We’ve all met anime fans like this, or maybe we’ve actually thought it ourselves at one time or another while watching anime, “This anime is good, but the manga was so much better“. We choose an anime that we have already read the manga version to chapter 1047, and now we want to see it in all it’s animated glory. We wait for our favorite scenes to appear on our screens with baited breath, and we wait . . . and wait . . . and wait . . . The moment passes and all we are given for our time is disappointment. By the end of the episode we are left fuming, “Why would they (the ominous they) cut that scene!? It was the best scene of the whole manga! The only reason someone would watch this anime was for that scene!” And in the end we declare that the manga was most definitely better than the anime. Well, there is some anime that are true to their manga origins. In fact, the anime is basically like reading the manga scene by scene! So here are some anime, that are just as good as the manga.
Inuyash is the classic isekai tale before isekai were trendy, about an average high school girl (Kagome) that falls down a well and travels back in time to the feudal era of Japan. But this isn’t regular historic Japan, it’s the Japan of legends. The war ravaged land is over run with monsters, demons, and demi gods. Curses and magic are everywhere. And if Kagome wants to survive in such a hostile environment, she is going to need a little help from a certain dog eared half demon named Inuyasha. Not long after Kagome crash lands in the feudal past, she accidentally shatters a sacred jewel (oops!) and not surprisingly considering that she’s the one that broke it, Kagome is tasked with putting it back together again. So she teams up with Inuyasha to travel the countryside looking for the shards of the broken jewel and fighting the monsters that are trying to eat the sacred jewel to become more powerful.
The anime series Inuyasha is perhaps the anime that is the most true to its source material that I have seen so far. It’s startling how close the anime is to the manga by Rumiko Takahashi. In fact, the anime is so similar to its paper version in the first few graphic novels that you can switch back and forth between the manga and the anime and never get lost! That’s actually how I watched the anime the first time I viewed it. I couldn’t get all the episodes so I filled in the holes with the manga and it worked out great! I never missed anything, I never got confused as to what was going on, even the dialog seemed to match up. Scene by scene, the anime perfectly matched the manga.
Welcome to Demon School Iruma Kun
Welcome to Demon School Iruma Kun is a shonen anime that I’ve mentioned a few times in earlier posts. It’s about a 14 year old boy named Iruma who has awful parents. After forcing him to drop out of school so he could work to support them, squandering all the family’s money so he ended up going hungry all the time and at times had to even live in a tent!, and constantly getting poor Iruma involved in shady and dangerous dealings with mobsters, his parents finally sell him off to a demon and he is dragged to Hell! Thankfully for Iruma Kun, the old grandpa demon that bought him really just wanted a grandson to spoil. So Iruma goes from living in a tent to living in a castle. From starving to having all the food he could possible eat. He even becomes a bit of a glutton. And from being all alone, to being surrounded by friends and attending an elite demon school that his new grandpa is the head of.
Though maybe not as perfectly matched as Inuyasha to its manga, Welcome to Demon School Iruma Kun is still very close to the source material. I think the only difference that I noticed between the manga and the anime is the manga goes into a little more detail about just how terrible Iruma’s parents are. Later in the series, it’s revealed that one of Iruma’s greatest fears is having to leave the demon realm and live with his parents again, and it’s for a good reason!
Shaman King is about Yoh Asakura, a middle school aged shaman trainee that moves from the countryside to the big city to complete his training. Early in the series he meets Manta a tiny but every energetic middle school student that takes his studies very seriously. In fact, Manta takes everything seriously! He always follows the rules to the letter and he never does anything irrationally. Which is the exact opposite of Yoh’s laid back easy-going “Let’s all get along” point of view. One thing leads to the other, and the two become friends. That’s when Manta finds out that the reason Yoh is training is because he wants to join a shaman battle royal competition to become the next Shaman King.
Shaman King is also an anime that stays true to it’s original manga, at least for the first few graphic novels in the series. I’m specifically referring to the Japanese version of the series, not the Americanized 4Kids TV version that came out in the early 2000’s. The character design stays pretty accurate to the manga, though I think Manta is a little taller in the anime compared to the extreme shortness of Manta in the manga. Particularly in the first episode of the anime, it is almost scene for scene the same as the manga. Though as the story progresses, things do eventually start to drift a little.
Rin’ne is about an extremely poor half shinigami (death spirit, like a grim reaper) high school boy that’s trying to work off his dead beat dad’s debt by taking any shinigami job he can get and by living a very spartan life. One day he meets Sakura Mamiya, a girl at his high school who has the ability to see Rin’ne when he is in his shinigami form, something that most humans can’t do. They end up going on a lot of kind of goofy adventures as they learn how Sakura got her abilities and try to earn back enough money to get Rin’ne out of debt.
Maybe this is just a constant for Rumiko Takahashi manga adaptations, but much like Inuyasha, the anime Rin’ne is also very close to its manga roots. I think the most difference I noticed between the anime and the manga was that the main characters seemed to be a bit more lively than in the manga, but that could also just be the result of animating 2D characters. For the most part the manga and anime story arcs follow each other very well, and the character design keeps its distinctive Takahashi style. The subtle changes in dialog here and there could just be differences in translations. Language is a bit subjective. But honestly the changes in the anime are so minor it’s easy to over look them.