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Adaptation Distillation

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"Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple. Superman."
All-Star Superman, telling Superman's Superhero Origin in 4 panels

Some adaptations take a complex character or situation and greatly simplify it, removing elements the producer believed to be unnecessary. This effect is more common when adapting from a long-running series, especially if it hasn't had a singular vision over the years.

Compare Compressed Adaptation, which deals more along the lines of a direct adaptation and is about all the stuff that is cut out along the way to make this trope happen.

Contrast with Pragmatic Adaptation: in a distillation, a complex story is simplified, without much substantive change. In a Pragmatic Adaptation, the story is changed with the shift in medium. Also, contrast Adaptation Expansion, which tacks on more content but retains the original source material. When a story element is removed but its effects aren't, that's Adaptation Explanation Extrication.

This isn't about adaptations that are better than the original. This is about elements that are simplified or removed in order to make an adaptation shorter.

Example subpages:

Other examples (sorted by the format of the distilled adaptation):

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Afro Samurai anime, manga and game are all slightly different, intentionally so. One noticeable example: In the anime and manga, the fight with Kuma takes place after defeating the Empty Seven. In the game, it's inverted. The manga is a mix between the first anime season with a few specific parts of Resurrection thrown in.
  • The 2122-page AKIRA manga was condensed into a 120-minute movie by ending it 3/5 of the way through (the manga itself was not completed at the time), eliminating subplots and fusing several scenes together.
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • The anime had to remove some comedic moments and minor information about some of the characters from the manga to ensure they could fit in at least 2-3 chapters in one episode. The second season takes this further, truncating the manga's longer arcs (4-5 chapters per episode) so that they can be made into 1-2 episodes.
    • The live action movies only kept some key moments from the manga due to their two-hour-length time restraints. Similar to how it was handled in the anime, the first movie dealt up until the Island Arc (only changing the setting in the old campus, and putting Itona in there as well, as part of Takaoka's threat), and the sequel (properly subtitled "Graduation") did all the way up until the series' finale.
  • The first season of the Ah! My Goddess anime essentially cuts out everything that's not relevant to Keiichi and Belldandy's romance, with the exception of the Lord of Terror arc, and in so doing, manages to develop the romance farther than the manga has ever gone in 24 episodes (with Urd and Skuld each getting a side story to round out the season). When it was picked up for a second season, by contrast, they simply did a Compressed Adaptation of several manga storylines put together in no particular order.
  • The anime of Air Gear cuts quite a bit of content from the manga and adds some original scenes, changing the beginning of the series and streamlining the story a bit. However, they cut out a few side characters and get rid of quite a bit of some minor characters' characterization.
  • The anime adaptation of the light novel series Aria the Scarlet Ammo removes quite a bit of the Gun Porn as well as the protagonist's First-Person Smartass tendencies and his general inner thoughts. While the gun info wasn't really necessary, the anime never gives a real reason why we should like the protagonist; it makes what was justifiable dislike for his situation seem like plain old angst. This is due to the character being the type convey his reasons in his thoughts rather than explaining his circumstances to other people, which the Anime never really displays properly.
  • Astro Boy:
    • While the first anime series generally had low production values (it was the first animated TV series produced in Japan, so it took them a while to get the hang of it) and the heavier themes of the manga were often toned down for mass consumption, a few of the stories adapted from the manga were much tighter than the originals. The 1980s anime had the same problems as the first, but added the character of Atlas (actually an amalgam of three different characters from the manga), a complex recurring villain who tied several episodes together into a single overriding story arc. Then came the 2003 series which, while still fairly episodic by modern anime standards, had a continuous storyline revolving around the struggles between humanity and robot-kind, tying together classic stories from the manga, greatly expanding the role of Astro's father, Dr. Tenma, and featured animation quality similar to that used in Tezuka Productions' acclaimed theatrical release Metropolis. In a non-animated example, the Sankei Newspaper comic strip version, originally a continuation of the story from the first anime, turned into a continuity reboot after Astro Time Travelled back to the (then) present, eventually died and then the time of his creation rolled around again. This version greatly expanded on Astro's backstory and his relationship with Dr. Tenma. And then there is the Ultimate Universe version created by Naoki Urasawa (of Monster fame) for his futuristic suspense-thriller manga Pluto. Then we have the 2009 animated movie by IMAGI but distributed for American audiences... definitely the farthest away from the original storyline, only keeping the key points from the origin story.
    • The GBA game, Astro Boy: Omega Factor, takes almost every Osamu Tezuka character and weaves them into one giant, all-encompassing storyline. It manages to do justice to the man's entire career. And it plays well, to boot.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • In the manga, Annie became Eren's mentor, to which the two grew a mutual respect and admiration for each other. This is removed from the anime and causes Eren's hesitation to accept Annie as an enemy to come a little out of nowhere. The compilation film "Wings of Freedom" included more of Eren and Annie's interactions from the manga and the second season likewise followed suit.
    • Forgone in the anime is Mikasa's inner monologue explaining Levi's ankle injury, so the seriousness of the injury is left a bit more vague.
    • A good chunk of the Uprising Arc is cut from the anime. Such as scenes of Eren training with his Titan, him bonding with Historia and what the Survey Corps was doing just after the Clash of the Titans arc. Eren and Historia are abducted shortly after the ploy to lure out the enemy by using Jean and Armin as their decoys, rather than being given to the military police.
  • The original anime of Berserk. It mostly focuses on the Golden Age arc (with some of the Black Swordsman arc in the beginning) and for the most part, it follows the story fairly well despite being Lighter and Softer than its source. However, many characters important to the story are strangely absent in the anime version. Most notable are Puck and the Skull Knight.
  • In the same vein as Black Butler was Steel Angel Kurumi, whose story went a completely different direction in the anime than the manga. Its direct continuation Encore and its sequels 2 and Zero stay with that same vein and the only thing brought over from the manga by that point where the main Angel trio's outfits used in 2.
  • The Black Lagoon OVA "Roberta's Blood Trail" had the tough task of adapting a manga story arc ("El Baile De La Muerte") that most fans agree went on too long and suffered from poor pacing. For reference, the OVA lasts about as long as the Japan arc from the second season, but has to adapt twice as many chapters. The OVA compresses the narrative without cutting information, changes the order of scenes for dramatic emphasis. Significantly, the action scenes that took up so many manga volumes are shorter, more comprehensible, and more exciting when animated.
  • The manga adaptation of Breath of Fire IV. This is a condensation of a 40- to 80-hour video game with a very large number of Fetch Quests, two largely separate plotlines that don't interweave until close to the end, and Multiple Endings into a five-volume (and around 175 pages per volume) manga series. Just getting things sorted into a linear storyline was impressive in and of itself; even more impressive, they managed to incorporate both the Good Ending and the Downer Ending into a linear plot.
  • The anime adaptation of Campione! condenses most of the first three light novels into a single episode, as most of that was irrelevant to the story at large and would've left few episodes to adapt. It also cut the majority of the main character's relationship with Salvatore, to the point where despite appearing, he not only does absolutely nothing of value, but the characters don't even interact beyond their first meeting (that also mentioned a fight that we never saw).
  • The Road to 2002 animated adaptation of Captain Tsubasa, the premise was to cover the first manga series up to the 3rd manga series (the titular Road to 2002), but in practice is merely a rushed retelling of the beginning of the manga series and altering the many sub-plots along the way to catch up with the later manga series; to wit: all romantic subplots from the manga were dropped, even the one involving the protagonist himself who would be married by the 2002 arc, some Love Interests for the guys were introduced, only to provide support as they never went anywhere, while other girls weren’t lucky enough to even exist in this adaptation. Removing the romance wouldn’t be so bad if originally it wasn’t one of the main forces keeping and inspiring the guys to continue playing soccer, but is, and by removing it several events had to be altered or to be downright ignored.
  • Due to the time and episode constraints of adapting six novels into 12 episodes for the The Case Files of Jeweler Richard anime, some cases from the novels are entirely left out of the anime adaptation, and the cases that are adapted are shortened, with some scenes cut out for brevity. Seigi's thoughts don't get fully adapted, as well as some less plot-significant but usually character-focused scenes. It might be a case of Compressed Adaptation—except for the fact that the series is very character-focused, so a lot of the development of the characters vanished.
  • Ceres, Celestial Legend was compressed from a 14 volume manga to a 24 episode anime, leaving out several chunks of the original manga. To make up for this, either entire expeditions of Aya's group to find the hagoromo in various cities and prefectures were left out, or if the details were a bit more important, they were fused together with other details.
  • The manga adaptation of Code Geass Lelouch Of The Rebellion simplifies and compresses the series' main storyline in eight volumes and removes most of the less meaningful subplots or characters. It also removes the giant mechas and the action sequences that accompany them entirely, which was probably done because that works much better in animated format than it would on-page.
  • The live-action films of Death Note keeps many of the best parts of the original story while changing several things, including giving Soichiro Yagami more prominence and letting him live in the end, giving a larger focus on the murder of Misa's family as a way of making her character seem less shallow, and most of all cutting the Mello and Near arc entirely and having L win personally instead.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Occurs in-universe when Mithrun lays out his long and detailed backstory to Kabru while the two are trapped in the dungeon together. Kabru, who is a very observational person, has little problem following all the background details and numerous secondary characters involved, but he realizes that anyone else would get completely lost pretty quickly. Therefore, for the sake of the reader, he reiterates the story in a much more condensed form which has all the other characters Demoted to Extra and doesn't mention the subplot where Mithrun had a one-sided rivalry with his brother, or the fact he was an illegitimate child (some of the details are explored in omakes, however).
    Kabru: What do you think of my interpretation of your story? The basic gist of it is correct, right?
    Mithrun: You got all the minor details completely wrong.
    Kabru: I edited that stuff down to make it easier to comprehend... all of it really bogged down the whole story!
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, this comes off as an oddity since the animated adaptation actually expands on several events from the manga but there some really minor things the anime cut for unspecified reasons:
    • The frame where Zenitsu first presents Nezuko with flowers, the anime completely cuts Nezuko from the shot by showing Zenitsu presenting his flowers to someone out of frame, in the manga Nezuko is shown right next to him.
    • The Hashira Meeting has an event where all Hashira become agitated and surprised at the fact Tanjiro has actually seen Muzan face to face, Mitsuri is accidentally pushed down by Uzui, the anime does not adapt the small little detail in the manga panel showing Gyu helping her get up, this scene dismissal loses one showing of Gyu's care for others despite him keeping himself distant from the other Pillars.
    • The anime doesn’t show Zenitsu trying to talk with Nezuko through her box in the Butterfly Estate’s intermission, with him updating her how the training is going well for everyone then inviting her to watch a flower garden blooming.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z Kai cut out a lot of the Filler and Inaction Sequences in the original Dragon Ball Z. Not only did this reduce the story from 291 episodes down to 167, but it was also far more faithful to the original manga than the 1989 TV series.
    • Dragon Ball SD is a heavily abridged retelling of the original Dragon Ball. For example, Goku learns the Kamehameha the first time he meets Master Roshi (he uses it to blast Pilaf's mecha rather than Ox-King's mountain) and Chi-Chi joins the group when they're in the desert being chased by Yamcha.
  • The first season of The Familiar of Zero's anime adaptation condenses the first few light novels into a fast-moving, lighthearted tsundere and magic series, removing some rather awkward scenes. The OVAs also define the characters well.
  • This is what Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is compared to the manga it's based on. As an added bonus, it tweaks many minor things and event orders, which shakes things up and keeps it from being a precise retread of the manga, without disrupting the overall spirit and character of it.
  • The film version of Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 – not so much a compilation as a new adaptation of the original manga series – cuts out much of the unnecessary melodramatic elements of the original to focus on the core story-arc, while at the same time expanding on Tetsuro's quest to get revenge on Count Mecha.
  • Mamoru Oshii turned 300-odd pages of the Ghost in the Shell manga into an 80-minute movie by selectively picking out only a handful of chapters out of the entire story (not even covering them in the order that they appear), changing some scenes, removing many of the characters and changing the personality of the characters who were left in. A good 5 minutes of the movie is just spent showing Scenery Porn while children sing a mystic chanting song. It serves no purpose at all. The 2nd movie comes off even more confusing because it was created using the exact same manner as the first, including the mystic chanting Scenery Porn.
  • Gundam:
    • Anime Compilation Movies are like this. The Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy, especially the third installment, Encounters In Space is a particularly good example.
      • One large example are the quartet of Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny movies. Destiny had a number of flaws, and while the movies didn't alter the storyline, they did do some editing to mitigate the worst of it: flashbacks were greatly reduced, a couple new scenes were added to clarify certain plot points, and Athrun was made the viewpoint character, rather than Shinn or Kira, which improved the story's flow somewhat.
      • Another example is Memory of Eden, the AGE movie. It comes across as an Author's Saving Throw after the disastrous final run of AGE, and cuts out most of the story to focus exclusively on Asemu Asuno and Zeheart Gallette (which most fans thought was the best part of the show). This turns the story from a sprawling, shallow plot of a 75-year long war to a character-driven, personal story with the war as a backdrop, and goes a long way to justifying the actions Zeheart took at the end of the show, which seem to come out of nowhere in the series itself.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin has a more focused story, cutting out many trivial episodes from the original series. This is especially obvious during White Base's time on Earth. In the anime, the ship basically hops from place to place on a rather vague course, whereas in the manga the White Base makes a clear journey from Los Angeles (where they land and where Garma Zabi is based) to Brazil (where Jaburo is located). Yasuhiko also switches certain events around to fit the new story, such as Operation Odessa taking place after the White Base reaches Jaburo, and Amuro encountering his mother before the White Base crew defeat Garma Zabi in battle.
  • Hellsing Ultimate rearranges certain events and streamlines or expands others (particularly the fight scenes) in order to give it a more fast-paced and dramatic narrative flow. Most notably, the Major's "I Love War" speech is moved from the departure of the airships from Brazil to right before the assault on London.
  • The anime version of Hetalia: Axis Powers, while having a number of differences from the source material, does try to stay close to the manga.
  • The anime of Higurashi: When They Cry maintains the basic story, but leaves out enough detail that Ryukishi 07 requested an extra arc to fill in some holes at the start of the second season. The manga written by him do a great job at capturing the mood.
  • The iDOLM@STER anime combines story elements from all of the game routes, and Miki, Takane, and Hibiki are already part of 765 Pro from the start instead of eventually defecting from 961 Pro.
  • Downplayed in Idolish 7. Some minor details had to be cut in order to fit all 17 episodes. Everything else remains faithful to the game for the most part.
  • Ikki Tousen: the first season was in line with the early volumes of the manga. Subsequent seasons and specials, however, went its own way, only taking some of the source material as inspiration. Other times, it ignored the source material completely and even created an original character or two; the tone of the series was also subject of some changes, as the anime doesn’t take itself too seriously and greatly exaggerates some relations between girls into something that could be a cast full of lesbians and bisexuals. In the manga, there is actually more women commenting and lusting after men than the inverse. Even Kan’u has expressed her idea on what a man of valor should be; the pacing of the manga is much slower as the setting takes itself more seriously and the violence is much more graphic.
  • In the original book, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the Mongoose is in an entirely separate story from Mowgli's tales, but in ''The Jungle Book: Shōnen Mowgli, the producers obviously decided that since he is among the best known characters in the book, such a cute hero should be included in the series as a side character.
  • In the anime version of The Kindaichi Case Files this happens almost every time when the animators pick up a case from the Short Files series and try to fit it into one episode.
  • The anime adaptation of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear cuts out several scenes or compresses the events of several chapters into one episode, likely for time. An example of this is the protagonist Yuna's fight with Deborane being reduced to a Smash Cut of Yuna's victory.
  • The manga of The Mage Will Master Magic Efficiently in His Second Life notably changes or leaves out certain events of the web-novel, such as Zeff dealing with the bandits attacking a caravan, skipping straight into the formation of their guild. Likewise, the web-novel is much darker (such as Zeff killing bandits without a second thought), whereas in the manga it centers around the shounen elements.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First, which took the first season, removed a lot of the less plot important bits (such as a huge chunk of the earlier episodes), cut out nearly all the secondary characters, made it more consistent with later seasons (The Staff and Cannon modes are now previously installed in Raising Heart, as opposed to being forms that Nanoha thought up), animated a lot of the more important All There in the Manual stuff (Like the full backstory of Fate), and showed the entire Start of Darkness of Precia as opposed to just hinting at it, turning her to a more fleshed out Tragic Villain.
  • Mazinger Z: The anime removed many unnecessary characters (such as the Inspector Ankokuji, the Gamia and the twins Loru and Lori) and storylines and streamlined several stories (like the Lorelei story), trying to make the plot more cohesive and coherent.
  • The Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind animated movie ends at around volume two of the seven-volume manga.
  • The ONA for Noblesse, Noblesse: Awakening, is a heavily compressed adaptation of Volume 1 that fits 78 chapters into 30 minutes. When the series got adapted in 12-Episode Anime proper, the ONA served as the Pilot Episode, with all plot elements that were cut remaining unmentioned.
  • The live-action series of Ouran High School Host Club was this to and the anime that came before it, given how it's only 13 episodes long. It cuts about half of the material from the anime.
  • The manga adaptation of Persona 5 reduces the minimum of five trips to Kamoshida's Palace to three. Ryuji awakens to his Persona during the group's first trip to the Palace, whereas Ann awakens to hers just before the battle with Shadow Kamoshida on the day of the heist. The part in which the group comes up with codenames is moved to when the Phantom Thieves are officially founded at the hotel buffet.
  • Occurs in Pupipo! due to the anime airing as four minute shorts. An Orphean Rescue is a 5 chapter arc in the manga, but only two 4 minute episodes. In the manga Wakaba goes into the afterlife and the person she's trying to rescue is nearly condemned to hell due to her grudge against the spirit that caused her death. The anime is a chase fleeing from that same spirit that never leaves the train to the afterlife.
  • In Ranking of Kings, the anime chooses to unveil a few plot threads earlier than the manga did, but it keeps a few ones saved for later, the manga was quite quick to reveal Bojji's weak and small body, coupled with his disability, was the result of a curse brought upon him by Bosse carelessly making a deal with a devil to gain more power; however, the deeper motivations for why Bosse made a deal in the first place is a latter story development in the manga.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion seemed to be going this route for the first movie, but the second movie introduced a number of changes to the storyline and the third goes completely Off the Rails and into brand-new territory. The manga also counts in this category, as it removes a lot of the anime's more superfluous scenes (as well as adding some of its own), streamlines angel battles, and removes a high quotient of Mind Screw scenes. However, some of the characters have their personalities and backgrounds altered, so there is some Adaptation Decay to it.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: The manga adaptation of the first volume's story (manga chapters 1-15) is pretty faithful to Bokuto Uno's original, but Sakae Esuno skipped over a couple of scenes in the Sword Roses' investigation of the entrance ceremony incident to speed things along: the scene with them trying to get information out of the talking plants along the entrance path is left out entirely, and their interrogation of one of the culprits is reduced to an expository speech bubble since her role in the incident was quite minor.
  • Although the anime adaptation of Re:Zero is generally well-received, the studio had to remove a lot of the scenes between Subaru and Rem, in order to simplify the romantic storyline and keep the main focus on the relationship between Subaru and Emilia, removing the more obvious harem elements. For example, they removed the recognition of Subaru's declaration of love for Rem, thus removing the entire romance between Subaru and her to the level of subtext.
  • The anime that uses the most from this trope has to be Rosario + Vampire. The anime skipped over many unimportant parts of the manga for its first season and almost completely abandoned the manga for its second season.
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • In the beginning of the manga, Fuyuki is a grade schooler in the 6th grade and Natsumi is a 8th grader. Shortly afterwards, he graduates and moves to another school for his 7th grade. In the anime, Fuyuki is already in 7th grade from the start.
    • In the manga, Fuyuki has an occult club in grade school and has a lot of members. When he enters middle school, he joins a manga club to follow his mom, Aki's steps. Eventually, however, Fuyuki leaves the manga club and creates a new Occult Club alongside Momoka. However in the anime, Fuyuki already starts with an occult club, initially by himself before being quickly joined by Momoka.
  • GTO: The Early Years:
    • In the OVA series, the first episode covers the Introduction and Christmas Ski Trip arcs, though it cuts out the actual ski trip and has Eikichi break up with Aina after the fight with Machida. Episode 2 covers the Valentine's Day Parade arc (though it cuts out Abe's introduction) and the Kamakura Mad Dogs arc. The third one skips the "Shonan Love Story" arc and the Fumiya arc, having the Okubo arc in its place but at the same time as Ryuji and Ayumi's romance.
    • The 2020 live-action series mixes and matches plot arcs from the series. Nanno appears in episode 2, while in the manga he didn't appear until after Ayumi left. Unlike in the manga, Ryuji and Nagisa move into the bus before defeating Akutsu and officially getting together. It ends with the conclusion of the Midnight Angel arc. It also seems to have conflated Aina and Miki into a Composite Character, who tries to get Eikichi to marry her and raise her child. Miki and Yokokawa appear later in the live-action (at the beginning of the Midnight Angels arc), but there's no mention of her having kids. Both Nanno and Yokokawa also get a case of Adaptational Wimp, getting their asses kicked in the same episode they're introduced.
  • The anime of Strawberry 100%, OVA included, only adapted part of the manga and changed some elements.
  • In Summer Time Rendering, some minor subplots and expository details had to be trimmed down so that the 13 volume story could fit into 25 episodes:
    • Tokiko's alliance with Shide and Haine is revealed and discussed between Shadow Ushio and Shinpei long before they meet in Hiruko cave, and when Shadow Ushio shares her memories of the previous loops with everyone Sou and Mio confront her for her treachery but end up forgiving her. None of this was shown in the anime.
    • In the fourth loop, Nezu had captured the shadow that killed and copied his wife but can't bring himself to kill her off no matter how hard he tries. The anime skips this entire scene, so she doesn't appear until the second half of the story when Nezu finally finds the resolve to finish her off.
  • The anime adaptation of Sweet Blue Flowers concentrates mostly on the lead characters, with the relationship between Fumi and Yasuko taking central stage. This leads to it having more focus than the original manga, since Shimura loves to introduce loads of extraneous characters with their own back stories.
  • The first To Love Ru anime follows a completely different story line than the manga.
  • Toward the Terra: The anime manages to update the series for a modern audience while still remaining true to the spirit of the original. The movie similarly retains many of the major thematic elements and characters of the manga while simultaneously streamlining and rearranging the story to fit a two-hour run time.
  • The Trigun anime is significantly distilled from the original manga:
    • The anime doesn't even feature Livio as a character, and many of the Gung Ho Guns only get a few minutes of screen time, or are replaced entirely. To be fair, though, the production of the anime began partway through the manga's lifetime, and since about three print issues can be squeezed into a single aired episode, it quickly outpaced the source material.
    • In addition to the distillation, the anime is in many regards just different from the source manga. Some of the bonus gaiden stories appeared as filler material for the first few episodes, probably to give the manga a month or two to go on with storyline before beginning with the story itself. One can fairly easily see exactly where the divergence begins; most of the early story arcs are nearly identical in both media, even down to having the exact same lines, but around where Monev the Gale first appears, the two stores take somewhat different directions.
  • Umineko: When They Cry:
    • The anime suffered heavily from this with several scenes either rushed, changed or removed entirely. Normally this would be rather bad but in this case it was catastrophic since Umineko is a mystery that heavily relies on small hints and clues. This means that if they ever make a second season the mystery will be unsolvable.
    • The manga on the other hand, while not perfect, is much better at keeping the clues and the mood. It also had several clues not present in the novels.
  • YuYu Hakusho condenses the events of the first two volumes, in which Yusuke helps out spirits in stories completely unrelated to the battles of the later manga, into five episodes, all centered around the essential events; 1)Yusuke dies, 2)Yusuke finds out what he has to do to come back to life, 3)Yusuke helps his old rival Kuwabara, 4)Yusuke sacrifices his work toward resurrection to save Keiko and as a result 5)comes back to life. It also condensed the ending into a single episode (cutting out a lot of pointless stuff including an out-of-nowhere fight with human terrorists), and actually showed Yusuke's fight with Yomi to its conclusion (when in the manga, it abruptly stops at the end of Chapter 169). Also, the original manga ending had a lengthy explanation about how evil demons were a Vocal Minority, humans had made them what they were, and Spirit World authorities had been brainwashing a lot of demons into committing crimes so that Spirit World could look good. This soiled the point of peace between humans and demons being established, as it made the demons look much too blameless. The anime cuts all this out, and both sides (humans and demons) are left much more even in terms of fault.
  • The OVA version of Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter tightens things up considerably and adds a few interesting elements like a twist on the in-game reliance on magic.

    Comic Books 
  • The Punisher MAX is an example of distillation, although it's just a set of "hardboiled" crime stories with only Frank Castle (and an Ennis take on Castle's backstory) to make it "Punisher," which works very well. (In "The Slavers" though it works too well, especially when you see the Downer Ending.)
  • The entire Ultimate Marvel line of comics did this for a while, but gradually started doing its own thing.
  • All-Star Superman is an intended example for the Golden and Silver Age Superman, and it's widely regarded as doing a great job at it.
  • Alan Moore's run on Supreme does the same thing (albeit with a Superman analogue).
  • In Blast Corps, the eponymous team must gather a team of six elite scientists in order to create a controlled detonation for the runaway nuclear missile carrier. In the comic book adaptation (printed in Volumes 97 to 99 of Nintendo Power), they only needed one scientist.
  • In Max Ride: First Flight, the plot of The Angel Experiment is greatly simplified, with many of the New York scenes (such as one where the Flock visits a fancy restaurant) excised completely.
  • In White Sand, Kenton is apparently the only child, whereas the original novel mentions Praxton having several sons.
  • Spider-Man: Life Story
    • Issue #1 adapts different moments across the Lee-Romita era in a single story. Its main subplot is Flash going to Vietnam (which happened in ASM #47), while also dealing with Peter's first meeting with Norman Osborn (which happened in ASM #39-40).
    • Issue #2 mashes together elements across Lee-Romita's and Gerry Conway's run in The '70s, notably bringing together signature stories like the Drug Trilogy (ASM #96-98), The Night Gwen Stacy Died and The First Clone Saga (and parts of the second). It also adapts elements of Gerry Conway's Parallel Lives.
    • Issue #3 adapts Secret Wars (1984) as well as elements of Kraven's Last Hunt,The Black Costume Saga while also adding in the fact that Peter apparently started Parker Industries in The '80s despite it being a story from Dan Slott's run in The New '10s, while he and MJ separate here rather than in the tail end of The '90s in Howard Mackie's run.
    • Issue #4 adapts The Clone Saga, namely "Power and Responsibility", "Revelations", "The Final Adventure", as well as J. M. DeMatteis landmark "Best of Enemies" Story Arc featuring Harry Osborn.
    • Issue #5 adapts The Amazing Spider-Man (J. Michael Straczynski) (specifically "Coming Home" the story that introduced Morlun), the 9/11 Issue (ASM #36, vol. 2), Civil War (2006), as well as bits from Spider-Girl and Spider-Verse.
    • Issue #6 adapts Miles Morales' early days as well as the Superior Spider-Man storyline, and sees Peter's daughter becoming a hero as in The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. The premise of Doctor Doom conquering the world after the failure of the previous generation of heroes to stop it also seems to be loosely based on Secret Wars (2015).
    • Peter's interactions with Norman Osborn are based on Spider-Man Trilogy where in their first meeting, Norman praises Peter's intellect while belittling Harry at the same time, while his more predatory social behavior stems from the Thanksgiving scene, and Revenge of the Green Goblin and A Death in the Family. Likewise, Harry Osborn wears a black outfit like in Spider-Man 3 and calls himself the "Black Goblin" which was his production name in that film.
    • Gwen Stacy owes a lot of her character to Emma Stone's portrayal in The Amazing Spider-Man Series rather than her character in the Lee-Romita era. Likewise she also gets killed by Harry Osborn, albeit by accident in this case, like in the second movie.
  • Norby: Much of the dialogue and internal thoughts are removed to make the story shorter, as each page has to tell a small story on its own. This includes the discussion of positronic brains and the Three Laws of Robotics with the robot salesman, as well as discussions of Solarism and Oneness, or Jeff's visit with Zi and Zargl. Such elements were typically cut because this is an adventure comic that only gets one page a month. By shifting from a purely written medium to a visual medium, many of the descriptions were able to be ignored as well, simplifying the process.
  • The IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, like the 2012 series, includes characters, elements and plot points from various parts of the TMNT franchise, even extending to Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation.

    Fan Works 
  • Abridged Series do this by their very nature. For example, Dragon Ball Z Abridged reached the introduction of Androids 17 and 18 (which took 134 episodes in the original series) in only 38 episodes (while episode lengths vary between around 10 and 15 minutes.), mainly because the Garlic Jr. Filler Arc was cut down to one episode (Garlic Jr. meets Mr. Popo).
  • World War Etheria: Isn't an episode by episode Novelization of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power nor do the books break cleanly into the show's seasons but major story beats are intact even if the reasons for major characters actions are very different.
    • Catra's Suicide Mission to the Crimson Wastes isn't due to her lying to Hordak but because she severely endangered the life of his wife, Entrapta.
    • Adora isn't captured in the Crimson Wastes against her will but because she wants to talk to Hordak and convince him not to activate the portal.
  • The fanfiction Novelization of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild titled simply Breath of the Wild removes the majority of the ancient shrines in the game. It's reduced from 120 to just over 30 shrines, and all of these shrines, aside from the eight shrines on the Great Plateau, are all Blessing Shrines in order to maintain a relatively reasonable story length. The only shrine quest retained from the game is the Lakna Rokee quest, which is used to give Paya some Character Development. The Korok Seed side mission is entirely absent here, too. There's also some slight Pragmatic Adaptation in here, too.
  • In Total Drama Island by Gilbert and Sullivan, the Total Drama episode summaries have enough detail to support the verse references and keep the plot coherent, but little more. The summaries rarely go two paragraphs without a verse reference.
  • Although the base game is the same, several plot elements of EquestriaBound are slightly altered from the original game, in order to keep this new game fresh. An early example is the police segment after the first dungeon being removed, and instead you head to the library to let Twilight tell you where the rest of the Elements are and let Applejack remove the rock blocking the way towards Southern Ponyville. First-time players familiar with EarthBound were expecting the original scene and were slightly surprised that nothing happened after leaving the dungeon. One of these changes requires you to head from the desert (fourth area) back to Northern Ponyville (first area), adding forced backtracking (this is before you get teleport magic).
  • When the Brush hits the Canvas: For the sake of not dragging the story, all bonus caves, no money-containing treasure chests, and minigames are removed. Even the typical Zelda pot breaking is removed, though there's a passing mention to that. In this case, it doubles as Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron: Given that there are seven paladins instead of five in this story, this was bound to happen.
    • For one thing, it's the Black Paladin who decides to leave the team in Fall of the Castle of Lions, instead of the Green Paladin.
    • Additionally, while one of the Paladins does have their 'head hole' image constantly fizzle (it's Kallen, and for roughly the same reason as Pidge in Legendary Defender, ironically enough), this isn't what causes them to fail in uniting their minds. Instead, it's Lelouch thinking about the assassination of his mother.
  • Normally, in Yu-Gi-Oh!, and by consequence, most of the related fanfics, duels are given a full card-by-card presentation, with at least one Combat Commentator present. The Dimensional Drifter completely glosses over the duels. Those that are identical to canon are merely stated to happen, and the rest of them happen off-screen, are given vague descriptions such as "X managed to summon Y monster in three turns", or have the most pivotal moment of the duel described and nothing else.
  • In Defenders of the Universe, many of the story-lines are either combined or shortened. For example, the quests for the Green and Yellow Lion are combined with the Olkari and Balmera stories respectively, as the lions are located on those planets instead.
  • Natural Selection skips over the Monster of the Week battles of the early episodes of Kill la Kill and cuts straight to the Naturals Election and the greater plot against REVOCS.
  • The There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton story, Changing of the Guard, does this for Ben 10. The premise is based off Ben 10: Alien Force with Ben stepping up to the plate in Max's absence alongside Gwen and Kevin, but pulls elements from Ben 10, with Ben first getting the Omnitrix, Vilgax as the overarching threat, and a number of the Original Series aliens.
  • Chapter 49 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant distils the events of the Volume 2 RWBY episodes "Extracurricular" and "Burning the Candle" when it comes to trying to reason with Blake, having her team confront her on the issue like in the former before immediately shifting to Makoto reasoning with her alone like in the latter.
  • Vow of the King: Ichigo's Hollow mask starts out with its design from later chapters of the manga, skipping the phase of increasing stripes across its left side, instead having one stripe across each eye from its debut. His Hollowfied form follows suit as he transforms into his horned "Vasto Lorde" form during his training with the Vizard.
  • The Watch But It's Good Now does this to the Discworld City Watch novels (largely ignoring The Watch itself): Episode 1 is based mostly on elements of Guards! Guards!; Episode 2 has an A-plot based on the early scenes of Men at Arms and a B-plot with elements of Feet of Clay; Episodes 3 and 4 has elements of B-stories from multiple books, and 5-8 is based on the main storyline of Men at Arms.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Black Cauldron is one of the weirdest Disney examples; it cobbles together the characters from the first Chronicles of Prydain book and story elements of the first and second novels, leading to something of a strangely mixed, 85-minute film version of the first two novels. Considering how relatively slow the eliminated portions are (especially given the necessity of quick, visually exciting subject matter that animated film usually demands), the idea makes a certain amount of sense, and could have worked, but it simply wasn't executed well.
  • Several of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies does this whenever they adapt a story.
    • Superman: Doomsday was both this and a Pragmatic Adaptation of The Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen storylines which, when combined, spanned over 60 issues of story. Granted, a lot of that was extraneous storyline for followers of the continuity, but they also managed to effectively compress two or three of the four fake Supermen into a single character and used the audience familiar Luthor as its creator in place of multiple entities that would have had to be introduced and made the conflict about stopping him as opposed to an alien invasion. It still managed to hit the important points of those series.
    • Batman: Under the Red Hood: The animated version of the Batman arc "Under the Red Hood" removed almost all plot points not related to Jason Todd's Death/Resurrection to create a much tighter storyline. It also expanded the Joker's role and gave a much more movie-friendly reason for said resurrection.
    • Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: Removed a lot of characters that originally also appeared in the story, as well as giving Luthor a much more plausible reason for framing the duo and why Captain Atom hates them so much.
    • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox: Also removed several characters or had their role greatly reduced compared to the comic. It also restructured the story so that it focused much more on The Flash himself rather than the Flashpoint universe as a whole.
    • While Truer to the Text to its namesake than Superman: Doomsday, The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen still streamlined things, including Lex Luthor and the Martian Manhunter as plainly themselves rather than the former pretending to be his own son and the latter as Bloodwynd, Supergirl altogether being Adapted Out, the Starter Villain being Intergang instead of the Underworlders, and the Eradicator immediately taking Superman's body and Superboy being made well before Superman's fight with Doomsday.
  • The animated adaptation of The Last Unicorn is regarded as highly faithful to the text, even though significant parts of the book (such as the poetry and songs) are left out.
  • Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings until the second half of The Two Towers is this incarnate. With the only changes from the book being the omission of Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel being replaced by Legolas (who was then replaced by Arwen in the Live-Action films), and the history of the ring with Sauron learning from the elves rather than the other way around. The Return of the King was also adapted to animation, by a completely different studio to Bashki's. The story is very disjointed as a result.
  • The animated adaptation of Persepolis extends a few chapters, compresses and outright removes a few, and focuses a little more on the relationship of Marjane and her grandmother near the end.
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie is based upon the first three years of the toyline, but with numerous liberties taken to streamline it for a feature length:
    • The main antagonist, Garmadon wasn't sealed away like in the series, meaning there's no need to necessitate him being released from a prison created for him.
    • Lloyd and Nya are already ninja in the movie, having taken the second and fifth seasons, respectively, to become part of the main team. Lloyd is also a teenager in this film, which removes the need for a plot point requiring him to be magically aged-up.
    • As the main arc is about Lloyd and Garmadon's strained relationship, Lloyd is the central protagonist of the movie, as opposed to Kai, the Supporting Protagonist of the team in the overall franchise.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie focuses mainly on capturing the tone and humor of the books in general rather than adapting one in particular. In practice, the movie combines the first four books, with the plot mainly a mix of "The Adventures Of" and "Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants" with a good splash of "Attack of the Talking Toilets" and a few scattered elements lifted from "Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds)".
  • The LEGO Batman Movie: Robin/Dick Grayson's origin is largely simplified to "an orphan adopted by Bruce Wayne", leaving out the Flying Graysons and the circus for the sake of focusing on the main plot.
  • The Adventures of Mark Twain consists of short distilled adaptations of several of Mark Twain’s stories, tied together with a Framing Device of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Becky Thatcher helping Mark Twain reach Hailey’s Comet.
  • In The Amazing Maurice, a lot of stuff in the book gets dramatically whittled down to basics. Most of the key points are still there, but most of the times the book says "But, of course, it was more complicated than that, because This Is Reality", the film says "Well, maybe it was, but we'll skip that because it would slow things down".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A good many of the events in A Christmas Story (the lamp incident, beating up a bully, the secret decoder ring message, etc.) come from instances at multiple different points in Jean Shepherd's original book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, being separate memories of Ralphie Parker's childhood that he reminisces about with Flick when they're both adults. In the film, they all take place during the same Christmas holiday. One vignette (the Bumpus hounds devouring the holiday dinner and them going out for Chinese instead) comes from a different compilation book.
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic: In the novels, Becky is a complex character that goes through plenty of development, acknowledging her shortcomings and trying to make amends with others by the end of it. In the film, her character is notably more shallow and less sympathetic than in the books. Her issues with her debt collector are also boiled down to him being evil and her being in the right, despite that in the book, she actually acknowledges being in the wrong and makes peace with him.
  • The film versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are quite faithful to the source, with some scenes merged together or removed. The finale of the first film, for example, removes Hermione's challenge of solving a logic puzzle, probably since solving a puzzle isn't exciting to watch. Hermione's moment to shine became the Devil's Snare, with Ron and Hermione's reactions being swapped (in the book, Hermione panicked and Ron had to tell her to get a grip, while it is the opposite in the film). The later films fall under Pragmatic Adaptation and Compressed Adaptation.
  • Great Expectations: Eliminates much of the Narrative Filigree found in the Charles Dickens novel. The character of Orlick is eliminated completely, which requires that Pip's sister die of natural causes. The character of Mr. Wopsle is Demoted to Extra, which means that the movie does not include Pip and Herbert going to Mr. Wopsle's terrible production of Hamlet. Other characters eliminated from the narrative include Wemmick's girlfriend and Herbert's girlfriend.
  • Judgment In Berlin is a highly compressed adaption of the non-fiction novel of the same name, leaving out a good deal of the backgrounds of most side characters that are discussed at length in the book to keep it focused on the courtroom drama.
  • Classic moments, images and arcs from 40+ years of Spider-Man stories are squashed down to their best bits to fuel the Spider-Man Trilogy, though the 60s and early 70s are clearly the main inspiration.
  • The Last of the Mohicans is an extremely distilled version of a very long and rather complicated novel. Omitted portions include redundant portions where the women are captured and quickly freed, a deranged white man at the Huron camp, a shooting contest, and Natty Bumpo disguised as a bear.
  • The Lord of the Rings is often considered easier to follow in movie format as opposed to the written version, since many of the plot's more complex nuances were omitted from the films, leaving only the core of the story. On the other hand, there have been loud grumblings from fans of the books about some of the things that were left out as well as some changes that didn't make any sense.
  • The Flowers of St. Francis is based on The Little Flowers of St. Francis and The Life of Brother Juniper, which are medieval works that chronicle the lives of St Francis of Assisi and Brother Juniper, one of St Francis' original followers. The Little Flowers of St. Francis has fifty-three chapters while The Life of Brother Juniper has fourteen. The film, however, shows only nine of those chapters, and some of those chapters combine story elements from the original texts.
  • Goldfinger cuts a long and complex golf game scene into a short bit. More importantly, in the novel, Goldfinger truly does plan to steal all the gold from Fort Knox. The screenwriters have Bond openly talk of how that's physically impossible and then the twist of Goldfinger instead using a bomb to make the gold unusable, which is far more plausible.
  • The Towering Inferno was based on two books, The Glass Inferno by Scortia and Robinson and The Tower by Stern, because studio executives correctly realized that the market would not have supported two simultaneous films about buildings going up in flames. There is enough material left out to make at least another whole story.
  • The 1980 Flash Gordon film cut out the extraneous parts of the original comic book and adventure serial, making for a better adventure movie. It also cut out racism against black people, but only downplays it with Asians; Ming the Merciless still somewhat looks the part but is portrayed by the Swedish Max von Sydow, who makes no effort to act like a stereotypical Yellow Peril villain.
  • The film adaptation of the graphic novel Road to Perdition merges all the anonymous hitmen sent after the protagonists into a single character.
  • The film adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel Jaws stripped away most of the book's land-bound subplots and condensed the climactic shark-hunt to a single voyage.
  • Layer Cake definitely comes across as a distillation of the novel, being much more tightly plotted, and notably, when the author of the novel, J.J. Connoley, attempted writing a screen play, it was several hundred pages long, and thus he wisely left this task to Mathew Vaughn.
  • The film version of The Godfather eliminates about two thirds of Mario Puzo's novel to concentrate solely on the core story of Michael Corleone, dropping most of the Johnny Fontane plot and all of the Lucy Mancini storyline (Lucy Mancini, Sonny's mistress has a tiny non-speaking part in the movie). The result is a much more fast-paced and interesting work. The sections regarding Vito Corleone's rise to power were relegated (and fleshed out in The Godfather II).
  • The original Conan the Barbarian stories were somewhat unsuited to adaptation to film, and the original script for Conan the Barbarian (1982) featured lots of huge fight scenes that would have been expensive to shoot. John Milius took both as inspirations for writing the movie, preserving some of the feel of Robert E. Howard's world without the unfortunate tropes.
  • The Name of the Rose also stripped away all of the description of dreams, historical lessons and other scenes not directly related to the main plot.
  • Left Behind (2000), the first film in the Cloud Ten Pictures adaptation series, makes the opening attack less of a non-event (by condensing the amount of time between it and the Rapture), plays up the mystery in the first half, puts Buck in a position where he has a lot more influence over the nation, and streamlines the book's rather ping-pong opening sequence. That said, it's still not well-liked.
  • A History of Violence: The original graphic novel featured a finger in a jar on a boss' necklace, an overly-devoted wife who immediately had no problem with her husband's previous life, and a brother being kept alive while having parts of him cut off. Cronenberg's take on the story removed the more "comic-book-y" aspects of the graphic novel, while adding more depth to the characters, and replacing the Happily Ever After ending with a more Bittersweet Ending.
  • The film version of The Cider House Rules is a considerable distillation of the original novel by John Irving—who also wrote the screenplay of The Film of the Book.
  • In Mildred Pierce, the early part of the film follows the book fairly closely, but once Mildred opens her restaurant, things go in completely different directions. Among other things, the novel contains no murder. Instead it follows Veda as she builds up a singing career, largely by sleeping her way to the top.
  • Silent Hill is this applied to the plotline of the first game. The intricate not-quite-occult-not-quite-pagan mythos was replaced with a heavily simplified pseudo-Christian substitute, the protagonist is functionally a mix of the heroes from the first three games (Radha Mitchell looks like an older Heather from 3), the "all that matters is the person I love" mentality of Harry and James, and the diabolical force running the whole show were tremendously simplified, but no less evil for it.
  • The 2009 Star Trek movie took decades of Backstory culled from the show's various series and distilled it to fit with the origin story of the alternate Enterprise crew.
  • The Secret of Moonacre, the movie based on The Little White Horse, also mixes the two concepts. Gabor Csupo took the book's characters, and went off and did his own thing. To be fair, however, the original book really doesn't lend itself that well to a cinematic adaptation.
  • Wanted had the plot revolve around a secret organization of high-profile assassins. Main character Wesley Gibson/The Killer was in fact an assassin in the comic, but the Fraternity was a shadowy cabal of comicbook-style supervillains, who are presently in control of the entire planet after having killed all the superheroes and then altered the very fabric of reality in 1986. Its membership is in possession of superscience, alien technologies, and magical powers, and partakes in atrocities on a regular basis. The comic's writer Mark Millar was actually pretty happy with the transition result.
  • The novel of Get Shorty features a handful of scenes written from the perspective of characters who work in the movie industry who view the scenes as though they are scenes in a script. The film takes those scenes and shoots them to pitch-perfection. The rest of the movie was mildly altered, but John Travolta stood in the way of any substantial Executive Meddling.
  • Jurassic Park. Many side plots from the book were written out and several characters were combined and their fates change. However, some scenes in the book that were left out of earlier movies in the series appeared in later movies.
  • The film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy merges two minor characters, Jerry Westerby and Sam Collins, into one. It works well enough for the film, but could be problematic should the studio decide to adapt the rest of the Quest for Karla trilogy, since both Westerby and Collins become major characters (the protagonist and one of the main antagonists, respectively) in the second installment, The Honorable Schoolboy.
  • Despite quite a few things being removed for time and expenses, the film version of Holes is still regarded as faithful to the original book. Louis Sachar had a big hand in the adaptation.
  • The Hunger Games:
    • The Hunger Games shortens how long the actual games take, and a few scenes/flashbacks are cut due not being a first-person narrative (on the other hand, others from outside the protagonist's scope are added).
    • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1:
      • While Katniss spends rather more time being sedated and going in and out of the hospital ward in the book, the movie only shows two instances of this.
      • Katniss' constant hiding away is only shown twice.
      • Though Coin thanks her people for "interrupting their schedules" during one of her speeches, the District 13 wrist schedules don't appear.note 
      • Katniss' prep team never made it to 13 in the film.
      • Strangely, Katniss' request to be allowed to kill Snow personally doesn't make it into the film.
    • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2:
      • Peeta healing from his brainwashing is almost natural in the film, while in the book it is a long, difficult process and requires medical treatment.
      • In the book, in order to go to the Capitol, Katniss has to participate in combat training before she is cleared to go. This section is omitted in the film. Instead, she just sneaks aboard a ship carrying supplies to the Capitol, after which District 13 plays along. Star Squad 451 is still the same though.
      • The section in the Capitol, from the moment Boggs steps on a mine is a bit compressed. Like the part where they enter a house and Katniss shoots an Capitol civilian and another where the streets turn into a chasm are omitted.
      • After the climax, Katniss is supposed to be under treatment by a doctor. Moreover, she and Peeta were creating a book dedicated to all the victims of the war and previous games. This is not included in the film.
  • The V for Vendetta adaptation is understandably forced to make a great deal of simplification (in addition to changing a few themes), including combining Creedy and Finch into one character and turning the tortured leader Adam Susan into the faceless foe Adam Sutler.
  • Surprisingly, Chuck Palahniuk himself, after viewing the adaptation of his already-cult novel Fight Club by David Fincher, said the movie worked more efficiently than the book, was more tightly structured and handled the finale better. Then again, this is David Fincher we're talking about. An example of true distillation: considering the complex task of even beginning to dramatize the disjointed Palanick's writing, Fincher used an astonishing array of temporal, visual, point-of-view and narration devices to cram a good deal of the original material into the film. One of the DVD commentaries features Pahlaniuk and the screenwriter discussing the adaptation. It's a two hour lesson in how to do this well.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man: While this film adaptation of the book largely reflects many aspects of the plot, there are a couple plot points not included. The first one was that Scott had a daughter. The second was when Scott encountered a group of boys who recognize him as that shrinking man, they express the desire to remove his pants to see if EVERY part of him had shrunk
  • Watchmen combined the two Ozymandias plots of getting Dr. Manhattan off Earth by framing him for causing cancer in people and thus removing him from the picture in time for the second plot, the fake alien attack on Earth. Instead he was framed for causing the cancers, resulting in public anger that drove him away, and then framed for striking back in response.
  • Topher Grace's Star Wars Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back takes the prequel trilogy and distills them down into a single movie that more efficiently tells Anakin Skywalker's Protagonist Journey to Villain.
  • Rurouni Kenshin and its sequels mix together a lot of different bits from various story arcs from the manga. The movies also tone down most of the characters' abilities so they are not quite so fantastical.
  • The Fugitive takes the essence of the four-season, 120-episode The Fugitive (Kimble trying to clear his name by seeking out the one-armed man who killed his wife and doing good deeds along the way, Gerard doggedly pursuing Kimble but gradually becoming convinced of his innocence and good character) and makes a taut, fast-paced 130-minute thriller out of it.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre leaves out considerable amounts of backstory, as well as the chapter-long morality tales recounted by various characters.
  • The Secret Garden (1993) takes every event from the first half or so of the book (taking place over months) and jams them all together to take place in a matter of days or weeks, removing some character depth and growth in the process. Of course, this being a film, the time line is a bit fuzzy.
  • Q's search for Margo in the pseudodivisions and the suicide subplot were ultimately cut from the film adaptation of Paper Towns.
  • Interstellar: TARS has less dialogue in the novelization, and several of his funny lines and scenes with Cooper are cut or shortened, making CASE's comment about TARS being the much more talkative one almost into an Informed Attribute.
  • The film adaptations of the Divergent series actually cut out a chunk of information from the novels to focus more on others.
    • Tris' friendship with other Dauntless members not named Christina, Will, and Al are sacrificed so the films could focus more on her budding romance with Four. It is also why when Uriah meets Tris in the Candor headquarters in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, he has to introduce himself first (in the novels he is one of her best friends since the first book).
    • The insurgency against Erudite at the end of Insurgent had the entire Dauntless faction (plus a few from other factions) actually collaborate in the plot, whilst in The Divergent Series: Insurgent this is simplified so that only Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Jeanine figure much.
  • The first act of Evil Dead 2 is a retelling of the first movie, but cuts out a lot of the tedium and filler, as well as removes Ash's and Linda's two friends from continuity.
  • Warcraft (2016), while mostly following the plot of the first game, heavily simplifies all of the Expanded Universe materiel that had become core to the franchise.
    • The orcs were given heroic qualities that only started appearing in the second game. Orgrim Doomhammer was also changed from chieftain of the Blackrock Clan to advisor to the Frostwolf Clan, giving him a closer relationship to the orc protagonist Durotan.
    • All mentions of the Burning Legion were removed, cutting a lot of potential exposition. The thing that corrupted the orcs was changed from them drinking demon blood to nebulous fel magic. Likewise, the reason Medivh was secretly a villain was changed from Demonic Possession by Sargeras to him becoming addicted to fel.
    • Some of the retcons and future plot developments were incorporated into the movie. They world is named Azeroth and the human kingdom Stormwind, which comes from World of Warcraft - in the original game, the human kingdom was Azeroth and Stormwind was the capital. Dalaran is the iconic Floating Continent in the movie, but wasn't that way until Wrath of the Lich King nearly fifteen years later in-universe, following it being destroyed in Warcraft III and rebuilt.
    • Gul'dan's power dynamic was heavily simplified. In the original game, Gul'dan and his Shadow Council secretly controlled the Horde through Blackhand. In the movie, Gul'dan is openly the sole leader of the Horde, and Blackhand is instead The Dragon. Gul'dan losing power was also changed from him going into a magical coma after Medivh was killed to the Horde no longer fearing him after Lothar kills Blackhand.
  • The Hunt for Red October is reduced quite a lot from the book to movie. An entire separate plot about another missing Soviet sub sent to find the Red October is completely excised, the Americans learn much earlier that she is defecting, there is no standoff escalation with the Soviet fleet, and the final movie sequence added the Konovalov to the defection of the Red October crew, which was a set of events 50 pages apart in the book. The participation of the British is also entirely removed.
  • Perfect Pie:
    • Marie's parental issues are just her alcoholic and abusive mother, instead of also having her negligent father involved.
    • Marie is an outcast mainly due to her poverty, with the difficulties from her being Catholic largely absent and her backstory of having recently moved back home from the States removed entirely.
    • The details of Francesca's three husbands and why she divorced them are largely skipped over.
    • Marie's time as a runaway isn't brought up.
  • Many additional details from The Passion of the Christ not in the Gospels themselves were taken from Catholic tradition and literature (Emmerich). For instance, Jesus having bloody face wiped by a Jewish woman and meeting his mother Mary on the way is straight from the Catholic "Way of the Cross" (Via Crucis) also known as the "Stations of the Cross". Meanwhile, Judas's encounter with a bunch of bullying demons is derived from Emmerich's writings.
  • In the Nicholas Sparks novel Safe Haven, the heroine Katie spends months planning her escape from her abusive husband, making sure to consider every factor—-money, location, time, etc., then spends several weeks on the run before settling in Southport, North Carolina. This is eliminated in the movie, where she flees from him impulsively following yet another argument and immediately heads to Southport.
    • His method of finding her is changed also. In the book, he himself spends several weeks trying to track her down, giving up after she manages to elude him again, only finding her via an unfortunate coincidence. In the, he makes up "Wanted" posters with her name. This fails, but he discovers where she is via coincidence too.
  • Wonder Woman (2017):
    • The film is heavily inspired by George Pérez's 1980s reboot of Wonder Woman and her mythos — most notably the history of the Amazons, Ares being the Big Bad of her first adventure in Man's World, and her misconception that the ongoing wars are the direct result of Ares's intervention, when it turns out that Ares simply gets benefited by wars that the humans start all by themselves, and that Diana was sculpted from clay and animated by the gods, not a natural-born Amazon child such as before.
    • It also borrows elements from the the New 52 version of the character — specifically the idea that she's the daughter of Zeus, rather than having Hippolyta be her Truly Single Parent.
    • As in Justice League, the Amazon that leaves the island is not decided in a tournament, as in the original canon. Instead, Hippolyta prefers to dismiss the war as someone else's problem, so Diana steals some weapons and escapes from the island to help in the conflict.
    • Last but not the least, the idea of Diana first coming to Man's World during a world war harks back to the original story by William Marston; albeit it's World War I here rather than World War II as it was in the earliest comics.
  • Spawn (1997): Besides cutting out the connections to the other Image Comics because that would take too long to explain, the movie cuts out a lot of pointless supporting villains and makes it all about Simmons versus Wynn, and gets rid of all the mystery surrounding Simmons and explains his history right away.
  • This trope naturally comes into play with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World since six books were adapted into one movie. The movie focuses mostly on Scott fighting Ramona's exes, with many subplots taken out entirely or relegated to brief flashback scenes. The book series' huge cast is also pared down for the movie, with many characters either Adapted Out or only appearing in one scene.
  • Friday the 13th (2009) is less a remake of any one Friday the 13th film in particular than a distillation of nearly every element that people identify with the series, particularly those from the first four films. From the first film, we get the backstory that's recapped in the prologue. From the second, we get Jason Voorhees' appearance in the first act as a Sackhead Slasher before he acquires his iconic hockey mask, which he got in the third film in the original continuity. Jason is still a living human like he was in the first four films, not the Revenant Zombie he was later. The male lead Clay, who's searching for his missing sister Whitney, is based on Rob from The Final Chapter (actually the fourth film in the series), who sought to avenge his sister Sandra's death at the hands of Jason in the second. Jason's victims, meanwhile, are a composite of all of the horny teenagers featured throughout the Friday films, with the filmmakers saying that they cranked up the sex and nudity because the series was so famous for it that it felt like they had to include it.
  • The movie Father Stu, Based on a True Story of Stuart Long, eliminates the time he spent teaching at a Catholic school before entering the seminary and basically skips from his life-changing accident to him deciding to pursue the priesthood. It also slightly downplays his relationship with the woman who brought him into the church—while they were living together in Real Life, they haven't gotten to that point in the movie.
  • War and Peace (1956) cuts out a lot of its Doorstopper source material in favor of focusing more on Natasha, Pierre, and Andrei. Elements toned down or cut entirely include the Sonya/Nikolai/Marya triangle, many of the war details, and the epilogue.

  • William Goldman's The Princess Bride claims to be "the good parts version" of an earlier novel by Simon Morgenstern, turning what was a digression-laden, politics-heavy slog into a fun action-adventure story. In fact, Morgenstern and his unabridged novel are entirely fictitious. This setup allows Goldman to lampoon such authors as Victor Hugo and his ilk. The film distills the story even further, into its purest essence.
  • Thomas Malory, in Le Morte d'Arthur distilled an enormous mass of wildly contradictory Arthurian legends into a book that is often regarded as the definitive Arthur story.
  • T.H. White's The Once and Future King is a distillation (and paraphrase) of Le Morte D'Arthur. The reader is actually directed to read Mallory's version to find out the specifics of certain jousts, etc. Tom himself makes an appearance in the final pages, directed by an ancient Arthur to run away from the final battle so that he can record the Arthur's history.
  • Subverted by The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, a book by Neil Gaiman. In the introduction, the author claims it's an attempt to take various elements of various retellings of a certain preexisting Japanese myth, and bring them together in a logical, complete way. It apparently works as the thing turns out great, and the illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano are beautiful to boot... as it turns out, the preexisting myth didn't so much exist at all, which is standard for Neil Gaiman.
  • Over time, DC Comics has released various novels over its various popular events and as such, even they have had certain events removed. For instance, The Death and Life of Superman keeps most of the events of Doomsday, Funeral For A Friend and Reign of the Supermen, but removes a number of events, mostly because it was written while Reign was still being worked on. Among the events removed were more involvement with the rest of the DC heroes outside of the required appearance of the Justice League and brief appearances by Wonder Woman and Batman, and it condenses a number of side story events and, for some odd reason, removes Green Lantern Hal Jordan (and replaces his fight with Mongul that leaves the villain unconscious) despite Coast City still biting it. On the other hand, it expands other events, including the eulogy for Superman delivered by Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, for example, and adds more eulogies delivered by world leaders, including even Pope John Paul II (who was still alive at the time of the book's release)!
    • The adaptation of Batman: No Man's Land, beyond dumping a few side events, seems to toss out appearances by both Superman and, oddly, Azrael, despite Azrael being part of the Bat-Family.
  • The Land of Stories makes it so that the Prince Charmings of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White are all brothers.
  • Black Widowers:
    • "Truth to Tell": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The first book goes as follows:
      Agamemnon, the top-ranking Greek,
      To Achilles in anger did speak.
      They argued a lot,
      Then Achilles grew hot,
      And went stamping away in a pique.
    • "Go, Little Book!": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The second book goes as follows:
      Agamemnon's dream strategy slips,
      The morale of his troops quickly dips.
      First Thersites complains,
      But Odysseus restrains,
      And we next have the Cat'log of Ships.
    • "Early Sunday Morning": In-Universe, Halsted is adapting The Iliad into limericks, one book at a time. The third book goes as follows:
      Menelaus, though not very mighty,
      Was stronger than Paris, the flighty.
      Menelaus did well in
      The duel over Helen,
      But was foiled by divine Aphrodite.
  • Wendy Cope's "The Waste Land: Five Limericks", each of which is one section of The Waste Land.
  • William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Read Four Science Fiction Classics: Many of the stories are abridged from their normal length. The Martian Chronicles suffers the most, getting shortened to "There Will Come Soft Rains" and "Usher II".
  • Approaches to Science Fiction:
  • The first act of I, Jedi is a P.O.V. Sequel of last two books of the Jedi Academy Trilogy that closely adapts the high points of Luke Skywalker's storyline from the point of view of one of his then-unnamed apprentices, Corran Horn alias Kieran Halcyon.

  • "The Lambton Worm: The folk-song version, being just song length, lacks a lot of the details which appear in prose versions of the tale — most notably, the wise woman, the spiked armor, the Worm's regeneration and the clause about Sir John killing the first creature he sees are all absent.




  • The Book of Mormon claims to be a highly condensed account of the people, repeatedly noting that it couldn't contain "a hundredth part" of what happened to them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Parodied in the GURPS: Goblins RPG sourcebook; a sample adventure includes "The Abridged Macbeth, With Just The Witches and the Fighting". The entire script is one page long.

  • When Edna Ferber's Show Boat was made into the famous Broadway musical in 1927, it wasn't common at all for such long and convoluted novels to be made into musicals. The result still ran very long for a Broadway show, and so has been subjected to various levels of this in all revivals (and in the 1936 movie, the only faithful film version).
  • The play Auntie Mame is this for Patrick Dennis's pseudo-autobiographical novel. To quote Patrick Dennis:
    "Not every episode of my book is in the play. To get them all in - not that every one would be worth dramatizing - would require passing out box luncheons, blankets, and tooth brushes to a rough-and-ready audience of slavish theatre-goers weaned on Eugene O'Neill and the Ring Series. But an astonishing number of the episodes in the book are in the play; enough so that the casual reader is convinced that every word of the novel has been translated to the stage. If that isn't catching the 'spirit' of a book, I don't know what is."
  • Victor Hugo's original Les Misérables novel contained, among other tangents, a lengthy retelling of the Battle of Waterloo. Many critics agree that you can skip this section of the book and miss nothing. The extremely popular musical adaptation removed such elements and focused on the core story and characters. Sadly, it also lost a lot of Character Development and a bit of the plot.
  • A double example: British playwright Christopher Bond took the most exciting elements of the Sweeney Todd myth (the razors, the chair, the pies) and added plot elements from The Revenger's Tragedy and The Count of Monte Cristo (as well as excellent dialogue) to create a first-rate melodrama with real character motivation. Then, Stephen Sondheim took Bond's play, fixed the weakest plot moments and set the whole thing to music to create Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a first-rate musical tragedy.
  • Herman Wouk distilled his novel The Caine Mutiny into the play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. A made-for-TV version of this play directed by Robert Altman appeared in 1988, but the more famous 1954 film version is a very different distillation of the novel.
  • The musical version of Wicked departs so greatly from the book that it almost goes beyond this trope and into In Name Only. Justified however, in that it would be nearly impossible to get away with putting a great deal of the content from the book directly into musical format, so the massive re-working of the story was necessary. About the only things the musical and the book have in common are the general plot idea and characters.
  • Midnight Channel: The Musical: A given, considering how long the game itself is. Notable changes include removing combat, eliminating Social Links, and skipping over Mitsuo's dungeon as well as most of the comedic segments.
  • Barrel Rolls and Broken Dreams, based off Star Fox 64, is notable for omitting Star Wolf and Bill Grey, as well as the planets found in the easy and hard routes, as the route used here consists of Corneria, Meteo, Zoness, Sector X, Macbeth (where Slippy is held hostage on the Forever Train instead of being held hostage by Titania‘s boss, Goras), Sector Z, and the hard route version of Venom (with Katt Monroe appearing in all three of the planets she appears in instead of two planets). However, the massive surprise that comes as a shock to those used to Star Fox 64 is that it takes a page from SNES Star Fox‘s book and has Peppy sacrifice his life to save the Great Fox from the last two missiles in Sector Z, meaning that Peppy is permanently finished, though he does assist Fox as a ghost during the Andross battle. After that, Katt takes the slot where Peppy normally would go during the ending of Star Fox 64.
  • The theatrical adaptation of Darths & Droids does this a lot, turning the first campaign in the comic into a single playing session. They even use Fridge Logic that could have been in the comic itself to skip Coruscant entirely when they realise they can just telephone instead of visiting. The most ironic detail is that Darth Maul is turned into an evil Sith who simply wants to fight the heroes, instead of his being a neutral bounty hunter who didn't even want to fight, and the Sith being nothing but a legend. The irony, of course, is that this simplification is achieved by going back to the original's version of the character. With the comic itself being a sort of adaptation, the adaptation of the adaptation achieves distillation by going back to the original material, which is, after all, well known to the audience and not in need of time-consuming explanation.
  • Eurydice's opera version keeps Hades' appearances the same and also refers to him by name, while in the play he's referred to by title and appears in several different forms, including a child, an older man, and a superhumanly tall being.
  • The Girl of the Golden West: The opera follows the first two acts of the Belasco play quite closely, but the third act more effectively dramatizes the manhunt for Johnson (which originally mostly took place offstage) with an Angry Mob Song and gives Minnie a more active part in preventing his hanging, while also excising a lengthy comedic scene that would not have translated well to the language of Italian opera.

    Theme Parks 
  • The "Dark Rides" at Disney Theme Parks that adapt movies in the Disney Animated Canon take the parts of the movies that recreate the feel and emotions of the movie while generally squeezing the plot into a few rooms. Occasionally they'll throw in some extra stuff, such as making "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" Darker and Edgier than the animated feature that inspired it. The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure takes the approach of focusing entirely on the film's songs, though coming at the cost of Ursula gaining mostly Offstage Villainy.
  • This occurs on The Great Movie Ride, as it simplifies scenes from both Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz, drastically cutting down dialogue or even re-assigning some of the dialogue to a different character.
  • The first version of the former Ghostbusters Spooktacular show at Universal Studios Florida was essentially a recreation of the climax of the film it was based on, though just done within a span of 10 minutes and with a few extra dangers thrown in.
  • With the Grinchmas show at Universal's Islands of Adventure, along with skipping over a lot of the plot lines in the 2000 film, the show also cuts out the moment in the original story where the Grinch has to stop all of the Whos' supplies from falling off of Mount Crumpit.

    Video Games 
  • Mortal Kombat 9: The story mode is the plot of the first three games condensed into one, while cutting the fat away. While there are changes (some quite major) because of the Timey-Wimey Ball, most of the stuff that happened in the old games still happens in this one.
  • Arcade game manufacturer Global VR lived on this trope by making arcade games that are distillations of Electronic Arts games. Examples include Madden NFL, EA Sports PGA Tour Golf, EA Sports NASCAR Racing, and three Need for Speed games: Hot Pursuit 2- which was rechristened "Need for Speed GT"- plus NFS Underground and NFS Carbon as well. They've also done distillations of UBI Soft games as well- witness Paradise Lost, a rail shooter based on Far Cry and Blazing Angels.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • The first game will take the plots of the various series it crosses over, cuts out the filler and leaves only the important plots, all while mixing it up like they took the plots and put them in a blender. It's less cutting out and more with everything happening at the same time things go much faster, though not everything happens as you would expect with everything interacting.
    • Super Robot Wars Z deserves special mention because the less important plot points and events were put back in the Special Disk expansion. The main game was so crowded not everything would fit.
    • Super Robot Wars V is unusual in its means of dealing with the plot of Rebuild of Evangelion: previous titles have only had a single Angel per stage that they appear on, usually mixing the Angel attack with an attack by some other enemy force to provide cannon fodder. V instead has most Evangelion-related stages feature at least two different Angels spawning in rapid succession, or even at the exact same time as one another. It eventually becomes plot-relevant: the Downer Ending of the second movie is averted because the Ninth and Tenth Angels manifest in the same battle, and this changes Shinji's actions considerably.
  • Warhammer 40,000 is an extremely large storyverse, with hundreds of novels, graphic novels, rulebooks, and other sources of backstory, some of which Retcon older works. For the PC, they distilled this all down into the excellent Dawn of War series of Real-Time Strategy games, which manage to capture the gritty feel of the game perfectly.
  • Blast Works is, at its core, a port of the freeware PC Shoot 'Em Up Tumiki Fighters. The main focus of it is the extra-extensive editor, which lets you design many things such as the player ship, background objects, bullet patterns, enemies, and levels. Making this feature even better is the ability to upload and download such creations via the game's official website.
  • When Sega developed Fantasy Zone II DX (the System 16 version of Fantasy Zone II), they took the multi-screen concept of the original and simplified it into a dual world concept.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is an overly simplified version of and at some points directly contradictory to its source material, Vampire: The Masquerade. But in most cases it is pretty clear that its differences are for the better, since a video game that is completely faithful to its tabletop origins will have some obvious issues. The main problem is that the Word of God states the video game's story is canon, which presents some setting issues as that means some characters (especially Caine) would have had to be in two places at once.
    • It is never really established how far back from the end of the oWoD storyline the end of the game is, even a few days would give the characters ample travel time.
  • The Darkness trimmed down the first couple of story arcs from the comic, altered several characters, removed the supervillains, got rid of that stupid looking armor, and gave Mike Patton the voice of the titular Darkness. The result is a damn good revenge story loosely connected to the comic canon, but doing a far better job of making the player feel for Jackie in a way the comic was never able to. When the game hits you emotionally, it hurts. The enemies trying to beat you is another matter entirely... Nintendo Hard it isn't. Then again, being billed as a horror story where you play the monster, it fits the premise for Jackie to be hard to kill while in Darkness mode. Caught in the light, he dies easy.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is known for taking the storyline of Marvel Comics' Civil War (2006) Crisis Crossover, and keeping the interesting central ideas while jettisoning a lot of the padding that made the original so difficult to read. It also has the advantage of picking a side. Neither one, since the conflict between pro- and anti-registration is seen as petty and pointless once bigger events start happening.
  • Marvel Super Heroes is based loosely off of The Infinity Gauntlet, boiling down the main premise to fit within an Excuse Plot for a fighting game: Thanos plans to wipe out life in the universe with the Infinity Gems, and Marvel's pantheon of heroes (plus a couple of villains) must stop him.
  • The Xbox port of Doom³ had a few levels cut short or removed, particularly the filler segments such as the outdoor area in the second level.
  • Although it too had some features removed due to hardware and control limitations, the PSX adaptation of Quake II stayed truer to the PC original than the N64's Pragmatic Adaptation, while adding some new interesting areas and enemies, such as a Vore-like arachnid enemy.
  • The games in the Batman: Arkham Series have essentially taken the different forms of media that Batman and his world have appeared in, selected the best bits from each one, glued them together, filed the edges down and then cast the player as Batman. It's generally considered one of the key reasons the games have been so successful.
  • The arcade version of G.I. Joe sets the game around the time of the DiC series of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (the show's overall third and fourth seasons). However the Joes, and with the exception of Metal-Head, all the Cobra bosses came from the Sunbow series (the first two seasons). This is especially notable when encountering the game's first bosses, Tomax and Xamot, who didn't even appear in the DiC series.
  • Betrayal at Krondor is treated this way. The novelisation cuts away some of the less plot-relevant or dramatically-appropriate side quests, such as the Quest for Ale. In the Author's Note in the novel, he even talks about his regret that he had to cut out his favorite side-quests.
  • Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage is widely regarded as doing a fantastic job taking the entire first half of the manga (everything up to the Time Skip) and presenting it in 15 chapters plus side chapters, telling the story in a concise but complete way. The sequel game does the same but covers even more of the story just as well. Both games also avert the lingering Unfortunate Implications surrounding Mamiya by Xenafying her enough for her to pull her weight helping storm the stronghold her allies were going after anyway, instead of being The Load.
  • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise features a largely original story that still incorporates elements and major battles from the original manga's story, albeit condensed and altered to fit the game's narrative.
  • Friday the 13th: The Game distills the Friday the 13th film franchise into its base elements for the sake of gameplay and simplicity. Stages are based on the locations of the first five films, with players given a choice of several counselors who are based on various character archetypes in the series (in addition to a few returning characters from the films, most famously Tommy Jarvis), as well as eight different versions of Jason from Part 2 through Part VII, all of whom were motion-captured by Kane Hodder, the suit actor for Jason in VII through X and the actor most identified with the role. All of the maps also feature the shack from II, with Pamela's severed head shrine and her sweater, which can be used, if the right steps are taken, to kill Jason. The single-player missions also use the game's cast to recreate iconic scenes and kills from the films.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron are considered some of the best licensed Transformers video games, hands down, even among the notoriously complaint-happy Transformers fandom. It condenses important parts of the popular Marvel and Marvel UK comics, the original animated cartoons, the more modern comics (especially those done by IDW, while tactfully ignoring Dreamwave's canon), and the previously well-received Transformers (2004) third-person shooter, and comes out on the other side as an intricately detailed and generally fun game that is also Internal Homage-laden enough to satisfy fans of the original Generation One series. It also doesn't hurt that the games are a direct prequel to the also well-received Transformers: Prime mentioned below, existing in the same continuity.
  • A frequent criticism of Homestuck is that, due to the story's Writing by the Seat of Your Pants nature, it takes way too long for the heroes to actually start moving the plot, instead forcing us to watch them fiddling about with their inventories and typing rude things to each other online. Hiveswap wastes absolutely no time establishing two human characters, intrusions of eyeless monsters, house destruction, puzzle solving, and even manages to get us to Alternia to meet a troll and rescue him before the end of the first act, basically squishing the Stations of the Canon of five or six whole acts into about two hours of gameplay.
  • The original Galaxian 3 was a massive theme park attraction featuring two floors of mounted-gun stations for up to 28 players and a 360-degree screen. The game would later be adapted into a more arcade-friendly format that cuts the number of players from 28 to 6 and uses a pair of screens, and even then the cabinet is still pretty big by arcade standards. A PS1 port exists, but it only supports four players in favor of adding a new story.
  • When Persona 3 was ported to the PSP as Persona 3 Portable, some changes to the presentation were made in order to make up for the PSP being weaker than the PS2 that the original game was released on. The 3D town areas that you can explore on foot have been redone into static-image point-and-click maps. Cutscenes also do away with the 3D, instead using visual novel-esque portraits against static backdrops, with extra text narration being added to convey what the new game engine can't visually express.
  • Nextdoor, a browser game adaptation of "The Woman Next Door", a story from Mimi's Ghost Stories, has most of the events of the story happen over the course of a day rather than multiple, which results in the story being streamlined: the adaptation cuts most of the characters down to Mimi herself, the neighbor, the landlady, and the woman, Mimi never moves into her obnoxious neighbor's room and instead goes to check on him in his room after hearing him scream (with his fate never explained in the adaptation; he simply moved away after discovering the lady's secret in the original story), and Mimi's accidentally bumping into the woman is cut, which makes the woman's metallic limbs much more startling in the final act.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequels starts from the comics canon but combines elements from various Batman media, such as the voices and writers of the cartoon, the Gothic architecture from Tim Burton's movies and the grittiness from Christopher Nolan's ones.

  • Foundation - The Psychohistorians: Much of the dialogue is cut from the original story, to better fit the space constraints of the 2x2 comic panels that Jonathon Dalton preferred at the time.
  • The Hare's Bride, Emily Carroll's adaptation of the fairy tale of the same name, simplifies some elements of the original tale to make for a smoother telling in a comic medium.
    • In the original, the hare comes to eat the girl's cabbages three days in a row, extending an invitation to her each time she comes to shoo him, and only on the third day does she go with him. In this comic, this takes place in one scene — the hare comes, the girl tries to shoo him, he gives his invitation and repeats himself until she gives in.
    • Rather than the hare going away between each time he calls out to the girl to open the door, he remains at the door and repeats himself. He also calls out only three times instead of four.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces, a retelling of the Mega Man (Classic) mythos does a very good job at telling the story of the games, as well as compositing the Gameboy games and Wonderswan games into a coherent whole.

    Web Original 
  • In the same vein as In 5 Seconds, any time the "A Softer Trek" tumblr handles the destruction of the USS Kelvin.

    Web Videos 
  • In condensing months' worth of plot and lore down to about 42 minutes, Empires: the Musical glosses over several plot points in the Empires Season 1 storyline, e.g. the Ender Dragon fight that released Xornoth in the first place. Since the musical is told from the Ocean Queen Lizzie's perspective, one may argue that she's already relatively distant from the main lore and storyline of the series to begin with, but the musical also summarizes her and Jimmy finding out about their relation to each other as long-lost siblings to a single sentence out of chronological order of events. However, this is also justified in that the ending reveals Lizzie is the Narrator All Along, frantically trying to record down her story before she undergoes a supernatural, prophecy-related Death By Personality.
  • Parodied with the in 5 Seconds YouTube videos, which cut down the targeted film to its most important points. The quality varies somewhat widely from video to video though. This may represent an inadvertent Deconstruction, as some basic biology knowledge will tell you that it is unhealthy to remove all the fat from the body. A lot of Rule of Funny goes into those, so it's hard to really call it "distillation", in the traditional sense.
  • Also on YouTube, "X... in 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies!"

    Western Animation 
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood does quite a lot of distillation from the sevennote  novels it was adapted from:
    • The Cast Herd of the books is drastically pared down to just the bare minimums, largely consisting of mated pairs of small animals who were present in significant swarms in the book.
    • In the novels, the events of the first White Deer Park trilogy occurred consecutively across nearly two years, with "In the Grip of Winter" running through the autumn to spring after the animals arrive in the park, "Fox's Feud" occurring over spring and summer, and "The Fox Cub Bold" taking place over autumn through to spring of the following year. The cartoon version covers the same timeline, but stretches out the events of "Fox's Feud" to cover an entire year, with the events of "The Fox Cub Bold" running concurrently with the latter half of "Fox's Feud".
    • The first of the second White Deer Park trilogy, "The Siege of White Deer Park", was Adapted Out due to increased pressure from the censors.
    • The third and final season, which adapts the last two books of the original novel septology, is much Lighter and Softer due to the aforementioned increased attention from the censors.
  • Cartoons based off The DCU are ALL ABOUT this trope.
    • The DC Animated Universe, from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited, was generally of this kind.
      • A more specific example would be the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns segment of the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", which perfectly encapsulates Miller's style and the tone of the book in five minutes of animation.
      • Another one is the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" based on Alan Moore's story of the same name. It kept the spirit of the story while at the same time removed the dark elements present in Superman's dream. Even better, it is the ONLY adaptation of his work that Alan Moore actually likes.
    • Similarly, the Robin from Teen Titans (2003) is essentially an amalgam of Dick Grayson (Robin I) and the better aspects of Jason Todd (Robin II), who doesn't exist in the DC Animated Universe, along with the costume and general look of Tim Drake (Robin III). Cyborg and Raven were also a bit more interesting in the cartoon. Both had far less Wangst, and Raven also had powers that were actually useful in combat (in the comic, she became nothing but The Empath and was often the first one taken out by bad guys despite her considerable power in her earliest appearances).
    • Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a Lighter and Softer take on the greater DC Universe outside of the "Big Three," and gets the core personalities of the characters it features down pat while improving some others. Aquaman is a Large Ham Boisterous Bruiser in the show, unlike the comics, but it fits better with the tone. The show's also packed aplenty with Mythology Gags ranging from references to the long-forgotten Golden Age and Silver Age Batman stories to (occasionally) the relatively recent Infinite Crisis and 52. It's essentially the "good parts version" of the entire DC Universe but is still accessible to non-readers of the comics. The show is also more respectful to characters who pass the torch. In the comics, Blue Beetle Ted Kord is shot through the head by a villain after refusing to give in; in B&B, he dies stopping a missile attack on America. Likewise, Ray Palmer had a Heroic BSoD after his wife went nuts and became a murderous villain, handing the Atom mantle to Ryan Choi, who was later killed. In this series, Palmer handed the mantle without the tragedy and retired to South America, while Choi had a 10-Minute Retirement.
    • Another example is the Emperor Joker storyline. B:TBaTB very loosely took a 2000 Superman story arc of a Mad God-Emperor resembling The Joker and made it the Caped Crusader's own story in 2010. In the comics, the story opens up In Medias Res, with Superman waking up in Arkham Asylum and breaking out of there, only to discover a World Gone Mad. He later discovers that Mr. Mxyzptlk had been scammed into giving 99.99% of his powers to the Joker, turning him into a god-like Reality Warper who twists the world in his own way; eats up everyone in China; kills Lex Luthor, Batman, and everyone associated with the latter (except Supes, of course) repeatedly day after day, all in graphic and bloody ways, leaving the Dark Knight traumatized; later removes Batman's mouth so he can't speak; turns Harley Quinn into a constellation; literally steals Supes' heart; and brings up Apocalypse How Class X-4 by blowing up the entire universe near the end; Superman eventually defeats him by asking him if he would try to take the Dark Knight out of existence, only for the Clown Prince of Crime to realize he can't; Joker's powers are surrendered to Mxy and the universe is eventually restored. In this cartoon series, Bat-Mite replaces Mxy; the reason that Bat-Mite gives the Joker all of his powers is by accident, as he was only trying to help Batman out in the fight; the Clown Prince of Crime destroys the universe during his Villain Song, right in the middle (rather than the end) of the episode, and recreates his Villain World of playing cards; he keeps his henchmen, Harley Quinn, Bat-Mite and Joker-Mite alive while repeatedly killing Batman (in less graphic and more comedic ways) and bringing him back to life for hours instead of days; the worn-out Batman begs the villain not to take away his sanity; the Joker renders Harley mute instead of turning her into a constellation and goes on a journey to the center of Batman's mind to try to toss away his files (instead of ripping out Supes' heart); and it all culminates in the Dark Knight (rather than the Man of Steel) showing the Joker an Alternate Universe in which Batman doesn't exist, resulting in Joker's Villainous Breakdown, allowing Bat-Mite to get his powers back and restore the universe in seconds.
      Batman: "In a world without Batman, there could be no Joker. No loose screws. No lost marbles. No bats in your belfry. In this world, you are perfectly sane."
    • The prior Batman show, The Batman, also managed to get some of this trope in. The show's treatment of Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Poison Ivy, and especially Clayface are among some of the most well-regarded things in the show due to boiling them down to their most basic natures and then adding elements that made them stronger characters.
    • Young Justice (2010) manages to do this, using older characters like Dick Grayson as well as more recent ones like Miss Martian. The show also gives modernized redesigns to some of the campier DC characters. Like The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice also uses numerous shout-outs and mythology gags, as well as a few nods to the 90's comic book of the same name.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes brought several outdated costumes and looks and made them sleeker and more futuristic. For example, Bouncing Boy newly sports spiky hair and goggles and his limbs disappear when he bounces, which looks a lot less ridiculous. Also, the comics explained Superboy being in LOSH despite Post-Crisis Supes not having been Superboy as a teenager by way of a complicated explanation involving parallel universes that aren't really parallel universes since there aren't parallel universes anymore. Oooookay. The series? Teen Clark was a civilian when he was taken to the future, and only wears the spandex while there.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man drew heavily from the original Spider-Man comics of the Silver Age stories that were written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the show brought in characters, plot elements, premise, story lines, etc) with a similar balance of action, drama, and comedy as well as a high school setting. However, it also tends to utilized a number of material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the more recent Ultimate Spider-Man comics and the popular live-action Spider-Man Trilogy, making a cartoon that is recognizable to both older and younger fans.
  • The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon did make one notable improvement. The comics by Eastman and Laird, and most subsequent adaptations, depict Splinter as a rat who learned ninjutsu by copying the movements his human master made while training, before mutating and gaining human characteristics. In the 1987 series, the human master himself is mutated by gaining rat characteristics, and retains all his ninja knowledge, which he then passes on to the Turtles. This improvement is kept in the 2012 series.
    • The 2003 series also distilled the Mirage series while adding its own twists and variety.
    • So far, the 2012 series has been a distillation of the entire Ninja Turtles franchise. Scenes, character traits, whole characters, and whole episodes have been taken from previous incarnations and given a fresh coat of paint. To name a few examples, we have:
      • From multiple continuities: the Rat King, note  and the trip to the farmhouse note 
      • From the 1987 series: the Turtles' obsession with pizza, note  Hamato Yoshi’s mutation into Splinter, the Kraang, note  Irma, note  Mutagen Man, note  fly-mutant Baxter Stockman, note  Bebop and Rocksteady, note  Muckman and Joe Eyeball, note  and Mondo Gecko note 
      • From the 1990s movies: Tokka and Rahzar, note  and Casey and Donnie working on a car while trading alphabetized insults
      • From the 1987 Toy Line: a toy-only character called Pizza Face note 
      • From the 2003 series: Mikey's innate talent, note  Mikey's pet cat, note  the Purple Dragons gang, and the Earth Protection Force
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades is a rather successful attempt at this, blending elements from the original comic book, 80s cartoon, and Rise of Cobra movie tossed into a blender with The A-Team.
  • Reviews of Transformers: Prime commonly state that this show takes many of the good points of the films (intense action scenes and realistic robot designs) while following thematics that were established by Beast Wars or Transformers: Animated.
  • ThunderCats (2011) has show runner, Michael Jelenic articulating this as his general aim for the series. Also, series composer Kevin Kliesch worked under a demand to rearrange and truncate the original's Theme Tune from two minutes to ten seconds while retaining its signature elements.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes drew on not only the classic Silver Age stories, but a number of the modern elements and bits of The Ultimates as well.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic does this with the previous generations of My Little Pony cartoons, combining fantasy and adventure elements of the original G1 cartoons with the Slice of Life style of Tales, and most of the main cast are re-imagined G3 characters such as Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity. The result was extremely successful, to say the least.
    • The book adaptation of the Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks spinoff has a different ending to one of the scenes made into a short. In the short, DJ Pon-3 puts in earphones after Principal Celestia takes them away. In the book, Celestia takes them away because there's a fire drill.
  • VeggieTales has the episode The Penniless Princess, which is their adaptation of A Little Princess. Unlike many of their episodes based on other source material, it's a straight-up adaptation, staying rather faithful to the source material, but they do simplify the story a lot by cutting out characters, combining scenes, and making the message more obvious.
  • The first season of the 90's The Moomins series combined selected contents from both Tove Jansson's novels and her comics into a single episodic narrative while merging characters and events, simplifying and streamlining The 'Verse and adding some original contents into the mix. The result is something of a more consistent middle ground between the mood of the comic and the various moods of the novels.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2009) drew from many of the elements of the X-Men lore, particularly from both of the original (mainly through elements like the formation of the X-Men, the members of the original X-Men team that was founded by Professor Xavier had consisted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast without fur, Angel and Iceman, etc) and modern (mainly through elements like most of the character designs, the disbanding of the X-Men, Genosha, etc) versions of the X-Men that are from the mainstream Marvel Universe as well as from the Ultimate (mainly through elements like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being raised by Magneto, Both Magneto and Quicksilver leading the Brotherhood of Mutants, Toad's design, Wolverine being taller, the event of a fleet of Sentinels being sent to Genosha to attack Magneto and the mutants living there, etc) version of the X-Men.
    • The series also uses elements that were from the live-action film series (mainly through elements like the use of the movie version of Warren Worthington II, the designs of Cereboro and the Xavier institute, the Father-Daughter relationship that was between Wolverine and Rogue, the fact that the voices of many of the characters such as Professor Xavier and Magneto appear to be inspired by the voices of the actors and actresses that portray the characters in the film series, etc).
    • The Dark Phoenix Saga, in which the Hellfire Club try to control the Phoenix is conflated with Phoenix: Warsong, a much later story in which the Stepford Cuckoos are revealed to be clones of former Hellfire member Emma Frost, created by John Sublime as a gestalt entity that could wipe out mutants, but which coincidentally also makes them potential hosts of the Phoenix Force. In the show the Cuckoos are the result of the Hellfire Club cloning Emma in their attempts to harness the Phoenix.
  • Todd McFarlane's Spawn has a refined, more coherent plotline, more sympathetic characters, and viciously batters the Animation Age Ghetto.
  • The 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon would make a number of plotline refinements in its adaptations of comics storylines, as well as making generally Pragmatic Adaptations.
    • The Legacy Virus became a plot by Apocalypse and carried out through unwitting lackies in the Friends of Humanity, and was resolved in two episodes through the combined efforts of the series' resident time travelers, Cable and Bishop.
    • Many secondary plotlines were cut from the Phoenix Saga and The Dark Phoenix Saga, including the idea of Phoenix as a separate entity to Jean Grey but merely mimicking her form, and the Madelyne Pryor story, are cut.
    • The Phalanx Covenant adaptation drops the confusing existence of the Phalanx and Technarchy as separate but interlinked species and instead portrays them as just one ispecies. It also skips most of "Cameron Hodge becomes a head attached to a non-humanoid robot body, then tries to steal Warlock's powers, then allies with the Phalanx and gets a Phalanx body"; the first time we see him as a disembodied head, he's with the Phalanx.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Distillation


"Will This Be On The Test?"

KaiserBeamz recognizes that Ryo's lecture on demons is important, but that doesn't stop him from complaining about its length.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / Infodump

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