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Anime First

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The vast majority of anime is usually based on a preexisting material, be it Manga, Light Novels, Visual Novels or even video games and toys. These are the exceptions.

Anime is risky for a lot a reasons, but mainly because it's very costly. Literature and manga will usually only have a small handful of people that are directly involved in its creation; yeah, you'll need a small team in order for it to actually get it onto shelves, but the work itself technically only needs a writer, some artists, and an editor. For anime, you need a team of dozens for the animation alone (to say nothing of composers, voice actors, and other vital roles) just to create a single episode or film. Animation also has the additional problem of demographics; while publishing has to deal with this as well, the lower costs means that it's much less of a financial risk to release a work that appeals to a niche audience. With animation, if you're spending millions on even the cheapest 12-Episode Anime, it better appeal to the widest demographic possible in other to recoup costs.note 

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So naturally, anyone funding an anime is far more likely to cough up some cash if what's being created has already found success elsewhere; after all, you'll have a built-in fanbase and that preexisting material can serve as additional advertisement for the show and vice-versa, increasing revenue all around. The basic idea is certainly not unique to anime, as countless shows and films around the world - both animated and live-action - are based on preexisting properties for all these same reasons. But this tends to be far more common with anime than anything else, with a good 90% of programs released very year originating in another medium.

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 sometimes 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.)

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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.) Compare with All Musicals Are Adaptations, a trope that exists for much the same reasons as this one.


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