"How'd you get here so fast, Anime-san?"
Mokuba: We appear to be locked on course with a giant ocean fortress directly beneath us!
That's weird. I don't remember any of this happening in the manga.
are based on a manga
, or Japanese comics
. While simply making the anime into a completely Alternate Continuity
is common (especially if the manga has no ending
), more often the anime at least tries to follow the major plot points of the original manga.
However, if a series is especially popular (and/or marketable), its anime version will begin before the manga even ends. Because of medium conventions, it takes longer for events to unfold in manga than it does in anime, the average conversion being roughly 2 manga chapters to make 1 anime episode, and this often means that an anime will simply run out of source material. While some manga series are published weekly (e.g., Shonen Magazine
, etc), others are published on a monthly schedule (e.g., Nakayoshi
, Shonen Ace
). However, most anime are aired weekly, which just makes it worse, especially for manga that have just started. The producers of the anime are then in a fix. They can't just wait for the creator to produce more material because they have a broadcast schedule to meet. Japanese shows are almost always broadcast solely as first-run episodes with no reruns. No new episodes is akin to being cancelled. This is something that is frequently lost in translation
outside of Japan, since unlike Western shows, they don't schedule production in the form of "seasons" with production breaks set into the schedule. They just keep going and going and going until they end/get cancelled, or stop at a predesignated point. This is also why lots of anime are only 12/13 or 24/26 episodes long, because that's all they were scheduled for, regardless of popularity.
Unless they work in very close tandem with the writer of the original manga – which is very rare since those writers are usually really busy with the manga as it is – the people in charge of the anime will have to start making things up on their own, and create a unique plotline from the point they ran out of manga to base things on.
Unfortunately, unpopular or unwelcome filler arcs
or filler episodes may often be misblamed
as being the fault of the original creators, when in reality the creators almost always have nothing to do with the filler plot. Some fillers that were better received by fans are often cited as being opportunities to develop lesser characters (this often helps with anime that have a cast size near the size of the production staff
Another option could easily be to just pad the episodes out
and slow the story down
. This was common in the Dragon Ball
series, which unfortunately caused many people to believe the manga was exactly the same
or that Akira Toriyama's writing was at fault, when in reality the pace of the anime was out of his hands
Most writers just choose to do a gecko ending
See also Wacky Wayside Tribe
- Ai Yori Aoshi. While Ai Yori Aoshi and Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi follow the manga for the most part pretty faithfully, its ending accomplishes nothing story wise.
- The popularity of Black Butler caused it to be adapted way too soon and the anime wound up going in a totally different direction than the manga. Only 9 of the 24 episodes from the first two seasons were adapted directly from the manga; however, a new season in 2014 will be based on the manga once again.
- Bleach created the Bount, Shusuke Amagai, Zanpakuto Tales, Beast Swords, and Division 13 Incursion arcs due to Tite Kubo's legendarily slow pacing. Sometimes the filler arcs slid neatly in between canon arcs but at other times, they occurred in the middle of canon arcs, resulting in comedy segments where the canon characters behaved like actors taking set breaks. Eventually Pierrot decided to cut their losses and end the anime altogether while the final arc ran in the manga. Whether it'll get an adaptation or not remains to be seen.
- This appears to be happening to Blue Exorcist. It followed the manga pretty well up until the very first filler episode, after which they both went in two entirely different directions. Some fans are not pleased.
- The Bokurano anime was completed before the manga was, resulting in the last half of the anime having absolutely no connection or resemblance to the equivalent in the manga, with the exception of one plot twist that the manga author might have decided to use after the anime came up with it.
- In Chrono Crusade, the anime took a radically different direction from the manga in the last third of the series (they ended around the same time). Whether or not this is necessarily a bad thing is up to you.
- To simplify it, the anime plays up the religious symbolism way more than the manga does, and the natures of certain characters are different. Even the Foregone Conclusion works out differently.
- Daily Lives of High School Boys, despite a Slice of Life comedy, got this treatment due to two factors: (1) the manga's Sketch Comedy format means a whole volume of manga can only produce 3 episodes of anime without padding, and (2) Sunrise did not pad. The anime practically ran out of original material at the last episode; in which they asked the mangaka to draw two skits for the anime (High School Boys and Assertiveness and High School Boys and Getting Hit On) and made two original skits (High School Boys and ... and the faux High School Girls are Funky—The Movie trailer). Of course, being a ongoing Slice of Life manga without much of a plot, the anime simply ended the season by using Book Ends.
- Dragon Ball has three notable points that were to let the manga material get ahead for a few weeks: Goku's travels across the Earth following the defeat of the Red Ribbon Army and wishing Bora back to life, Gohan, Piccolo and Krillin's encounter with Garlic Jr. and Goku competing in the Other World Tournament.
- The filler after the Red Ribbon Saga is especially notable in that it was actually properly set up by the manga. In the last chapter of the Red Ribbon Saga, Master Roshi tells Goku to continue training by travelling around the world and that, while travelling around the world, Goku will have many adventures and a lot of fun. In the next chapter of the manga, there's a time skip and Goku has already completed his journey around the world; the adventures mentioned by Master Roshi are never shown in the manga. This whole sequence is basically the manga giving the anime an excuse to do a series of filler episodes.
- This actually happened again with the Cell Games, where Cell, after attaining his Perfect form and trouncing Vegeta and Trunks, decides instead of killing them there to leave and tell them to train for 10 days so they can participate in his tournament so he can fight them again. This gave the anime an excuse to add some filler before the end of that saga.
- Elfen Lied fell victim to this, ending roughly at Chapter 63 of the manga (which would go on to run for 107 chapters total). It was resolved with some separate continuity, culminating in an ending that was half Gecko and half Ambiguous.
- Excel Saga made a deliberate attempt to avoid this by going for a completely different storyline (only a handful of episodes have any connection to the original manga at all). To wit, the original manga gets considerably darker – and is much more of a satire than a parody – a few volumes after the adapted-to-anime material ends.
- The Eyeshield 21 anime has a lot more wacky hijinks between games because of this.
- Fairy Tail got hit with this, too. After the seven-year Time Skip, the anime was getting a little too close for comfort with the manga's storyline, so the studio decided to insert a Filler arc before the Grand Magic Games arc. It is widely acknowledged that Mashima himself requested the studio to do it, and even helped them plan out the arc's story and provided new character designs. However, even that wasn't enough, so Mashima decided to insert a "To Be Continued" title card in manga chapter 297 for the anime to use as a point to go on hiatus. Luckily, the anime returned the following year to resume the story.
- The first season of the Fist of the North Star TV series had many drastic changes to the order of events as a way of preventing it from getting ahead of the original manga (which was in the middle of the Cassandra arc when the anime began airing). Kenshiro's battle with Shin was pushed back to the end of the season, numerous one-shot villains were introduced, and several other villains from the manga, namely the Godland Colonel and Jackal, were shown to be agents of Shin instead of acting on their own accord. The subsequent parts also featured filler, but generally kept the main storyline going in the same order.
- The 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist went into an Alternate Continuity from its very early episodes, although the changes were fairly subtle in the beginning. This is because the creators knew in advance that it would overtake the manga, as did the manga's creator, who explicitly asked them to take this route. Averted with the second series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood which revealed it was sticking with the manga ending - the final episode was aired about two weeks after the final manga chapter was released.
- Gantz is an odd example. The manga and anime were created at about the same time. The animators, knowing they would eventually get ahead of the manga, decided from the beginning that it would only follow the manga through a few arcs. The anime ended with an arc that was nowhere in the manga, but had been planned since the first episode of the anime.
- The anime version of Great Teacher Onizuka followed the manga for the most part right up the trip to Okinawa.
- Averted in Guyver, which has had three animated adaptations and none of them have gone past the first appearance of Guyver Gigantic. This happened in the early 90s... and the manga is still ongoing. Even the most recent anime, produced in 2005, just barely got Guyver Gigantic in. Many Guyver fans would love an anime that runs long enough to overtake the massive manga lead.
- .hack//Legend of the Twilight also diverged from its manga once it reached the "Haunted House." This included, oh, removing half to all of the plot. To this day, the Twilight anime is the only installment, besides the gag OAV .hack//GIFT, which does not count officially in the series canon.
- Hellsing's first anime went a completely different direction with characterization in its "Incognito arc", due to catching up to Kohta Hirano's manga extremely early on (as in, before the Big Bad was even introduced), made worse by the fact that 1)Hellsing was a monthly series, and 2)Hirano is famously lazy, regularly turning in chapters only 10 pages long in a magazine where the average is 25-30. Hirano was extremely unhappy with the anime, and further adaptation of the comic was postponed for years. An OVA series much more in line with the original was made.
- Despite this happening, Hunter × Hunter has at most four episodes that could be considered filler in it, and they were all fairly early on. Instead of making filler episodes, the anime simply stopped making episodes until the manga made significant progress, which is why it has three OVA seasons and stops at the end of the Greed Island arc. Whether or not more episodes will be created once the Chimera Ant arc finally ends has yet to be revealed.
- The series has now been rebooted. And despite a twelve years gap, it narrowly averts this, ending in 148 episodes.
- Inazuma Eleven is a rare example of the anime staff avoiding filler by working closely in tandem with the creators of the source material (in this case a video game series instead of a manga series). Whenever this happens, the anime simply starts on the plot of the next game before the game itself is released. The game series itself simply has its major plot points planned out well in advance; the 4th game, Inazuma Eleven GO, is currently scheduled for a winter 2011 release, but trailers had already surfaced a whole year in advance in December 2010. As a result, the major plot points are generally consistent between the game and anime, although plenty of details and smaller points differ.
- When the Inuyasha anime series Overtook the Manga, Sunrise opted to simply end it, resulting in a finale that only gets about 7/10 the way through the story. It was continued in Inuyasha The Final Act, which covered the remaining volumes of the manga, which ended in 2008.
- This happened to Karin, resulting in a very anti-climactic yet funny ending for the anime and an elaborate Tear Jerker ending for the manga.
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl ignores a new plotline added in the manga and goes for a Gecko Ending – probably for the better, although opinions differ.
- The anime of Kekkaishi made its own story for a short while, then abruptly cut it short with no resolution whatsoever.
- Because the anime version of Keroro Gunsou (a.k.a Sergeant Frog) frequently runs ahead of the manga (particularly in more recent years) a number of episodes and plots are present in the former that are not in the latter, such Karara's repeated appearances to marry one of the members of the platoon and the timer counting down to the invasion in season 3.
- The anime version of Konjiki No Gash Bell (Zatch Bell in the West) ran at the same time as the manga version it was based on. Unfortunately, Makoto Raiku, the author of the manga, broke his hand, forcing the manga version to go on hiatus while the author's hand healed enough to allow him to draw again. The anime overtook the manga as a result, so the anime diverged from the manga for its final episodes. Some aspects of the anime made it into the manga once Raiku resumed drawing, the most notable being Zeon's ultimate spell and the location of the final battle between Sherry and Gash.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch also had filler while waiting for the manga that eventually crowded out key plot points from said manga. Meaning? Anything involving Coco.
- Naruto is perhaps the most infamous example since Dragon Ball. The show ended up with two entire seasons composed solely of episodic filler and nothing else. Although some of the filler arcs were moderately popular for providing screen time to fan favorite secondary characters as well as general Fanservice this eventually led to a severe drop in ratings, resulting in the first arc after the Time Skip being essentially a relaunch with the new title of Naruto Shippuden.
- Shippuden attempted to pace itself so the manga could maintain a lead, even at one point going so far as to adapt only one manga chapter per episode. Despite this the lead slowly closed. Multiple filler stories have been introduced but do not have the same advantage as taking place during a Time Skip, instead being shoehorned into the plot as either flashbacks or Wacky Wayside Ninja.
- The anime team is trying desperately to avert this with One Piece, not expecting the series to have gone on for this long. Saving filler stories strictly for promotion of other things (such as movies) and keeping them short, the anime instead is taking the one-chapter-one-episode approach, sometimes resorting to stretching a chapter into two episodes if they get too close, keeping roughly 10 to 12 months behind. Eiichiro Oda, the author of the manga, seems to have caught wind of this and has greatly increased the pace of the manga, creating many gaps in every chapter for the anime people to fill in.
- There is at least one instance of a minor addition in the anime contradicting later information from the manga. After the Time Skip, Tony Tony Chopper was shown to be able to use three of his special Points without his Rumble Ball drug. The anime assumes this was an oversight on Oda's part and had Chopper use a Rumble Ball before transforming. The Fishman Island Story Arc later clarifies the misconception, revealing that Chopper still needs a Rumble Ball to assume his Monster Point.
- Ouran High School Host Club pretty much averted this. The anime came out in 2006 and ran for only one season, while the manga, updated monthly, is still currently ongoing with over 70 chapters. Despite this, the anime followed the manga nicely with the exception of a few minor alterations that more or less didn't really affect anything. Only the very last two episodes or so drift from the manga. The anime ending was enough to give some closure, but still relatively open, leaving all pairings technically possible for fangirls to squee over.
- Most shoujo stories published by Hakusensha seem to only receive roughly 26 episodes of anime adaptation (either a single series or two half-size seasons) which ends way before its manga source is anywhere near a proper conclusion. The production studios therefore don't have to wait for the manga at all provided it already has enough material for a one-season anime, and those who like the series can start reading the manga for continuation and/or more details. Whether this tactic actually works tends to vary between the series, though.
- The anime Peacemaker Kurogane actually ends at the prequel for the actual manga "Peacemaker Kurogane", and only follows the events of the manga "Shinsengumi Imon Peacemaker". Sound confusing? It is.
- While most of the Pokémon seasons are based directly off of one of the handheld video games, having Ash and co. visit the region of the currently-released installment and compete in the regional League, it had to go off the paved path twice, simply because they got to the end of "pavement":
- Ranma ˝ overtook its manga source several times, and made a large number of episodes from scratch each time it happened. Several episodes also were condensed arcs from the manga as well, but that may often be expected.
An interesting phenomenon was when an event in the anime and the manga happened at different seasons. When Ranma fights Cologne, it's a summer Beach Episode in the manga, whereas it's a winter ski trip episode in the anime. As a result, the two are quite different.
- This ironically did not happen to Rosario + Vampire; the first season of the anime stopped about halfway through the first serialization of the manga, which itself was just getting into its second, but not only did they rush to release the second season anime within a few months of the first, but rather than picking up where they left off, they skipped the rest of the first serialization and went directly into the second, which had barely been around for a year by then, though they did touch on some of the plotpoints from the first serialization. The result is not well-liked.
- The Rurouni Kenshin anime's last three arcs — the Christian/Shimabara Arc, the Black Knights Arc, and the Feng Shui Arc — were anime-only, created while waiting for the author to finish the manga. Although the Christian Arc – as well as the episodic filler and the four episodes adapted from the light novel – were reasonably well-received, the poor quality of the last two arcs led to the anime's cancellation and the final manga arc (the Enishi/Jinchuu Arc) was never fully animated.
- Nearly half of the first-season episodes (almost everything after the end of the Oniwaban story) were also filler, largely consisting of stand-alone episodes or two or three episode storylines that were basically watered-down versions of other plots from the manga (the series and the movie have three or four low-rent versions of the series' ultimate Big Bad Shishio – masterminds with a vision of the "good old days" who gather together a bunch of unemployed swordsmen to embark on national conquest).
- Sailor Moon invented mini-arcs in case new seasons weren't picked up or when they had to Snap Back after Overtaking the Manga, such as the mindwipe in the first season.
- The first season had the girls in a quest for the rainbow crystals, shards of the Silver Crystal that were created for the sole reason of having the team looking for more things and adding more episodes to the show. Other blatant filler are how long it took the team to get together, while in the manga it just took 8 or 9 chapters. -By that time, in the anime, only Moon and Mercury had met-
- This is the reason the anime-only Doom Tree Filler Arc at the beginning of Sailor Moon R exists. Naoko Takeuchi had planned for the manga to end after Queen Beryl was defeated, but eventually agreed to continue it. They had to wait for Takeuchi to write enough of the next arc though, so they created the Doom Tree arc to fill time.
- This is particularly noticeable in SuperS, which shares almost nothing in common with its manga counterpart and is noted for having had a significant ratings drop in Japan, a well as being most of the fandom's least favorite series. In the final season, they broke their rule of one Big Bad per season for a mini-arc that brought back the rest of the cast and properly ended the previous series by recycling the Big Bad of SuperS. After that arc, the proper Big Bad, Galaxia, showed up and the real plotline started.
- The Sailor Moon anime started in March of 1992. The manga? February - the manga only started because Toei Animation wanted to create an anime from it. Furthermore, while the anime was weekly, the manga was monthly. In other words, this trope was going to happen from the very beginning. And then there's the fact that the manga included plots like say... three of the Sailors being captured and disappearing from the story until their rescue several chapters later. The anime, running concurrently with and at a faster rate than the manga, simply couldn't adapt these plots at all. (In the case of the Sailors' abduction, the plot was reduced to a two-part episode where they were all freed at the end). No wonder the 2014 reboot is said to be closer to the manga - they can actually animate these plots now that the manga is finished.
- This trope is almost completely averted in Sailor Moon Crystal, which is taking the one-chapter=one-episode approach, and even naming the episodes directly after the manga counterparts. Since the individual chapters don't quite provide enough material to fill a 24-minute episode, minor filler still happens, but not much. There are also minor story changes, but nothing significant, especially compared to the original anime.
- Saint Seiya created the whole Asgard arc after the Sanctuary Chapter which surprisingly enough became one of the fans favorite arcs. On the other hand, they created several episodes in the Sanctuary Chapter which led to some confusions notably with the introduction of the Crystal Saint as Hyoga's mentor when it was later revealed in the manga that Hyoga's mentor was in fact the Aquarius Saint. It was handwaved by making The Aquarius Saint the mentor of the Crystal Saint who was still the mentor of Hyoga the Cygnus Saint, thus establishing some kind of "coherent" hierarchy.
- Saiyuki has had a number of these. The second arc of Gensoumaden was an anime-only arc, although Homura (the arc's Big Bad) was designed by author Kazuya Minekura and took existing elements from the prequel series Gaiden, also on-going. Then, the current plot of the sequel Reload, which is on-going, was halted while the author was sick. In order to keep production going, the anime took the existing plot and characters and went in a completely different direction with them. A very, very different direction. Thus, important continuing plot elements from the manga were completely left out and the anime finished without them- with no word on whether the manga's version of the arc will be animated at all. This also led to a huge shuffle-around of manga to anime plots, with the second manga plot taking place in the first half of Reload anime, and the second half of Reload taking place in another sequel anime, Reload Gunlock.
- In Saki, the manga ended the regional tournament just a few days before it ended in the anime.
- Shugo Chara! used the whole Lulu arc to catch the manga's pace, but at the end they ignored the manga's conclusion and added a whole filler season (Dokki Dokki!), ignored by most of the fandom.
- The Simoun manga debuted in the January, 2006 issue of Yuri Hime magazine, at which time the anime version had already started production. The two tell different stories, albeit with the same background.
- The Sonic X comic has done the same thing, with the Sonic characters being shown still living on earth in the comic long after the anime had sent them home.
- Soul Eater is almost exactly the same as the manga with only a few minor alterations (and more Excalibur for some reason) up until episode 37 at which point the new ending switches around which characters live and die, changes the significance of several characters, and involves a giant robot fight in a series which had never had anything remotely like that happen before. In the final episode Maka is able to fight off Asura, one of the most powerful beings in existence, by somehow becoming a weapon for a few minutes (which, oddly enough, doesn't have any real effect on the fight) and finally by punching him really hard in the face, which causes him to crack apart as if he were made of glass and explode because she "filled her fist with courage". It's worth noting that she doesn't even use Soul, her partner, to achieve this, which is strange since teamwork seemed to be a pretty major theme in the show up until the final episode. Some of these changes, though, can actually be considered to be quite awesome, so it's really up to the viewer to decide. It was inevitable as the series runs in a monthly magazine, and anime are made for weekly showings. It was going to catch up pretty quickly regardless.
- The Trigun anime overtook the manga by a fair margin, though how it did so is a rather unique situation. In 1997, Yasuhiro Nightow had to deal with the abrupt end of the manga because the Shōnen magazine he was being published in folded. By the time he restarted it as Trigun Maximum in the Seinen magazine Young King Ours, Madhouse had already begun production on the anime. As a result, the anime quickly caught up and finished long before the manga did. In fact, Maximum continued for nearly 9 years after the anime ended, finally finishing in April 2007. From Volumes 2-3 of TriMax, including the equivalents of episodes 20-21, the manga takes new directions with plot and characters, while retaining parallels in the plot — sometimes revealed in the manga years later — that Nightow had probably intended from the beginning.
- With Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, apparently CLAMP is so upset that production company Bee Train had to resort to making stuff up because CLAMP took too long and too slow to tell their story (a common occurrence). When the manga reached the Acid Tokyo arc, the damage is already done and CLAMP have given the rights to Production I.G to continue the anime in OVA form. The fillers did break several rules that CLAMP stories strictly abide by. Most egregiously, one episode had the heroes using a wish to restore the dead to life. An immutable, unbreakable law of nature in the Tsubasa-verse is that the dead never come back to life, no matter what happens. Hell, it ends up being one of the central themes of the entire story.
- Venus Versus Virus's anime went in a completely different direction from the manga from the first episode. It also had a Gecko Ending.
- Violinist of Hameln found themselves so far ahead of the manga that they needed to come up with their own explanations for many of the Chekhov's Gun found in the series, as well as creating a Gecko Ending for it all.
- The Wedding Peach manga ran for 6 volumes and one spinoff. The anime ran for 52 episodes and 3 OVA spinoffs, and almost all of the tropes on Wedding Peach's page are about the anime.
- The Animated Adaptation of CLAMP's X/1999 have obviously counted into this because the manga was actually cancelled (Or rather, it has been listed as "on Hiatus" for a long while) due to Monthly Asuka growing concerned about the manga's rather violent storyline and imagery present in the storyline, and the authors actually didn't want to be censored so they opted for hiatus. (Of course, the manga was actually pulled a couple times already for similar reasons.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! loves to do this; the Virtual World (which occurred right in the middle of another in-manga arc), Doma / Waking the Dragons and the KC Grand Prix were a result of this. If nothing else, the Virtual World arc gave us more backstory on the Kaiba brothers.
- Yumeiro Pâtissičre's anime will continue in October with a new season called Yumeiro Patissiere Professional, which will take place several years later with Ichigo now in high school. Since the manga, which is serialized monthly, is still in the middle of the first story, it's safe to say everything in the new anime will be new material.
- A Certain Scientific Railgun has many filler arcs because of its manga's slow pace. Fortunately, the author Kazuma Kamachi had some say in these arcs, and they were mostly used to tie up the previous arcs' loose ends that the manga missed.
- The anime version of Code:Breaker is a different case. With the manga released back in 2003, the anime version, which was released on 2012, only has 12 episodes and only focused on the Hitomi Arc. What's even worse is that anime brought in three characters (Yuuki, Rui and Yukihina) who aren't supposed to appear after the Hitomi Arc.
- The Haunted Junction anime had to replace the more linear and consistent plot from the manga with a comedic Once per Episode deal and cut several characters out (like the Bleeding Beethoven and Shingo to cover up for how the manga was nowhere near finished... and it wouldn't be over until years after the anime series was done for.
- The Nineties' Berserk anime adaptation was planned to cover only one plot arc of the manga, roughly 1/3 of the story by chapter. Rather than a Gecko Ending, it stops at a large Cliff Hanger. It's been described as "the world's most elaborate ad for the manga" for the way it drives viewers desperate for resolution back to the original. The New Tens' film trilogy adaptation re-adapts that same plot arc, ending only very slightly further on in the plot (roughly one chapter's worth). The creators of the trilogy have expressed the desire to continue adapting the manga story up through the (currently unwritten) ending, but details of what form that will take (more films, a new TV series, OVAs a la Ultimate Hellsing) are not forthcoming. Due to Miura's notorious Schedule Slippage, if they were to continue releasing films at the same pace as the Golden Age trilogy, they could easily find themselves Overtaking the Manga yet again.
- Some of the early Star Wars Expanded Universe material that was published between the movies of the original trilogy, like Splinter Of The Minds Eye. It was written as a sequel to the first movie, but published when it was unknown if The Empire Strikes Back was ever going to be made. The Marvel Star Wars comic book series fits this trope despite ironically being a comic book adaptation of a screen franchise. First it adapts the first movie, then it has a bunch of original stories, then it adapts the second movie, followed by more original stories, then the third movie, and then it Overtook the Series.
- The Star Trek comic books often suffered from overtaking the movies. For example, in the movies, Voyage Home follows immediately after Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, with a gap of days or less in-between. In the comics, they adapted Search, then had Spock make a full recovery, Kirk and crew take command of the Excelsior, and Starfleet send them all on a bunch of far-away missions while they decided what to do with the captain who stole the Enterprise and got it blown up. When it came time to adapt Voyage, Spock started having a mental breakdown, so Kirk swapped the Excelsior for the Klingon ship they'd apparently kept in a parking orbit somewhere for all those months, took him back to Vulcan for treatment, and managed to set things up exactly the way they had been at the end of Search, just in time for a huge cylinder to start asking Earth about whales.
- S.D. Perry wrote a follow-up to her Resident Evil 2 novelization titled Resident Evil: Underworld, in which Sherry Birkin is left under the care of her heretofore unseen aunt, while Leon and Claire go on a new adventure with Rebecca Chambers and the surviving members of the Exeter branch of S.T.A.R.S. However, this book proved to be hard to reconcile when Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came out, as it revealed the fates of various characters after 2, which differed to what Perry came up with in Underworld. Perry had to explain away all the continuity snarls in her Nemesis and Code: Veronica novelizations.
- All Creatures Great and Small: the show eventually ran out of James Herriot novels to adapt and started creating the scripts out of whole cloth.
- May count as a double case, since Herriot himself ran out of real life cases at one point.
- The Showtime series Dexter had its first season based on the first Dexter book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. The second season showed an original storyline as the second book, Dearly Devoted Dexter, was considered inappropriately dark for the show. There were no more books by the time the third season was greenlit, and since then the novels and TV series have gone their separate ways.
- The Worst Witch ran out of material to adapt after the fourth book. The actresses were all getting too old by this point, so the show was ReTooled into Weirdsister College, replacing half the cast in the process (although Felicity Jones returned as Ethel Hallow, after two seasons of the role being played by Katy Allen). After that, a new series was made out of whole cloth.
- As of the show's fourth season in 2014, Game of Thrones is coming dangerously close to overtaking the A Song of Ice and Fire novels it is based on. While there are still two hefty novels left before the show runs out of material, both of those books occur at the same time and several characters have already started to dip into the storylines from those novels. George RR Martin has given the show's writers a detailed explanation of events in the final two novels, as the writers and producers have made it clear they will not and cannot stop and wait for Martin to catch up. The season 4 episode "Oathkeeper" is the first to feature a major revelation before the novels: the final scene reveals the Others/White Walkers have a society and hierarchy, that they create new Others/White Walkers by transforming human babies, and that they are led by the Night's King, an evil figure from Westeros mythology who was not previously confirmed to actually exist.
- Call the Midwife is (somewhat loosely) based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth (née Lee), chronicling her time as a district nurse and midwife in London's East End. However, by Series 2 they were running out of stories from the memoirs, and in any case Worth actually left midwifery a few years after starting to become a hospice nurse. Since the series was always ensemble-based, losing Jenny isn't a huge problem, and with Series 4, the stories will begin to be more or less out of whole cloth.
- The Tim Burton Batman movie was adapted to an NES game by Sunsoft, who took great liberties with the plot of the movie but still managed to churn out a pretty good sidescroller. However, Sunsoft couldn't wait for the next movie to come out before making a sequel to the NES game, and created Batman: Return of the Joker as a standalone sequel based on the comic.
- A similar example occurs with the SNES adaptation of Jurassic Park. Ocean couldn't wait for the sequel (or even the novel it would be loosely based on) and created their own, Jurassic Park Part 2 The Chaos Continues. It had a vaguely similar plot to the eventual sequel; a rival genetics company tries to take control of the island by force, and Alan Grant is sent to stop them. Nobody stopped to question why Grant was suddenly a gun-toting Contra-esque mercenary... or why he'd care about any of this. Good music, though.
- Street Fighter was another interesting example in that Tiertex, the company responsible for porting the original Street Fighter to home computers (who also did a terrible job at it) decided they couldn't wait for Street Fighter II to revolutionize the fighting game genre, so they took their port of Street Fighter and made their own original sequel to it, titled Human Killing Machine (which was also quite crap).
- Years before Capcom released Strider 2, the official arcade sequel to the original Strider, they handed the Strider license to U.S. Gold and Tiertex (the companies that produced the European computer ports of the first arcade game) to produce their own sequel titled Strider II (spelled with a Roman numeral). This sequel was originally made for the same set of European computer formats and then remade for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, getting a stateside release in the form of Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns.
- When Konami wanted to make a sequel to Metal Gear following the success of the NES port in North America, they commissioned one of their teams to make a sequel specifically for the American market, resulting in the creation of Snake's Revenge. This inspired Hideo Kojima to make his own sequel for the MSX2, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Snake's Revenge is not considered part of the official Metal Gear continuity, as the events of the game are incompatible with what occurs in the official sequel. Namely, the way Big Boss' return is handle in both games. Both games takes place three/four years after the original Metal Gear and have Big Boss forming a new terrorist organization with a new Metal Gear prototype in his hands. However, in Snake's Revenge he also turns in a huge cyborg during the final battle.
- A sequel to the original Gradius (a.k.a. Nemesis) was made for the MSX titled Gradius 2 (a.k.a. Nemesis II) before the actual arcade sequel, Gradius II (a.k.a. Vulcan Venture), was even made.
- Golden Axe II for the Sega Genesis was made a year before the proper arcade sequel (Golden Axe: Revenge of the Death Adder) was released.
- The Secret Of NIMH actually overtook the source material. While the Bluth film was rather jumping in and out of In Name Only, the ending (and primary events) of Bluth's 1982 Animated Adaptation pretty much ruined any potential chance of covering the two books written by Jane Leslie Conly with Jenner and Nicodemus kicking the bucket (whereas they both survived in the books; however, it was implied that Jenner possibly died off-screen sometime in the first book with the mention of his party being electrocuted by a car battery). But Bluth honestly deserves this... his film was copyright 1982; Conly's books are dated 1986 and 1990, Chances are nobody even knew that Conly would take over or that the official book sequel would be released four years later. (whether or not the supposed remake will follow the books more faithfully is unknown).
- Bluth has also stated that if he were to make a sequel to The Secret of NIMH, he'd actually cast Martin as the hero while Timothy was the villain. Interestingly, the sequel made 17 years later actually did the opposite.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): The series was put into production before the Masters of the Universe comic it was based on (and, by extent, the mini-comics that came with the action figures) could establish a concrete plot. This resulted in the story being retconned to fit in with the show.
- There may be four (or five, if you include the spinoff) Shrek films, but only the original film was a direct adaptation, albeit an extremely loose one. This is because Shrek! was always one of cartoonist William Steig's lesser known children's books, and it never sold well enough for him to write a sequel, even after the huge success of the film.