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Overtook the Manga

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"How'd you get here so fast, Anime-san?"

Mokuba: We appear to be locked on course with a giant ocean fortress directly beneath us!
Yugi: That's weird. I don't remember any of this happening in the manga.

Many anime are based on manga, or Japanese comics. While simply making the anime into a completely Alternate Continuity is common (especially if the manga has No Ending), more often the anime at least tries to follow the major plot points of the original manga.

However, if a series is especially popular (and/or marketable), its anime version will begin before the manga even ends. Because of medium conventions, it takes longer for events to unfold in manga than it does in anime — the average conversion being roughly 2 (weekly) manga chapters to make 1 anime episode — and this often means that before long an anime will simply run out of source material. While some manga series are published weekly (e.g., Shonen Magazine/Sunday/Jump, etc), others are published on a monthly schedule (e.g., Nakayoshi, Shonen Ace).

However, most anime are aired weekly, which only makes it worse, especially for manga that have just started recently. The producers of the anime are then in a fix: they can't just wait for the creator to produce more material because they have a broadcast schedule to meet. Japanese shows are almost always broadcast solely as original episodes without re-runs, so no new episodes is akin to being cancelled. This is something that is frequently lost in translation outside of Japan, with the result being that, unlike Western shows, television shows aren't really made in the form of "seasons", with breaks written into the production schedule. They just keep going and going and going until they finish/get cancelled, or stop at a predesignated point. This is also why lots of anime are only 12/13 or 24/26 episodes long, because that's all they were scheduled for, regardless of popularity. However, there are shows that are starting to break this tradition by adopting the "seasons" model, such as My Hero Academia.

Unless they work in close tandem with the writer of the original manga – which is very rare since those writers are usually busy with the manga as is – the people in charge of the anime will have to come up with their own solution for this problem. The most common being that they just start making things up on their own, and create a unique plotline continuing from the point they caught up with the manga to base things on.

Unfortunately, unpopular or unwelcome filler arcs and episodes may often be Misblamed as being the fault of the original creators, when in reality the creators almost always have nothing to do with the filler plot. Some fillers that were better received by fans are often cited as being opportunities to develop lesser characters (this helps a lot with anime that have a cast size near the size of the production staff).

Another popular option is to just pad the episodes out and slow the story down with characters constantly talking in the middle of a fight. This was common in the Dragon Ball series, which unfortunately meant that many people thought the manga was exactly the same or that Akira Toriyama's writing was at fault, when in reality the pace of the anime was out of his hands (his manga is a much breezier experience, but unfortunately nowhere near as famous).

Finally, the writers can choose to just diverge from the manga entirely and make their own ending instead. An example of this is the 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, which was actually produced with this in mind due to the mangaka knowing that this trope was inevitable and feeling the other two options would ruin the story.

See also Wacky Wayside Tribe, Adaptation Expansion.

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    Manga-to-Anime Examples 
  • Ai Yori Aoshi. While Ai Yori Aoshi and Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi follow the manga for the most part pretty faithfully, its ending accomplishes nothing story wise.
  • Where the Asteroid in Love anime ends is just a month after its corresponding chapter (Chapter 36) published, and there are substantial content in the Animated Adaptation of the Ishigaki arc that are anime original. For example, the debriefing session at the end of Episode 12 is never in the manga, although it is implied Sayuri does interview Mira and co. regarding the Shining Star Challenge. On the major storyline, though, the adaptation covers the events properly, albeit in a more sentimental tone.
  • The anime Akame ga Kill! really started deviating from the manga once it reached around Episode 20, with many source readers outraged at the direction it went in. The manga ended 3 years later in 2017; ironically enough, its Gecko Ending was actually rather similar to the anime's, with only a slightly lower body count.
  • The anime for Attack on Titan only had 25 episodes, because the manga wasn't finished at that time. It also caught up way too fast with the source material, leaving out less than 15 chapters of content. Because of this, there was a 4-year long delay in the production of the 2nd anime to allow for story developments to catch up and to avoid this happening again. It seems to have worked: after the second season aired in 2017, the anime has managed to continue releasing annually after that, with Season 3 divided into two parts in 2018 and 2019, and the same goes with the first part of the final season in late 2020 to 2021. The manga ended in 2021 which gives enough time for the second and third part of the final season to be produced and released in early 2022 and 2023.
    • Additionally, the 2015 theatrical film adaptation was made long before multiple big reveals about the backstory and setting of the manga and anime had been established. The resulting history of the titans, how the titan shifters came about, and the setting of the walled cities are all completely different. The walls are set in a future post-apocalyptic Japan, the titans were a weapon experiment gone wrong, and the titan shifters were a modification on the initial project to make a controllable version. The identity of the Colossal Titan and Armored Titan shifters are also both entirely different. Though in a case of hilarity in hindsight, the movie-exclusive character heavily implied to be Eren's older brother, Shikishima, later wound up voicing his canonical older brother, Zeke, in the English dub.
  • The Beyblade X anime tries desperately to stay behind the manga, the latter being a monthly series. To that end, after the first few episodes stayed (mostly) consistent to the manga, many individual manga chapters were later on divided into semi-canon mini-arcs, with certain events like the intruduction of Burn Fujiwara being delayed as a result. On the flipside, the semi-filler episodes avoid making anime-only characters and instead use the opportunity to flesh out the side-characters that got much less focus in the manga.
  • Berserk is a monthly (mostly) series that had already run for several years by the time its animated TV adaptation came out in 1997. That anime was a single season that covered only one arc of the manga (10 volumes worth of material – nowadays that's less than a third of the total story). Rather than a Gecko Ending, it stops at a large Cliffhanger (technically it's a whole series flashback that doesn't tell the viewer how we got to where we started). It's been described as "the world's most elaborate ad for the manga" for the way it drives viewers desperate for resolution back to the original. The New '10s' film trilogy adaptation re-adapts that same plot arc, ending only very slightly further on in the plot – roughly one chapter's worth, which fortunately is enough to finally resolve that cliffhanger. The creators of the trilogy have expressed the desire to continue adapting the manga story up through the unwritten ending, with a new TV series. Due to passing of Kentaro Miura, the only way to end the series is this very trope.
  • Nine episodes of Black Butler are adapted from the manga, the rest of the first and second seasons are entirely original and feature their own Gecko Ending. However, a third season called Book of Circus and its accompanying OVA Book of Murder are direct adaptations of two connecting arcs in the manga, presented as mid-sequels that take place before the anime goes off the rails. It was followed by Book of Atlantic, which directly follows a saga from the manga taking place after Murder.
  • Defying this is the reason why the Black Clover anime went on a hiatus on Episode 170 after adapting Asta and Liebe's fight and mutual contract afterwards, as the anime was so close to the manga at the time this would have been inevitable if it continued.
  • Bleach created the Bount, Shusuke Amagai, Zanpakuto Tales, Beast Swords, and Division 13 Incursion arcs due to Tite Kubo's legendarily slow pacing. Sometimes the filler arcs slid neatly in between canon arcs but at other times, they occurred in the middle of canon arcs, resulting in comedy segments where the canon characters behaved like actors taking set breaks. Eventually, Pierrot decided to cut their losses and end the anime altogether while the final arc ran in the manga. It was only until after the final arc ended did the anime resume.
  • This happened to Blue Exorcist. It followed the manga pretty well up until the very first filler episode, after which they both went in two entirely different directions. Some fans were not pleased.
    • Season two, however, went back to following the manga, and made the anime-exclusive parts of season one (certain scenes from episodes 16-17, and everything after) Canon Discontinuity.
  • The Bokurano anime was completed before the manga was, resulting in the last half of the anime having absolutely no connection or resemblance to the equivalent in the manga, with the exception of one plot twist that the manga author might have decided to use after the anime came up with it.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun has many filler arcs because of its manga's slow pace. Fortunately, the author Kazuma Kamachi had some say in these arcs, and they were mostly used to tie up the previous arcs' loose ends that the manga missed. It is notable that the anime's third season has no filler arcs, as there were two completed and unadapted arcs at the time of production due to a seven year gap between seasons.
  • In Chrono Crusade, the anime took a radically different direction from the manga in the last third of the series (they ended around the same time). Whether or not this is necessarily a bad thing is up to you.
    • To simplify it, the anime plays up the religious symbolism way more than the manga does, and the natures of certain characters are different. Even the Foregone Conclusion plays out differently.
  • The anime adaptation of Code:Breaker is a different case. With the manga released back in 2003, the anime, which was released in 2012, only has 12 episodes and only focused on the Hitomi Arc. What's even worse is that anime brought in three characters (Yuuki, Rui, and Yukihina) who aren't supposed to appear after the Hitomi Arc.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys, despite being a Slice of Life comedy, got this treatment due to two factors: (1) the manga's Sketch Comedy format means a whole volume of manga can only produce about 3 episodes of anime without padding, and (2) Sunrise did not pad. The anime practically ran out of original material at the last episode, in which they asked the mangaka to draw two skits for the anime (High School Boys and Assertiveness and High School Boys and Getting Hit On) and made two original skits (High School Boys and ... and the faux High School Girls are Funky—The Movie trailer). Of course, being an ongoing Slice of Life manga without much of a plot, the anime simply ended the season by using Book Ends.
  • Dragon Ball is notorious for introducing loads of Padding and filler to give the manga time to work its way ahead and give the anime material to adapt and progress the story forward. There are also notable points that allowed the anime to capitalize on large stretches of time the manga doesn't cover and write its own original stories:
    • The very first occurrence of a filler arc in Dragon Ball is after Goku departs to search for the Four Star Ball after the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, where Goku encounters Colonel Silver early, fights the Pilaf Gang again and spends an episode or two with Chi Chi and the Ox King (all at the same time!).
    • Easily the most common excuse for filler sequences are manga time skips where characters train and prepare for an upcoming battle. It would be used in Dragon Ball where characters train for the 22nd and 23rd Tournaments (and flesh out Goku and Chi Chi's wedding), and in Dragon Ball Z it appears during the build-up to the arrival of Vegeta and Nappa, the arrival of the Androids, and the wait until the Cell Games. These episodes typically show characters gaining new fighting insights that will definitely be important and utilized later, introduce some characters slightly early, or have them take driving lessons.
    • The Namek Arc is possibly the most infamous arc by way of desperately trying to avert this trope, having a huge amount of padding and filler. This was unfortunate because Namek was an uninteresting archipelago world whose sparse population was almost completely wiped out by the Big Bad before the heroes even get there, meaning they couldn't conjure up new locations or characters like in earlier stories set on Earth (so it introduced its own Earth-set B-stories that invariably went nowhere). Despite its efforts, the anime still came dangerously close to fulfilling this trope: the conflict with Frieza was right up against the manga by only a couple of chapters, with the episode of Goku transforming into a Super Saiyan being the closest the anime ever got to overtaking the source material.
    • As a result of the above, the Garlic Jr. saga occurred in the timeskip immediately after Namek to give some breathing room for the manga to forge ahead into the Android Arc. While the arc itself does delve into story elements the manga would not, it too has a fair amount of padding and nonsensical storytelling.
    • The last significant filler arc is the Other World Tournament, which occurs after Cell is defeated but before the skip forward to Buu, as well as some extra Great Saiyaman shenanigans. After that, the anime was just as likely to take a week or four off the air to stall for time than it was to use filler and pad out the existing fights.
    • Dragon Ball Super sidesteps the problem. Both the anime and the manga are given a general plot outline and character designs by Akira Toriyama, but are left to interpret them differently, leading to the anime and manga varying wildly in different aspects.
    • Dragon Ball GT is a case of Adaptation Expansion, because it was made after the original manga ended and Toei ordered an anime-only sequel to Dragon Ball Z to continue airing immediately afterwards.
  • Elfen Lied fell victim to this, ending roughly at Chapter 63 of the manga (which would go on to run for 107 chapters total). It was resolved with some separate continuity, culminating in an ending that was half Gecko and half Ambiguous.
  • Excel♡Saga got an adaptation less than two years into its run, which was a problem due to it being a monthly series. However, the anime producers made a deliberate attempt to avoid this by going for a completely different storyline – officially it covers the first five volumes, but only a handful of episodes (mostly in the first and third quarters) have any connection to the original manga at all. For the record, Excel♡Saga gets considerably darker – and is much more of a satire than a parody – not long after the adapted-to-anime material ends.
  • The Eyeshield 21 anime has a lot more wacky hijinks between games because of this.
  • Defied by the Fairy Tail anime, which has gone on hiatus twice in its runnote , with Filler arcs, some slight Padding, and an adaptation of the prequel manga helping to stretch things out until a good drop-off point in the story was reached. The final season eventually finished the series over a year after the manga ended, and indeed ended during the running of the sequel manga.
  • The first season of the Fist of the North Star TV series, which adapts the first 25 chapters of the manga into 22 episodes, changes the order of events as a way of preventing it from getting ahead of the original manga (which was in the middle of the Cassandra arc when the anime began airing). Kenshiro's battle with Shin (who dies in Chapter 10) was pushed back to the end of the season and as a result the two follow-up villains from the manga, the Golan Colonel and Jackal, were rewritten to be agents of Shin instead of acting on their own accord and numerous anime-only villains were introduced afterward to pad out rest of the season. The subsequent parts also featured filler, but generally kept the main storyline going in the same order.
  • The 2001 anime adaptation of Fruits Basket narrowly averted this. It originally aired five years before the manga ended; as a result, it only covers about a third of the manga's story (barely seven books' worth of material). The final episodes are about an arc from the beginning of volume 6 that was shifted back for narrative purposes – Kyo's inner struggle with his true form, and Tohru learning to accept him for who he is. Another reason Fruits Basket only had 26 episodes is because Natsuki Takaya broke her drawing hand while working on the eighth book, leading to her taking a break from it. If the anime had gone past 26 episodes, then it's likely that it would've overtaken the manga, though Takaya being deeply disappointed with how it turned out and having major Creative Differences with the director prevented it from ever continuing. In 2019, the manga would get a new anime adaptation that aimed to be more faithful than the 2001 anime, and it covers most of the manga's story at 63 episodes.
  • The first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist went into an Alternate Continuity from its very early episodes, although the changes were fairly subtle in the beginning. This is because the creators knew in advance that it would overtake the manga, as did the manga's creator, who explicitly asked them to take this route. Averted with the second series, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, whose release was carefully timed to end almost simultaneously with the manga — the final episode was aired about two weeks after the final manga chapter was released.
  • Gantz is an odd example. The manga and anime were created at about the same time. The animators, knowing they would eventually get ahead of the manga, decided from the beginning that it would only follow the manga through a few arcs. The anime ended with an arc that was nowhere in the manga, but had been planned since the first episode of the anime.
  • The anime adaptation of Great Teacher Onizuka followed the manga for the most part right up the trip to Okinawa.
  • Averted in Guyver, which has had three animated adaptations and none of them have gone past the first appearance of Guyver Gigantic. This happened in the early 90s... and the manga is still ongoing. Even the most recent anime, produced in 2005, just barely got Guyver Gigantic in. Many Guyver fans would love an anime that runs long enough to overtake the massive manga lead.
  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight also diverged from its manga once it reached the "Haunted House." This included, oh, removing half to all of the plot. To this day, the Twilight anime is the only instalment, besides the gag OAV .hack//GIFT, which does not count officially in the series canon.
  • The Haunted Junction anime had to replace the more linear and consistent plot from the manga with a comedic Once per Episode deal and cut several characters out (like the Bleeding Beethoven and Shingo to cover up for how the manga was nowhere near finished... and it wouldn't be over until years after the anime series was done for.
  • Hellsing's first anime went a completely different direction with characterization in its second half, the "Incognito Arc", due to catching up with Kohta Hirano's manga extremely early on (as in, before the Big Bad was even introduced). This was made worse by the fact that (1) Hellsing was a monthly series, and (2) Hirano is famously lazy, regularly turning in chapters only 10 pages long in a magazine where the average is 25-30. Hirano was extremely unhappy with the anime, and further adaptation of the manga was postponed for years. Hellsing Ultimate, an OVA series much more in line with the original, was then made.
  • The 2015 anime of The Heroic Legend of Arslan was based on Hiromu Arakawa's manga adaptation of the original novels. However, the anime ran out of manga material, so the staff decided to follow the novel story route instead. For now, the anime is ahead of the manga that it was originally based on, but it's fine because they are both based from the novel. It also helps that said novel had been ongoing since 1986 and later finished in 2017.
  • Despite this happening, Hunter × Hunter has at most four episodes that could be considered filler in it, and they were all fairly early on. Instead of making filler episodes, the anime simply stopped making episodes until the manga made significant progress, which is why it has three OVA seasons and stops at the end of the Greed Island arc. The series was rebooted in 2011, and despite a twelve-year gap, it narrowly averts this, ending in 148 episodes.
  • Inazuma Eleven is a rare example of the anime staff avoiding filler by working closely in tandem with the creators of the source material (in this case a video game series instead of a manga series). Whenever this happens, the anime simply starts on the plot of the next game before the game itself is released. The game series itself simply has its major plot points planned out well in advance; the 4th game, Inazuma Eleven GO, is currently scheduled for a winter 2011 release, but trailers had already surfaced a whole year in advance in December 2010. As a result, the major plot points are generally consistent between the game and anime, although plenty of details and smaller points differ.
  • When the Inuyasha anime series Overtook the Manga, Sunrise opted to simply end it, resulting in a finale that only gets about 7/10 of the way through the story. It was finally continued in Inuyasha: The Final Act, which covered the remaining volumes of the manga, which ended in 2008.
  • No other manga series has the distinction of averting this trope the way JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has. This is due to two things. For one, the gap between the original work's first publication and the eventual television adaptation. Published in 1987, it was one of the longest-running manga series without a TV anime adaptation, not receiving one until 2012, in stark contrast with the vast majority of manga series that typically gain their adaptations in 1-5 years or so, meaning that Filler Arcs won't be an issue for David Production for quite some time, if at all. The second is that there's been a two year gap between the first airing of each seasonnote , so even though Hirohiko Araki is publishing JoJo monthly, the team at David won't outpace him any time soon.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail's anime ran concurrently with the second half of the manga, with both ending at the same time. While there was enough coordination to avoid a Gecko Ending, and while the anime is close to the manga on an episode-by-episode basis, said second half is spaced out by a large amount of Filler that breaks up continuity and paces the overall manga's storyline differently to compensate.
  • This happened to Karin, resulting in a very anti-climactic yet funny ending for the anime and an elaborate Tear Jerker ending for the manga.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl ignores a new plotline added in the manga and goes for a Gecko Ending – probably for the better, although opinions differ.
  • The anime of Kekkaishi made its own story for a short while, then abruptly cut it short with no resolution whatsoever.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch also had filler while waiting for the manga that eventually crowded out key plot points from the manga. Meaning? Anything involving Coco.
  • My Hero Academia has so far been getting around this problem by simply using the "seasonal" model for releases rather than a traditional run typical of anime adaptations, completely breaking tradition. It helps that so far there is a substantial amount of chapters ahead of the anime, providing a decent buffer so the wait isn't too long. All indications suggest that this has so far been working out quite well for Studio BONES, who have previously had to deal with this issue with titles like Soul Eater and Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • The Naruto franchise:
    • The "Filler Hell" of Naruto after the Sasuke Retrieval Arc is perhaps the most infamous example since Dragon Ball. As in, the show ended up with two entire seasons, combining to 79 episodes, composed solely of episodic filler and nothing else. Although some of the filler arcs were moderately popular for providing screen time to fan favorite secondary characters as well as general Fanservice, this eventually led to a severe drop in ratings, resulting in the first arc after the Time Skip being essentially a relaunch with the new title of Naruto Shippuden.
    • Shippuden attempted to pace itself so the manga could maintain a lead, even at one point going so far as to adapt only one manga chapter per episode. Despite this, the lead slowly closed. Multiple filler stories have been introduced, but do not have the same advantage as taking place during a Time Skip, instead being shoehorned into the plot as either flashbacks or Wacky Wayside Ninja. Unlike Bleach, however, the series happily and successfully followed the manga to the very end and even managed to adapt the various tie-in novels released after Chapter 700. They ended the series with Naruto's and Hinata's wedding, however, since the greenlighting of Boruto meant that Chapter 700 (a Babies Ever After) has little purpose.
    • The Sequel Series, Boruto, has been taking a different approach to avoid this: Since the manga is released monthly and its first 10 chapters adapt the events of Boruto: Naruto the Movie, the anime started by covering the events before that, focusing on Boruto's early days as a student of the ninja academy, all to allow for more time for the manga to advance. The show doesn't reach the events of the manga's first chapter until around the 50th episode.
  • Toei Animation is trying desperately to avert this with One Piece, not expecting the series to have gone on for this long. Saving filler stories strictly for promotion of other things (such as movies) and keeping them short, the anime instead is taking the one-chapter-one-episode approach, sometimes resorting to stretching a chapter into two episodes if they get too close, keeping roughly 10 to 12 months behind. Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the manga, seems to have caught wind of this and has greatly increased the pace of the manga, creating many gaps in every chapter for the anime people to fill in.
    • There is at least one instance of a minor addition in the anime contradicting later information from the manga. After the Time Skip, Tony Tony Chopper was shown to be able to use three of his special Points without his Rumble Ball drug. The anime assumes this was an oversight on Oda's part and had Chopper use a Rumble Ball before transforming. The Fishman Island Story Arc later clarifies the misconception, revealing that Chopper still needs a Rumble Ball to assume his Monster Point.
    • Beginning in 2014, Oda started having health problems and would take occasional breaks from the series. Unfortunately for everyone, it happened in the middle of a major story arc that had already run for over a year. This caused the anime to have to slow its pace to an absolute crawl to avoid this trope. It still hasn't quite hit DBZ-level because Oda packs a lot more dialogue and movement into each chapter than Toriyama.
  • Ouran High School Host Club pretty much averted this. The anime came out in 2006 and ran for only one season, while the manga ran from 2002 to 2010. Despite this, the anime followed the manga nicely with the exception of a few minor alterations that more or less didn't really affect anything. Only the very last two episodes or so drift from the manga. The anime ending was enough to give some closure, but still relatively open, leaving all pairings technically possible for fangirls to squee over.
    • Most shoujo stories published by Hakusensha seem to only receive roughly 26 episodes of anime adaptation (either a single series or two half-size seasons) which ends way before its manga source is anywhere near a proper conclusion. The production studios therefore don't have to wait for the manga at all provided it already has enough material for a one-season anime, and those who like the series can start reading the manga for continuation and/or more details. Whether this tactic actually works tends to vary between the series, though.
  • The anime Peacemaker Kurogane is the prequel for the actual manga "Peacemaker Kurogane", as it only follows the events of the manga "Shinsengumi Imon Peacemaker". Sound confusing? It is.
  • While most seasons of Pokémon: The Series are based directly off of one of the handheld video games, having Ash and co. visit the region of the currently-released installment and compete in the regional League, it had to go off the paved path twice, simply because they got to the end of "pavement":
    • The second season, named "Adventures in the Orange Islands", took place on a completely original set of islands. This was due to Pokémon Gold and Silver not yet being released at the time; while they could've had the characters putter about the Kanto region for another 35 episodes, moving the story to a more original setting allowed the producers to start introducing more of the new Johto Pokémon ahead of Gold and Silver's release. This actually allowed the Finnish MTV channel to forgo the Orange Island saga entirely.
    • The last portion of Pokémon the Series: Black & White (the second half of Season 16 in the dub) contains various filler episodes that did not fit within any of the saga's plotlines, plus a few Early Bird Cameos for Pokémon X and Y as per usual, and a brief arc regarding Team Plasma as the two-parter which was supposed to introduce them earlier had been canceled.
  • Ranma ½ overtook its manga source several times, and made a large number of episodes from scratch each time it happened. Several episodes also were condensed arcs from the manga as well, but that may often be expected.
    • An interesting phenomenon was when an event in the anime and the manga happened at different seasons. When Ranma fights Cologne, it's a summer Beach Episode in the manga, whereas it's a winter ski trip episode in the anime. As a result, the two are quite different.
  • Rozen Maiden is an unusual example, in that the anime adaptation overtook the manga because the manga was abruptly Cut Short due to a dispute between the publishers and the producers. As a result, the anime added a new and original arc that fans would dub "The Barasuishou Arc", named after the arc's Big Bad. This created a weird side-effect by the time Rozen Maiden: Tale came out, which ironically, the manga was trying to catch up to itself by first starting in an Alternate Universe before eventually picking up where the original left off.
  • This ironically did not happen to Rosario + Vampire; the first season of the anime stopped about halfway through the first serialization of the manga, which itself was just getting into its second, but not only did they rush to release the second season anime within a few months of the first, but rather than picking up where they left off, they skipped the rest of the first serialization and went directly into the second, which had barely been around for a year by then, though they did touch on some of the plot points from the first serialization. The result is not well-liked.
  • The Rurouni Kenshin anime's last three arcs — the Christian/Shimabara Arc, the Black Knights Arc, and the Feng Shui Arc — were anime-only, created while waiting for Nobuhiro Watsuki to finish the manga. Although the Christian Arc, as well as the episodic filler and the four episodes adapted from the light novel (which altogether make up over half the season), were reasonably well-received, the poor quality of the last two arcs led to the anime's cancellation and the final manga arc (the Enishi/Jinchuu Arc) was never fully animated, though a series of live-action movies adapting nearly every major arc, including the Jinchuu Arc was filmed long after the manga ended, with the final films released in 2021, ultimately covering every major story except the Raijuta Arc (which, while relatively long, was not of narrative importance to the rest of the overall story).
    • Nearly half of the first-season episodes (almost everything after the end of the Oniwaban story) were also filler, largely consisting of stand-alone episodes or two- to three-episode storylines that were basically watered-down versions of other plots from the manga (the series and the movie have three or four low-rent versions of the series' ultimate Big Bad Shishio – masterminds with a vision of the "good old days" who gather together a bunch of unemployed swordsmen to embark on national conquest).
  • The Sailor Moon manga (monthly) and original anime (weekly) were essentially produced simultaneously. Toei Animation wanted to create an anime based on Codename: Sailor V, which lead to the Sailor Moon manga starting the month before the anime premiered. Thanks to Production Lead Time, the anime wasn't directly based on the manga; Toei were just given characters and broad outlines of what the source material would be like. Not only was the majority of the anime original Monster of the Week stories, plotlines nominally based on the manga are barely recognizable, and even main characters were drastically different.
  • Saint Seiya created the whole Asgard arc after the Sanctuary Chapter which surprisingly enough became one of the fans favorite arcs. On the other hand, they created several episodes in the Sanctuary Chapter which led to some confusions notably with the introduction of the Crystal Saint as Hyoga's mentor when it was later revealed in the manga that Hyoga's mentor was in fact the Aquarius Saint. It was handwaved by making The Aquarius Saint the mentor of the Crystal Saint who was still the mentor of Hyoga the Cygnus Saint, thus establishing some kind of "coherent" hierarchy.
  • Saiyuki had a few cases, which led to a lot of filler and a large mismatch between the sequel series of the manga and the anime:
    • The entire second half of the first TV series, Gensoumaden Saiyuki, was an anime-original arc, although its Big Bad Homura was designed by the mangaka Kazuya Minekura, and the story took existing elements from the then-ongoing manga prequel series, Saiyuki Gaiden. (Notably, the Homura arc became rather popular for non-manga material, with its characters even getting a cameo in Gaiden.)
    • The second anime series, Saiyuki Reload, started out adapting the then-ongoing manga sequel of the same name, but in its second half covered the final arc of the first manga series, which didn't make it into the Gensoumaden anime.
    • The last anime sequel, Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, continued adapting the Saiyuki Reload manga, but still lacked enough material because the latter was on hiatus due to the author's health. As a result, the final arc of Gunlock used the same basic plot and characters as the final arc of the Reload manga, but ended up going in a very different direction: whereas the manga was starting to tie its plot threads together in preparation for the final stretch, the anime, on the contrary, went for a normal standalone arc barely connected to the overarching story, omitting a lot of important elements and concluding with a Gecko Ending of the usual And the Adventure Continues variety. BLAST was eventually adapted as a 12-episode series with little filler in 2017, though even it had to end in a cliffhanger to account for the chapters ahead of it.
  • In Saki, the manga ended the regional tournament just a few days before it ended in the anime.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins' anime adaptation experienced some delays through its run due to needing the manga to progress further before they could adapt the next arc fully.
  • Because the anime adaptation of Sgt. Frog frequently ran ahead of the manga (particularly in more recent years) a number of episodes and plots are present in the former that are not in the latter, such Karara's repeated appearances to marry one of the members of the platoon and the timer counting down to the invasion in season 3.
  • Shaman King is a bit more balanced between the manga and anime, but the 2001 anime seemed to overtake the manga by a nose. By the halfway point, the anime diverged from the manga almost entirely, making its own take on the shaman tournament and a Gecko Ending since they still hadn’t reached that point in the manga. Averted with the 2021 anime, which is a straight adaptation, which has the manga's ending, and was produced after the manga concluded.
  • Shugo Chara! used the whole Lulu arc to catch the manga's pace, but at the end they ignored the manga's conclusion and added a whole filler season (Dokki Dokki!), ignored by most of the fandom.
  • The Simoun manga debuted in the January, 2006 issue of Yuri Hime magazine, at which time the anime version had already started production. The two tell different stories, albeit with the same background.
  • The Sonic X comic has done the same thing, with the Sonic characters being shown still living on earth in the comic long after the anime had sent them home.
  • Soul Eater is almost exactly the same as the manga with only a few minor alterations (and more Excalibur for some reason) up until episode 37 at which point the new ending switches around which characters live and die, changes the significance of several characters, and involves a giant robot fight in a series which had never had anything remotely like that happen before. In the final episode, Maka is able to fight off Asura, one of the most powerful beings in existence, by somehow becoming a weapon for a few minutes (which, oddly enough, doesn't have any real effect on the fight), and finally by punching him really hard in the face, which causes him to crack apart as if he were made of glass and explode because she "filled her fist with courage". It's worth noting that she doesn't even use Soul, her partner, to achieve this, which is strange since teamwork seemed to be a pretty major theme in the show up until the final episode. Some of these changes, though, can actually be considered to be quite awesome, so it's really up to the viewer to decide. It was inevitable as the series runs in a monthly magazine, and anime are made for weekly showings, so it was going to catch up pretty quickly regardless.
  • The Trigun anime overtook its manga by a fair margin, though how it did so is a rather unique situation. In 1997, Yasuhiro Nightow had to deal with the abrupt end of his manga because the Shōnen magazine he was being published in folded. By the time he restarted it as Trigun Maximum in the Seinen magazine Young King Ours, Madhouse had already begun production on the anime. As a result, the anime quickly caught up and finished long before the manga did. In fact, Maximum continued for nearly 9 years after the anime ended, finally finishing in April 2007. From Volumes 2-3 of TriMax, including the equivalents of episodes 20-21, the manga takes new directions with plot and characters, while retaining parallels in the plot — sometimes revealed in the manga years later — that Nightow had probably intended from the beginning.
    • For the curious: only anime episodes 1, 4, 5, 7-10, and 12-21 have any connection to the manga at all.note 
  • With Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, apparently CLAMP was very upset that production company Bee Train had to resort to making stuff up. When the manga reached the Acid Tokyo arc, the damage was already done and CLAMP gave the rights to Production I.G to continue the anime in OVA form. The fillers did break several rules that CLAMP stories strictly abide by. Most egregiously, one episode had the heroes using a wish to restore the dead to life. An immutable, unbreakable law of nature in the Tsubasa-verse is that the dead never come back to life, no matter what happens. Hell, it ends up being one of the central themes of the entire story.
  • Twin Star Exorcists followed the manga quite well (though heavily padded) up until the 20th episode, after which it derived completely with an original story involving Rokuro staying on the mainland rather than moving to Tsuchimikado Island. Though unlike most examples of this trope Yoshiaki Sukeno himself approved of this change making the derivation more like an Alternate Continuity than anything. He would later even introduce characters from it into the Manga itself.
  • Venus Versus Virus's anime went in a completely different direction from the manga from the first episode. It also had a Gecko Ending.
  • Violinist of Hameln found themselves so far ahead of the manga that they needed to come up with their own explanations for many of the Chekhov's Gun found in the series, as well as creating a Gecko Ending for it all.
  • The Wedding Peach manga ran for 6 volumes and one spinoff. The anime ran for 52 episodes and 3 OVA spinoffs, and almost all of the tropes on Wedding Peach's page are about the anime.
  • The Animated Adaptation of CLAMP's X/1999 have obviously counted into this because the manga was actually cancelled (Or rather, it has been listed as "on Hiatus" for a long while) due to Monthly Asuka growing concerned about the manga's rather violent storyline and imagery present in the storyline, and the authors actually didn't want to be censored so they opted for hiatus. (Of course, the manga was actually pulled a couple times already for similar reasons.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! loves to do this; the Virtual World (which occurred right in the middle of another in-manga arc), Doma / Waking the Dragons and the KC Grand Prix were a result of this. If nothing else, the Virtual World arc gave us more backstory on the Kaiba brothers. Later series avert this by virtue of the anime and manga being completely different plot-wise.
  • Yumeiro Pâtissière's anime had a sequel arc in Yumeiro Patissiere SP Professional, which takes place several years later with Ichigo now in high school. As the manga serialization didn't go into Ichigo's high school years until two years after SP Professional aired, the season was entirely original.
  • The anime adaptation of Zatch Bell! ran at the same time as the manga it was based on. Unfortunately, Makoto Raiku, the author of the manga, broke his hand, forcing the manga version to go on hiatus while the author's hand healed enough to allow him to draw again. The anime overtook the manga as a result, so the anime diverged from the manga for its final episodes. Some aspects of the anime made it into the manga once Raiku resumed drawing, the most notable being Zeon's ultimate spell and the location of the final battle between Sherry and Gash.

Other Examples:

    Comic Books 
  • The Panini comic book adaption of Digimon; ended up skipping almost all of Adventure when Dark Horse Comics (whose comics the company had until then reprinted) lost their license in favor of jumping straight onto 02, which had already started by then.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures started out as a Comic-Book Adaptation for the 1987 cartoon's pilot and a few other episodes before quickly introducing its own new characters and episodic adventures. As the more serious ongoing storylines got established, practically all of the '87 elements were gradually phased out (sometimes violently so, like with poor Mondo Gecko).
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Being published by booth Marvel US and Marvel UK simultaneously. The fact that the UK version was not only longer, but on a (mostly) weekly schedule meant that a lot of original material had to be made. Most of which the writers tried to fit in between the US stories, with varying degrees of success.

  • The Godfather Part II picks up where the novel ended, with Michael Corleone moving his family to Nevada, and The Godfather Part III takes place decades later and concludes with the death of Michael Corleone. The novel series continued with The Godfather Returns in 2004 and The Godfather's Revenge in 2006, written by Mark Winegardner as original author Mario Puzo died in 1999.
  • The film and comic book versions of Kick-Ass were written at the same time, with both influencing the other and things being changed to keep them consistent.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was filmed before the comic's final volume had been written, so while most of the film is fairly faithful the endings are quite different.
  • Nearly avoided in Harry Potter when the first movie was released in 2001 after the fourth book was published in 2000. J. K. Rowling told Alan Rickman about the true nature of his character, Severus Snape, which made him one of the few people who knew about Snape's motives prior to the publication of the seventh book. Hence, Movie Snape appeared to be nicer than his book counterpart. Though Rowling did supervise the scripts, she made the final word about the characters such as Kreacher's importance in the last book and Dumbledore's sexual orientation. Though the movies never caught up with the books, with the seventh book released in the same month as the fifth movie, the movies did have a problem with the official pairings. It seemed that the production staff expected Harry and Hermione to be the Official Couple, due to the chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, but they're confirmed as Like Brother and Sister in the final book, with Ginny Weasley as Harry's love interest instead. When Harry is finally paired with Ginny in the movies, it comes off as an extreme case of Strangled by the Red String due to them having had significantly less screen time and chemistry together than in the books.
  • The film The Last Airbender was written while the final season of the show on which it is based was in production. Because of this, the showrunners didn’t have time to consult on the movie, which caused some issues. Avatar Roku is Adapted Out as Aang’s mentor in favor of a dragon. Aang ran away in the show because he was a kid who was understandably terrified of having to take the responsibility of saving the world, while in the film, he runs away because he’s told the Avatar can’t have kids, something all twelve-year-olds care deeply care about. In the third season of the show, Deuteragonist Zuko finds out he’s the great-grandson of both Roku and Fire Lord Sozin. This is the climax of his Character Development and the push he needed to pull a Heel–Face Turn for good to join Team Avatar to teach Aang firebending so Aang can take down his dad. Zuko wouldn’t exist if the Avatar couldn’t have kids. Roku is also the person who tells Aang that he and Sozin used to be friends. Aang doesn’t find out that Zuko is related to Roku until the tie-in comics, but a layer to their relationship would have been completely lost. This ended up being a moot point as the film barely broke even and therefore became a Stillborn Franchise.
  • At the time The Kissing Booth 3 was released, Beth Reekles had only published two books and a short story, The Beach House, with The Kissing Booth 2: Going the Distance being released the same year as the second movie. Due to the sequels being filmed concurrently so they could be released back-to-back, the third movie is the first installment not directly based on the books (although it takes some inspiration from The Beach House).
  • Played with regarding the After film series. The book series has five books, but the 5th one is a prequel (titled Before). After the 4th film (After Ever Happy) was released in 2022, it was announced that the next movie wouldn't be based on the prequel book, it would be a new installment entirely (titled After Everything), and it's currently in production.

  • Some of the early Star Wars Legends material that was published between the movies of the original trilogy, like Splinter of the Mind's Eye. It was written as a low-budget sequel to the first movie, but published when it was unknown if The Empire Strikes Back was ever going to be made. The Star Wars (Marvel 1977) comic book series fits this trope despite ironically being a comic book adaptation of a screen franchise. First it adapts the original movie, then it has a bunch of original stories, then it adapts the second movie, followed by more original stories, then the third movie, before running out of source material.
  • The Star Trek comic books - specifically, the first series from DC Comics - suffered from overtaking the movies. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock follows immediately after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; however, DC's series started just months before Search premiered, and thus added events between those movies. Then, following the adaptation of Search, they had Spock make a full recovery and get his own science vessel, while Kirk and the rest of his crew took command of the Excelsior, with Starfleet sending them all on a bunch of far-away missions while they decided what to do with the captain who stole the Enterprise and got it blown up. Then, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home comes along and sets up that it's only been a couple of months since Search, so in the comics, Spock started having a mental breakdown while his entire crew died, so Kirk swapped the Excelsior for the Klingon ship they'd apparently kept in the Excelsior's hangar for all those months, took him back to Vulcan for treatment, and managed to set things up exactly the way they had been at the end of Search, just in time for a huge cylinder to start asking Earth about whales.
  • S.D. Perry wrote a follow-up to her Resident Evil 2 novelization titled Resident Evil: Underworld, in which Sherry Birkin is left under the care of her aunt (a character made up for the books), while Leon and Claire go on a new adventure with Rebecca Chambers and the surviving members of the Exeter branch of S.T.A.R.S. However, this book proved to be hard to reconcile when Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came out, as it revealed the fates of various characters after RE2, which differed to what Perry came up with in Underworld. Perry had to explain away all the continuity snarls in her Nemesis and Code: Veronica novelizations.
  • The Nikki Heat novels are a strange example, being a defictionalization of an in-universe novel series from Castle. In the show, the fictional Nikki Heat novels gradually stop being mentioned by about season 5; the series itself was Screwed by the Network at the end of season 8 in 2016. The real-world Nikki Heat novels ran for ten volumes through 2019, the second-to-last of which crossed over with Castle's earlier Derrick Storm novel series, which itself had been given a defictionalized comic book adaptation by this point.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones caught up with the published A Song of Ice and Fire novels in the fifth season. Book author George R. R. Martin gave the show's writers a detailed explanation of the events he'd planned for the final two novels, and the remaining TV seasons progressed past the latest point in the book series. As no more novels have come out since the end of the TV series, it's unclear how much of those seasons is based on the books' plot and how much is a Gecko Ending.
  • British Brevity meant that Being Human (US) stops being an adaptation of Being Human (UK) reeeeal quick. At first it was mostly the same story with the extra episodes largely given to Aidan because vampires are popular lately for some reason. However, it ends up being quite a different show with each passing season, especially once the original decided to wipe out the old cast and go with a new cast entirely.
  • Inspector Morse began by adapting the original novels by Colin Dexter, but then moved to original stories after running out of novels.

    Video Games 
  • Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie was adapted into an NES game by Sunsoft, who took great liberties with the plot but still managed to churn out a pretty good sidescroller. However, Sunsoft couldn't wait for the next movie to come out before making a sequel to the NES game, and created Batman: Return of the Joker as a standalone sequel based on the comic.
  • A similar example occurred with the SNES adaptation of Jurassic Park. Ocean couldn't wait for the sequel (or even the novel it would be loosely based on) and created their own, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues. It had a vaguely similar plot to the eventual sequel—a rival genetics company tries to take control of the island by force, and Alan Grant is sent to stop them. Nobody stopped to question why Grant was suddenly a gun-toting Contra-esque mercenary… or why he'd care about any of this.
  • Ocean also released Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for the Genesis/Mega Drive, which is also an Actionized Sequel that takes place after the first game (although, unlike the SNES sequel, it retains the gameplay style of its predecessor).
  • Street Fighter was another interesting example in that Tiertex, the company responsible for porting the original game to home computers, decided they couldn't wait for Street Fighter II to revolutionize the fighting game genre, so they took their port of Street Fighter and made their own original sequel to it, titled Human Killing Machine.
  • Years before Capcom released Strider 2, the official arcade sequel to the original Strider (Arcade), they handed the Strider license to U.S. Gold and Tiertex (the companies that produced the European computer ports of the first arcade game) to produce their own sequel titled Strider II (spelled with a Roman numeral). This sequel was originally made for the same set of European computer formats and then remade for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, getting a stateside release in the form of Journey from Darkness: Strider Returns.
  • When Konami wanted to make a sequel to Metal Gear following the success of the NES port in North America, they commissioned one of their teams to make a sequel specifically for the American market, resulting in the creation of Snake's Revenge. This inspired Hideo Kojima to make his own sequel for the MSX2, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Snake's Revenge is not considered part of the official Metal Gear continuity, as the events of the game are incompatible with what occurs in the official sequel. Namely, the way Big Boss' return is handle in both games. Both games takes place three/four years after the original Metal Gear and have Big Boss forming a new terrorist organization with a new Metal Gear prototype in his hands. However, in Snake's Revenge he also turns into a huge cyborg during the final battle.
  • A sequel to the original Gradius (a.k.a. Nemesis) was made for the MSX titled Gradius 2 (a.k.a. Nemesis 2) before the actual arcade sequel, Gradius II (a.k.a. Vulcan Venture), was even made. While the arcade Gradius games had Excuse Plots that were basically written as afterthoughts, the MSX version of Gradius 2 is known for its elaborate lore. Gofer no Yabou Episode II (a.k.a. Nemesis 3: Eve of Destruction) was later released as a reworked port of the arcade Gradius II, but continues the story from the MSX Gradius 2.
  • Golden Axe II for the Sega Genesis was made a year before the proper arcade sequel (Golden Axe: Revenge of the Death Adder) was released.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle was released shortly after JoJolion, JoJo's eighth part, began serialization, resulting in only one character from it (Josuke) being included, with his moveset based on what little the developers had to go off of at the time. Its story mode also consists of Josuke fighting against all the previous parts' protagonists rather than a condensed retelling of the manga, which wouldn't finish until about eight years after the game released. Its remaster, All Star Battle R, didn't change this even though it came out over a year after JoJolion ended.

    Web Animation 
  • The OMORIBOY Chronicles: The likely reason why MESSENGER!!! doesn't dub anything from the comic is that there's hardly any posts left to cover.

  • Darths & Droids finished Episode VI in mid-2017, but the writers decided to hold off on adapting the still-in-progress sequel trilogy until The Rise of Skywalker was released in late 2019. To compensate, they adapted Rogue One as a Whole Episode Flashback, which worked out nicely as the original Episode IV adaptation (released in the early 2010s, years before Rogue One was even announced) started In Medias Res and never showed the earlier important events, which neatly lined up with the time-frame of Rogue One. When they still needed more time, the comic then adapted the Star Wars/The Muppets crossover special as a post-Episode VI story, while also slowing down uploads from thrice-weekly to once-weekly. The Episode VII adaptation, The Forced-Away Kin, finally began in early 2020.

    Western Animation 
  • The Secret of NIMH actually overtook the source material. While the Bluth film was rather jumping in and out of In Name Only, the ending (and primary events) of Bluth's 1982 Animated Adaptation pretty much ruined any potential chance of covering the two later books written by Jane Leslie Conly with Jenner and Nicodemus kicking the bucket (whereas they both survived in the books; however, it was implied that Jenner possibly died off-screen sometime in the first book with the mention of his party being electrocuted by a car battery). In fairness to Bluth, it may have been the success of his adaptation that led to Conly writing the sequel, which was published four years after the film's release. So many involved in the film probably had no way of even knowing this would happen.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): The series was put into production before the Masters of the Universe comic it was based on (and, by extent, the mini-comics that came with the action figures) could establish a concrete plot. This resulted in the story being retconned to fit in with the show.
  • Regular Show inverts this in that the comic was months behind the show. The biggest example of this was retaining the character Margaret at a time when she was Put on a Bus, and then removing her as soon as she returned. It does, however, have enough alternate continuity to get away with it.
  • When The Maxx was adapted by MTV, they did a very faithful job, despite having to replace some of the character cameos. However, given the book's typical Image Comics production schedule, the cartoon had to invent its own ending, well before the comic got there.
  • Blake and Mortimer: Only one of the continuation albums (The Francis Blake Affair) was adapted when the series was done adapting the Edgar Pierre Jacobs canon, due to the others not existing at the time it was made (the next one, The Voronov Plot, was published in 2000, over one year after the end of the animated series). As a result, the four remaining stories (The Viking's Bequest, The Secret of Easter Island, The Alchemist's Will, The Druid) are completely original.


Video Example(s):


Anime and Manga Pacing

Gintama explains potential outcomes of an anime catching up to its manga source material, such as filler or total divergence.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / OvertookTheManga

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