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Adaptational Attractiveness / Anime & Manga

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  • In Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot and Marple, Captain Hastings is depicted as younger and better looking than usual. Miss Lemon, on the other hand, was described as ugly but in the series, she has some good-looking features.
  • In Anne of Green Gables, Anne has unflattering appearance with a small face covered in freckles and she constantly bemoans her looks throughout the series. In the 1979 World Masterpiece Theater she's an adorable Miyazaki-esque girl making her complaints about her appearance even more ridiculous. Her adoptive guardians Marilla and Matthew are also nicer looking and younger than they were described in the book.
    • To be fair to anime, the majority of book illustrations depict Anne as attractive as well.
  • In Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, Elihas Starr is Natasha's good-looking ex. In Marvel Comics, he's the pudgy, bald, conical-headed Egghead.
  • Happens to Ruiko Saten from A Certain Scientific Railgun. In the manga she's short, rather plain, and flat-chested. In the anime she is taller, has a figure, and is overall much prettier.
    • Also much more jarringly to Shinobu Nunotaba who was very creepy looking in the manga, but was changed into an attractive woman in the second season of the anime.
  • In the original Cyborg 009 manga and early media, it can be jarring for new viewers to learn that 008 was depicted in an exaggerated manner reminiscent of the blackface caricatures seen in old cartoons (with Ishinomori's color artwork even having his skin inked pitch black). He received a more realistic design in the 1980 film "Legend of the Super Galaxy", and by the time of the 2001 series and 009 RE: Cyborg, any black face implications were long removed. The 2013 American comic book adaptation by Archaia even utilizes his 2001 design for their continuity.
    • 006 was generally depicted as a short, rotund guy with an exaggerated nose and a case of Eyes Always Shut, looking more cartoonishly stylized as well. This carried over to most adaptations, although 009 RE: Cyborg and the Archaia comic depict him somewhat more realistic in proportion and design.
    • 002 was originally drawn to be somewhat odd-looking, with a large Gag Nose being his most iconic feature. In 009 RE: Cyborg and the American comic, he has a much smaller nose (though it has an aquiline shape in some shots), and his wild gravity-defying red hair has become blond and depicted in a more realistic style. While these changes make him look much more readily attractive, they've also been contested as some fans feel he became TOO "pretty" and unrecognizable.
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  • In Dear Brother, Mariko's mother Hisako is very homely-looking (lampshaded by Mariko in the manga, as she says she wasn't the prettiest girl ever but still stayed by her father's side before he ditched her). But in the anime version, Hisako is an outright hot mom.
  • In the film versions of Death Note, the character of L, originally designed to be dishevelled and unattractive (but still gained a number of fangirls) is played by the rather handsome Kenichi Matsuyama. And then we have the TV drama version, which not only has L played by the very cute Kento Yamazaki, but gives him a Shower Scene as well. The American remake continues this trend, casting the handsome Lakeith Stanfield as L. This goes a step further, since the American L doesn't even sport the perpetually tired and disheveled appearance of his predecessors.
  • The Deltora Quest anime (and the preceding manga by Makoto Niwano) gives this treatment to several characters from Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest books:
    • Lief's appearance isn't remarked upon in the book, the implication being that he's a plain looking brown haired boy. In the anime he's a blonde Bishounen. The Nintendo DS game Deltora Quest: The Seven Gems makes Lief a faired hared pretty boy as well.
    • Jasmine in the books is very unkempt looking with wild messy hair (she grew up in a forest) and a small face with slanting brows and green eyes. While Jasmine does have a Cleans Up Nicely moment while disguised in Maze of the Beast she's generally not considered beautiful at least before she becomes queen. In the anime Jasmine is gorgeous even when not dolled up. The DS game even removes Jasmine's messy hair, giving her silky Rapunzel Hair instead.
      • This applies to Jasmine's outfit as well, in the books Jasmine wears ragged grey cloth that she scavenged from the Grey Guards. In the anime she has homespun but attractive garments with a skirt and even Zettai Ryouiki.
    • Fili the tiny creature (later revealed to be a Siskis) whom Jasmine keeps as a pet really isn't cute at all in official book art. In the anime however Fili is a Pokémon-esque adorable little fluffball.
    • Barda while young is described as having grim and unfriendly features in the books, in the anime Barda is ruggedly attractive with a beard and long hair making for a more pleasant appearance. Even the illustrations of Barda on the Japanese versions of the books are in line with the anime version.
    • Played with Doom, in the book he's described as muscular like Barda while he's skinny in the anime he manages to be Tall, Dark, and Handsome unlike his book counterpart whose appearance actively made people dislike and distrust him.
    • In the books Dain rapidly loses his delicate attractive features when he reveals he was Evil All Along and a Involuntary Shape Shifter in Return to Del. In the anime he keeps his Bishounen head while his body becomes monstrous, it's only when Lief kills him that his face melts as well.
    • Minor characters Battle Couple Orwen and Joanna from Rithmere Games, are described as tall and muscular but in the anime they are quite attractive (especially Joanna) as well.
    • The Ralad Tribe and Dread Gnomes get this as well. The Ralads are described as having wrinkled blue skin and button-like black eyes, in the anime they have smooth blue skin and normal looking eyes. The Dread Gnomes are described as unattractive in the books while in the anime they're pretty cute, particularly the female one Gla-thon.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • The anime adaptation of Fatal Fury 2 turned Wolfgang Krauser from a mustachioed middle-age man to a clean-shaven young man who is only a few years older than Terry. According to Word of God, this was done deliberately to show just how much more of a threat Krauser was than Geese in the first OVA. Whereas Geese aged naturally (and gained quite a few scars to boot), Krauser retained his youthful beauty as a visual representation of his power.
  • Kariya Matou from Fate/Zero has a hideously disfigured left side of his face as a result of the crest worms in his body. The anime adaptation toned it down a bit, however; he now looks like he's just somewhat scarred but not half as much as he's supposed to be.
  • A hilarious example happens in universe in Franken Fran. One of Fran's cases had her transplanting the brain of a dog into a human body who proceeded to save the life of its mistress. In "real life" the girl is generically cute while the dog was in the body of an unattractive middle aged man. The movie based on the events had the girl become a gorgeous bishoujo and the dog in the body of a young attractive male actor. This (among others) leads Veronica to calling bullshit and throwing a chair at the projection screen.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Scar is younger in the 2003 anime.
    • Ed, while not ugly at all in the manga, doesn't quite have the same sort of facial structure as his manga counterpart originally did; it's less square which makes him look more Bishōnen. While Ed in the manga and second anime hits a growth spurt eventually, towering over Winry, in the anime he becomes taller by The Movie but is barely taller than his biologically thirteen year old brother despite the fact that he's 18-19 (the movie takes place 2 years after the series). He isn't even Winry's height.
    • Envy gets a subtle hit of this in Brotherhood, where he's drawn notably more muscular than the 2003 anime version.
    • King Bradley has softer features in the 2003 anime and looks a bit younger.
  • Tetsuro Hoshino from Galaxy Express 999 was given this treatment. In the original manga and anime, he is depicted with a cartoonish looking appearance. The 1979 film however depicts Tetsuro with more realistic features more in line with most shounen protagonists at the time. His original appearance was used for his younger self in a flashback.
  • Neko Musume from GeGeGe no Kitarō is a strong example. In the original series she looks like a potato with a bowl cut and a mouth full of needle-like fangs. In the 2007 anime she's a conventionally attractive young redhead. In the 2018 series she looks like the character designer was trying to stay true to Shigeru Mizuki's original artistic techniques by doing everything with only one arm.
  • Chief Aramaki from Ghost in the Shell is a strong example. In the original manga, which was more of an action-comedy, he's drawn as a cartoon Japanese Macaque wearing a three piece suit. In the more serious movie version he's more realistic looking but still has a slightly monkeyish face. By the time Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex rolls around he's actually quite handsome for an old guy. The latest anime, Ghost in the Shell: Arise dials this back somewhat and has him looking closer to the movie version, though. In the 2017 American live-action film, he's played by Takeshi Kitano, who is Hollywood Homely at worst.
  • One of the students in Gokusen is described as Gonk in the manga, but he is a player in the live action series.
  • In Harmony, Tuan remarks that while she isn't ugly, she's not attractive either, and at several points in the narration explains she looks really rough in comparison to the perfectly healthy people in the admedistrative society, and the combat gear she's wearing is described in ways that make it seem similar to real-world military uniforms, albeit with scifi elements. In the anime film adaptation, she's depicted as a strikingly gorgeous skinny red-haired woman in a skintight plugsuit.
  • Played with in the Hellsing adaptations: few, if any, appearances were outright changed in the initial TV run (before the plot took a sharp left turn from the manga), but they got rid of the chibi and other off-model moments, as well as far fewer disturbing expressions and evil grins from most everyone except for Alucard himself; even he had some of his inherent horror toned down. Then along comes Hellsing Ultimate that takes all those factors and puts them right back in, with a vengeance.
  • Howl and Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle, while they were already attractive in Diana Wynne Jones's book (although Sophie thinks she's homely which is why she gets cursed to be an old woman). In the Hayao Miyazaki movie they are even more attractive then they were described in the book, especially Sophie who despite her doubts about her looks get harassed by two soldiers in an alley.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood:
      • This Part gets revamped heavily in the anime to fix the originally inconsistent character designs of the manga. Jonathan, Dio, and Erina become more obviously attractive as a result.
      • Plant, one of Dio's zombie minions, looks like a deformed mess in the manga, while is the anime, his design is a lot more compact and reptilian.
    • Stardust Crusaders:
      • In the manga, Boingo is rather plain at best and Gonk at worst. In the anime, he's absolutely adorable.
      • While Mariah was already beautiful in the manga, the anime seems to add a cup size or two to her.
    • Similarly to Mariah, Yoshikage Kira from Diamond Is Unbreakable is already attractive in the manga. But whereas his face in the manga is more skeletal, his face in the anime is a lot more chiseled.
  • The anime and manga adaptations of Les Misérables unsurprisingly does this to several characters from Victor Hugo's novel.
  • Mob Psycho 100 has an odd variant of this in Reigen. Though his actual character design is no different from the original manga (though his proportions are more consistent), he's often shot in the fashion of a Mr. Fanservice, his mannerisms further this, and sequences involving him have a noticeable Animation Bump. The closest way to describe it is that he's still accurate to the original, but he's drawn to be as attractive as possible without looking inaccurate.
  • In the Mazinger Z manga, Koji's Grandfather, Dr. Juzo Kabuto had a gravely looking appearance, and is missing an eye. The 1972 anime however gives Dr. Kabuto a more normal appearance and has both of his eyes intact. The Mazinkaiser OVAs and Shin Mazinger opted to use his original manga appearance.
  • Quite a lot of Metal Fight Beyblade characters had their appearances changed from the manga to make them more attractive in the anime. One of the most notable is Ryutaro Fukami. He went from looking like a bratty kid with buckteeth to actually being quite pretty.
  • Kenzo Tenma from Monster is a milder example. For whatever reason, he gets better looking as the manga progresses, while in the anime, he is good-looking from the start. It seems that Tenma's change is meant as symbolic.
  • Downplayed in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!. Anne has a large burn scar on her back in the original light novel, while the anime moved it to her arm and made it a lot smaller. This was probably so it'd be easier for the audience to see when getting into the details of her backstory without having to come up with an excuse for her to take off her outfit (given that the series doesn't really have any fanservice).
  • The live-action adaptation of Nana to Kaoru. The short and ugly Kaoru was transformed into an average-height, moderately attractive young man; moreover, the actress playing Nana is shorter.
  • Naruto:
    • In the Distant Finale of the Naruto anime and manga, Temari is still attractive as an adult but has noticeably aged and has wrinkles. Her appearance in Boruto: Naruto the Movie makes her look several years younger despite taking place several years after the epilogue. This redesign is also used in the spinoff series Boruto.
    • The Boruto manga also makes Sakura look younger than she does in the manga. She barely looks any different than she did at the end of Naruto.
  • Given the artstyle of the original webcomic, this is bound to happen to everyone in One-Punch Man save for a few examples. Special mention:
    • Fubuki is far more attractive in the manga. In the original she was androgynous at best; in the redraw she has a much more curvy figure.
    • Saitama past-self three years ago in the manga. He's not actually that bad looking bald either, but the majority of the time he's so lazy that not even his artist can be bothered to finish his artwork making him look like a Muppet or a doll for some reason.
    • Mosquito Girl. In ONE's style, she is essentially a woman's head and upper chest stuck onto a mosquito body, with her arms and legs being far more shriveled and insectile. Murata designs her more as an attractive woman with mosquito features, with a defined lower body and even hips.
    • Downplayed with Tatsumaki. While her design in the manga is usually as well-drawn as the rest of the cast, she'll occasionally revert to being drawn in the "lazy" drawing style much like Saitama.
  • The One Piece Hungry Days ads makes every single character (Loads and Loads of Characters mind you) supremely attractive compared to the main series. Among the Straw Hat Usopp, Franky and Brook are much more conventionally attractive (although in Brook's case it helps that he's not a skeleton). The ads also make Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Sanji, Vivi and Robin even more better looking than they already were, with Luffy, Zoro and Sanji becoming outright Bishounen.
  • Pokémon:
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms portrays Dong Zhuo as a lean fellow, rather than the Fat Bastard as he was in the novel.
  • Examples from Sailor Moon Crystal.
    • The show goes so far as to give this treatment to its Monster of the Week. Act 1's Morga is withered and cadaverous in the original Sailor Moon manga, with added shriveled brown skin and Black Eyes of Evil in The '90s anime. In Crystal she's given an Adaptational Dye Job with a rainbow of soft pastels, an hourglass figure, and most strangely, offscreen Clothing Damage that grants full view of her cleavage.
    • The Daimon grunts from Season 3 are a lot less nightmarish, and somewhat cuter then in previous adaptations.
    • Usagi's dad, Kenji, also got this. While in the manga is as handsome as any other male in the show, he is designed with a more mature looking appearance: Thick glasses, eyes with little shine and a simple comb over that lacks detail. In Crystal much effort is done to make him look younger and more bishie, complete with fashionable glasses, a trendy cut and a softer, youthful voice.
    • Even Umino got revamped. While still the short guy with Spiky Hair and Opaque Nerd Glasses, his face shape and haircut look more akin to the standard character designs of the other characters than to the more cartoonish, round-faced messy-haired kid he is in the manga and 90's anime.
    • Usagi herself was probably initially meant to be average-looking schoolgirl, but here goes. It's a matter of opinion, regarding the choice of style. Indeed, there are those who prefer the cuter designs of the 90's anime, to Naoko's more supermodel/stick like look.
  • The Samurai in Samurai 7 are all much more attractive than their more average-looking original counterparts, save for Katsushiro, who was always a pretty boy, Heihachi, who was kind of cute in his own way, and Kikuchiyo, who was changed from a ruggedly handsome ruffian to a cyborg whose face we never see.
  • The anime of Sands of Destruction shifts Kyrie from being a Bishōnen to Moe, though he's still recognizable and other characters look more or less identical to their game counterparts. The manga, on the other hand, gives the characters a complete makeover; male characters become pretty enough to be women and female characters double their bra size (perhaps to better differentiate them from the exceptionally pretty men).
  • The anime and novel designs don't transition much between attractiveness levels in Slayers, but Zelgadis' design in the original novels, while not ugly, can be a bit unsettling to look at, even devilish. In the anime, on the other hand, he's ridiculously pretty, even though, as a chimera, he technically shouldn't be. Also, Amelia looks younger and more round-faced in the anime than in the novels.
  • Downplayed but Shoya Ishida the protagonist of A Silent Voice besides his Spiky Hair is unremarkable in the manga and he personally thinks he's quite ugly. In the animated adaptation he's got very nice features along with shinier hair. This would partly explain why Shoko and Ueno are so head over heels in love with him.
  • Therru from Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books is so disfigured by third-degree burns as to make people unwilling to look at her. In the Studio Ghibli adaptation Tales from Earthsea, she's a cute young girl with some bad sunburn.
  • While Jonah Matsuka in Toward the Terra was far from ugly, he was not quite the Bishōnen that he became in the anime.
  • In Wolverine Logan is a Biseinen. He's even younger and prettier than he is in the other Marvel Anime series, and they are subject to the Hugh Jackman effect (see Film) and the way the character has gotten Progressively Prettier. The result is a Wolverine that comics fans would have a hard time recognizing.
  • In the X-Men comics, Mastermind is a gaunt, middle-aged man who used his telepathy to disguise himself as a younger, handsome man in "The Dark Phoenix Saga". In the X-Men anime, the handsome form is his true form, best seen when Emma Frost is in diamond form, which blocks her telepathy and shields her from the powers of other telepaths, sees through Mastermind's disguise as "Jun".
  • In the Warrior Cats books, half of Brightheart's face is destroyed due to a near-fatal encounter with a dog: covered in scar tissue, and she lost an eye and an ear. In the Graystripe manga, she's normal-looking except that one of her eyes is closed, making it look like she's constantly winking. (Averted in the full-color remake, where she's been redesigned to have the scars that she's supposed to.)
  • Yo-Kai Watch's usage of this trope is lampshaded in Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside - The Return of the Oni King. When Natsume and Akinori meet Enma, the Buddhist gatekeeper of hell, they're surprised to see he's a young-looking Bishōnen. Enma just says that they know an older representation of him.
  • Kimba/Leo from the Osamu Tezuka manga Kimba the White Lion is typically cute and cheerful as a cub. The 1989 series gave the titular character a more attractive and handsomer design, while keeping his cute appearance. Kimba's body is notably muscular (mainly around his shoulders and chest) compared to the original manga and 1965 series.


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