10 Popular Manga Adaptations That Disappointed Fans

Manga adaptations overall are great, but there are many that fall short of the original source material.

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Bleach beach scene, with characters, from left to right: Yoruichi Shihouin, Suì-Fēng, Rukia Kuchiki, and Ichigo Kurosaki.

Manga became mainstream in the 1980s and 90s, with anime following soon after. Anime adaptations of manga have exploded ever since, and now there are over 10,000 adaptations. Some are phenomenal and do the manga justice. However, many also failed to meet manga fans’ expectations. Here are just 10 examples.

2001 Fruits Basket Anime

Tohru holding up Kyo in his cat form, who looks angry.
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This was a somewhat faithful adaptation. But the anime caught up to the manga, which was still ongoing. The anime had to wrap up the story quickly. Many plot points, such as Arisa Uotani’s backstory, were left out even though these chapters had already been published. The anime never renewed for a second season, so most of the manga plot never made it to this adaptation. That’s why there was such excitement when it was rebooted in 2019 as a faithful adaptation.

My Little Monster

Haru smiling and staring at Shizuku, who's giving him a deadpanned stare.
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The two main love interests had little relationship development. By the end of the 12 episodes, we knew that Haru and Shizuku would end up together eventually, but that’s essentially it. Very little was explained, including Haru’s violent and erratic behavior as well as his family issues. Basically, to really get the story, you’d have to read the manga, which is far from ideal for an adaptation.

Tokyo Ghoul Season 2

Kaneki Ken with white hair and face on display with his kagune in the background.
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The first season was great, but season two, Tokyo Ghoul √A, was a mess. The manga was bloody, gore, and horrifying, but the anime was less so. It watered down the gore and blood and alluded to torture scenes without actually animating them. Not to mention that this season deviated from the manga, and many fans consider it noncanonical.

The Promised Neverland Season 2

Gilda, Emma, Ray, and Don standing next to each other wearing colorful cloaks.
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Like Tokyo Ghoul, the first season was great and engaging. The second season messed everything up. Crucial plot points were skipped, and several arcs were condensed into the last few minutes of the last episode in a slideshow of images. It didn’t explain anything about those events, and it left those who only watched the anime very confused. Some have even recommended that others only watch the first season.

Bleach

Ichigo Kurosaki sword fighting against Sōsuke Aizen.
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Filler episodes have a time and place in anime, but Bleach took it too far. It had about 145 filler episodes out of 366 total episodes, so about 40% of the anime was filler. This is a problem a lot of older and popular shows had because they would eventually catch up to the manga and not have enough content to finish out a season. But Bleach had far too many for most fans.

Soul Eater

Maka pouting and turned away from her father in the magic mirror while Soul stands to the side.
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Soul Eater took the premise and turned it into something else. There are similarities, of course, but the anime took many liberties with the plot. They excluded a major character’s death, changed key events, and added some extra points that conflicted with each other, like the creation of the Kishin Eggs. The anime has lots of holes, and some arcs are skipped entirely.

Black Butler

Ciel Phantomhive in the circus wearing his disguise with a pained and forced smile.
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Black Butler is confusing to watch. The second season was mostly filler with only a few canonical episodes, so it’s an anime-only plot. This isn’t well explained, however, and it gets even worse with season three. The third season has no context, and it was so different from the first two. This is because it’s actually part of season one that was originally left out but then added on as a separate third season without explanation.

Black Clover

Asta and Yami Sukehiro getting ready for a fight.
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Black Clover was typical shounen manga, but the fight scenes and character designs made it special. This didn’t translate well to the anime. Many of the characters look different than in the manga, and fans were not happy, not to mention the sloppy plot pacing that was either too fast or too slow, and the fight scenes that looked stilted and also suffered pacing issues.

2016 Berserk

Guts looking to the side with a murderous expression.
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Berserk first aired in 1997, then again in 2016 as a sequel to the Golden Age Arc, a film trilogy that adapted the manga’s Golden Age arc. For this anime, the studio used a lot of CG animation and 2d art, which were used in the film trilogy. But the art and CGI were poorly done, and fans were so distracted that they couldn’t watch it, and the emotional impact of many scenes was reduced to nothing.

Rosario + Vampire

Kurumu Kurono and Mizore Shirayuki pulling on Tsukune Aono.
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The anime completely changed the story. The manga had fleshed-out characters and interesting storylines, but the adaptation threw all that out the window. The characters become one-dimensional and have completely different personalities, and the story is an anime-only plot. It focused on the few fan service moments that were in the manga as if that’s what drew fans to the original.

Don’t feel ashamed if you enjoyed any of these — this is just what a lot of fans say about it.


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