Transitioning From Anime to Manga

There are a few different ways to get into reading manga series. If you’re like me, then you usually start with the print volumes or scans, but sometimes it’s possible to start a series another way. I’m talking, of course, about the times where you begin by watching the anime and switch over when it ends. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, or at least there had better not be considering the amount of times I’ve done it. Just looking at the series I’ve discussed here, there’s Princess Jellyfish, The World God Only Knows, Kimi ni Todoke, and to an extent One Piece, among others. Since I’m about to add three more to that list, I felt it was worth the time to look at how to deal with transitioning.

One of the most common complaints I hear about many series is the use of “read the manga endings”. Apparently in Japan the line between anime and manga fans is much thinner than it is over here. I’ve read that that’s part of why so many openings are full of spoilers, as well. This is coupled with the relatively short runtimes of most shows to create a large number of endings that simply don’t resolve anything. I suppose this is usually better than trying to wrap up the whole show in a few episodes, which usually results in some very pissed off fans.

I understand how these endings can be frustrating, since I’ve felt the same about light novel adaptations or even some anime originals. That said, I’m not as annoyed when it happens with manga adaptations. Usually, if a show is good enough and comes from a manga, I’ve decided whether I’m going to switch over long before the show is over. However the series ends, I usually want to see more if the show is good. If I can find pictures of the manga, it’s easy to see how simple or hard the transition will be.

There have been times when I liked the anime but chose not to continue. Sometimes it’s like Working!, where the artstyle of the manga is such a change that it wouldn’t feel like how the anime felt. There are shows like Ouran High School Host Club where the tone of the manga is different from what made you like it so much in the first place. Then of course there are shows like Usagi Drop, where the story takes a major downward spiral past where the anime leaves off. Whatever the reason, being unable to smoothly transition can make it hard to keep up with the series.

I suppose a big part of what makes these endings so unpopular over here is how difficult that transition can be for some people. Unless you’ve been reading manga for a long time, it’s hard to see the written and spoken stories as easily comparable. I remember it was really hard seeing both types of series in the same way at first, but eventually I got used to it. That’s how I imagine it is for most people, though since I’m sure most anime fans read at least a little but of manga, there will always be a small chance of being able to transition successfully.

I don’t usually directly ask for opinions from the readers here, but even I’m confused as to what makes a series easy to transition to for other people. What does everyone else usually do in response to those inconclusive endings? Did you even know some of these series came from manga? Even I didn’t know about Nichibros until a week before it ended. Maybe a lot of people don’t even consider the manga adaptations, but I suppose it’s at least comforting to know that sometimes the show doesn’t have to end just yet.

Posted on April 10, 2012, in Misc. Rants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. When you say that Usagi Drop went down, do you mean that it got depressing or the quality dropped?

    And I’ll admit, unless it’s something like, say, Dragonball, I typically stick to one or the other. Even though I review anime, I can only think of about 2 or 3 series where I liked the anime better than the manga; the main two examples are Sailor Moon and Trigun. I found Sailor Moon unreadable and Trigun boring in their original creators’ hands.

    Soooo I don’t transition well, is what I’m trying to say. I read/watch something, decide which version I like better, and generally stick with that.

    • I say that the quality dropped. Which was depressing.

      That’s usually how I do things unless one version ends before the other. There have been one or two times where I could watch the two versions interchangeably, but that’s very rare.

  2. Well generally, I like to keep my “manga” and “anime” separate, that way, there are no disappointments nor spoilers. While I would like to consistently adhere to that belief, it’s not always so.

    Occasionally I do tend to “cross” between the two mediums in order to get “newer” content. For example, while I generally love to watch anime due to whole “flip-free” thing, I have to sometimes read the manga when the anime has already caught up to the manga. Obviously, this only works for some series, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

    As for the actual “transition”, I do generally wait for reviews on a series (in respect to its manga and anime) before I actually decide to pick it up. This is because, I’m actually quite picky on what shows to start watching, thus I’m generally a total bitch about it. That way, I cut down the # of transitions I make and avoid any unnecessary crossovers.

    Because of that, I have never “watched” To Love-Ru, but I’ve read it. This is because the anime was not-so-well-reviewed, while the manga was somewhat decent (before Darkness). Thanks to my decision, I’ve avoided any unnecessary spoilers or deviations from the “original” plot.

    I do fairly believe I “transition” well as I’m very picky with the things, and I refuse to transition unless both the manga/anime are remarkably similar.

    Viva la ratings, for saving me countless hours :3

    • Though you have to be careful with other people’s ratings; I’ve thought plenty of stuff was junk for years after reading reviews, then I actually watched it and liked it. Or vice versa.

      • Ah yes, of course. I’ve been juked a number of times, but now, I think I just settle for some more well-renowned bloggers or more of a “consensus” before i make any decisions~

    • I can sometimes be picky too, and usually I go for a version that’s better received. It can often be hard to tell which version is the better pick, though, and it often just comes down to fate. I remember wanting to watch the anime of Soul Eater, but after being unable to find it, I just started up the manga on a whim. I couldn’t say if it was better, but I knew it was good and that was all that mattered.

  3. I saw the anime first for all the manga I’m reading right now (except for Nisekoi and Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa). From experience, I only switch over to manga long after the anime has ended. After a period of few months, if I find myself still attached to a story of an anime from a manga adaptation, I will pick up the manga and start with the first chapter. By then, I probably have fuzzy memories about the anime series and can focus on the manga story.

    • I imagine that’s how it is for a lot of people who aren’t big manga readers. I can easily sympathize with the desire to want the story to keep going.

  4. I usually just read up the ending on a wiki… the frustrating part is when the Manga series hasn’t ended or if the anime had an unique ending that wasn’t actually an ending (ie, Pandora Hearts).

  5. I think a lot of the anime I’ve watched served as a gateway to manga for me: Naruto, One Piece, Bleach etc. but eventually I ended up preferring the manga to the anime.

    Anime adaptations of manga can be a good way to get into a long lasting shonen or to get a quick feel for the series from just the first episode which is more satisfying than reading the first chapter but it really does depend on the individual.

    For me an example would be Eyeshield 21 which was a bad adaptation and I ended up reading the manga in it’s entirety first before going back to finish the anime.

  6. I think that one criteria used in transitioning is what is gained or what is lost. Especially in a transition from anime to manga, like the Nichibros case I think it’s really hopeless to expect the theatricality and humor that brings the insertion of voice acting. The same goes for Chihayafuru or Cowboy Bebop where the motion and music are very crucial elements of what made them enjoyable. Then ofc there’s the art criterium, like Natsume Yuunjichou, which I found distasteful in manga version (plus it spoiled my fun of the 3rd season having read some episodes already). On the other hand I enjoy Kuragehime as a manga a hell lot.

    Of course there’s ‘the other version of the story’ option that might give another more appealing ending or compliment what you already know from the tv series, like in the four versions of Revolutionary Girl Utena. The same example along with Sailor Moon franchise can be used to illustrate the different focus and characterization or relationships between the different versions that come along with a change of story length.

    In the end such a talk tends to be subjective as well.

    • So far, what I’ve seen of the Chihayafuru manga shows that it can keep a lot of the tension without the sound, though when you directly compare the two it may not be as fluid. I also think the case with Nichibros is true of a lot of comedy series, since the timing can be better or worse when the lines are actually spoken, but I’ll have to see with this one..

      I’ve seen those ‘other version’ shows before, and that can make it much harder to decide where to start. I guess it’s another case where it all comes down to fate.

  7. Speaking from personal experience, i think switching between Anime and Manga has to do alot with how much you read in your personal life. During High School, when i was keeping up with One Piece, Naruto, and later Fairy Tail, during any down time i could find in school, I’d be reading a book, often carrying two or three with me at a time. So when i decided that the anime was going to slow for my tastes, switching to manga wasn’t as hard as i thought it
    would be. i just picked up right where the anime left off and in between releases, started reading other series.

    • That’s actually how I started One Piece, except I only lasted until the Baratie arc before switching. I’m impatient like that. It’d definitely a lot easier when one version has problems like pacing that the other doesn’t.

      • True, i watched the one piece anime up to part way through the war and i couldn’t stand how each chapter was making up one episode. Fairy Tail was much better in this, just taking time to build out the battle more properly and throw in a joke episode every now and again.

        Also, something else i’ve noticed is that its easier for me to watch a anime after reading the manga, for example, i’m currently watching the Reborn! Anime, and i’m enjoying it quite a bit more than i had expected. Why, well i have no clue, but i am.

  8. I’ve written about this before but I tend to stick with just one medium. For some reason, I guess I view and consume anime and manga as separate entities. There have been plenty of anime series I enjoyed (including Ouran) that I decided not to pursue the manga, and vice-versa (Nana). I guess for me, part of my reluctance to continue a series in a different medium is that I don’t want to have to rewatch or reread the parts of the story I’m already familiar. This is why when I watch an anime that I loved so much I chose to read the manga as well (which hasn’t happened often, only Kodocha and Boys Over Flowers), I tend to start from where the anime ended rather than read the whole thing. I think it helps make the transition from anime to manga more fluid.

    • I usually prefer doing that, both because of the little changes you notice and because there are certain shows where I like them, but can’t sit through them more than once. I’m still waiting for Chihayafuru and Natsume to get to the new material, so it’ll be a while before I can discuss them.

  9. In a number of cases, I’ll actually start reading a manga while waiting for the next episode of the manga to come out. That’s how I started reading Break Blade and Ao no Exorcist, and Break Blade is now one of my favorite manga series ever.

    I don’t know, I guess it more just has to do with how much I enjoyed the series. I enjoyed Skip Beat!, so I started reading the manga. Same with Needless, Soul Eater, and Hayate no Gotoku (and there’s a huge difference between the manga and anime there).

    Also, some of the time I don’t like the anime (or the manga), but I like the *idea*, so I try to find an alternative. Take Princess Resurrection/Kaibutsu Oujo. I didn’t really like the anime, but I decided to read the manga and I love it.

    So I guess there are a lot of aspects to it, but I guess in the end it just comes down to how much I like the overall content of the series. If I enjoy it, than I’ll want to see that idea continue or get done better, and that seems to make the transition easier.

    • I imagine there are a lot of people who liked an anime but stopped because of production values or whatever. There aren’t too many series where I can definitely say the manga is an improvement, but there would still be lots of people who see it that way.

  10. “the wind is strong today…” 😀

    I agree with you though, most of the times I enter in a manga after watching the anime. Of course there are exceptions like Tokyo Ravens, D-Frag, Sankarea, Tasogare Otome X Amnesia, etc… All series that I loved a lot before it was even announced the anime…:P

    • I love it when something I’m reading gets an anime. For some reason i find that transition much easier, since I can usually get into series I’ve already read once before rather easily.

  11. Lots of times I’m so hesitant to start a manga because I don’t want to spoil myself if I’m watching the anime, for instance Usagi Drop and Chihayafuru.

    As for the Usagi Drop, I was warned about the controversial ending that’s why I chose not to read the manga. I guess, I just don’t want to get rid of the feel good feeling that the anime gave me. Sometimes also, I’m satisfied with the anime that’s why I don’t want to touch the manga anymore. However, it’s a different way around when I’m reading a manga. Most of the time after finishing it, I always wish turning it into an anime.

    • I suppose there are times where the anime has a good enough conclusion that you don’t want to continue. Usagi Drop felt like that, and i’m not sure if i would have wanted to keep going even if the manga didn’t turn out like it did.

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