The 10 worst times an anime was cut short before its manga ended
Reading manga is fun, but sometimes it’s better to watch the anime adaptation instead—after all, we at least get colors. Unfortunately, mangas are more cost-effective to produce (translation: cheaper to make), meaning they often keep going and even recover their costs when an anime with similar demand can’t (after all, every anime except One Piece doesn’t have luxury of taking 700 episodes to say something). So, in honor of all those times when companies decided the manga should keep going but the anime has to get cut, here are the 10 worst times the anime ended before the manga.
And because we are discussing endings, spoilers lurk below, so be warned.
1) Slam Dunk
·Manga by Takehiko Inoue (1990-96)
·Anime by Nobutaka Nishizawa (1990-96)
On first sight, the numbers make decent reading: the manga ends the same year as the anime and the show has 101 episodes—so plenty of time for our protagonist, self-proclaimed genius Hanamichi Sakuragi, to impress Haruko-chan, beat that jerk Rukawa on the court, and take Shohoku High School to the National Championships. Unfortunately, the show only adapts the manga until the team finishes their regional tournament, meaning we never see them set foot at the Nationals. The anime also occasionally has some sub-par animation, which is a shame because Takehiko Inoue’s original illustrations are brilliant. That having been said, the adaptation also has terrific voice acting, wonderful direction and impeccable comedic timing, so as long as cliffhangers aren’t a buzz-kill for you, be sure to watch it.
·Manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto (1992-Ongoing)
·Anime by Yuzo Sato (2005-2006)
Want to make your fans mad in three simple steps? First, select a terrific manga about the game of mahjong that has been going on since 1992. Second, adapt it into a tense and cerebral anime that fans of intelligent television would love to watch. Three, and this is crucial, stop the anime MID-GAME, and behold—you have irritated fans. This adaptation, a thrilling and compelling watch for the 26 episodes you get, is going to to stop in the middle of the biggest game our protagonist, fearless gambler Shigeru Akagi, will ever play. And the worst part is that the show is actually a prequel to Fukumoto’s previous hit manga Ten, which had actually finished back in 2002. Now wouldn’t it have made more sense to first adapt that, and make this anime when it was actually done?
3) Blue Exorcist
·Manga by Kazue Kato (2009-Ongoing)
·Anime by Tensai Okamura (2011-2011)
Who would have thought that satanic cults, family troubles and high school drama would mix so well? Well, Kazue Kato’s manga delivers on the goods by showing us the life of teenager Rin Okumura as he becomes an exorcist, attends school and fights to save the world. The story was complex; so complex, in fact, that Kato is working on the manga as we speak. The anime, however, never gave fans a complete taste of the life of Rin, as it lasted a mere 25 episodes and was followed one movie. Seriously, Dragon Ball Z didn’t charge one Kamehameha in 25 episodes, while they tried to wrap up an ongoing series in as much time.
4) Vampire Knight
·Manga by Matsuri Hino (2004-2013)
·Anime by Kiyoko Sayama (2008-2008)
It may be a bit of push, but it’s very much possible that this manga inspired parts of Twilight. After all, a supernatural story about lead lady Yuuki Cross and her terrible fortunes of constantly being surrounded by hunky vampires? But before our tween audience could properly take their side on Team Zero vs. Team Kaname, the series ended within one year, while the manga actually lasted nine and went on four years after the anime’s finale. It would be safe to say fans didn’t get the whole story.
5) Eyeshield 21
·Manga by Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata (2002-2009)
·Anime by Masayoshi Nishida (2005-2008)
Again, like Slam Dunk, fans watch as underdog team Deimon Devil Bats slowly recruits better players, becomes a genuine competitor and reaches for the Christmas Bowl, only to have their ascent cut midway by way of cancellation. However, this adaptation’s end doesn’t feel as criminally abrupt as the aforementioned basketball anime, seeing as how our “light-speed running-back” Sena Kobayakawa is indeed able to beat rival Seijurou Shin before the end of the series. That having been said, fans spent a ridiculous 145 episodes constantly hearing captain Yoichi Hiruma scream, “On to the Christmas Bowl, YA HA!” only to not see even a glimpse of that tournament. Instead, the show ends with a quick image of Sena running in the NFL—without ever telling us exactly how he made it.
·Manga by Hideaki Sorachi (2003-Ongoing)
·Anime by Shinji Takamutsu and Yoichi Fujita (2006-2010)
Good science-fiction anime is rare. Good comedy anime is even rarer. Good science-fiction comedy anime is almost impossible. Gintama, however, was that and so much more. With some of the best-placed gags and running jokes the genre has ever seen, this story of freelance samurai Gintoki Sakata was an absolute delight. Unfortunately, instead of actually planning to keep the series alive alongside the manga by better allocating their resources, the people behind the adaptation just decided to churn out episode after episode without any regard for the future. As a result, after 201 episodes, fans still didn’t get the whole manga.
·Manga by Rumiko Takahashi (1996-2008)
·Anime by Masashi Ikeda and Yasunao Aoki (2000-2004)
Hard to believe that this now-iconic anime actually ended before its inspirational manga could complete its run. Unfortunately, in spite of being a beloved and influential series (some would argue even more influential than Takahashi’s previous hit, Ranma ½) InuYasha fans were left stranded and therefore unable to get the entirety of the author’s vision regarding the future of lost-in-time teenager Kagome Higurashi and half-demon InuYasha. Takahashi mentioned that she wasn’t sure how to end Kagome and InuYasha’s story for a long time; fans of the anime would remain unsure for even longer.
8) Fruits Basket
·Manga by Natsuki Takaya (1998-2006)
·Anime by Akitaro Daichi (2001-2001)
Is there a business where a wonderful, weird and funny series is allowed to exist? Evidently not, because the touching story of Tohru Honda, a cheery orphan who initially lives in a tent and agrees to move in with others in return for housekeeping and then works as a janitor (it really isn’t as depressing as it sounds), was never made entirely available to fans. Perhaps the magical element of her family being cursed by transforming into an animal upon physical contact with the opposite gender (told you it was weird) drew some fans away, but the anime adaptation changed quite a few elements from the manga and ended considerably earlier. The show brought genuine laughter to many fans but those wishing to seek a proper end had to look elsewhere.
9) Fullmetal Alchemist
·Manga by Hiromu Arakawa (2001-2010)
·Anime by Seiji Mizushima (2003-2004) and Yasuhiro Irie (2009-2010)
If you thought the Fruits Basket anime adaptation changed things, wait until you see the difference from page to screen in this iconic series. Writer Hiromu Arakawa kept herself considerably distanced from the anime production team because she didn’t want to recycle endings and actually preferred a longer run for the manga so she could successfully establish siblings Edward and Alphonse Elric as they try to revive their mother through the dark art of magic. As a result, much of the anime had elements that were considerably different from the artist’s original vision, differences that became even more pronounced in the second adaptation, which almost feels like a spinoff. When someone has an amazing manga, you would think fans would want those amazing things in their anime, so while Fullmetal Alchemist is probably the best anime to not follow the manga, it still doesn’t follow the manga. Whether this change was for the better or not is best left up to individual fans, but one thing is certain: Fullmetal Alchemist the manga and Fullmetal Alchemist the anime are not the same product.
10) Deadman Wonderland
·Manga by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou (2007-2013)
·Anime by Koichiro Hatsumi (2011-2011)
Ever wanted to read a unique manga with a complicated and emotionally charged story? Then read Deadman Wonderland, a psychological thriller that revolves around middle schooler Ganta Igarashi as he is framed for murder and placed inside Japan’s only privately operated prison. If you aren’t into reading, however, you will have to settle for a measly 12-episode anime that only covers 21 of the manga’s 58 chapters. Considering just how complex and involved the story is, it is utterly impossible to ever imagine that anyone would feel satisfied with only bits and pieces, and that is unfortunately all you get with the anime.
11) Bonus: The Flowers of Evil
·Manga by Shuzo Oshimi (2009-Ongoing)
·Anime by Hiroshi Nagahama (2013-2013)
Not a part of the original list because it isn’t confirmed whether the anime revolving the increasingly troubled life of middle school student Takao Kasuga is going to return. And if it doesn’t, that would truly be a shame because Flowers of Evil is one of the most disturbing, well-made and unique anime ever made. So, for now, let’s leave this in the “maybe-we-will-get-another-season-that-was-obviously-previewed-in-a-small-clip-at-the-end-of-the-first-season’s-cliffhanger-ending” pile because it really would be terrible if it ended up in the “clearly-intended-to-have- another-season-but-lost-funding-and-was-therefore-cancelled” pile.
12) Bonus 2: Bleach
·Manga by Tite Kubo (2001-Ongoing)
·Anime by Noriyuki Abe (2004-2012)
Just kidding. As much as we all love the ghosts, the show already went on for 366 episodes and was really starting to drag so, no matter how hard some fans may scream, it doesn’t matter if the manga is ongoing—this is done.
So what other anime left you hanging when it came to their ending? Do you simply want to tell me to stop whining and pick up the damn books? Sound off in the comments below! And for all your anime and manga needs, be sure to follow DramaFever and myself on Twitter.