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Anime First

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Anime is usually based on Manga, Light Novels, Visual Novels or Video Games. Occasionally there are exceptions.

Anime is always more risky than manga. Pretty much everyone has a manga specifically geared to their interest somewhere, and the largely black and white format of manga makes it cheaper to produce than even the average western comic book. Producing a show is much more expensivenote . And while a lot of manga is made to be accessible and disposable, the demographics of TV watchers are different. This is the major reason anime is mostly populated by shounen and shoujo, as kids simply have more time. Meanwhile, josei manga rarely ever gets made into anime (these are much more likely to receive a Live-Action Adaptation either as a movie or J-drama series).


Anime also requires voice actors and a hopefully-decent animation budget. On the other hand, it's much easier to make a show based on a known money-generating property. Making a show suddenly becomes lucrative once you figure in things like new merchandise (character Image Song and soundtracks, most noticeably) which pays for the show. This is the main reason H-games made into anime are the most successful financially, and on the other extreme, why most Anime First shows for youngsters are explicitly Merchandise-Driven. Magical Girl and Mecha series in particular have a high chance of being Anime First.

Occasionally manga comes out after such an anime, but only as a limited run. Some manga run concurrently to a show, so divergences are common and accepted. You don't want them to be exactly alike or the audience will wonder why you're messing with the story. You also rarely get a sort of Double Subversion where the manga comes out first, but the original project was conceived as an anime; the manga was primarily intended as advertisement. (Two well-known examples are Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Neon Genesis Evangelion.)


Not to be confused with the common gripe that all of the anime examples on a trope page come first. (Seriously, guys, it's alphabetical. Either add in some examples from advertising, or let it go.)

The basic idea is certainly not unique to anime - many animated children's shows begin their lives as children's book franchises and later become animated adaptations, as existing properties certainly have a chance of taking off with the built-in fanbase. And it's not just animation. Many live action movies and TV shows are based on novels and comic books for the same reason.




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