most noticeably) which pays for the show. This is the main reason H-games made into anime
are the most successful financially and on the other extreme, why most Anime First
shows for youngsters are explicitly Merchandise-Driven
. Magical Girl
and Mecha series in particular have a high chance of being Anime First
Occasionally manga comes out after
such an anime, but only as a limited run. Some manga run concurrently
to a show, so divergences are common and accepted. You don't want them to be exactly
alike or the audience will wonder why you're messing with the story
. You also rarely get a sort of Double Subversion
where the manga comes out first, but the original project was conceived as an anime; the manga was primarily intended as advertisement. (Two well-known examples are Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind
and Neon Genesis Evangelion
Not to be confused with the common gripe that all of the anime examples on a trope page come first. (Seriously, guys, it's alphabetical
. Either add in some examples from advertising, or let it go.)
The basic idea is certainly not unique to anime - many animated children's shows begin their lives as children's book franchises and later become animated adaptations
, as existing properties certainly have a chance of taking off with the built-in fanbase. And it's not just animation. Many live action movies and TV shows are based on novels and comic books for the same reason.
- Angel Beats! Notable because its creator is best known for Visual Novels.
- anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
- Argento Soma
- Ashita no Nadja
- Basquash!. Mecha show and shameless Nike shoes advertisement.
- Bee Train's girls with guns trilogy:
- The Big O. The order went First Season -> Manga -> Second Season, so the Manga version goes off in a completely different direction from the show (particularly regarding Beck and the ending). Some ideas from the Manga made it into the Second Season, if somewhat obtusely.
- ...which was followed by Manga (unreleased in the US) based on the Second Season.
- The quality of the manga actually suffers for it; they have a lot of action shots that look like freezeframes from the anime, and the dialogue is a little bit too simple and sparse.
- Blood-C likewise.
- Brigadoon: Marin and Melan had a two-volume manga adaption. The manga's plot was somewhat simpler.
- Bubblegum Crisis.
- Burst Angel. The manga was also a prequel to the anime.
- Candy Boy is an odd case. It was originally just an original net animation used to promote a music video. However, the concept for the show proved popular enough that more episodes were created.
- [C] - Control
- Code Geass: has four manga, only one of which could be considered anything besides an AU.
- Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, one of those cases where the manga promotes and then runs concurrent to the anime.
- Cowboy Bebop. Two manga series for this show do exist, but they were developed as promotional material for the anime. "Shooting Star", which came first, was more of an original Alternate Universe type story, and the second series was a direct tie-in.
- Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, which has the same case as Concrete Revolutio. However, the manga focuses on the Conquest Club while the anime (and most of the other stuff) focuses on the Defense Club.
- Darker Than Black
- Danganronpa 3note is the Grand Finale of the Hope's Peak Academy saga and the first original Danganronpa anime, and the reason for that is that the series's writer thought that its story would be best expressed in anime format.
- Digimon Xros Wars. While the manga debuted first by around a fortnight, the anime was announced and presumably in production for months beforehand and the manga specifically adapts it, so it still qualifies for this trope.
- Dog Days
- Both Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super are cases of Anime First for the Dragon Ball franchise, in contrast to the first two series.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World
- The Eureka Seven manga has a different ending to the anime, plus its own manga-only Prequel.
- The sequel, Eureka Seven AO had the manga come out first - but since the anime was announced at around the same time and was released three months after the manga's first chapter, it's clear the manga is more of an advertisement, in the vein of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Figure 17 Tsubasa & Hikaru
- FLCL, with a two volume manga afterward.
- Galaxy Angel was supposed to be The Anime of the Game, but the game's release ended up being delayed so long that the anime couldn't really base itself on it. Galaxy Angel Party is the only manga adaptation set in the same Alternate Universe as the anime.
- Girls und Panzer
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Mecha show? Check. It's even co-sponsored by model and garage kit maker Good Smile Company.
- Gregory Horror Show
- Guilty Crown
- Every Gundam TV series ever, and ALMOST every OVA series with the exception of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, and to some extent, Char's Counterattack. (Both were previously released as novels; the latter was from the film's creator called Hi-Streamer)
- Hanasaku Iroha
- Heat Guy J
- Hell Girl. The anime and manga began releasing almost simultaneously, but the former is the original and the latter the adaptation (anime has a longer lead time than manga). The manga's quite different, and lacks Hajime and Tsugumi except in omakes.
- Il Sole penetra le Illusioni began as an anime, then got a manga adaption and a light novel prequel.
- I'm Gonna Be an Angel!
- Infinite Ryvius. The manga is a P.O.V. Sequel.
- Innocent Venus
- K had a manga adaptation released earlier as a prequel to the anime.
- Kaleido Star
- Kamichu! was probably a safer bet, as the animation style is derivative of Studio Ghibli and therefore an integral part of the series (not to mention guaranteeing a certain amount of fandom).
- Anything by gímik. Which is really just Kiddy Grade and Uta Kata. Gigantic Formula also counts.
- Kill la Kill. Interesting as the manga started a day afterwards.
- Kujibiki Unbalance - originally an entirely fictional manga series from Genshiken, it later spawned a fictional anime - when Genshiken became a real anime, Kujibiki Unbalance got three real episodes, and then became a full-fledged anime series in real life - the manga was released alongside it.
- Last Exile. The sequel series was weird here; The first episode technically predated the manga, as it was shown at a con. Most viewers were able to see a few chapters of the manga before airing began, though.
- Legend of Himiko. The Twelve-Episode Anime ended the same month as the manga began its eight-year run.
- In a strange inversion, most fans of Lil Pri think that the anime adaptation came before the video games and manga, when the manga really came first.
- A Little Snow Fairy Sugar was adapted into a three-volume manga with the first volume released a couple months after the show's premiere. The manga followed the anime's plot pretty faithfully for the first two volumes then diverged significantly from it in the last one.
- Lupin III began as a Manga series, but in the process of becoming an Anime franchise, several full-colour Manga volumes were produced based on the Lupin III (Green Jacket) series, The Castle of Cagliostro, and The Mystery of Mamo.
- Magic User's Club started with an OVA series.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's and StrikerS. What manga they had were supplementary material for the anime series. The first season isn't an example since it's (loosely) based on the Lyrical Nanoha mini-scenario of the Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever fandisc, though most fans don't know that.
- Mai Hi ME was an Anime First, but despite popular belief Mai-Otome could better be described as "Anime Simultaneously". The thing was the production teams for the anime and manga were both given the same settings and characters, but worked with them in entirely different ways. So despite what people think to the contrary, the manga isn't, nor could it have been, an adaptation.
- Martian Successor Nadesico, which was shortly after adapted into a much different manga.
- Mawaru-Penguindrum, similar to Utena (which was also by Ikuhara), has novels being released simultaneously.
- Mnemosyne was produced specifically to commemorate the anniversary of the anime channel it aired on. The light novel and the manga were just supplementary material.
- Mononoke, although it was already proven popular as a part of the multi-story Ayakashi series.
- My Neighbor Totoro: It saw a four-volume series of ani-manga books published a month after the film came out in theaters (in Japan); they were probably created around mid-production of the film.
- Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea
- Najica Blitz Tactics
- Natsuiro Kiseki
- Nausicań of the Valley of the Wind is a weird example wherein the manga was released first, but primarily to help the production of and promote the (anime) film. This example is further atypical in that the manga wound up being a major Adaptation Expansion, starting its run two years before the film ultimately came out... and finishing ten years after it, a total run of twelve years. (And unlike with Evangelion below, this had nothing to do with Schedule Slip.)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion is an unusual example of a single show's popularity lasting over a decade due to careful merchandising which is still regularly released. Various spinoff manga exist, including the intermittently produced one that ran alongside the original show (see below).
- Even though the manga began publication before the anime began airing, it was made as a promotional tie-in for the anime series which was in production at the time, as with Nausicaa. Amusingly, the manga ended up running for 18 years...because of Schedule Slip.
- Ojamajo Doremi, the (now second) longest-running Magical Girl show in existence.
- Ookami Shonen Ken (lit. "Ken the Wolf Boy"), a mid-1960s black and white anime which was Toei Animation's first animated TV series, is believed to be the Ur-Example.
- Otogi Zoshi, although the anime appeared only a month before the manga.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Paranoia Agent
- Plastic Memories
- Please Teacher! and Please Twins!: The manga adaptations differ significantly from the anime plot toward the end.
- PokÚmon: Okay, Video Games First, but the anime did come before the manga it bears the most similarity to (The Electric Tale of Pikachu); not always the case in the other manga continuities, however.
- Every installment of Pretty Cure, another Magical Girl show.
- Princess Nine, which gained a 3-volume companion manga.
- Princess Tutu is a notorious example as its manga removed many of the anime's original plot elements, pretty much screwing with the actual point of what the story was really aiming for.
- Psycho-Pass. The 22-episode anime began airing on noitaminA in October 2012, while the manga began running in November.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with a three volume manga adaptation released concurrently with the anime (but after the anime aired the episodes depicted in each volume). It also has two manga Spin Offs: Puella Magi Kazumi Magica and Puella Magi Oriko Magica. Kazumi Magica began serialization while the anime aired and is still ongoing. Oriko Magica skipped serialization entirely and was released as a two-volume series shortly after the anime's conclusion. A (noncanon) anthology manga series was released several months after the anime ended. Another manga Spin Off will be released alongside the Compilation Movie.
- Rakugo Tennyo Oyui
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: the anime and manga were made simultaneously.
- Saint October
- Samurai Champloo. A two volume manga was published that was a series of mostly original side stories (the only adapted story was a shortened version of the first episode).
- Samurai 7. (Loosely) Based on Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, though.
- Sands of Destruction was originally conceived as a video game. Midway through production, they decided an anime would be a good way to promote the game, and so a second team split off to produce it. The anime was released before the game in both Japanese and US markets, despite being started later. It was later adapted into a manga as well.
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and most other shows made by Tatsunoko Production (aside from very early stuff like Speed Racer)
- Even then, the Mach GoGoGo manga was made primarily to generate interest for the anime. The anime diverted from the manga in many aspects.
- S Cryed. Despite what some people might claim, the manga came out second.
- Serial Experiments Lain
- The Anime no Chikara project aims to create entirely original anime, and so far has resulted in:
- Shirobako. There was a prequel manga.
- Simoun was primarily the anime series, with two mangas and a light novel produced as alternate universe retellings of the main story. The creators attempted to recoup the costs via merchandise.
- Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry
- Space Dandy
- Spirited Away: A bit of an odd example here in that it was not based on any manga or novel, nor were any of those things created after the film was released. Consider it a stand-alone.
- Star Driver
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and its sequels (Macross Plus and Macross Zero are the exceptions to subsequent manga adaptations, being OVAs and all).
- Tamako Market
- Tenchi Muyo! - a manga was created in the gap in between the first and second OV As and actually kept going despite the gap between OVA 2 and OVA 3. There was also a 6-issue American made comic based off of Tenchi Universe
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: There was a direct manga adaptation, a School-AU spin-off, and a different AU-manga coming out.
- Tiger & Bunny
- True Tears
- Tweeny Witches (Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu) also depends on quirky animation for much of its impact.
- Space Battleship Yamato
- Viper's Creed
- The Vision of Escaflowne: Due to its Troubled Production, the TV show hit the screens after the very first manga adaptation appeared in stores, despite the latter being actually based entirely on preproduction materials for the former. Two more mangas and a movie adaptation have been produced after the show aired. Both are alternate re-tellings of the TV series, and if you were a fan of the television series before the film was released (2001 in Japan, 2003 in North America) and were upset with the drastic changes made in the latter, chances are you'll also be surprised and (quite possibly) upset with the differences in the manga series as well - assuming you haven't picked them up yet.
- Vividred Operation
- Wolf's Rain. There is a 2-volume manga adaptation, but the story (and especially the ending) has numerous differences.
- World Conquest Zvezda Plot
- Xam'd: Lost Memories.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's (and now Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's's) manga has the same characters, as well as some new ones, but a totally different plot which bears no resemblance to the original.
- Yuki Yuna Is a Hero. It has an a prequel light novel running at the same time as it.
- Zankyou No Terror.