9 Manga that were remade again and again (and again)
There have been quite a few manga that have touched people; it is, after all, one of the best art forms to ever come out of Asia and take the world by storm. However, some manga are so beloved that fans kind of...go crazy. As a result, businessmen keep remaking them again and again to the point that non-fans just want to tear their hair off their heads in frustration, while fans are busy fighting over which one was best. So, to rekindle your battles on the forums about which interpretation was best, here are 9 mangas that have been remade way too many times.
1) Hana Yori Dongo (Boys Over Flowers)
To call Yoko Kamio’s iconic manga a modern-day sensation would be gross understatement of the popularity this franchise has enjoyed over the years. First starting its manga run in October 1992, the series has since been adapted into...[long breath]...an anime television series (1996), an anime film (1997), two live-action films (1995, 2008), a Taiwanese drama (2001), and Indonesian drama (2002), another Taiwanese drama (2002), a Japanese drama (2005), another Japanese drama (2007), the Korean drama of the decade (2009), and finally an Indian drama (2014) [end long breath]. And there was, of course, that American adaptation too, but fans often don’t want to mention that one.
2) Nodame Cantabile (Tomorrow’s Cantabile)
Tomoko Ninomiya’s manga paid far more attention to character development than most manga, because of which Nodame Cantabile had far more realistic characters than most of the stories we either read or see. The fact that there was some truly fantastic music on display in the adaptations also doesn’t hurt, which explains why fans may have wanted to see it so many times. Two runs of the manga, three television dramas (including the most recent, awesome Korean version titled Tomorrow's Cantabile), three anime series, and two live-action films later, and Nodame Cantabile is still not showing any signs of slowing down. And with those awesome beats, who’d want it to?
3) Itazura Na Kiss (Playful Kiss)
When Kaoru Tada first envisioned the archetypal high school romantic comedy about a guy and a girl being forced to move in together because of an earthquake as a manga back in 1999, she probably didn’t know what she had started. While it was a bit strange that this manga first became a drama — which often happens at the zenith of a manga’s popularity — that totally wasn’t where the series’ rise ended. First came the aforementioned drama in Japan, then came two Taiwanese interpretations, then came an Indonesian remake, then came the South Korean drama again starring a member of Boys Over Flowers’ F4 (seriously?!), and then...another Japanese drama. Don’t worry, it’s titled Mischievous Kiss, but it now has the subtitle Love in Tokyo. Totally different.
Watch season 2 of Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo
4) Honey and Clover
Not going to lie; this may quite possibly be one of the most touching stories ever written. Because Chica Umino was never afraid to really get a little serious with the emotion, her work shows us sides of life that most wouldn’t expect from something that so cleverly masks itself as a school comedy. But underneath the happy surface is a moving story that deals with everything from broken families to lost loved ones, all while keeping an utterly positive outlook in this slice of life tale. Which might explain why, even after the manga, fans still asked for more...and they most certainly got more. Two anime television series were followed up by a live-action film, and, if that wasn’t enough, fans also got two more television dramas. It’s not as gratuitous as some of the other examples on here, but it’s still interesting to see so many interpretations of a story that was already as involved as Umino’s original work.
5) Hana Kimi (To the Beautiful You)
It just wouldn’t be a list of manga romance titles if we didn’t eventually come across something where a main character is required to change her gender in order to be closer to the guy she loves. Hana Kimi, like way too many manga that came before it and have come since, is built around the concept that if a girl dresses up like a guy and infiltrates a male school, no one will notice. It’s like Superman suddenly becoming unrecognizable when he wears Clark Kent’s bifocals, but if Superman could sell so well, what’s stopping Hana Kimi? Originally starting as a manga in 1996, the series loosely inspired a Taiwanese drama in 2002, then became a Chinese drama four years later, a Japanese drama a year after that, another Japanese drama four years after that, and yet another Korean drama (starring SHINee’s Choi Minho) to top it off. Seriously, DC Comics barely got that many shows out of Superman.
6) Liar Game
At this point, it may seem a little surprising to see something on this list that isn’t a romantic high school comedy, but fortunately, Liar Game happens to be a college thriller. In Shinobu Kaitani’s original manga, the somewhat foolish Nao Kanzaki receives a package with about a million dollars, and she is told that she is now a contestant in the secretive and dangerous “Liar Game.” Here, she must lie to other contestants in order to steal their money. She ends up getting her money taken almost straight away and has to hire the services of a professional con man to stay competitive (and alive). With such an interesting premise, you would think people would want to see this story play out. But would they want to see it played out six times? After the original manga starting in 2005 came a Japanese drama in 2007, followed by a continuation in 2009, followed by a feature film continuation of the second season in 2010, followed by a sequel to the continuation film in 2012. And then there’s a K-drama. It stars Kim So Eun, who you may remember from...Boys Over Flowers.
7) Rurouni Kenshin
Yes, yes, it’s almost criminal to say anything bad about Ruruoni Kenshin, aka Samurai X, aka one of the most depressing and memorable action stories of modern times. But while it is awesome, was Nobuhiro Watsuki’s original 28-volume manga so incomplete that we needed an anime television series (95 episodes), a light novel, an anime motion picture, another anime film, yet another remake of the second arc through one more anime film, three more volumes of the manga, two original video animations not based on the manga, and three live-action films? No, I don’t think we needed that much. The original manga told plenty.
8) Initial D
Basically Fast and the Furious but a lot faster and a lot more furious, Initial D is a thrill to read, watch, or even just listen to. Sure, it’s dull as watch car paint dry when there isn’t a race, but it’s exhilarating when it gets down to the actual speed limit-breaking, life-endangering stunts. In fact, Shuichi Shigeno’s original manga was so exhilarating that, even after 48 volumes spread across 18 years, the franchise also inspired an anime series subtitled "First Stage," an anime series subtitled "Second Stage," an original video animation titled "Extra Stage," an anime film subtitled "Third Stage," an original video animation subtitled "Battle Stage," another anime series subtitled "Fourth Stage," another original video animation subtitled "Battle Stage 2," yet another original titled "Extra Stage 2," another anime series titled "Fifth Stage," yet another series titled "Final Stage," and then there were of course two live-action films. Luckily, they had no “stage” in the title.
9) Dragon Ball
519 manga chapters. 675 anime episodes. 19 anime films. Four television specials. Two special short films. Two original video animations. Two educational shorts. 79 video games. Two collectible card games. And Frieza still isn’t dead.
So, what manga or anime do you know that you've seen just a few too many times? Sound off in the comments below! And for all your anime news needs, be sure to follow DramaFever on Twitter!