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Compressed Adaptation

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"They cut out all my scenes!"
Dug Finn, Dragon Half

While Adaptation Distillation will condense things down effectively, a Compressed Adaptation will leave out whole chunks, hoping that the story stays together while being swiss-cheesed, and/or combine certain scenes - much to the chagrin of many of its fans, of course.

This trope usually pops up when a relatively long story (usually literature) has to be adapted to a fresh medium that has time constraints that the entirety of the original plot could never reasonably fit, whether it's a film, OVA, a Mini Series, or even a theme park ride. Instead of simplifying things down into a distilled adaptation or merging and editing elements to create a pragmatic adaptation, the writers basically decide to start cutting out scenes to fit the story into the allotted time instead. Sometimes it works. Other times, you get a jarring mess that only people who already know the original story can follow.

Oftentimes, when choosing what to cut in a multi-work condensation, the First Installment Wins and stays more intact than later installments crammed into the adaptation. This can become self-perpetuating in future adaptations.

hours is the standard limit that most filmmakers try to abide by, because if it's any longer than that, it's very likely that not many people will want to watch it (which means it will make less money for the producers, especially since you can't show it as often in the same theater). And while that might sound like a lot of time, you'll quickly find that you just can't do in a two-and-a-half-hour-long movie what you can in an 800-page novel.

This is basically the opposite of Overtook the Manga: instead of there being not enough manga for the anime, there's too much source material, so instead of the anime being filled with Filler, it gets compressed.

Note that this can still overtake the manga in the sense of being produced before the manga is done; this may result in a Gecko Ending. Contrast the opposite, Adaptation Expansion and Divided for Adaptation. Might cause a Continuity Lockout, Orphaned Reference or Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. If what's compressed is the period of time over which the story takes place, that's a case of Adaptational Timespan Change.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The manga adaptation of Accel World condenses most of the events of Volumes 3-4 of the light novel, except for Chiyu becoming a Burst Linker, into a single chapter, having Haru tell Kuroyukihime a summary of what happened when she was away. Some readers suspect that this was meant to get to Volume 5 of the light novel, which wasn't adapted into the anime, more quickly.
  • The anime of Air Gear cuts out several minor characters and events. The OVAs go even further and cut out almost everything that isn't people beating each other to a pulp.
  • Done with Amagami. Fortunately, every character is given their own arc in the anime.
  • The twenty-ninth chapter of Asteroid in Love suffers from this when it is adapted as part of the ninth episode, mostly because that episode adopts a total of 4 chapters, and this chapter is considered the least important of them. The process of Mikage making her Platonic Valentine with Moe is compressed into a montage since the part about Moe's Love Confession (and Coming Out, since she's confessing to another girl) is considered more important of the chapter.
  • The Golden Age Arc movie trilogy adaptation of Berserk makes substantial cuts and compromises which get them down to movie length but seriously affect the story's coherence. The main character's painfully tragic backstory is portrayed only as a short series of disjointed flashbacks, making his attitude problem in the early episodes a bit of a mystery to new viewers. Much of the political subplot is cut, downplaying themes of classism and social injustice that make up a large part of the antagonist's motivation, and the members of the Hawks other than the main three are not developed, making the Downer Ending of the third movie less poignant.
  • The Black Cat anime removes whole arcs, completely rearranges the start of the series, and cuts a lot of character development for all but two characters (or distills in very awkward ways). Which is strange considering that the anime is also an example of Adaptation Expansion.
  • BlazBlue: Alter Memory was aired as a 12-episode adaptation of the first two games. It suffers from being heavily compressed, though. The plot of the first game is compressed into the first two episodes, there is (inexplicably) little to no exposition (likely leaving a lot of newcomers to the series confused), and most of the characters outside Ragna and Noel are largely ignored and/or are given little to no backstory (if you aren't familiar with the games, chances are you won't understand Litchi's sudden Face–Heel Turn).
  • In Brave10, after the first episode of the anime, which covers slightly past the first chapter of the manga, the anime races through the source material, covering over 120 pages worth of manga each episode. Most of the cut material featured Bumbling Henchmen Duo Ichimaru and Niko, who were left out of the anime adaptation and are nothing but comic relief, but caused some continuity problems as the Five Iga Ninja's all survive in the manga sequel, which would make adapting it to anime awkward.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The anime version cuts out the Aureolus Dummy subplot from the Deep Blood arc and the serial killer Jinsaku Hino from the Angel Fall arc. The manga version cuts out the Deep Blood and Angel Fall arcs altogether.
    • Season 3 of the anime in its entirety is considered to be a rushed mess that leaves out a lot of content due to the choice to cram 9 Volumes of content into just 26 episodes.
  • The anime adaption of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc compressed the original visual novel into 12 episodes. It manages to cover the most important things, but as a result it feels incredibly rushed compared to the game, and also leaves out things like character backstories and the things you learn by spending "free time" with your classmates during the game.
  • Death Note:
    • Some of the last anime episodes suffer from this very heavily, with one episode equaling a whole volume of the manga in one occasion. This was in part due to these parts of the manga being drawn out for a little too long (they wanted to make it exactly 108 chapters). Entire subplots are also cut out, like Mello using the Death Note to threaten the president (which ultimately results in the president's suicide and him being replaced with a somewhat spineless successor who decides to disband the SPK)- the aforementioned episode that jumps over 9 chapters. In another case, Mogi is temporarily held by Near when Demegawa's mob invades SPK headquarters, and is falsely said to have died, which helps lead to Aizawa cooperating with Near. The anime also significantly plays down the debate over the political and social implications of what Kira is doing.
    • The stage adaptation Death Note: The Musical attempts to tell roughly the same story as the manga and anime, but since it's only around 2 and half hours long, it quickly becomes various shades of compressed, distilled and pragmatic all at once. Several major characters and plot points are left out or merged with each other; most notably, Near and Mello are completely omitted. L's death at the end of the musical is an amalgamation of his own manga/anime death scene and Near's.
  • The anime adaptation for the Dies Irae visual novel basically took a 75 hour Door Stopper of a story and attempts to fit it all into just 18 twenty minute episodes (17 if one discount episode 0 which was an amalgamation of the prologue, an epilogue and a flashback scene from the novels last route). Suffice to say, it cut out a lot of important scenes and information. Character development, motivation and Worldbuilding is all but absent and the show still has some anime original scenes not found in the source material. It all leads to a very confusing show that only readers of the original novel could really have any chance of keeping up with.
  • The Chinese manga adaptation of Digimon Adventure (which was translated into English by Tokyopop) did a lot of compressing of the 54 episode series into 5 books. Fillers (and some non-fillers) are skipped or compressed to a one page recap and some alterations are made to combine events. The adaptation of season 2 manages to compress the 50 episode series into two volumes.
  • .hack//G.U. Trilogy turns three 20+ hour games into one 90 minute movie each. A lot of the first game made it in, but once they got through with that, they winged it and revamped the plot from there on.
  • Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned, the TV anime adaptation of Marvel Comics' The Tomb of Dracula, attempted to compress a 70-issue comic into an hour-and-a-half movie. The resulting plot makes very little sense.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The 10th Anniversary Movie Dragon Ball: The Path to Power takes the Pilaf arc and the Red Ribbon arc of Dragon Ball, tears out large chunks of them and stitches them together for an 80 minute movie. Several Red Ribbon officers get Demoted to Extra and we end up with a Composite Character of White and Murasaki, but it works.
    • The first Dragon Ball film from 1986 (released in the US as Curse of the Blood Rubies) is an abridged 50-minute adaptation of the Pilaf arc with a new villain (King Gurumes) and an additional sidekick (Pansy). It also has its own, less comical, versions of Agents Mai and Shu (Pasta and Bongo). Otherwise, the story is almost identical. Funimation even dubbed this movie back in 1994 as the pilot pitch for the franchise. The other two original Dragon Ball films (Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle and Mystical Adventure) replace and retell other portions of the series, and when watched together as a trilogy, basically become a compressed version of the original series.
    • Dragon Ball Z Kai is an edited version of Dragon Ball Z that cuts out most of the filler to be closer to the manga. Kai runs from the beginning of the Saiyan saga to the end of the Cell saga with 98 episodes, compared to Z's 194 episodes covering the same content, making Kai about half as long. Then The Final Chapters was created to compress the Buu Saga of Z in much the same way, which ran for 67 episodes internationally and 59 episodes in Japan (it was cut down further for unknown reasons, but most likely to get to the real meat of the arc's storyline quicker, since Kai wasn't that successful in Japan, due to it being a recut of Z). Altogether, it cut a little over 20-30 episodes worth of remaining filler material from that arc, depending on the cut.
    • The manga adaptation of Dragon Ball Super is considerably shorter than the anime and the movies the first two story arcs are based on - the Battle of Gods story arc, which spanned 14 episodes in the anime, was only a single volume of the manga. However, even more extreme is the Resurrection F arc, which was about the same number of episodes. It was reduced to a single box of text briefly explaining the events that transpired before immediately moving on to the Universe 6 tournament. This is mainly due to both the anime and manga adapting an outline by Akira Toriyama that contains only the significant plot details and beats, which leaves everything else up to the writers of each to fill in. Notably, the first 2 arcs of the anime version are based on movies that were only 1.5-2 hours in length, since they were written as movies first, which has them stretched out in the anime version to over 6 hours worth of episodes. The manga is also serialized monthly, so it doesn't have the amount of time the anime did to tell the stories, resulting in the tighter storylines.
  • Lampshaded in the Dragon Half OVA, where one villain from the manga realizes that all of his backstory was left out of the adaptation, as seen in the page quote above.
  • The Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] movie was less a movie in its own right and more a montage of scenes from the game. It managed to keep most of the major scenes and plot points, but at the cost of cutting out almost all characterisation, backstory, the main love story between Shirou and Rin and all the segues, not only making it amazingly jarring to watch but also almost completely incomprehensible to anyone who isn't already familiar with the story.
  • The 1986 movie version of Fist of the North Star roughly adapts the initial 72 chapters of the original manga (or the first 49 episodes of the TV series) into a 2-hour film. This was mainly done by rearranging the order of events and focusing the plot on the franchise's now-iconic rivalry between Kenshiro and his brother Raoh, reducing the role of every other villain to extended cameos (with only Shin and Jagi getting sufficient development due to their importance to the plot). However, Toki (the second of the four Hokuto brothers) was left out completely with not even a hint of his existence, and while Rei still appears, his love interest Mamiya does not, and he dies without his final challenge to his nemesis Yuda.
  • Food Wars! is fairly faithful in its first season to the manga. However in the second season, with a much shortened episode count, condenses or eliminates everything that is not a direct part of the Fall Tournament Arc. This leads to moments where pivotal moments in the creation of dishes, notably how Souma figured out a trick to use against Alice is merely a throwaway mention to something that happened off screen, but was a whole chapter itself in the manga.
  • The plot of Gankutsuou covers roughly the last two-thirds of the novel: everything prior to Albert's first meeting with the Count is addressed in flashbacks. Interestingly enough, this is exactly how Alexandre Dumas originally intended to write it.
  • Garzey's Wing compresses several novels into three OVA episodes (a little over an hour of runtime). The result is that most of the dialogue is exposition delivered at a breakneck pace, and most of the plot still doesn't make sense.
  • The God of High School received an anime adaptation in 2020. Unfortunately, the series is viewed as a rushed mess due to the choice to cram 112 chapters into just 13 episodes.
  • GTO: The Early Years: Episode 4 of the OVA adapts the 38-chapter Midnight Angel arc, but there's only so much material that can fit into a 52-minute animation. By comparison, the 2020 live-action devoted almost 80 minutes over 2 and a half episodes to the arc (and still had to cut some things out).
  • Hajime no Ippo put canon into the ending of the second-to-last episode. Also done in the second series, Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger.
  • Hakyu Hoshin Engi is a 23-episode adaptation of a 23-volume manga. As such, in the attempt to cram an entire volume's worth of content into a single episode, many plot elements are cut or simplified. Unfortunately, the end result still ended up being a poorly paced mess that left newcomers confused and hardcore fans disappointed.
  • High School D×D, being an anime based on a light novel series, is of course going to have to trim some parts to fit into a 12 episode season. However, the third season was extreme in this regard, causing a massive fandom split due to excising a large amount of important story and character development in favour of original story content not included in the novels. In response to this, the fourth season chose to completely ignore the original stories from the third season and more strictly adapt the source material.
  • The Higurashi: When They Cry anime is a compressed adaption of the first 6 sound novels. They removed a lot of elements, such as TIPs, the poems, and Fredrica Berkenstel, and many buildup scenes, leading to a very rushed pace. The manga is better, but also counts. The Kai anime is obviously less compressed, as it has only the last two arcs to cover (plus an additional, anime-only arc at the beginning). It still suffers from it though, as the last two novels are also by far the longest ones.
  • Hunter × Hunter (2011) has shades of this, especially in the first arc, when the events of the first chapter are completely omitted and only recapped in a flashback dozens of episodes later, and the gourmet hunter stage of the Hunter Exam only consists of cooking pigs instead of cooking pigs and then making sushi.
  • InuYasha: The Final Act covers the last 20 tankōbon volumes of the manga in only 26 episodes. (By comparison, the first Inuyasha anime series covered the first 36 manga volumes in 167 episodes.)
  • The anime of INVADERS of the ROKUJYOUMA!? compresses the first six light novel volumes and a portion of the seventh into a standard 12-Episode Anime. This was necessary because the first volume introduces the main cast while the next five flesh them out, one character per volume, so adapting any less would leave some characters missing. This is especially noticeable with the first volume, which introduced the invaders on separate days, while the first episode introduces them all in one night.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure had an OVA series that not only adapted just Part 3 of the story, but started in the middle of the arc. The second OVA series is a prequel that jumped back to the beginning of the arc, recapped it up to where the first one started, then jumped back to after the first one ended.
  • The manga adaptation for the Kingdom Hearts series has outright removed a few worlds and characters to shorten it (Deep Jungle had a good reason, though), or combined several trips into one. Despite this, Kingdom Hearts II still ends up getting seven (three in English) volumes.
  • The manga adaptation of Lunar: Eternal Blue reduced entire character arcs from the game into page long summaries. In fact, most of the content from the games aside that weren't directly related to Hiro and Lucia's relationship were cut or abridged, and Ghaleon, an important character, was removed entirely.
  • Macross: Do You Remember Love?: The two-hour movie is a "re-imagining" of the 36-episode Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and it cuts out the storyline covered in the first 5 episodes or so (as well as 9 episodes worth of Post-Script Season) because there's not enough time to fit in even an abbreviated version of the full story.
  • Since Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was a very fast-paced show, they had to cut out a lot of content to fit the movie's two-and-a-half hour run-time, most notably the entire subplot with Graham and his familiars.note  This is especially notable since the first movie was a case of Adaptation Distillation.
  • Most of the OVAs based on the Memories Off series.
  • The original Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy, the Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: A New Translation trilogy, the ∀ Gundam duology, and the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Special Edition movies are this for their respective series, with the Zeta Gundam and Turn A movies offering new endings.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam F91 - Originally planned as a full series, cut down even further. They had 13 full episodes originally scripted which then had to be cut down to a 2 hour movie, thanks to even more staff issues. When watched carefully, a viewer can actually see the points where they took an episode and made it the "ultra-condensed version."
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers manga is a mixture of this and Adaptation Expansion. While it includes references to events from the Episode Zero manga and Frozen Teardrop novel along with new adaptation-exclusive scenes, some episodes' events are relegated to just a silent panel or two, brief recaps, or otherwise happening off-screen. Notably, the events of chapters 46 through 49 are a blended mixture of episodes 23 and 32 with a change in circumstances because Duo and Hilde hadn't met until then. They take the place of episode 32's events, and Duo does not pilot Gundam Proto Zero. Appropriately, the arc is titled "Inverted God of Death".
  • The anime adaptation of Moriarty the Patriot has 24 episodes which ended with the "The Final Problem" arc. But in order to reach that arc, several chapters from the manga were never included in the anime. Because of this, there was a lack of characterization on the side characters such as Louis and Sebastian, and the friendship between Sherlock and William looks rushed. Furthermore, the anime wrapped up the story with Sherlock finding William in Switzerland instead of continuing where the manga left off after the "The Final Problem" arc ended because its follow-up arc, "The Adventure of the Empty Hearts", is still ongoing when the show ended.
  • The (1st) anime adaptation of Negima! Magister Negi Magi had only 26 episodes and a very half-assed ending which could conceivably have been true from what had come out so far... if they never consulted the author. The first adaptation managed to combine Compression with Filler. They managed to stick a good half-dozen episodes between the end of the manga's third volume and the beginning of the fourth, then compressed the entire events of the next three volumes into two episodes.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • The original manga. Roughly 40 pages for each 20-minute episode is not as much space as you might think. It manages to keep more or less all of the same events; they just go by very quickly.
    • The spinoff anime for Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is heavily compressed, cutting out huge swaths of character interaction, plot, and even removing Madoka and Homura entirely from the plot as of the first season. This made certain characters more or less sympathetic depending on how they were portrayed in the original game.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The first Rebuild of Evangelion movie is a compressed adaptation of episodes 1-6 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The second movie is a loose adaptation of episodes 8-19, but start going Off the Rails with entirely new material near the end. The third and fourth movies are entirely new material, with some elements of episode 24 and End of Evangelion thrown in. The condensed nature of the films resulted in many of the Angels either being omitted entirely or made into Composite Characters.
    • The manga condenses the number of Angels from 17 to 12, removing Iruel, Matariel, Sandalphon, and Leliel entirely and having Gaghiel be defeated almost effortlessly by Asuka before she's even met anyone else at NERV.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! surprised many fans (and annoyed others) by compressing the events of the first light novel into just two episodes (the first two of the 2012 TV series). The rest of the anime is a mixed bag, but so far it's taken two 12-episode seasons to cover the events of the first eight light novels.
  • The 8th One Piece movie tries to squeeze about 40 episodes of material into a 90-minute movie. It makes a gallant effort, but even without the filler and almost every single plot point not directly related to the story arc, it still leaves a bit to be desired.
  • The Ookami Kakushi anime is based on a (roughly) fifteen-hour Visual Novel with at least ten arcs in total, each designed to explain the mysteries of Jougamachi and why certain characters act the way they do. On top of that, the first few arcs have multiple endings resulting from branching choices. The anime attempts to adapt all that, minus the bad eleven episodes. Unusually, the frantic pacing typical of a Compressed Adaptation is totally absent here. There are glaciers that move faster.
  • Persona 4: The Golden Animation: The series focuses solely on the scenes exclusive to the Persona 4 Updated Re-release Golden, leaving the murder mystery from the game and many other elements Out of Focus.
  • Persona 5: The Animation largely relegates the exploration of Palaces by the Phantom Thieves to a montage of events from that Palace. The major boss battles get expanded quite a bit, but the Palaces themselves are mostly skipped over. Most of the run time is devoted to Confidants(which usually have at least half their scenes cut out), Joker's expanding social circle, and events from outside the Palaces.
  • The Promised Neverland: While the first season adapts the first 37 chapters in a mostly faithful way over the course of 12 episodes, the second season, which is only 11 episodes long, attempts to adapt all of the 144 remaining chapters. In order to get to the ending over the course of a shorter-than-average anime season, many story arcs are skimmed over or skipped entirely (most notably, the fan-favorite Goldy Pond Arc), with the ending being turned into a slideshow. If the anime adapted the story more faithfully, it would have enough content for several more multiple-cour seasons.
  • The Saint's Magic Power Is Omnipotent. The anime adaptation compresses several chapters of the web or light novels and the manga into single episodes. In line with this, it cuts out scenes or speeds up transitions, which some viewers feel makes the anime jump around too much with little explanation.
  • 3×3 Eyes. Four OAVs for two manga volumes—then three OAVs for three more manga volumes.
  • Shaman King’s 2021 anime seems to follow this line of adaptation compared to the 2001 anime thus far. The first 8 chapters are compressed into 2 episodes as opposed to 4 like the original anime, leaving out or speeding through many details. As a whole it seems to be going this route with 52 episodes as opposed to the originals 64. Keep in mind, the original anime DID heavily deter from the manga not long into its run though so how the new anime handles the source from here on out has yet to be seen.
  • The anime adaptation of A Silent Voice is an impressively downplayed version of this; almost the entire 62-chapter manga is adapted faithfully into a single 129-minute movie without feeling rushed at all. The only significant aspects of the story cut were the characters forming a movie-making club to make movies of their own, and the Distant Finale. Another significant cut from the manga that works for pacing purposes but does effect the story, is Ueno’s spotlight chapter which reveals her Freudian Excuse and why exactly she bullied Shoko so much throughout the story she jealously hates Shoko for winning Ishida’s heart — something only hinted at in the anime.
  • The Togainu no Chi anime tried to cram the whole, multi-route, visual novel into a 13 episode anime. This worked as well as you'd expect. Not only were all suggestions of any boys love removed, but the story was impossible to follow because of how much they had to remove and abridge to fit the story into only 13 episodes. Most fans have chosen to ignore its existence all together.
  • Tokyo Ghoul attempted to compress roughly 66 chapters into a 12-episode run, primarily through removing almost the entire Aogiri Arc. The second season fared even worse, attempting to compress a combination of 77 chapters and original material into a 12-episode run. This resulted in two major arcs being completely abandoned, leading to quite a few plotholes in the process. Who is this shirtless martial artist beating up Kaneki? And what about those Creepy Twins? Why does Tsukiyama suddenly care about Kaneki's survival? The anime doesn't know.
  • Tower of God received a 2020 anime adaptation that crammed the Webcomic's 1st season (78 chapters) into a 13 episode season. General consensus is that it was a decent adaptation, but ended up being rushed in certain areas. Webcomic readers in particular were a lot more critical of this as they tend to praise the series as the Korean version of One Piece due to its massive world-building, which in order to fit 78 chapters into 13 episodes, a lot of dialogue that explains how the world works, or provides foreshadowing for characters and developments down the line, had to be scaled back.
  • Lunar Legend Tsukihime went through this treatment and ended up with massive, massive plot-holes.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has the same issue as Higurashi, and in fact is worse because much longer arcs, with more characters, are pressed into the same number of episodes. As a result the first victims die before you can even remember their names. It also created some plot holes that make several plot points impossible.
  • The 2015's anime of Ushio and Tora compresses the entire story in 39 episodes removing the unnecessary elements in agreement with the author, Kazuhiro Fujita.
  • The Wandering Son anime had to compress four volumes into a 12-Episode Anime. That meant skipping important parts, scrapping the field trip, compressing scenes together, and removing most of the comedy.
  • The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc is so far turning out to be more compressed than the manga:
    • Episode 1: Most of the side conquests in between the said episode and the Tenri-Hen OVA were removed (whilst providing a summary of Tsukiyo's, Yui's, and Akari's conquests) with the season's main arc beginning immediately with the events of FLAG 114. Also, Lune was swapped into Fiore's role as Apollo's assasin.
    • Episode 2: The initial groundwork for the reconquests were heavily distilled: Keima's second encounter with Jun (in order to confirm the goddess host remembers the conquest theory) was replaced with that of Mionote ; and the dialogue between Shiori and the library chairperson was removed.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: 141 chapters of manga, and four-episodes of OVA that cover 18 of those chapters and a very small amount of original material.
  • The anime adaptation of YuYu Hakusho greatly condenses the first few volumes of the manga and even skips some chapters entirely, most likely to get through the Early-Installment Weirdness.

    Comic Books 
  • There exists a comic book adaptation to The Thrawn Trilogy, and it's a compressed one:
    • Some scans from the first three issues of the first book, Heir to the Empire, are here. Despite somewhat odd art for this particular book, it's not terrible. Converting a Timothy Zahn novel into six comic issues means leaving out a lot, but Mike Baron was apparently afraid to alter the book, so while details and a lot of dialogue get left out, most of the rest stays in. It's a very dense set of comics, stridently averting decompression and sometimes using a Wall of Text or two.
    • A lot of things lose their pacing and impact. There's a point in the comics where the Imperials are near a ship, they talk about cloaking, Thrawn says it's good, and then they jump into hyperspace. In the novels, well, here's a dramatization.
      Thrawn: The freighter right outside this viewport is ready for the final cloaking test. Do it.
      Technicians: [hit switch]
      [the freighter does not disappear]
      Technicians: [look at clearly visible freighter, sweat]
      Thrawn: Excellent. This is exactly what I wanted. Good job, technicians. The mission is greenlighted! Let's get this taskforce going!
      First-Time Readers: Wait, what? Isn't the cloaking device supposed to, you know, CLOAK? Buh?! It didn't cloak! What just happened?!
      Other Readers: SO. AWESOME.
      Thrawn: [smirk]
  • The comic-book adaptation of Killer7 (yes, there is one) manages to make the storyline even more confusing by at the same cramming in scenes from the game at a breakneck pace and leaving others out completely. No wonder it was never finished (the four released standard-sized issues cover about the first half of the game's story).
  • Outside of the adaptation of Sonic Adventure, most video game-based storylines prior to the Cosmic Retcon in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) were this to the point of being adaptations In Name Only.
  • The 2009-2010 The Clone Saga Alternate Continuity miniseries was this, as while the original plan was for the event was indeed for it to run for six months, it was also going to span four titles, too, not just one. Additionally, there's a lot of what did happen in those six issues.
  • In MAD, the parodies of movies almost inevitably involve this, since a movie that's between one and a half and three hours ends up being compressed to four to eight pages, plus a splash page introducing the main characters. The degree to which this happens varies, since while some parodies generally include at least one panel for each major scene, others, such as The Green Mile, cut out large parts of the movie.

    Fan Works 
  • Power Rangers Take Flight, an adaptation of Choujin Sentai Jetman, has only 40 episodes to Jetman's 51. This was achieved by way of not using episodes that focused on unadapted Jetman characters, as well as either compressing or spreading out one or more Jetman episodes into either single or two-parter episodes.
  • The Bears, a story that follows the events of Five Nights at Freddy's Four, only shows the events of the fourth end of night minigame, the fifth end of night minigame, and the final minigame. In between follows the immediate aftermath of what went down, which the game doesn't delve into.
  • The Last Seidr takes place during the events of The Avengers (2012). However, due to the story largely being told from Harry's point of view, many moments from the film are skipped over simply because Harry wasn't involved with them (at least, not directly). The Battle for New York, however, is shown.
  • In Turtle Kittens, certain events that happen in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) happen under a shorter time span (the turtles meeting Casey right after meeting August; Spike's mutation into Slash, the turtles meeting Leatherhead, the Kraang capturing and harvesting August's DNA, August's latent psychic abilities and mutagen being spread across the city all happening at around the same time) all happen at around the same time, while other are outright omitted (facing Dr. Falco and Baxter Stockman, meeting Mr. Murikami, various other tertiary antagonists etc).

    Film — Animated 
  • MFKZ serves as a adaptation of all five volumes of the original comic. The film kept focus on the main cast and removed scenes from the comic that they weren't involved or moments that shifted off to other minor characters.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Burbank Animation) compressed a really big book into an animated film of less than a hour. The Festival of Fools doesn't appear (this is the only adaptation - animated or otherwise - where the festival doesn't take place), and the attack on the cathedral is performed by the angry townspeople, who want to kill Esmeralda.
  • The Ralph Bakshi animated The Lord of the Rings suffered from "Tolkien's Greatest Hits" syndrome, and no wonder: it covers the same events as the first two films of the Peter Jackson trilogy, but in about a third of the time.
  • The Rankin-Bass version of The Return of the King handled it by focusing entirely on Frodo and Sam, with everything else in the background to give a sense of importance to the quest. Every other main character but Gandalf, Aragorn, and the other hobbits was cut entirely.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood is a pretty faithful adaptation of Judd Winick's "Under The Hood" story, but had to cut a lot of material to work as a stand-alone film. Notably, Onyx and Captain Nazi ended up being completely cut, as were a lot of potentially-confusing references to the DC Universe.
  • Ultimate Avengers adapted the entire 12-issue run of Mark Millar's first Ultimates series, so a lot of stuff got cut. Hawkeye was entirely absent despite being a major character in the original series.
  • The Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole compresses six of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole books into a single movie and as an result, leaves out almost all of the story not related to the main conflict (and even there it merged an early group of villains with a later one).
  • Pinocchio (1992) is relatively similar to the book, but many plots of the book were eliminated, like the situation when Pinocchio has to do the work of a watchdog or all the school subplots.
  • Alice in Wonderland: The books had a large cast and it would have been unfeasible to put them all into an hour long animated film, so the Disney adaptation cherry picks the most iconic elements of both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass while using the basic plot structure of Wonderland for the whole film.
  • The Sword in the Stone adapts a fairly dense 210-page book into an 80 minute movie with lots of musical numbers eating up its runtime, so naturally much of the book was left out. Major subplots like King Pellinore chasing the Questing Beast and Arthur meeting Robin Hood and Morgan le Fay for the first time got removed entirely, Merlin turns Arthur into only three different animals rather than six, and all of Sir Ector and Kay's character development was dropped in favor of making them a Disney-typical abusive family.
  • The Fleischer Studios adaptation of Gulliver's Travels only adapts the first voyage (and loosely at that), where Gulliver winds up shipwrecked on Lilliput, and leaves out everything else.
  • Around the World in 80 Days (Burbank Animation) cut quite a bit of the book, such as Aodua's subplot, from the 48 minute film.
  • The second and third BIONICLE Direct to Video movies took this route. Legends of Metru Nui summed up the quest for the Great Disks and the fight with the Morbuzakh plant as a short montage (glossing over the mystery of the disappeared Matoran citizens and the clash with Krahka) but some of the comic and novel plots could be fitted in-between certain scenes of the film, with minor continuity hiccups. Web of Shadows wasn't as clear with its continuity, since it played out like a self-contained story with no clear cuts, but it left just about enough room for the comic, novel and online video side stories. Still, as comic and novel writer Greg Farshtey had put it, only if you read his works (and follow the story for years) do you fully understand what goes on in the movies.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Alatriste (2006) is mostly a cut-and-paste job of elements from all the Alatriste novels. Which means that unlike in the individual books (which all had interesting plots), we don't actually get an engaging plot, just a selection of set pieces as if the movie was a series of illustrations for the novels.
  • A few adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland have done this (the Charlotte Henry film for instance cuts the part where Alice grows too large in the White Rabbit's house). Most also qualify as Adaptation Amalgamation by working in parts of Through The Looking-Glass, commonly the Tweedles.
  • The movie adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events attempted to cover three separate books, along with a subplot from later in the series, and many scenes made up just for the movie. Needless to say, a lot of the books' plot had to go. Averted with the Netflix original series, as each book in the series is split into two episodes.
  • Battle Royale. The book is 600 pages and became a two-hour movie. Most of what was cut was Character Development explaining the backstories and motivations of the children.
  • Casino Royale (1954) note  greatly simplifies relationship between Vesper/Valerie and Bond, one of the effects of which is that the long final section of the novel portraying the increasing tensions between them and her confession and suicide is completely omitted.
  • David Lynch's Dune (1984). It follows the plot of the book reasonably closely, but compresses two-thirds of a long novel into half an hour. The 2021-2024 film adaptation went the Divided for Adaptation route to avoid this issue.
  • Ender's Game. So much was cut from the book that the motivation of everyone except possibly the military command is nearly incomprehensible. "Wait, why is everyone looking to Ender for guidance? They all hated him literally two scenes ago." Bean's character was also downgraded to, basically, an extra. In fact, he has a whole spin-off book series dedicated to him, including a P.O.V. Sequel that explains that much of Ender's success is thanks to Bean's ingenuity (he's way smarter than Ender).
  • The Harry Potter films. The first two were mostly Adaptation Distillation with most of what they cut out being side characters, where the later ones tended to combine scenes and leave out secondary plots altogether. This is especially true of the fourth and fifth movies, as this is when the books started getting much longer, yet each was still adapted into a single roughly 2½hr movie. The fourth tends to use temporal jumps to skip scenes or events (including ones which took up entire chapters in the book), while the fifth saves time by using montages. Certain details of the films in general can be hard to follow unless you've read the books, partly because the earlier films were made when the book series had not yet finished, so the filmmakers didn't know what elements from earlier books would be significant later. This necessitated several hamfisted and plothole-creating explanations in the later films for things which were properly set and wrapped up in the books, although any major difficulties were avoided by having J. K. Rowling review all the scripts.
  • The film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, simply titled The Last Airbender, was already expected to suffer from this before its release, with fans assuming that it would be impossible to squeeze three seasons of the cartoon into three movies. Judging by the first film (which is, probably for the best, likely to be the only one), it looks like the fans' fears were dead-on, as characters in the movie spout endless amounts of exposition, line after line, in an effort to compress the entire first season into one film.
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And it's still 11 hours long. The Extended Editions do a better job of remaining faithful to the books. Still, it's more of an Adaptation Distillation and some major scenes are left out for continuity and pacing reasons. The sequence describing the transformation of Isengard from a green treegarden to an iron hell compresses 150 years of slow change (before the books actually begin) into five minutes. Likewise, almost twenty years pass in the books between Bilbo's party and Gandalf returning to Frodo.
  • Happens to almost every adaptation of Les Misérables, though there is a French series of films from the 1930s that includes everything. Much of this is because the book is filled with backstory and tangents that have very little relevance to the plot. Victor Hugo spends fifty pages talking about the Battle of Waterloo (which includes the events of the battle itself, the geography of the area, and asking who can be considered the victor) contain one event relevant to the rest of the novel. So condensing the novel is necessary to fit today's expectation of more focused stories.
  • A given for any adaptation of a classic novel. The films of Pride and Prejudice and Brideshead Revisited are recent modern culprits. To see how much has been condensed, one only needs to see the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink TV versions.
  • Many fans were outraged at the film adaptation of The Saga of Darren Shan. They try to squeeze content from the first three books (and even a huge spoiler from the ninth book) into the film. Scenes were removed with others added in their place.
  • Stardust: It's especially jarring in the final scene when the camera goes over everyone Tristan has met in his adventures, which isn't many compared to the book. One of the primary differences is that in the book, Tristran is gone for six months, whereas in the movie, he is gone for about a week.
  • Zack Snyder's Watchmen film is about two and a half hours, though manages to get through most of the major characters' stories. To demonstrate how many subplots were cut, a "motion comic" adaptation was released by Amazon that runs five and a half hours.
  • The film trilogy of 20th Century Boys, though it's about as good as it could be as the films were written by the manga's author Naoki Urasawa. Poor Chouno really gets short shrift in the third film. After a pretty large role in film two, he's only given a couple brief appearances to wrap up his personal story arc before disappearing completely. Though given all the other things that needed to be resolved, it's hard to blame them for not wanting to spend too much time on this comparatively tangential plot thread.
  • My Sister's Keeper, based on My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It leaves out the storyline with Campbell and Julia, and also makes Jesse nicer. The movie also focuses a lot on Kate, much more than in the book. It might as well be called Littlest Cancer Patient: All Grown Up. It also leaves out the twist at the end, in which Anna gets hit by a car shortly after winning the case, which allows Kate to live and renders Anna's struggle for emancipation moot. In the movie, Kate chooses to die.
  • The Godfather. Though some scenes from the book were included in Re-Cut versions.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the live-action adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim comic series, is a positive example of this trope due to the fact that most of the scenes in the comic that were cut out wouldn't have worked on film due to their slow pacing.
  • Gone with the Wind eliminates large portions of the book — the backstory of Ellen and Gerald (Scarlet's parents) and the two children she has with her first and second husbands — and compresses most sections of it: before the war, during, Reconstruction, etc. Most notably, her miscarriage/Bonnie's death/Melanie's miscarriage and death all happen with a few weeks of each other, whereas in the book, these events took place over the course of a year. Despite this, the movie is still 3.5 hours long. As in the Harry Potter example, the audience at the time of release could be expected to have read the book.
  • The Time Traveler's Wife compressed a 300-page book into a movie a little over an hour and a half long, removing some of the characters' stories and dropping others altogether.
  • Many films of A Christmas Carol leave out a number of scenes, although some, like the 1951 Alastair Sim version, expand upon the story. The 70-minute 1938 film omits most of the darker scenes, such as Scrooge's breakup with Belle, Ignorance & Want, and the looting of the deceased Scrooge's belongings. An important scene from the book is rarely included in movie adaptions; a scene where a family who owes Scrooge money celebrates his death, even though their time to repay may only be slightly extended due to transferance. The Albert Finney musical version, however, manages to condense it all into a song where all of London thanks Scrooge for dying while tearing up his debt book and dancing on his coffin.
  • The MGM adaptation of The Wizard of Oz omits scenes that wouldn't have worked in live-action at the time, as well as shortening the journey to Emerald City. When the Wicked Witch originally died, it was midway through the story, so the adaptation ends around the point when the Wizard leaves his city and Dorothy behind.
  • Eragon. The movie adaptation butchered the entire plot. Even the characters who were supposed to be dwarves and elves were portrayed as just regular humans. This was due to Executive Meddling, which felt that people would think they were ripping off Tolkien's creations.
  • The film of The NeverEnding Story literally cut out half of the book. Wheras the movie ends after Atreyu's quest ends and Bastian arrives in Fantasia, the novel explores Bastian's becoming of a Canon Sue and adventures in Fantastica, realizing his errors, and setting to go back to his world before it's too late. This resulted in a rather hasty ending to viewers who had previously read the book, to say the least. Thanks to Adaptation Displacement, most people don't even know anything was removed. Its sequel, fortunately, picks up elements from the second half of the book, although it was still not quite there.
  • The film of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney cuts out most of Cases 1-1 and 1-3, using what remained to make up an opening montage to show off the lawyering skills of Wright and Edgeworth respectively (Case 1-1 suffers this less, being shorter, but the only thing that remains of 1-3 is a cameo appearance of Dee Vasquez). Given that the movie focuses on the DL-6 Incident as the plot and that those two cases are the ones least affected by it, it's justified.
  • The Flowers in the Attic film is only 90 minutes long. As such, a lot of the emotional drama of the novel as the children are slowly worn away by their attic prison is glossed over with bits of narration. The length of time the children endure in the attic is also shortened from roughly 3 and a half years to two years to compensate.
  • The 2014 Petals on the Wind film adaptation skips over an entire decade of the children's lives after the attic - right up to Paul's funeral (although a few elements, such as Carrie's treatment at private school, are time-shifted so they could still be shown). The novel continued exactly where Flowers in the Attic left off.
  • The miniseries of The Stand (1994) wasn't as compressed as one might expect of a 900+ page book, but the Boulder section and Stu and Tom's journey home suffered it. The Boulder stuff was justified, as even King thought it got a bit boring before the bomb incident and he wrote that part to kick start more action.
  • Word of God says the adaptation of Catching Fire was compressed a bit from the novel (while the previous movie was mostly an Adaptation Expansion).
  • Night Watch: Only actually covers the first story, "Destiny". The other two ("Among his own kind" and "All for my own kind") are absent, although parts of the third story are adapted into the Day Watch film, whose storyline is completely unrelated to the book it was supposedly based on. And then the second film ends with Anton using the Chalk of Fate to rewrite his own past from the beginning of the first film. There is also notably far less magic use in the films than in the books, largely because the director isn't a fan of magic.
  • Hammer's The Mummy (1959) takes elements from all of Universal's Mummy movies and puts them in one package.
  • The Lovely Bones is a book that basically is about a dead girl examing what happens to her family and friends after her death. Needless to say we spend a lot of time getting to know a lot of characters in scenes that aren't really a direct part of any big mystery around her murder or focusing much on Susie. So in the film a lot of these went, the problem with such is without a lot of that, the audience fails to get to know a lot of those other characters.
  • In the film version of The Martian, there are a number of scenes cut out from the book: when Watney shorts out Pathfinder with the drill or when he runs into a dust storm on the way to Schiaparelli Crater Ares IV site or the fact that he is also a Mechanical Engineer, but their omission from the movie doesn't really change that much from the book.
  • While the first part of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay featured a lot of padding, Part 2 has a lot of stuff trimmed. Katniss and Joanna training is the biggest omission, while Katniss's time back in District 12 before Peeta returns, at the end, gets heavily cut.
  • In Paper Towns, some rather large cuts were made from the second third of the book's story, most notably Quentin's fear that Margo killed herself (she didn't) and his studying the Walt Whitman poem, the latter's importance in the film version being reduced to just the line about doorjambs.
  • Michael Mann's adaptation of F. Paul Wilson's novel The Keep is a textbook example of how not to do it. It's not wholly Mann's fault, since the studio forced him to cut the film from over three hours (!) to 95 minutes, but the result is basically incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't read the book.
  • The Ten Commandments (1956) skips the whole "wandering in the desert for 40 years" part, which admittedly wouldn't make for exciting filmmaking, opting to make Moses 40 years older when he returns from the mountain.
  • The Cheetah Girls borders on In Name Only in the first movie, however one plot point in particular that was compressed was the other Cheetah Girls finding out that Dorinda was a Foster Kid. It takes several books for this to happen, but this happens at the end of the first of three movies.
  • It's hard to imagine Heart of Darkness without a River of Insanity, but Heart of Darkness (1958) manages to omit all the riverboat scenes.
  • Hurlyburly runs at just over two hours. The play it's adapted from was over three hours long.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The 1980s BBC adaptation of The Day of the Triffids crammed some four hundred pages of book into six 25-minute episodes, largely by cutting out every scene and character that doesn't do anything to advance the plot. Frankly, this is an improvement.
  • The game show Deal or No Deal originated as the bonus round of a Dutch lottery game show called Miljoenenjacht, which preceded this with an elimination quiz involving the entire audience in a large studio, narrowing it down with quiz rounds and Let's Make a Deal-style buy-outs to leave the game. Some of the early adaptations used a downsized quiz to determine the player, but others either picked the player randomly from an on-stage pool (such as the British version), or just had a contestant pre-determined (like the U.S. version).
  • The first season of Winx Club consists of 26 half-hour episodes, while Fate: The Winx Saga consists of only 6 one-hour episodes. Only major plot points like Bloom uncovering her past were kept, while less plot-relevant adventures were liberally cut loose.
  • Game of Thrones is an unusual example. An adaptation of the still ongoing A Song of Ice and Fire series, which had five books released at the start of the show. The approach taken by the show was One Book per season and the first four seasons were highly faithful to Books 1-3, with Season 3 and 4 being an adaptation of the very long A Storm of Swords, leading one to assume that the fifth and sixth seasons would continue in the same vein. Instead, from the fifth season, the show became looser in its approach to the material, since the plan was to finish the show in seven seasons (and ended up with eight seasons). This led to drastic changes and reconfiguring of plot and character arcs to suit the show, and in a sense ended up becoming a case of Overtook The Source Material due to the last two novels being unreleased as of the end of the show.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power compresses the timeline of events that took place over the course of centuries in The Silmarillion into the span of less than a year, to avoid having to recast the human characters every few episodes. Two significant events exemplify the show's compressed timeline; in the books, the forging of the rings happens roughly 1500 years before Isildur's birth, while in the series Isildur predates the rings.
  • Two Monk episodes were adapted from tie-in novels. Season 5's "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" was an adaptation of Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, and borrowed only the base of the murder solution. Season 8's "Mr. Monk and the Badge" is a loose adaptation of the Golden Gate Strangler and Officer Milner plot thread from Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu.
  • Considering how long the manga is, it was inevitable that One Piece (2023) was going to be this. The 8 episodes of the show's first season, which serve as an adaptation of the East Blue saga, adapt the first 95 chapters of the manga/44 episodes of the anime.
  • Par for the course in Power Rangers, as most of the seasons have a different episode count than their Sentai counterpart. (For example, most Sentai ran up to about 50 episodes while Power Rangers managed to hit an average of 32-45; in the Neo Saban Era these episodes were spread out over two seasons per show, meaning while the shows had less episodes than the Sentai they were adapted from, they tended to last longer on the airwaves). However it takes the cake with Power Rangers Megaforce. How? It took two different seasons and spread the footage out through forty episodes, with half of them being of one season and another half being of another season. As if they couldn't exaggerate it enough, they managed to compress the adaptation within the adaptation as they take six episodes from the former season and cram them all into two episodes.
    • Sister show VR Troopers is somewhat similar to Megaforce, in that they were adapting more than one show that had little to no connections to each other — in this case, the Metal Heroes series Chōjinki Metalder (39 episodes), Jikuu Senshi Spielban (44 episodes) and Space Sheriff Shaider (49 episodes). Season one, which adapted Metalder and Spielban, got 52 episodes, and season two (which replaced the Metalder footage with Shaider) had 40; overall, it's 92 total episodes to 132 (if all three source shows are tallied together).
  • Being a half-hour program, and a family-oriented one at that, the various works adapted on Wishbone are compressed both for time and content. But as they take things out, but never add anything in, they still remain among the more faithful adaptations you'll find anywhere.


  • Tales of the Arabian Nights has the player go through seven missions ("Tales") based on the Arabian Nights (as well as its associated works), with varying levels of faithfulness. Needless to say, there was a lot of compression to squeeze even one Tale into a minute-long game mode.

  • Journey into Space: Operation Luna, the remake of Journey to the Moon, had only 13 episodes compared to the original's 18. It omitted the original's first four episodes set on Earth and combined its 12th and 13th episodes into one episode.
  • The Natalie Haynes Stands Up For the Classics episode "Homer and the Iliad" opens with Natalie explaining that we know even less about Homer than the other people she's been talking about, so instead of discussing his life, she's going to run through all 24 books of The Iliad. In the remaining 25 minutes. Two entire books are summed up as "Fighting".

  • This is common with several Disney on Ice shows, usually the ones that combine the stories of multiple movies in one performance. The average segment tends to retell the entire story of a Disney movie in any amount of time from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the show. There have also been some full-length shows based on one movie that employed this trope as well, like the ones for Frozen (2013) and Toy Story 3.
  • The 1920s stage adaptation of Dracula focuses on the portion of the novel set in London, leaving out the earlier parts set in Transylvania and Whitby and the later part in which the action returns to Transylvania. The earlier events still happened (at least the most plot-relevant bits, more or less) but are summarized in dialogue instead of being shown directly; the later part is dispensed with by having the vampire hunters successfully confront Dracula in London instead of letting him escape back to his homeland.
  • Les Misérables takes a 1400-page book with a large cast and makes an two-and-three-quarter-hours-long musical with about ten principles and an ensemble of about 20. Granted, it works wonderfully, but even on stage, it's very stylized to keep the action moving. It feels almost like a three-hour Montage covering almost all of the subtropes thereof.
  • Guys and Dolls takes an interesting track of combining two short stories by Damon Runyon, adding in characters from his other stories and giving them songs. It works incredibly well; the fact that they did not include a character called Big Nig helped immensely.
  • La Bohème's method of compression was similar to that of Guys and Dolls. Henri Murger's Scènes de la vie de bohème is more of a picaresque collection of stories about Bohemian life with recurring major characters. The opera takes these characters and combines a few of the events from the stories to create a shorter single plot, with some differences from the novel. Mimì's personality became more pure, and Schaunard and Colline's girlfriends were written out... In fact, some of the most memorable events of La Bohème are taken from the story "Francine's Muff", the only chapter of the novel that has nothing to do with any of the four main characters, with romantic moments that were originally Jacques and Francine's given to Rodolfo and Mimí instead. This was a common way of adapting books for the stage at the time, and were often far worse than the operatic examples, leading to a "popular scenes from" or even a "scenes that the censors will let us put on from" adaptation. However, the operas have music that people want to hear. The plays had no such mitigating factor.
  • Most 19th C. operas based on then-popular novels and/or plays skipped a lot. For example, in Verdi's La Traviata, the libretto makes a handful of vague indications that Violetta is sick throughout, but doesn't specify that she has TB until near the end — because in the original audience everyone knew the play or the novel. Tosca, La Bohème and the various versions of Manon were similarly compressed.
  • Pinocchio The Musical cuts away around one third of the original book, skipping straight from the Blue Fairy's house in the woods to Pinocchio and Lampwick going to the Land of Toys.
  • Trainspotting ends with Mark moving to London, omitting the drug deal from the book and movie's final.
  • When David Mamet adapted The Voysey Inheritance, he cut out close to an hour of material from the original play, including merging the first two acts. It works.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The two-hour version of the play covers the A Song of Ice and Fire material Game of Thrones adapted into its first three seasons. Even with some of the plotlines cut entirely, compression of the part of the plot still covered was necessary.
  • Inevitably all of William Shakespeare's history plays use this approach, as they have to portray events that spanned years or even decades in the space of a few hours. Sometimes it does get a bit ridiculous; Henry VI Part 2 has Richard of Gloucester killing the Duke of Somerset in a battle at St Albans, when the real Richard was barely three years old at the time of the real battle.
  • Wicked eliminates or combines various characters, distills the action to fit within a two-act musical, makes the entire piece Lighter and Softer, and shortens the timeline to cover fewer years.

    Theme Parks 
  • Some of the dark rides found at the Disney Theme Parks qualify. For example:
    • Disney's California Adventure has Monsters, Inc. - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!, a dark ride that retells the plot of the film... well, sort of. Everything about the conspiracy to kidnap children and suck out their screams that Randall is a part of is removed, thus Randall's plot here is pretty much "sabotage Sulley's efforts to get Boo home For the Evulz".
    • The dark rides based on The Little Mermaid (1989) at Disney's California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom also qualify. Almost every scene is based around one of the film's musical numbers (the biggest scene in the attraction is the "Under the Sea" sequence), removing much of the actual plot. Remember the climax with the giant Ursula? In the ride, that's represented by a tiny cardboard cutout of Ursula squeezed in-between the "Kiss the Girl" scene and Ariel's wedding.
    • A variation with The Seas With Nemo and Friends, the Finding Nemo-themed dark ride at EPCOT. It's intended to be a sequel to the film, yet it just so happens to be about Marlin trying to find Nemo, who's hiding from Marlin for no other reason than to be a Troll. And Marlin and Dory just so HAPPEN to encounter the same jellyfish and anglerfish they encountered in the movie.

    Video Games 
  • This trope is the eventual fate of almost any game released for a handheld system that is primarily released through a major console. Handhelds typically have greatly reduced processing power and storage space, making Adaptation Distillation and Compressed Adaptation necessary. Over the course of time, it's more bearable as handhelds become more powerful and/or developers tailor specifically to them. For example, Tales of the Abyss was originally a Play Station 2 game, but ported identically to the Nintendo 3DS.
  • BEMANI games will shorten existing songs to about 2 minutes if they aren't already that short. Combined with there typically being 3-5 stages per credit, this is to ensure that everyone playing in the arcade gets their turn in a reasonable amount of time; imagine waiting half an hour because "Through The Fire And Flames" is available in full (on GITADORA, it's naturally cut from 7 1/2 minutes to 2) and someone decided to play it three times in a row. Other arcade Rhythm Games have similar practices, and if one doesn't cut song lengths it typically only allows one song per credit (such as Guitar Hero Arcade).
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Donkey Kong on the NES is infamously missing the 50m stage, also known by fans as the pie factory. Since the NES port is the version of the game that Nintendo most commonly rereleases due to rights issues surrounding the original, it was surprisingly difficult to find a way to play the complete arcade version of Donkey Kong prior to the "Arcade Archives" release in 2018. Prior to this, the only ways to play it was either through MAME emulation or Donkey Kong 64 (where its a minigame made available towards the end of the game).
    • The Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge, a very rare authorized romhack of Donkey Kong Country that was distributed for the Powerfest '94 and Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II competitions. The entire game has a 5 minute time limit, and the farthest you can possibly get is Croctopus Chase, where the game freezes after you complete it, since the goal is to get as many points as possible instead of finishing it. The two player modes and save feature are disablednote , and the Animal Tokens are removed, making it impossible to access the bonus stages without cheating.
  • Alongside the main game of the Super Famicom Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is a remake of the first Famicom Fire Emblem—Minus five of the 25 chapters.
  • The PS2 adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is mostly faithful to the original manga, but it speeds up the plot a little bit after Giorno joins Passione, cutting out the fights with Zucchero and Sale and skipping straight to Trish being entrusted with Bruno's group. Additionally, the fight between Doppio and Risotto is barely shown, and all that is shown is a cutscene regarding Leone's death.
  • Kirby Super Star's first game, Spring Breeze, is a compressed adaptation of Kirby's Dream Land, the first game of the series. The original game was already rather short, but Spring Breeze cuts a whole level (Castle Lololo) and a boss (Kaboola), as well as excluding the Boss Rush near the end.
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes excises the VR missions from the original versions of the game, meaning Snake can't credit his training on board the Discovery for getting him to the elevator up to Shadow Moses in a timely manner.
  • Miner 2049er for the Atari 2600 had cut out seven of the original Atari 8-bit computer version's ten screens from its release due to the limited memory of the Atari 2600, resulting in a Part 2 release featuring three other screens.
  • The iOS port of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors takes out all of the puzzle portions, leaving a pure visual novel where the only choices are the ones that cause route branching and everything else that previously had a choice is locked to one of them. On the other hand, there's a new bad ending that "rewards" you for making the biggest Violation of Common Sense at the second branch by ending your game before you ever reach the third.
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors: The first and third game follow the manga's storyline faithfully, but there's only so much they can adapt with a story as long as One Piece. As a result, most of the arc are truncated to include the most memorable battles and scenes. The third game takes this to an extreme with the Dressrosa arc: because it was still ongoing by the time the game was released, said arc was given an alternate storyline and ending, and many of its characters got the shaft.
  • Rambo: The Video Game is a compressed retelling of the first three Rambo films, with most plot points cut out. Oddly enough, events from Rambo IV is excluded, despite coming out six years after the fourth film.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016) does this when directly covering the events of the movie (despite being an Adaptation Expansion when it's not): huge chunks of the plot are completely removed, such as most of the Hall of Heroes scenes, Drek turning Qwark evil, and everything after the Deplanetizer finale. Unfortunately an Enforced Trope, as Insomniac Games were only allowed to use a certain amount of footage from the movie, which also explains why many movie events were redone wholesale, like the Siege of Aleero City and the Nefarious fight.
  • Skull Island: Rise of Kong is a loose adaptation of Kong: King of Skull Island, but cuts out everything involving humans, focusing almost solely on the conflict between Kong and the Deathrunners. It's unsurprisingly a very short game as a result, since the entire story is simply Kong fighting through various monsters until he defeats Gaw.
  • Whereas the "paths" of Street Fighter V are more-or-less remakes of previous games in the series using available characters from the main-game roster, three of these play to fewer stages than the originals: 4 (of 10) for the first Street Fighter; 8 (of 12) for Street Fighter II, which also only has the barrel bonus stage; 6 (of 7/10) for Street Fighter III.
  • Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey: Downplayed — the game tells the story of The Odyssey nearly from beginning to end. Parts left out include Telemachus's journey (though it is referenced as having happened off-screen), the attack on Thrace (where Odysseus originally obtained the wineskin he uses against Polyphemus in the game and myth), the island of the Lotus-Eaters, the Laestrygonians (who captured and ate most of the Greeks), a number of encounters in the Underworld, the island of the Phaeacians, and the attack by the relatives of the suitors after Odysseus defeats them.
  • Your Bizarre Adventure is a Fan Game with a story mode adapting JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, retaining the basic plot while stripping out many characters and plot points. For instance, after the player defeats Bruno (or "Bruce"), he mentions that he's started to work together with Giorno, with his original motivation for doing so (learning that they both despise the criminal drug trade) being ignored entirely.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour, the second half of the game loosely adapts the anime's Virtual World arc, following it with an adaptation of Battle City.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Spirit Caller: The game's first year is a loose retelling of the main storyline of GX season 1, with the inclusion of Tyranno Hasslebarry in some parts. The second year introduces Aster Phoenix and Dark Zane, but omits the rest of season 2.

  • Roommates has a three page adaptation of The Erl-King (which was the 2013 Fathers' Day Special) which cuts the poem's three rounds of the child being not belived down to one by taking parts from all three.

    Web Video 
  • Fascinating Horror's April Fools' Day 2022 video covering "The Isla Nublar Incident" does not go into detail about Dennis Nedry's role in sabotaging Jurassic Park's systems, and does not name any character except for John Hammond. Specific details about the damage the dinosaurs caused are also left vague.

    Western Animation 
  • Emperor Joker, a Bat Family Crossover that ran throughout various Superman books, was adapted as a single episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • Disney Channel's Have a Laugh — which alternates between showing the Classic Disney Shorts, "Blam!" (slapstick from said shorts set to Totally Radical commentary), and "Re-MICKS" (clips from the shorts set to music, using songs such as "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen to "Play My Music" by the Jonas Brothers) — sometimes airs three-minute versions of the shorts. Compare the original How to Hook Up Your Home Theater with the three-minute version, for example.
  • Warren Ellis' six-issue Extremis storyline was adapted as a single episode of Iron Man: Armored Adventures.
  • The 1990s Iron Man series also did this. "The Beast Within" was a single episode adaptation of the "Dragon Seed Saga" (functioning as a Wham Episode introducing the Retool in the process), while the "Hands of the Mandarin" storyline (which spanned three different titles, plus backup/side stories in Marvel Comics Presents) became a two-parter (a similar thing was done for their adaptation of the Armor Wars arc).
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • The original four seasons suffer from this, with some stories from The Railway Series merged into one episode and many plot elements and full stories never being adapted. This could be partially due to Executive Meddling, though.
    • "The Adventure Begins" not only re-adapts the original stories where Thomas first debuted, but also elements from "The Three Railway Engines". Mainly Edward pushing Gordon up the hill happened before Thomas arrived and Henry being stuck was told via flashback. Edward mentions briefly that Henry did got out of the tunnel, but Gordon interrupts as he didn't want to hear it.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series:
    • The series did a fair number of episodes directly based off stories from Chris Claremont's run. For instance, the "Proteus" adaptation was shortened to a single two-part episode, as opposed to the original story, which run for several issues after being built-up by a number of prior subplots.
    • Phalanx Covenant also goes from a Bat Family Crossover of all the X-books with a whole subplot given to the Poorly Disguised Pilot of Generation X to a two-parter. A good two-parter that gets most of the important bits and a lot of guest stars in, though, possibly qualifying for Adaptation Distillation.
    • The entire Age of Apocalypse Alternate Universe. The plot revolves around Bishop, Shard, and an alternate Storm and Wolverine trying to put history back on track with only a small amount of time spent on the Professor X-less Marvel Universe.
  • The Young Justice (2010) episode "Misplaced" is an adaptation of the JLA: A World Without Grown-Ups mini-series, while "Coldhearted" was an adaptation of the first few issues of the Wally West Flash series.
  • 9 Episodes of the first season of Kulipari: An Army of Frogs is based on the first book of the Kulipari Trilogy, "An Army of Frogs". Unfortunately this leaves only two episodes each to cover the other two books "The Rainbow Serpent" and "Amphibian's End". The way this affects the pacing of the story is extremely noticeable.
  • In-Universe with the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Ember Island Players", where the stage play version of the Gaang's adventures skips over some of the more boring parts. And then ends with an original ending for events that have yet to happen.
  • Sky1's Moominvalley sometimes turns The Moomins novels into multipart stories (especially the more episodic ones), and sometimes just compresses them into half an hour. The final episode "November" skips a lot of Moominvalley in November, but still gets the basic point of "Nobody's sure if the Moomins are coming back, or what they should do if they're not."
  • The 1963 animated short film "Noddy Goes To Toyland", by Peter Lee and Arthur Humberstone, shortened the original 1949 children's book of the same name. It only included scenes such as a montage of Noddy and Big Ears building Noddy's house, Noddy accidentally letting the animals from Noah's Ark loose, and the trial to determine if Noddy is a toy.
  • The animated adaptation of Trese takes the first three volumes of the comics (Cases 1-13) and adapts them into six half-hour episodes, linking details and deleting others (for example the first case, the White Lady of Balete Drive had no connection to Mayor Santamaria, and has a completely different backstory in the comics). Specifically Cases 1, 2, and 5-13 were adapted, with 9-12 being told during the cold open flashbacks of each episode.