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Pragmatic Adaptation

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"Not everything in a book will work in a movie... I think it's the director's duty to keep what he can use and throw out or change the rest."
Roger Ebert, Questions for the Movie Answer Man

When you're doing a version of a story, sometimes the writers are smart enough to know that for whatever reason — budget, censors, pacing issues, et cetera — there are things that just aren't going to make it through. They make the best of a bad situation and explore other aspects of the story. Hopefully, this will put a new and interesting spin on the series.


Time is often a factor in this. When you're adapting a 600-page book (or, for that matter, an eighty-year-old comic series) into a two-hour movie, something's gotta go. The reverse can also be true; stretching out a relatively short book into a much longer film and/or TV show often results in changes.

As with the Roger Ebert quote above, what works on the printed page doesn't necessarily work on the screen, which is another major reason that things in the story get changed.

Fan Dumb tends to be rabid about this kind of change, although the rise of DVDs and bonus production commentary often include rationalization (or guilt-passing) for this sort of thing.

Video game adaptation can also fall into this, such as when one is adapting a PC game to a console game, or vice versa, due to any number of issues concerning the target machine that the game is being adapted to. In that case, gameplay elements as well as story elements would have to be adjusted to accommodate the translation. If done poorly, this can lead to a Porting Disaster. If a story is mishandled in its adaptation to a video game, it can lead to The Problem with Licensed Games.


Various signs of this include:

  • Canon Foreigner: Adding a new character, often to play the role of The Watson in the adaptation of a book with a lot of dense exposition.
  • Composite Character: Combining character roles (and subsequently enlarging the role of one character) to make a simpler narrative to follow. Alternatively...
  • Decomposite Character: Splitting the role of one character to two or more.
  • Woolseyism: Dramatically altering key points but holding to the spirit of the original.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Toning down the sexual content to meet the new medium's stricter standards.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: Supernatural and fantastical elements in a work are toned down, or even completely discarded, in the adaptation.
  • Age Lift: Upping the age of a certain character where you can find an actor more capable of playing them without resorting to Dawson Casting.
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  • Adapted Out: Removing a character unnecessary to the plot.
  • Ability over Appearance: Casting the most talented actor for the part, regardless of whether or not they look exactly like the character. Often occurs in adaptations of Superhero comics, where it's hard to find actors and actresses who fit the improbable physiques of the characters they're portraying.

Contrast with Adaptation Distillation: in a distillation, a complex story is simplified, without much substantive change. In a Pragmatic Adaptation, the story is changed with the shift in medium.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Area 88: The anime adaptations of the manga leave out the quirky humor that occasionally showed up in the manga. It also wisely chose to leave out the quasi-Science Fiction elements that seemed to belong more in G.I. Joe than a serious contemporary war melodrama. In the manga, the anti-government forces employed devices such as land-based aircraft carriers, robot-controlled F-18 fighters, a drill missile, laser sentries, and a massive air fortress. There was also an inexplicable connection between the Asran Civil War, The Mafia, Yamato Airlines, Communists, and various other groups, including a Nebulous Evil Organization.

    The manga also included the successful use of nuclear weapons on several occasions, something that would have made worldwide headlines in the real world but, amazingly, went totally unnoticed by the public in the manga. The anime adaptations remove all of the byzantine subplots, conspiracies, eccentric guest characters, and soap opera twists. In the original manga, unlike the OVA, Kanzaki's arrest is hardly the end of him. Like any villain worth his salt, he always has an escape plan and keeps coming back with another grandiose scheme. The anime's focus is on Shin's perceived loss of his humanity.

    Also, it should be noted that the manga series, which lasted seven years (1979-1986), inexplicably lasted more than twice as long as Shin's forced mercenary contract of three years. It was still running when the original OVA was produced. The OVA's ending had to be different from the manga as it wasn't finished yet. The U.S. manga adaptation lasted briefly (42 issues and then briefly in Animerica magazine) and was nowhere close to the end, but by the time of the brief Animerica run, the series had already declined due to the meandering subplots. What little is known (to non-Japanese speaking readers) about the manga's ending is that fans feel it was a cop-out. In the final battle, Shin gets his revenge on Kanzaki, but gets shot down, gets amnesia and forgets all about his experiences at Area 88. He and Ryoko get married and live happily ever after. The OVA's strong and powerful ending is widely considered preferable.
  • Pokémon:
    • The anime couldn't adapt N's original goal (to release Pokemon from their Trainers, as he compared owning them to slavery) because it would make zero sense in the anime: it's been established in anime canon that Pokemon can leave their Trainers (one suggested origin of Ash's Snivy), battling is actually beneficial to a Pokemon's growth, and Pokemon regularly choose if they get captured or not. Furthermore, the protagonist is an All-Loving Hero. Thus, the anime's story with Team Plasma takes place after an event similar to the climax of Black and White, and has N already against Team Plasma for exploiting Pokemon. His BW traits are either downplayed or immediately changed when he realizes how good Ash is to his Pokemon.
    • Trading is a major element of the games — however, trading in the anime (and most other adaptations) is extremely rare. The individual Pokemon are treated as characters; replacing them often wouldn't work as easily as in the games.
    • This trope is often a general aspect that occurs on a daily basis in the anime by really changing plot points in the games for more "child-friendly" versions to accommodate the plot. The Team Flare plot goes off-the-rails by importing a "Legendary Giant Rock" all the way from Hoenn, while in the original there was no such connections with Hoenn and Kalos. This was done to avoid showing on the big screen how the Ultimate Weapon was essentially a nuke powered up by living organisms that it would leave them dead.
    • A more mundane example is how battles are conducted. The main Pokemon RPGs use Turn-Based Combat that wouldn't work well in a setting where Pokemon can move freely at any time. Other liberties are taken where elemental moves can cancel other moves and dodging is a legitimate option. As a result, Pokemon battles behave a bit more like Super Smash Bros. or Pokkén Tournament then the main RPGs.
    • The Sun & Moon anime series is vastly different from the original games, Lillie and her family have different backstories, the climax of Lusamine fusing with Nihilego happens before Guzma even shows upnote , Nebby is raised by Ash instead of Lillie, and the globe-trotting premise of the games is replaced with a Slice of Life school series in an attempt to copy Yo Kai Watch.note 
  • Several things were toned down in the anime of Mazinger Z. In the original story, Dr. Kabuto was another Mad Scientist with his face scarred who had never met Dr. Hell. In the anime, he was a well-meaning, nice old man who shared a backstory with Hell and built Mazinger Z for defending the world (apparently this was later retconned into manga continuity, since in the Great Mazinger manga Kouji claimed Dr. Hell had killed his grandfather). However, Kouji was nicer and less sexist — albeit a bigger pervert — in the manga, Sayaka was a Type B Tsundere instead of a Type A, and their fights were worse in the anime. Many manga characters (such like Inspector Ankokuji, the twin sisters Loru and Lori, or the Gamia assassin androids) and storylines never showed up in the anime; that, or their story was altered (such as Lorelei's story). Likewise, the anime came up with new characters (Professor Gordon and his daughter that modified Mazinger Z to be able to swim, or Viscount Pygman and Archduke Gorgon) developed some situations (Mazinger getting its Mid-Season Upgrade and other minor upgrades, the birth of Boss Borot) and characters (the other scientists of the Institute, Kouji and Sayaka's families) in a greater depth than the manga.
  • The anime of Death Note has a bit of this. While nothing too important to the story is omitted, several bits of information that would help explain things a bit better are retained in the manga. This causes a problem in that the manga feels comparatively wordy, while the anime comes across as an abridged series, what with the way characters derive information from seemingly nowhere. For example, when Near detects that Mikami is X-Kira, the manga lays out his entire thought process. The anime makes it seem like he just made a lucky guess.
  • The anime of Berserk certainly toned down much of the series's violence, but is perhaps more well known for emphasizing themes of friendship and ambition — and not in an optimistic way — more than the manga did. This was a compromise with Berserk's long supernatural plotline; most of the series is actually a flashback. The anime also did away with all the slapstick and face faults, which created a more consistently bleak mood. The changes are usually accepted by fans, seeing as creator Kentarō Miura gave his approval.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the anime changed how a few events unfolded in the story, compared to how it originally went in the manga:
    • The Full Focus Breathing training, in the manga Tanjiro actually completed the whole training first by himself in 10 days, to only then show Zenitsu and Inosuke feeling worried that they’ve been left behind by Tanjiro’s progress, that’s where the two are coerced and taught by Shinobu on how to progress after Tanjiro’s failed attempts to explain to the boys how he did it before, Zenitsu and Inosuke then finish their training in 9 days. The anime made it so Tanjiro only progressed halfway through the training first, to then have Shinobu motivate Zenitsu and Inosuke to catch up, the final step of the training is completed by Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke at the same time. The anime staff likely wanted the main trio to feel relatively close in their power progress.
    • The segue into the Infinite Train arc, in the manga after the boys had fully healed in the Butterfly Estate and completed their Full Focus Breathing training, Tanjiro acted overly polite as always by forcefully excusing Zenitsu, Inosuke and himself out of the the Butterfly Estate because they were all good and ready for durty again, not wanting to waste time and resources by just lazing around till they were officially assigned into a mission, it’s only by coincidence that they get the mission to aboard the Infinite Train right away. The anime has Tanjiro be directly guided towards the Infinite Train mission, properly scheduled to start after his recovery in the Butterfly Estate. The anime staff likely wanted Tanjiro to be better placed into the Infinite Train build up.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Zoisite is a fairly standard foppish, gay shoujo villain. He was adapted into a woman in The '90s DiC North American dub, but with a memorable, over-the-top delivery in a season which otherwise had no female lackies.
    • Haruka and Michiru's lesbian relationship is glossed over in many dubs, such as The '90s Cloverway North American dub, which infamously changed them to cousins. Amusingly, the dub seemed primarily concerned with modifying only the most blatant comments; the two are still unusually affectionate, if not outright romantic.
  • The first Galaxy Angel video game was delayed enough that The Anime of the Game would have to be aired at least a year beforehand. Rather than risk Adaptation Decay with the little information they had, the writers turned Galaxy Angel into a Gag Series that parodied Adaptation Decay, referring to even less source material than they had and stepping up Character Exaggeration to outrageous levels. It worked. Galaxy Angel Rune, on the other hand...
  • The Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels' narration are one of the things that people like most about them. Unreliable Narrator Kyon tells us the story in a unique way, but adding the visual media to it destroys this, since you aren't told what happens anymore. Kyon does not have quotation marks when he talks, so it is ambiguous if he's talking or narrating. You can assume he is narrating for the most part, but sometimes character will reply to his supposed narration, much to the surprise of the reader. The anime actually manages to keep this by changing the camera perspective away from Kyon's mouth, so you don't actually see if he is narrating or talking.
  • FLCL: The manga adaptation isn't so much a retelling of the story in the anime as it is taking the same premise and characters and telling a completely different story.
  • The Grenadier anime, Grenadier ~The Smiling Senshi~, follows a Broad Strokes account of the manga, but without the After the End connotations of the later volumes of the manga, the last four members of the Juttensen, and the Iron-Masked Baron's final assault on the Capital.
  • The 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist was put into production when only a few volumes of the manga had been released, and the writers had to not only come up with a conclusion based on the existing material, but make a story that would span about 50 episodes. So, in addition to expanding on certain scenes from the manga and adapting everything they possibly could (namely light novel spinoffs and omake gags), the anime also gives most of the characters wildly different characterizations and the plot goes in a very different direction, complete with Gecko Ending. Creator Hiromu Arakawa even encouraged them to do this. In addition, the tone became much less optimistic, and the focus shifted toward themes like sacrifice and the value of life. The result was an anime that was widely praised by critics, but is very different from its source. Whether or not it's as good as (or better than) the manga is subject to much debate.
  • Excel Saga:
    • When the anime was made, the manga was still ongoing. It turned what content was already written into different show parodies, and wrote its own ending based on what original content they made themselves.
    • The Latin-American dub toned down Excel's genki nature a little bit for practical reasons. She screams so much that in the English dub, Jessica Calvello ended up destroying her vocal cords (don't worry, she got better).
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
    • Persona -trinity soul- was supposed to take place in the same universe as Persona 3 (at least, the presence of Akihiko implies that much), though the anime has since been declared non-canon. However, the rules for Persona summoning are drastically changed for pragmatic reasons. In the games, a Persona has to be repeatedly summoned for every skill you use. This works wonderfully for a turned based game, but it would lack the same effect in an animated series. So in Trinity Soul, the "rules" for Personas were changed so that the battles would look more visually engaging.
    • The manga adaptations of Persona 3 and Persona 4 modified the rules for Persona users quite a bit. For example, Mitsuru at one point was seen using Persona powers to freeze the cast outside the Dark Hour, which was eventually revealed to be possible, but the cast wasn't capable of it at this point, only learning to do it years later.
    • Persona 4: The Animation condenses a 90+ hour game into 26 half-hour episodes, showing no class time and cutting out the vast majority of the dungeon crawling—basically showing condensed versions of the dungeon plots and then skipping straight to the boss battles. (However, they also show the very sidestory-ish Social Link plots.) Similarly, the team no longer uses weapons, since it's a whole lot harder to convince viewers that the investigation team has been sneaking swords and chairs into Junes under their clothes when everything is being fully animated.
  • Many, many things were shortened or outright removed in the Higurashi: When They Cry anime. The manga mostly averts this by leaving in most of the details, but the story is still compressed for time (the arcs are two volumes long).
  • Rebuild of Evangelion cuts lots of things that appeared in the show in order to save time. Most significantly, Ritsuko is almost Demoted to Extra, and a number of the Angels were also excluded while others were turned into Composite Characters. No longer applies as of 3.0, however, due to going seriously Off the Rails.
  • While the anime version of Hana Yori Dango closely follows the original manga, the live action show compressed the story into a neat two-season package. There are instances of both characters (Kazuya and Makiko's roles are now given to Sakurako, making her much more devious) and events (important events from three separate parties now all occur at one party) being combined, and there are several storylines where someone tries to seduce Tsukasa or Tsukushi which are done away with entirely.
  • Bokurano, since the director of the anime didn't like how the story got way too dark for his taste. Quite a few things got changed as a result.
    • A few of the pilots' orders got switched around. For example, Kako is third in the anime, meaning that he's the first to pilot after learning that the chosen pilots die even if they win, making his reaction somewhat more fitting. By contrast, in the manga, Chizu notes that the pilots are gradually getting used to what is happening.
    • When Komo fights, instead of baiting the enemy pilot with a piano recital, she has a more standard battle with an enemy mech, which she wins easily.
    • Near the end, instead of Kana having a turn and dying like everyone else, in the anime, Dung Beetle tries to manipulate Kana into contracting, but Jun and Youko manage to turn the tables on him and kill him, leaving Kana as the Sole Survivor.
  • This was apparently what they were going for with the Wandering Son adaptation, what with starting In Medias Res, the various changes, etc. To fans of the manga, though, it comes off as Adaptation Decay.
  • Kanamemo uses this to amplify the comedy, but also adds tons of Character Development for Kana, making her whole orphan situation much more realistic than in the manga. Backstory was added on the Fuushin Gazette by adding a new character that was never in the manga.
  • In DearS, the producers quickly realized that they wouldn't be able to juggle the full cast of characters and the sci-fi plot in a 12-Episode Anime. Taking lemons and making lemonade, they turned the series into a straight-up harem comedy that focuses on Takeya and Ren, which works pretty well in the allotted space.
  • The anime adaptation of The World God Only Knows is extremely faithful to the manga, but about the biggest change is that the second-to-last episode of the second season was chapter 41 of the manga; then, for the finale, chapter 75 was adapted. The reason this worked was because chapter 75 contained none of the new characters that had been introduced in the interim in the manga, so nothing was spoiled. Then the third season jumps ahead to the Goddess arc, effectively skipping over 50 chapters of, admittedly, highly repetitive story.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Following the fall of Wall Maria, the story of the manga skips the training arc, only to cover it some volumes later. The anime series doesn't, following the events' chronological order instead. Also, as the anime reached the end of the first season, there was an increase in Filler scenes (approved by the mangaka and mostly well-received by the fanbase) to pace the show so the season could end at a certain dramatic point. These scenes also expand on many side characters.
    • In order for season 2 of the anime to be 12 episodes and not less, the mangaka approved the addition of two extra flashback scenes: One based on a single panel from the manga, and one that didn't appear in the manga until two arcs later. Even though the latter scene prematurely hinted at several story revelations, it was met with praise due to manga fans getting to see a recent chapter adapted early for a change.
    • The first cour of season 3 covered the Uprising arc, which mangaka Hajima Isayama had many regrets about. Several scenes were switched around and condensed to allow for a better and faster pace, with the first action-filled encounter with Kenny the Ripper being placed at the end of episode 1, when in the manga it takes place 7 chapters into the arc. All of these changes were approved and suggested by Isayama himself.
  • Junji Ito did a manga adaptation of Frankenstein that patched a rather significant plot hole in the original work that would have been only more glaring to modern audiences. In the original story, Victor Frankenstein is threatened by the monster into creating a bride for him, but despite having everything on the line, he decides to destroy it before completion on the biologically nonsensical premise that the pair could spawn a whole race of similar monsters. In the manga, Victor goes through with it, since to do otherwise is to put himself and those he loves at risk. In the end, though, the bride ends up a mindless, violent monster rather than the thinking being his first creation was. The monster assumes Victor deliberately sabotaged the work and seeks his revenge. The manga also makes Henry Clerval into an Ascended Extra and because of his involvement with the female wretch, gives the monster a much more clear reason (to the audience) to kill him.
  • The Virtua Fighter anime turns Akira from being more or less a Ryu clone into a Big Eater Idiot Hero more akin to Goku; also, it turns Pai into a Tsundere that's heavy on the Tsun, Jacky into a Deadpan Snarker, and Sarah into a Girly Girl with a flying squirrel, at least until she's brainwashed. The anime also eschews the World Fighting Tournament from the games, focusing on the heroes fighting against huge criminal organizations. The anime retains other elements, such as Sarah's kidnapping and brainwashing, Pai's estranged relationship with her father Lau, and the creation of Dural. The main plot itself involves Pai trying to avoid being kidnapped and married to the villain, which her father had arranged so there would be a successor to the fighting style of Koenkan. Said villain has turned it into a criminal organization, something that was never in the games. Since the games themselves are very light on plot and characterization, there wasn't much to mess up.
  • When the original Space Battleship Yamato was created, it was generally assumed that the WWII Battleship Yamato sunk and remained in one piece. In 1985, it was discovered that this was not the case. The 2010 2199 remake couldn't plausibly justify the idea of building a spaceship out of the wreck of the Yamato. Therefore, the sunken wreck was turned into camouflage for a completely new ship that was being built under it.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • You really can't do Fate/Stay Night justice by just following the Fate route, but the episode/continuity limits don't really let you do both and tell a coherent story. So the anime took Fate and add a little Unlimited Blade Works to it and came up with something, even if it doesn't match the original in quality. They also threw in the odd reference to Heaven's Feel as well — namely the revelation that Rin and Sakura are sisters.
    • Unlimited Blade Works film: Especially noticeable, where some of the romantic undertone between Shirou and Rin are lost, as well as merging separate visits to locations in the original into a single, very eventful one, and things happening for different (but more easily explainable) reasons.
  • Tokyo Ghoul condenses approximately 80 chapters worth of material into a 12-episode anime, with break-neck pacing and many scenes removed for the sake of brevity. It also switches the order of the arcs focusing on Hinami and the Ghoul Restaurant, allowing the characters killed in the first arc to live longer in the anime and introducing Tsukiyama earlier.
  • By necessity, the anime adaptation of Hakuouki cannot cover all of the game's various divergent story paths. The anime thus primarily follows Hijikata's route, due to that route covering the most of the Shinsengumi's history, and incorporates significant scenes from other paths where they can fit into the sequence of events. The anime also adds scenes to provide closure for Okita and Harada's character arcs, since they separete from the Shinsengumi halfway through the storyline and disappear from Hijikata's route in the game.
  • The anime adaption of Yo-Kai Watch, in order to distinguish itself from other Mons anime, focused on using summoned Yo-Kai's abilities to change emotions and behavior to defeat the section's yokai, rather then direct battles. This is different to the video games the anime is based on, where Yo-Kai do directly battle each other.
  • The Lyrical Nanoha movies each condense a 12-Episode Anime into a single movie, so naturally many things get cut, removing a lot of World Building and explanations of magic, as well as reducing the relative screen time of most characters or excising them entirely (in particular: Nanoha's family don't even get a single line, Yuuno gets Demoted to Extra from the beginning, and Graham isn't present at all). But what is left behind is expanded on: the relationships between Nanoha, Fate and Hayate are given more focus than in the series, and Precia and Reinforce are given extra backstory and character focus. The end result is something that's a bit difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with the series, but which, to fans, is exactly what they wanted.
  • The anime version of School-Live! had to change numerous things in order to fit in Taroumaru, who originally was an Oneshot Character. The ending episode was changed considerably. No mention of the rescue helicopter is made and thus there's no scene with it crashing and blowing up. The Tear Jerker is instead how Taroumaru doesn't make it even with the anti-zombie vaccine. The episode ends on a considerably lighter turn due to Miki and Kurumi lacking injuries, Yuuri never having her breakdown, and Yuki never killing a zombie and her world subsequently crashing down on her, though it still has a Bittersweet Ending.
  • The manga adaptation of the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi Muyo in Love, changes a lot of the second half of the movie — the Galaxy Police agent seeking him is excised completely, a mistake on Mihoshi's part is added in (the manga has Mihoshi mess up and go to the wrong shrine needed to set up a special dimension portal) and the final battle is condensed and changed (Achika sees Tenchi's final fight with Kagato instead of the lonely, crying young Tenchi and Tenchi fights Kain with Achika using her powers to help deliver the final blow instead of Achika fighting him solo).
  • While the Ace Attorney anime is very faithful to the visual novels, some changes in the progression of the cases were made due to time constraints, and others to better suit the story's pacing. This results in some gags (Sahwit hilariously throwing his wig at Phoenix's face) and optional content (the ladder/stepladder debate) being cut out, and changes in locales (Cody's interrogation taking place during the investigation).
    • Though not every change was completely positive. The stun gun scene in "Turnabout Goodbyes" isn't nearly as impactful and memorable in the anime as it was in the game, now that it's only between Maya and a random officer, instead of von Karma himself knocking out both Phoenix and Maya.
    • A notable example of this trope application giving positive impact to the adaptation is "Turnabout Big Top." The witnesses' gimmicks were toned down and several scenes were altered or added in order to give them more character depth; Moe had more serious moments, Max Galactica negotiated with the ringleader to increase other troupe members' salary to motivate them to do better, Regina got to show her reaction when Phoenix revealed that the reason ringleader died was to take the fall for her and then directly apologized to Acro when he was taken away which results in her realization more personal, and some others.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's adaptation of the manga's Millennium World arc. The very complex tabletop RPG was simplified, and Seto's battle with the Pharaoh took place just before Zorc awoke rather than after his defeat. In exchange, Kisara and Yugi's friends got more to do, and the consequences of Yugi's wish for friends was brought up as well.
  • In the anime adaptation of Brave10, because of time constraints some characters disappear and others take their roles, some fights and events are cut and some villains are weakened. And because of Moral Guardians, there's a general helping of Bleached Underpants.
  • The Bunny Drop anime ends one year into Daikichi's stint as surrogate father to Rin, and doesn't for a moment acknowledge the developments of the manga's second half. Many who checked out the manga to see how the story continues there ended up wishing they hadn't.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! hits this trope hard in the face with the Kirby video games. Kirby has become an Adaptational Wimp and there are more characters that don't exist than ones that do.
  • Splatoon
    • In the Splatoon games, players cannot battle those that are outside of their rank range. Usually players will battle only those in their rank, though matchmaking may allow one to battle players one level above/below them unless they are Rank S+ or X. The manga completely disregards this to have Blue Team made up of a C-, a C, a C+, and a B-, and allowing them to battle Inklings who are S and S+.
    • In the games, unless it's a Splatfest or one has "Color Lock" enabled, Inklings change colours for every match. In the manga, characters are organized by colour and always stay that colour.
    • The first Hero Mode arc features both Goggles and Rider acting as Agent 3, even though this role was filled by a single character during the first game. By the time of the Octo Expansion arc, this is dealt with by having Goggles be an "agent" (in the Secret Agent sense) with the rest of Blue Team, while Rider gets Agent 3's in-game appearance.
  • Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: Seldon Project takes advantage of the manga’s visual format and Dr Asimov's lack of character/location details to come up with several designs without contradicting the original medium. They also change details from the original to take advantage of the visual medium, such as adding a Flash Back to Anselm haut Rodric's tales of battle or averting Second-Hand Storytelling during King Lepod's Nyak hunt.

    Comic Books 
  • The "War of the Symbiotes" arc in Ultimate Spider-Man adapted the events of the now-non canon Ultimate Spider-Man video game. Among other things, the arc shortened the plot and omitted characters like Wolverine and Green Goblin, while also reconciling the fact that the game and comics had two entirely different versions of Carnage (in the game it was Peter, while in the comics Carnage was established as Gwen Stacy).
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • After a major lawsuit forced the book to undergo a small reboot via Cosmic Retcon, it had to erase nearly twenty years worth of characters, some of whom were integral to the current story arc. How did it get around this? By making a few games from the video game series officially tied into the new continuity to establish most of the game cast (i.e. Shadow debuts in Sonic Adventure 2, so his current personality and motives are tied to that in the book) and by altering the past of the remaining Canon Foreigner characters (i.e. the Freedom Fighters). It results in something of a hybrid of the video game series and some of the televised western adaptations (mainly from Sonic Sat AM, and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog).
    • Its first major story arc is adapted from Sonic Unleashed, but accommodated for the new continuity. Namely, Dark Gaia's release is a completely unintended effect of Eggman's attempt to take Sonic with him at the end of the Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide crossover that kicked off the reboot. Knuckles is the one who meets and bonds with Chip, as opposed to Sonic, and his status as Light Gaia is established from the start. More characters that weren't present in the original game have a larger role (the Chaotix, Knuckles, Team Dark, etc.), and Sonic's Werehog form is triggered by severe stress and makes him severely more agitated due to The Corruption of Dark Gaia, something only alluded to at times in the original game.
  • In Warlord of Mars, the comic book adaptation of John Carter of Mars, is relatively faithful but it contained a couple of changes:
    • When John meets his long-lost son Carthoris, whom he has never met before, they recognize each other almost immediately. In the books, the two spend an extremely long time together before realizing the true relationship between them. This was done to save time and compress as much material as they could.
    • The Black Martians are depicted as grey-skinned humanoids rather than looking like black humans, to avoid any racist connotations since they are depicted as a race of bloodthirsty cannibal raiders that steal from others rather than creating anything of worth, and the males' favorite pastime is to capture women from other races, mainly the Red and White Martians.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy:
    • Ellis redesigned Galactus as a Hive Mind because he did thought that a giant man with a purple helmet would not fit the grounded tone of the Ultimate universe.
    • Captain Marvel's suit is the original suit (the least known one, white and green Kree military uniform) with Tron Lines.

    Fan Works 
  • Code Prime - R1: Rebellion: In order to justify Megatron acting as a mentor to Charles, the Exodus from Cybertron is bumped up from happening during the Mesozoic to approximately fifty years before the start of the story.
  • Creamed Cherries is a Bambi fanfic that serves as a lighthearted retelling of the "Steamed Hams" Simpsons skit, and given the story is set in a forest with normal woodland critters, several of the original story elements are tweaked to match the setting. For starters, the eponymous hams are replaced with apples, since it would be rather nonsensical (and disturbing) for Bambi and Faline, who are deer and thus herbivores, to eat meat. The threat of Skinner's oven being left unattended is replaced by the threat of a swarm of angry bees terrorizing Thumper and Flower. And most of the lines are completely rewritten to better suit the characters.
  • While many things are changed in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, it still carries the spirit of the series. At the same time, it also condenses hours of long, drawn-out fights into about one tenth of the time.
  • Due to adapting games dozens of hours long, Paper Mario X had to cut out a lot of item collecting and sidequests to keep the stories a reasonable length. Fortunately, between the crossover elements and main plot, there's still plenty of story to tell in the first place.
  • The Next Frontier, being a crossover between Kerbal Space Program and (Spoil at Your Own Risk folks!)Firefly, has some very big Acceptable Breaks from Reality to Hand Wave away. Quoth Word of God:
  • According to Digimon Adventure 02: The Story We Never Told, TK's original novel is a more idealized and radically altered version of what truly happened in their real life. His wife Kari calls him out on it and prefers that TK wrote the true version of their experience. And thus this fan fiction is born.
  • The Jackie Chan Adventures fanfic The Ultimate Evil has one. While Uncle's spell banishes Shendu's astral form from Jade's body in the retelling of the episode Project A, For Astral, the Demon Sorcerer isn't trapped in his statue prison. He's still able to wander around in his spirit form, allowing him to spy on his eventual love interest Valerie Payne (though for the sake of not altering the plot too much, he's made unable to go near the Chans or their home).
    • Unlike in canon, the Book of Ages is actually guarded by a powerful entity whom Shendu has to outsmart before being able to tamper with the reality. At the conclusion of the Demon World arc, the Guardian uses the Book to seal the gateway to the Book and render Shendu's spirit unable to leave the Netherworld, giving plausible explanations to why in canon the Book was never again sought out by the villains and why Shendu never again left the Netherworld until Daolon Wong resurrected him.
  • Past Continuous doesn't follow "Of Bajor" precisely, but it makes multiple references to events of the mission. A stand-in for the Klingon Player Character, a fellow named Commander Yarik, is captured trying to bug Starfleet or Bajoran Militia areas for Klingon Intelligence (it went off without a hitch in the actual mission), and there are anti-Federation and anti-Klingon protests going on in Hathon accusing them of creating a renewed Occupation (in-game, one side mission is to defuse these). There's also an appearance by Ensign Jirelle Kav, who appears in the mission and later becomes the ops officer of the USS Enterprise-F.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic West of the Moon, East of the Sun is an adaptation of both the Norwegian fairytale of the same name and the Greek myth Cupid and Psyche, and takes place in an alternate season 5. It makes a lot of changes to the story in order for it to fit in the Buffyverse, though for the most part it stays faithful to both stories, at the same time being very well written to the extent that some consider it to be Better Than Canon (for people wondering, it's a Spuffy fic).
  • The Dark Lady: In-canon, Belle's complex relationship with Rumpelstiltskin takes place after Snow White and Prince Charming succeed against Regina and Emma being born and raised in their kingdom. Regina has already been reformed and raised Emma's secret love-child Henry up until he is four-years old by the time Belle became pregnant with Gideon.
    • Unlike in the series, the Curse of the Dark One cannot be broken by True Love's kiss.
    • The Dark Realm here lacks the Narnia Time it had in-canon.
  • The Imaginarium setting that Empath and Smurfette enter into in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The Smurf Of Solomon" is basically this kind of adaptation of the Song of Songs from The Bible, where Empath plays King Solomon living in the king's palace and Smurfette plays the Shulamite who lives in a village with a father and a few siblings working as farmers.
  • Hunters of Justice:
    • Due to how infamously convoluted her backstory is and as they'd given Wonder Woman her New 52/DC Extended Universe backstory of being the daughter of Hippoltya and Zeus, the authors simply decided to give Donna Troy Diana's original Golem origin.
    • Likewise, given the nature of his resurrection in the comics, the authors simply gave Red Hood the same story from Batman: Under the Red Hood of being resurrected by Ra's al Ghul.
  • Universe Falls. Due to it being a Fusion Fic of 2 shows with vastly different lengths and timelines. Events that transpire over 3 seasons in SU (which took place over roughly a year) have to take place over the 3 months of summer vacation in Gravity Falls.

    Film — Animated 
  • While Old English purists loathed the 2007 Beowulf adaptation's plot changes, from a modern standpoint, the original story would be a tough sell, simply because of its one-dimensional character development and basic plot (though understandable, given its epic poem status). Even with the major alterations, the core story didn't change entirely. The plot liberties were only created to suit the new theme (i.e., making the title protagonist a more ambiguous hero), while respecting existing ones (like warriors seeking to create legacies through their heroic actions). The liberties are taken mostly in the parts where the storytellers would have nothing to go on except Beowulf's word. Further consider that the written piece is mostly Christian propaganda meant to convert "barbarians" and you're in a situation where you really can't take anything as the honest truth anyway. Ripping the Christian values out would likely be rendering the story more accurate to the original versions. Note that Beowulf being humbled at all for his "slaughter everything in my way and achieve glory!" is a Christian theme, in most ancient myths he'd be treated as a hero so long as he showed proper deference to the gods.
  • DC Universe Animated Original Movies:
    • Both adaptations of The Death of Superman:
      • The first half of Superman: Doomsday runs The Death of Superman fairly straight, save for the absence of the Justice League, but the second half, based on The Reign of the Supermen, gives us a single replacement Superman, who's a clone like Superboy, but with elements of both the Eradicator (crimefighter with extreme zero-tolerance policy) and the Cyborg (a villain secretly working with another villain). This half also drops the complex Mongul plot entirely in favor of a straightforward battle of the Supermen. It also manages to squeeze in a little of Funeral For a Friend, which took place in between the two halves. One effective choice was leaving out Pa Kent: this cut his heart attack subplot and intensified Martha's mourning by leaving her without both of them (it also ties in better with the Superman movie franchise, which contemporary audiences would be familiar with).
      • The self-titled redo of The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen are Truer to the Text in many areas, including more than one battle against Doomsday; the Justice League being present for the battles with Doomsday; and the presence of Steel, Superboy, the Eradicator, and Cyborg-Superman, instead of a clone that's a fusion of the latter three—but in part because it's set in a universe originally inspired by the New 52, a League with A-listers and a plainly himself Lex Luthor (whereas the original story was still during the Justice League International days and Luthor was involved in a subplot where he transferred his brain into a clone body and pretended to be his own sonnote ). And because it's set in the same universe started by Justice League: War, instead of Doomsday being created by Bertron and Mongul being the one backing Cyborg-Superman, both roles were given to Darkseid, seeking revenge against Superman and the League for his defeat in War.
    • Green Lantern: First Flight breezes over Hal Jordan's classic origin story in about 5 minutes to focus on the intergalactic dealings of the Green Lantern Corps. This was partially because the Live-Action Adaptation of Green Lantern was planned to delve into said origin, but also because they examined much of the same story in Justice League: The New Frontier, and they didn't want to rehash his origin with every new DTV. Ironically, it turned out to be much, much better received than the live-action film.
    • Batman: Under the Red Hood did this to its original story, "Under the Hood", as well as "A Death in the Family". Among the changes were: omitting everything from "Death" unrelated to Jason Todd's death, removing or altering things related to Infinite Crisis to make it more standalone (including changing how Jason Todd was resurrected to the more-familiar Lazarus Pit), and replacing then-current Gotham City police commissioner Michael Akins with the more familiar James Gordon, who'd retired from the post and wouldn't return until after the aforementioned Infinite Crisis.
    • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight took some liberties to make its version of the Jack the Ripper mystery work better than simply adapt the suspect of the original comic. Namely, limiting Jack's crimes to Gotham, and demoting Jack Packer, the book's Ripper, to a voiceless cameo and making Commissioner Gordon the film's Ripper.
    • Unlike the comic series its based on, Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has both Batman and the Ninja Turtles exist in the same universe rather than meeting through dimension hopping, which streamlines things a bit.
  • Several films in the Disney Animated Canon fall into this:
    • Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: Very much so in the Mr. Toad segment. It does avoid being an In Name Only adaptation by keeping Toad's personality the same as in the book (even if other characters are very different) and staying true to the basic story structure of the Toad parts of The Wind in the Willows, but it does change a few things up, attempting to make Toad more sympathetic by having him be innocent of the crime he's imprisoned for. The Sleepy Hollow segment, on the other hand, is quite true to the original tale, both story- and character-wise, though a few other liberties were taken.
    • Walt Disney's 1951 adaptation of Alice in Wonderland: The film is actually a combination of the original book and its sequel Through The Looking Glass. Retaining every character from both books would be too much for a feature-length film to handle, so the movie uses the most iconic ones from each book. While the plot itself is based off Wonderland, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and the singing flowers are originally from Through The Looking Glass.
    • Disney's adaptation of Hercules: The original Heracles myth — and Greek mythology in general — were as family-unfriendly as you can get and had a lot of built-in Values Dissonance. The basic conflict alone was unacceptable for a family film, since Hercules is a product of Zeus' adultery with a mortal, and Hera, Zeus' wife, is the villain who constantly makes Hercules' life miserable because of this. The studio was forced to heavily rework the concept: it borrows the character names (not so much the personalities), plot points, and setting from the myths, but throws out and adds in things from other parts of Greek myth (such as Pegasus and the Muses, who were not in the original Heracles story) and reworks everything else, such as expanding Hades's role in the story by turning him into the main villain. Ultimately, this makes the film less an adaptation of Greek mythology and more like a mashup of Superman: The Movie and Rocky set in a burlesque of Ancient Greece.
  • To make Planet Hulk fit the length of a feature film, the animated movie removed large parts of the story, such as visiting the shadow people and acquiring the stone ship, and Brood's character is removed altogether. The Warbound section is also condensed and, due to rights issues, the Silver Surfer is replaced by Beta Ray Bill and Mr. Fantastic is hidden in the shadows.
  • Son of the White Horse was originally meant to be a mashup of several old Hungarian and Avarian folk stories and origin myths, with which the director wanted to express his beliefs about the cyclic nature of time. Given that this idea didn't sit well at all with the communist censors, he was forced to dial it back, and so the movie became a drastically reimagined version of the fable it shares its name with. Many folklorists were not amused.
  • Despite being a main character in The Ultimates, Hawkeye is excluded from both of the Ultimate Avengers animated films in order to keep the movies from featuring too many characters. The adaptation also streamlined the plot of the first Ultimates mini-series, provided an entirely new plot for the sequel involving the Black Panther and Wakanda, and made the characters more likable by toning down some of their more Jerkass traits and blending them with aspects of their mainstream counterparts.
  • In The Magic Pudding, the backstory of Albert (the titular pudding) involves being created by a monstrously fat and malignantly gluttonous Chinese chef (and amateur wizard) named Curry and Rice, who was willing to hide Albert and watch his crewmates Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff slowly starve to death, despite their having saved him from drowning when their ship hit an iceberg and sank. When the two found out about this, they accosted Curry and Rice, and in the brawl, they knocked him into the sea to drown. None of this would get past modern censors. So, in the 2000s The Magic Pudding animated film, Albert is instead a mystical object of unknown origins, whilst Curry and Rice is replaced by Buncle the Wombat — a Villainous Glutton who serves as the film's Big Bad.

  • The Warcraft novel Tides of Darkness is an adaptation of a Real-Time Strategy with two opposing campaigns with conflicting storylines, consisting mostly of generic "destroy the enemy base/capture an object" missions and scarce on memorable characters at the Alliance side. So the novel took the most memorable and significant parts of the campaigns, forming them into a cohesive narrative, interleaved them with heavy references to later canon, and "enlisted" the Five-Man Band from Beyond the Dark Portal for the protagonists. While the orcs are still the villains in the novel they aren't all the same Always Chaotic Evil, and we do see that some orcs (namely Gul'dan) are more evil than others. If not for Doomhammer's honor, he would've won the war and destroyed Lordaeron (Gul'dan betrayed him during the siege of Lordaeron, and Orgrim decided to sacrifice victory in order to punish the traitors by sending a large chunk of his army after them). The final fate of Anduin Lothar was also changed in order to have him go out as a hero instead of simply being killed in an ambush. Here, he dies in a Combat by Champion with Doomhammer (this also shows that Doomhammer is more honorable than originally), only for Turalyon to pick up his broken sword and curb stomp Doomhammer.
  • Revenge of the Sith, the novelization of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith written by Matt Stover. Obviously a book of the film loses the visuals, the music, and any appeal from various actors, so Stover takes advantage of the medium by delving far deeper into the thoughts and mindset of the characters than a film can, expanding on the motivations for Anakin's Face–Heel Turn,note  explaining the machinations the Jedi and Sidious have going, and giving more focus to characters that lacked much screen time in the film, like Grievous and Padmé. The result is a combination of an adaptation and a supplement, glossing over things the film covers and focusing on things the films gloss over, as well as filling in some plot holes and returning cut sub-plots, such as the "Birth of the Rebellion."
  • The novelizations of the Star Trek: The Animated Series by Alan Dean Foster flesh out the half-hour episodes with considerable additional detail, while reducing a few of the more ridiculous outings to All Just a Dream.
  • S.D. Perry wrote a series of novels based on the Resident Evil games. The four that were straight adaptations (of 1, 2, 3 and Code Veronica, two of the novels were original stories) streamlined the events considerably by adding in an original character named Trent, who provided the protagonists with intelligence on the sites in question, thus allowing the signature (if somewhat nonsensical) item puzzles and fetch quests to remain in place while not bogging things down and also making a bit more sense. These were also streamlined a bit as well. For example, the crest door from the first game became an emergency lockdown system, and Wesker forced Barry to collect some of them instead of Chris/Jill finding them all.
  • Some of the old Target Doctor Who Novelisations broaden the stories and provide insights into the characters' thoughts and evoke wonderful moods not necessarily shown in the televised stories. The novelisations for "The Crusade", "The Silurians" and "The Daemons" are particularly good examples.
    • The nature of the novelisations in general required some level of Pragmatic Adaptation; they were, almost uniformly, about 100 pages long — which, considering the length of the stories they were adapting ranged from two-to-six (or in some cases ten or twelve) episodes long, meant that they would often either have to compress or add things in order to meet the page requirements.
    • The novelisation of Development Hell episode "Shada" is something of an extreme example, incorporating information from what footage was completed, the known script, some Word of God, Tom Baker's copy of the script into which he had handwritten a bunch of extra jokes and stage directions for himself, two pages of notepaper with an entirely unknown scene handwritten by Douglas Adams, the Big Finish audio adaptation (which starred the Eighth Doctor) and even some borrowings from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, in which a lot of ideas for "Shada" were reused - and that's before the copious changes Gareth Roberts made to update the story to feel more like a modern Doctor Who story, expand on the characters, add Call Forwards and fanservice, and fix plotholes. Gareth Roberts wrote in the afterword about how he thought the weaknesses of "Shada" were not down to any weakness of Douglas Adams himself, but a result of the tight deadline the story was written in originally, evidenced by how well-done the groundwork was even where he had to fix things. For instance, the original has a part where Chris figures out The Reveal that Professor Chronotis is secretly the dangerous Time Lord criminal Salvayin, placed just as the Doctor has worked out that the villain needs Salvayin's unique Exposition Beam Psychic Power for the plot to work, and just as the villain thinks Salvayin is lost forever. It seems obvious that Chris is going to announce this to the Doctor and the villain, with the best intentions, at the worst possible time - but Chronotis instead just announces his secret identity to everyone for no reason. Roberts changes this so that Chris blows it (bursting in on an added funny scene where the villain is in the throes of a Villainous Breakdown over his plan's failure and the Doctor is giving his enemy a cuddle and reassurance), saying that this is certainly what Adams wanted to happen anyway, but probably was forced to keep an earlier draft of the scene due to time pressures. Roberts also gives Skagra a proper backstory, which was omitted from the show for time reasons, and deals more with the fallout of Eccentric Mentor Chronotis actually being a legendary Outlaw in disguise.
  • Crysis: Legion played around with the plot of Crysis 2 a bit, such as having Alcatraz encounter a Ceph very soon after getting the Nanosuit whereas the first combat encounter ingame is later. There's a short note in front that points out the need to rework some things for the prose experience.
  • The first three BIONICLE Chronicles books by C. A. Hapka, based on the story told through the comics and the Mata Nui On-Line Game, are generally this, with some examples of Adaptation Expansion and Compressed Adaptation thrown in here and there. A lot of the lines are recited word-for-word, and some classic scenes survived intact, but several other scenes received a unique spin, and the thoughts of the characters are explored better. Sadly, they are also ripe with Continuity Snarl, especially the first book (which, despite being the longest by far, had to leave out too many details), and a lot of the material is considered Canon Discontinuity.
  • The Death of Superman was given a novel treatment while the story was still going, just to be released when the finale was. Doing this compressed a lot of the story and excised a lot of things, including everyone in the DC Universe outside of the then-established Justice League, Wonder Woman and Batman, removed anything involving the monstrous Underworlders and the orphan Keith by replacing them with the Newsboy Legion and condensed a lot of the adventures of the four replacement Supermen before getting into the meat of the story. Oddly, despite Coast City being obliterated still, Green Lantern does not show up.
  • Batman: No Man's Land had a few moments removed to streamline the story, including Superman's involvement, anything to do with Azrael and Tim Drake Robin's rescue from NML.
  • The Rainbow Six novel deviates from the game in a number of ways by having different missions, plot points, snipers that were not available in the game, and a different ending. This is because the book and game were made separately and the game came out first, after which the book's ending was changed.
  • The novel to Civil War condenses some of the backstory, implying that the New Avengers are still just the Avengers and that Spider-Man is their newest member.
  • In the original Kingdom Hearts II, the Struggle in Twilight Town had a mechanic involving knocking your opponent about, then collecting colored orbs that seem to come out of the Strugglers' bodies, with the winner being the one with the most orbs. In the manga adaptation, this was depicted as the Strugglers wearing suits of these orbs. For the novel, the rule is "fight with the provided weapons and whoever gets knocked over first loses."

  • Cover songs run the spectrum from awful to tolerable to better than the original. One example is "Jolene." A good song from the beginning, Dolly's version was a very light-sounding, upbeat song... about a woman begging Jolene to not steal her man. When it was covered by Mindy Smith, she turned the song into a slow, sad, painful ballad, which makes more sense with the song's lyrics. The White Stripes' cover, rather than monkeying around with the lyrics, has Jack White simply sing it as is, and it became a song about a nebbishy gay man worried about losing a bisexual lover to a woman.
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has been covered many times to to varying qualities a few that stand out are the Rufus Wainwright version and the Jeff Buckley version, while the original was more of a scathing, sarcastic love song, but both Buckley's and Wainwright's versions turned it into songs about searching for God in desperate times.
  • Megadeth covered Led Zeppelin's Out On The Tiles as a Japanese bonus track for their album United Abominations. Dave Mustaine could not sing anywhere near as high as Robert Plant, so he sang the song in a lower key and adjusted the music accordingly. Dave made this even more apparent in later years. To mark the 20th anniversary of each album, the band performed Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction live and released them as live albums. Both are significantly downtuned compared to the original album versions, in order to make up for Mustaine's inability to sing that high anymore. Sometimes the effect works, and other times, it sounds really bad.
  • When New Order plays "Love Will Tear Us Apart", they raise the key since Bernard Sumner's voice doesn't go quite as low as Ian Curtis's did.


  • Lux Radio Theatre, a show that ran for twenty years from The '30s to The '50s, was a weekly program that adapted popular Hollywood films into radio plays. The show was only an hour long, and the actual performances were closer to 40 minutes long after allowing for studio chatter and Product Placement, so the radio plays had to be carefully condensed from 90-120 minute movies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Victory Games's James Bond 007 Tabletop RPG used this constantly, since it was assumed the players saw the movies many of the modules are based on. For example, in their version of Goldfinger, instead of blowing up Fort Knox with one atomic bomb to increase the value of his gold holdings, Auric Goldfinger plans to detonate hundreds of atomic bombs hidden in South Africa and other gold-producing regions to contaminate the groundwater near the ore.
  • Amarillo Design Bureau's Star Fleet Battles games are based on the Star Trek universe. However, unlike the traditional Trek universe, where the conflict between the Federation, Romulans, Klingons, and other races is more of a Cold War relationship, open war and direct conflict are a regular part of the game universe. It also includes ship designs that have not been seen in the Trek universe such as Federation Dreadnoughts, Battleships, and Carriers. These designs arguably conflict with Gene Roddenberry's philosophy that such ships would not be built by Starfleet. But there wouldn't be much of a game if they could solve everything through diplomacy and communication.

  • Wicked the Broadway musical, in addition to being generally Lighter and Softer than the original novel, also included a few of these.
    • More than a few characters are Demoted to Extra or cut out altogether. After all, a novel can have as many characters as the writer desires, but a stage show needs to factor in the realities of casting.
    • In the book, Elphaba's sister Nessa was born without arms. Since this would be exceptionally difficult to portray with actual actors, the musical changed it to her having been born with deformed legs and being in a wheelchair.
    • The original book covered Elphaba's entire lifespan, from childhood through middle age. Except for a brief flashback to her birth in the opening number, the story begins with Elphaba as a young woman, and the events at the end are moved considerably earlier, allowing the character to be played by a single actress throughout.
    • In general, the story from the novel is long, convoluted, and contains multiple overlapping plot arcs. The musical condenses and streamlines it into a story that can be told in a reasonable timeframe and without benefit of exposition paragraphs, and that most audience members would be able to keep up with.
  • The Most Happy Fella abandoned most of the social commentary of the straight play it was based on, They Knew What They Wanted, so it could focus more on the love plot, which provided better opportunities for singing.
  • The Takarazuka musical adaptation of Ace Attorney only dealt with a single case (written for the play), unlike the multiple case formats of each game. They also ditched the spirit channeling plot device, having Phoenix mock Maya for believing she was a spirit medium, and made Edgeworth a simple ruthless prosecutor rather than Phoenix's childhood friend in need of redemption.
  • The musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast does this in regard to the Enchantress's curse. Instead of instantly transforming the servants into talking objects, the spell slowly changes them into fully inanimate bric-a-brac, gradually replacing their human features and clothing with parts of their item. While largely a pragmatic choice—it's a lot easier to costume a woman to resemble a teapot than it is to build a believable special effect—it also makes the curse more painful, as the castle's inhabitants are aware of what's happening to them, but completely powerless to stop it.
  • Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw is described in subtitle as "A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue". Each scene depicts a key moment in the life of Joan of Arc. Some of these 'moments' actually took place over days, weeks, or months, but as Shaw points out in the preface to the published playscript, that's not something you can faithfully reproduce on a theatre stage.
  • Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: In the original novel, Utterson's investigation is the main plot, but now Hyde's secret is too well known for that to work. The play keeps Utterson's investigation, but only in the second act, and plays it mainly for dramatic irony as Utterson struggles to catch up to what the audience already knows.

    Theme Parks 
  • Due to Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure being a stage show, the scene when the Grinch lifts all the Whos supplies off the edge of Mount Crumpit is cut for this reason. This is also lampshaded when the Grinch asks the Narrator to skip past the parts of the story that would require the Grinch to do extensive physical work.

    Video Games 
  • Creed: Rise to Glory is based on the Rocky films generally, and more specifically on the film Creed. The game strips out almost everything from the film except the fights, adds more fights, and re-contextualizes the fights to make Donnie's development feel more like a steady climb to the top than a lucky underdog's story. It also turns the Training Montage into a series of microgames.
  • Dawn of War removes a lot of the mechanics from Warhammer 40,000 (cover is near-nonexistent, though it was reintegrated for Dawn of War II, and there's no Random Number God) but keeps fundamentals like squads, weapon upgrades, and different armour types in order to better work as a video game instead of a tabletop one. By necessity the factions are vastly simplified, only having access to a relatively small amount of their units, as well as lacking the individual customisations of the sub-factions. In turn it creates a new Space Marine chapter the Blood Ravens, as well as a bunch of new characters from existing groups, to tell its own story instead of trying to adapt anything from the expansive WH40K lore. The result is a game that is generally well-received by the fans and gamers in general, but isn't so much an adaptation as it is just a small piece of the Expanded Universe.
  • Castlevania: Dracula X for the SNES. Cutting the levels and playable characters back to fit the SNES hardware is acceptable, though legal issues meant Shaft was cut. And Vampire Killer for the MSX
  • Street Fighter 4 on the Ipod Touch. While it's highly simplified from the console/PC version. (only 10 characters, reduced movelists, simplified controls, and lots and lots of contents removed), it manages to be a fun experience on its own right, despite the system not being fit for such a type of game.
  • Astyanax for the NES has a completely different story than the arcade game it's loosely adapted from.
  • Most RPG games made under the infinity engine (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment) employed a Pragmatic Adaptation of the original tabletop rules to fit better into a more action-oriented isometric computer game.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. The limits of a video game (and the action-heavy elements expected from them) meant that the game needed to drop a number of systems, simplify others, and gear things more towards combat as a baseline. One example is with the Tremere, and the Tremere PC's use of Thaumaturgy. The Path of Blood depicted in Bloodlines is much different than the one in the source material, being more directly martial than the multi-purpose powers in the original.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online serves almost like a P.O.V. Sequel to the books, where the player is experiencing the events of the books from the perspective of someone outside The Fellowship. Some changes are made to allow this; Angmar rising again gives us a villain for the first part of the game (Angmar at that time is supposed to be deserted), and a company of Dwarves trying to reclaim Moria days after the Fellowship passed through gives us an excuse to adventure there (Moria was not reclaimed until after the Ring was destroyed), for example. The player does interact with members of The Fellowship (and other famous characters) and even assists them in important plot points (The reforging of Narsil, walking with Frodo before his journey and later delivering Arwen's banner to the Grey Company and riding with them.
  • The N64 version of Quake II had its story changed from the original, and most of the levels replaced with all-new ones, which were generally shorter than the PC version's. The crouch function, hand grenades, and several enemy types were removed, the chaingun was nerfed, and the submachine gun's recoil was reduced.
  • The iPhone version of Metal Gear Solid 4 was stated to be this by Word of God. The original game had a stealth element, but when Konami playtested it they found that it was really tedious and distracting for a casual game. So Kojima Productions took over development themselves, concentrating on shooting-range stuff.
  • A number of changes were made to the Wii remake of GoldenEye (1997) plot to fit with the change in timeline to 2010. Most notably, 006's motivations are changed from getting revenge for Britain's betrayal of his Lienz Cossack parents (which would make him 71 in 2010) to anger over the War on Terror and the Great Financial Meltdown, and how big banks made a killing while everyone else suffered. Zukovsky is killed a couple dozen seconds after you meet him. After all, he does die in the films eventually, and it's not like they're planning on making a The World Is Not Enough game later.
    • Even in the original game, a number of changes were done for the sake of making a more enjoyable game. At least a half of the game's content isn't in the movie, much more was altered.
  • Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys for the PC-Engine, released a month after Ys IV: Mask of the Sun for the Super Famicom, was produced by a different developer (Hudson Soft), had a significantly different story and gameplay, and is not part of Falcom's canon, but is generally regarded as the superior game.
  • Most Sam & Max media, while most of the media is a bit Lighter and Softer than the original comics (well, until The Devil's Playhouse, of course), they've more or less had some pretty good games for quite a while now, demonstrating the dark comedy and wit that the series is known for.
  • The console adaptations of Rainbow Six 3 have a completely different story and considerably different gameplay, although some of the locales from the PC version make an appearance.
  • More of a technical limitation, but if anyone asks why Armored Core Formula Front has a very wildly different gameplay (simply designing and tuning a Humongous Mecha's autopilot instead of directly piloting it), it's because ACFF was released in PSP. See, the games before that were released in PS/PS2, whose controllers had far more buttons than the PSP. Not knowing how to efficiently use the PSP's button layout, FROM decided to make it a game which require as little input as possible from the players. To seemingly prove their point, the PS2 version of Formula Front does enable direct piloting of your mechs. It isn't until Armored Core 3 Portable that they finally figured out how to map the controls.
  • Invoked in The Matrix: Path of Neo, where the Wachowskis literally stop time and interrupt the game to explain that the sacrificial ending to the movie wouldn't have worked in a videogame, so instead the player gets to fight a Final Boss made up of every Smith in the level.
  • All of the MechWarrior first-person Humongous Mecha simulator series, based on the turn-based BattleTech tabletop wargame are this to some extent
    • MechWarrior 3 was a nearly direct adaption in terms of weapon damage values, armor, and such, and such was a total balance train wreck full of Game Breakers - such as the perfectly legal 12x Small Laser Shadowcat that could reliably lop legs off and instantly kill the enemy in a few spammed hits.
    • MW4 greatly altered many of the mechanics from 3 and ditched the boardgame's stats entirely in the name of balance. Design-It-Yourself Equipment remains but is heavily altered, as mechs can only put certain types of weapons in certain slots, preventing some of the more infamous examples from Mech 3 like firing missiles from the cockpit canopy. The freeware re-release of the Mercenaries Expansion Pack by the MekTek Game Mod developers increased the divergence, and introduced new mechanics such as changing the Enemy-Detecting Radar to require line-of-sight, in order to reel in some of the unforeseen consequences caused by Mech 4's game design.
    • Living Legends diverges heavily from the previous games in balance, asset usage (such as having useful aircraft, Power Armor, and tanks), and basic game mechanics - all of which were changed for competitive multiplayer balance centered around objective-based gameplay. The end result is that while it still plays much like a MechWarrior game, the spirit is much more like the original wargame, BattleTech. The Design-It-Yourself Equipment was purposely delayed til the end of the public Beta Test (that never came) in order to allow the developers to balance out weapons and battlemechs on their own sake in order to avoid the terminal min-maxing that has plagued the series.
    • Online started out being a nearly direct 1-to-1 stats translation from the boardgame, which suffice to say did not work very well, resulting in massive min-maxing and entire classes of weapons and battlemechs being rendered redundant courtesy of stats copy-pasted from a turn-based wargame not transferring well to a real-time first person shooter. Latter patches diverged from BattleTech for the sake of balance.
  • An early 1980s game example: The ColecoVision version of Lady Bug replaced the arcade original's free game credit from spelling S-P-E-C-I-A-L with a Bonus Stage, since the home version didn't require quarters to play it. This is better than what reward you got for finding the diamond in the home versions of the follow-up game Mr. Do!: just 8000 points and a free trip to the next screen.
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent, originally on Xbox 360 and PC, eventually received a Generation 6 version on Playstation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo Gamecube which is this due to console limitations. The gameplay and missions are entirely different, while the story is mostly the same except for two major character changes. Enrica's characterization completely lacks her sympathetic portrayal and the romantic subplot between her and Fisher, creating somewhat of a plot hole when Fisher abruptly starts desperately trying to keep Third Echelon from killing her in the final chapter. Jamie on the other hand is given a far more loyal and sympathetic portrayal rather than the Poisonous Friend/Soft-Spoken Sadist he was in the original, which made a lot of people feel seriously bad when you have no choice but to kill him.
  • Various video game adaptations of the exploits of Superman have struggled with how to show off the character's iconic borderline invincibility, powers and strength while still presenting a game that possesses both a fair challenge and lose conditions. The Superman Returns game took a novel approach to this — instead of giving Supes a health bar, Metropolis itself is the life bar, and you have to let it suffer as little collateral damage as possible in order to succeed in a given mission. In fact, the final boss isn't even a person or machine. It's a tornado, a force of nature, that you have to put out before it wrecks everything.
  • The three games for The Witcher franchise take some liberties with the books largely for Rule of Fun.
    • In the books, monsters are becoming less common in the world, which has made the Witchers who were mutated and trained to hunt them largely a relic of the past. As such, Geralt is stuck in Perpetual Poverty because he has a hard time finding work. Meanwhile, monsters are brimming all over in the games. While this runs contrary to the original setting, it makes the world feel less empty, allows the player to fight all kinds of interesting creatures, and provides context for a great number of side quests that inevitably involve hunting the beasties down.
    • In the books, Geralt typically only carried a steel sword with him. His silver sword was usually stored away on his horse, and he would only ever pull it out when he knew he would be facing a monster. In all three games, he and pretty much all witchers carry both swords with them at all times, which makes for more convenient gameplay since the player can encounter humans or monsters at any time.
    • In the books, Geralt often had his potions brewed by trained alchemists. In the games, he can brew them himself, and there's always an entire branch of skills that the player can develop to improve the quality of his potions.
  • Cuphead: While the game otherwise sticks to emulating classic cartoons to the T, the racist depictions of racial minorities is purposely avoided, and for good reason. The most that happens is giving Djimmi the Great clear Egyptian influences (when genies are Arabic), and that is terribly minor in comparison while still being a possible throwback.
  • Mega Man 2: Atari De-Make: To emulate better the limitations of Atari, some level objects were changed. Instead of the Crash Lifts, there are moving platforms moving from left to right and with a pointer that spins from time to time and hurts. The Air Cheriots do not have a circular trajectory, but are moved through shots from the opposite direction Mega Man is standing on them and are separate from Kaminari Goros. Another important change is that there are no continuous screens.
  • Ports of Player Versus Player-based puzzle games to the Game Boy (and handheld systems of similar power) generally don't offer a direct take on the Player vs CPU modes of their arcade and console equivalents, either due to lack of processing power or simply the lack of real estate on the screen for two fields. Many of them instead attempt to offer a similar experience by tasking the player with filling a fluctuating gauge, meant to represent the opponent's field, while fending off occasional attacks. Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, as well as the handheld ports of Magical Drop, Star Sweep, and Money Puzzle Exchanger, are some of the games that resort to this. It is interestng to note that Puyo Puyo, which codified the competitive puzzle subgenre, never had to resort to a "false" AI opponent; even the first arcade game's disastrous Game Boy port contains real AI.

    Web Video 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre is a web series adaptation of Jane Eyre, a Gothic Novel. In the book, Jane is a narrator and an adult mature woman who is looking back on her life from her unhappy childhood, harsh and later kinder school days, her employment, and above all her mysterious love story. The narrative voice of the web series, which is Jane's vlog presenting events as they happen, is naturally changed. It started with Jane deciding to change her life and seeking new opportunities in life, and accepting to work as a live-in tutor. Her back-story is revealed in some episodes when Jane mentions her uneasy relationship with her abusive step-family or when she reminisces about her school days or her friend Helen.
  • Likewise there is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modernized adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Because society has changed so much in the centuries in between, especially the roles of women, Diaries had to update many aspects to keep them relevant for the audience yet equivalent to the book. For instance:
    • There are only three Bennett sisters now, Jane, Lizzie and Lydia. Mary was later included as their cousin and Kitty becomes Lydia's cat.
    • The theme of social stifling and small opportunities for women is now a more general one about the difficult economy and slim job and field opportunities.
    • In the book, Wickham was a militia officer who claims Darcy swindled him out of his promised fortune. In the web series, he's a swim coach who claims Darcy refused to pay for his promised college tuition.
    • Lydia and Georgiana are both made older, since Wickham seducing teenage girls would have gotten him in jail today.
    • Lady Catherine De Bough is the most prominent antagonist in the book, not wanting the Bennetts become connected to the Darcys or Bingleys. In the web series, De Bough role's is greatly reduced and it's instead Caroline Bingley who becomes the instigator of strife between the families.
  • 8-bit Theatre Chaos, a voiced adaptation of 8-Bit Theater, have occasionally had to rejig a joke so that it translates better to the video format - or update the comic's imagery to fit better with present-day events. For example, one Doctor Who joke from the comics (which originally used Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor) was updated for Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor.
  • In Noob, Précieux started out without his Talking with Signs via the text chat gimmick. The gimmick started out as a one-off gag in the live-action version but ended up sticking. The comic version, which uses the text chat function much less frequently, has him talk like everyone else.

    Western Animation 
  • Nearly every adaptation of Wolverine in a Marvel TV series tends to focus more on building his characterization (notably X-Men: Evolution) than on his violent berserker rages, because of Media Watchdogs and their attitude towards violence in children's TV.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men takes elements of the vast, contradictory mythology surrounding the Phoenix Force that look like they might work well together, and constructs a new story out of them. Likewise, it combines a number of the various Bad Futures of the comics into one.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a violent and gory (if satirical) black and white independent Comic Book with an ongoing storyline. (Shredder dies messily in the very first issue; later his surviving minions feed what is left of him to a colony of worms that take his form and his intelligence. Worm-Shredder destroys the Turtles' and April's home, and nearly kills Leonardo. After a year of healing, Leo heads back to New York, chops off Worm-Shredder's head, and burns him.) In the early process of licensing and adaptation, the Turtles developed a litany of catch phrases, color coded costumes, a Garfield-like food fetish, and an army of ineffective recurring villains; Raphael changed from a sociopathic Jerkass to "cool but rude", Baxter Stockman was changed from a homicidal black man to a feeble white guy, Splinter's whole backstory was rewritten to avoid the question of death; they abandoned character and plot development for syndication-friendly standalone episodes... and yet it all kind of worked. The 2003 series is a much closer adaptation of the comics (even bearing some traits of Adaptation Distillation); any carry-over from earlier adaptations (such as Michaelangelo's use of lingo from the earlier show) is generally Lampshade-hung. There's still much conflict over which cartoon was actually better — ratings and profit wise, they did the same.
    • In the comics, Splinter is the mutated pet rat of a ninja murdered by Shredder. In the (first) cartoon, Splinter is a human ninja (and rival to Shredder) mutated into a rat. This change feels less like a bowdlerization (even though it is) and more like an Adaptation Distillation. It simplifies Splinter's back story, gives the turtles a more direct tie to ninjas (trained by an actual ninja as opposed to the pet rat of a ninja), and gives scenes between Splinter and Shredder a personal edge. The show even did a good, touching episode where Splinter briefly regained his human form.
  • The second animated adaptation of Herge's Tintin comic book series often streamlines the original narrative to make the story of each comic book fit into two half-hour episodes by cutting out subplots that don't affect the main plot overall, but otherwise faithfully follows Herge's original plotlines.
  • Winx Club:
    • Frank Maggiore commented on a change made to an episode; in the dub, Sky went from being killed (it's never explicitly said, but Flora mentions his lack of pulse at one point) to being put into a deep sleep (by having the Trix, who "killed" Sky, explicitly mention this a few times). It seemed to him that it made a lot more sense when Bloom revived Sky; this changed a never-before-seen magical Back from the Dead ability to a Sleeping Beauty-style awakening that seemed more 'probable', especially since that these new powers were played as "healing powers" in either version. The kicker? The change was made by 4Kids Entertainment. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
    • The girls (except Flora) cut school and go to Earth, where Aisha/Layla, Stella and Musa are stopped by a police officer and asked why they're not in school. In the original, Aisha gives the excuse that they have permission from their parents to be out of school and offers to give the cop the phone numbers, but the cop declines and lets them go. In 4Kids, Layla speaks a different language, making the cop think they're not from Gardenia and so he lets them go. The 4Kids version is more believable because, by law, the cop should've taken in all three girls and called their parents (not that he could call them, but you get it) since skipping school (aka truancy) is illegal.
  • Watership Down's Animated Adaptation left out a number of rabbits from the book, including Bluebell, the comedian, and Strawberry, from the snare farm. Speedwell, Buckthorn, Hawkbit and Acorn aren't much missed, though.
  • The Adventures Of Sam And Max Freelance Police was given a very Lighter and Softer treatment, but it kept a lot of the strange hijinks and ideas that the duo are known for.
  • The DCAU has a lot of this. Most of the time when a characters and their origin were changed, it helped to enhance the essence of the original comics. In several cases, changes in the DCAU were so well-received that they were actually integrated into the main DC universe. (Harley Quinn and Mr. Freeze's backstories are probably the two most well-known cases.) One episode of Justice League was an adaptation of the Alan Moore story, For the Man Who Has Everything. They took out some of the darker aspects which gave it its own unique effect while sticking to the overall idea. Notably, this is the only adaptation of his work that Moore actually likes.
  • Young Justice does this with many characters, usually with positive effects. Artemis Crock for instance went from being a Caucasian supervillain to a biracial superhero, with the big twist being that her older sister (she never had one in the comics) is the Vietnamese assassin Cheshire. The decision to reimagine Zatanna as a teenager also went over well with fans. As a neat way of explaining her size-changing abilities, Bumblebee was made into a student of The Atom, despite the two having literally no connection in the comic books. Icon was also made into a member of the JLA in order to justify his sidekick Rocket's (temporary) inclusion in The Team.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man made a number of slight visual changes to Spider-Man's supporting cast, notably making several white characters into minorities for the sake of diversity and giving slightly modernized designs to some of Spidey's villains.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! often condenses or alters origins for various characters in order to cut down on the time required to introduce them. For example, Hawkeye and Black Widow are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents rather than reformed Iron Man villains, and The Falcon is a member of Code Red rather than Captain America's sidekick.
  • The Batman gave some of the villains drastically changed designs, backstories and/or personalities to give them more importance in the story, such as Hugo Strange and Clayface.
  • The Mega Man cartoon had the decision to change Proto Man from Mega Man's Aloof Big Brother Mysterious Ally to his Worthy Opponent on Wily's side. Given that Dark Man, Proto's impersonator from the fifth game, shows up in the series, it's more likely this was a conscious decision in order to give Mega Man an appropriate rival (Bass from the seventh game didn't exist yet).
  • The W.I.T.C.H. cartoon made some major changes to the characters with the first season, turning Yan Lin into The Mentor (and alive) and making Caleb an Adaptational Badass. When Greg Weisman stepped in for season 2, he took the changes even further, giving more screentime to old one-note villains, expanding roles of other characters and even going so far as to make many of the more Jerkass characters of the comic a lot more relating to the viewer.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is often praised as one of the best efforts in the franchise, with legitimately frightening villains and scenes. And yet, its origins lie not in Scooby-Doo, but, of all shows, SWAT Kats; it was an unfinished script that involved a succubus. In-between the cancellation of SK and the production of Zombie Island, it was also partially recycled for an episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures.
  • PJ Masks: While still a long way from being grounded in reality, the show eliminated some of the more outlandish aspects of the original book series, like the PJ Masks befriending a huge werewolf, the moon having a face, and the young heroes going up against villains like an evil version of The Sandman, a living snow statue, various monsters, and the Egyptian deity Apophis.

  • Greggo, who adapts and hosts various Game Shows for fan conventions, oftentimes drops, streamlines or modifies elements of the shows, as he doesn't use much in the way of props (due to lack of budget) and mostly runs things on his computer; for example, his adaptation of All-Star Blitz has the contestant using a buzz-in device to stop a randomizer in the Blitz Bonanza, as opposed to spinning a wheel in the actual show.


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