Did you know that 60% of the world’s animation-based entertainment falls under anime? And contrary to popular belief, anime are not considered cartoons. This means that on its own, anime is a billion-dollar industry.
What is an anime adaptation? An anime adaptation is when a manga (Japanese comic book) is turned into a visual animated production, closely resembling a cartoon. Sometimes a live-action film or traditional movie. Its purpose is to reenact the events from the manga, usually in the form of a television series or movie.
It looks like this:
Then again, this concept goes much deeper. Why does this even happen?
Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
Why are Manga Adapted?
There are multiple reasons why manga gets adapted, but the main reason is to sell merchandise like toys, clothing, and the manga itself. See, manga doesn’t cost much to produce. But the profits can add up quickly. So much so that it’s profitable to adapt a manga.
Manga series already have a solid fanbase. Hence, the anime producers are guaranteed to at least have them as an audience. This is why the most famous, and thus profitable, animes are those adapted from the manga.
It is also advantageous on the end of the mangaka. First, the production company will pay for the rights to produce the manga. Then the mangaka is also able to get a cut of the profits if an anime becomes successful.
Furthermore, an anime adaptation would mean that the story will reach a bigger audience.
Beyond this, mangas get adapted because it is easier for the production companies. With manga, there is already a running plot, solid characters, and a fictional universe. The producers only need to add color, movement, and voices to make them into an anime. This rids them of the need to ideate a good storyline, create characters, and draw their own setting. Now sometimes they do. It’s called fillers.
Who Adapts Manga?
Anime studios buy the rights to adapt manga. They work hand-in-hand with the manga publishers. The publishers then provide a list of their best-selling titles to the anime studios.
There are over 500 anime studios in Japan. Few of them go on to make blockbuster animes.
Some examples include:
Kyoto Animation, which adapted A Silent Voice and K-On
Madhouse, which adapted Hunter X Hunter and One Punch Man
Studio Bones, which adapted Full Metal Alchemist and Noragami
Ufotable, which adapted Demon Slayer and Fate/Zero
A-1 Pictures, which adapted Fairy Tail and Sword Art Online
It becomes apparent that the top anime studios end up adapting the top manga titles. This is because the financing of anime adaptations is done through production committees. Various companies invest money into the project. These funds are then coursed to the anime studios.
The portfolio and credibility of a studio are paramount to acquire these sponsorships. This means that the more famous an anime studio is, the more sponsorships it will get. The opposite is also true.
While some mangakas get to contribute to the animation process, many are left out. Much of the power is with the manga publisher, the anime studio, and the production committee. They then decide the direction of the anime adaptation.
What Types of Manga are Adapted the Most?
Shoujo and Shounen mangas get adapted into anime the most. For a manga to be adapted, it has to be well-known and best-selling. Accordingly, most of the mangas that fall under these categories are of the said genres.
It has to do with the fact that shoujo and shounen stories are enjoyable for people of all ages. There are elements of romance, comedy, slice-of-life, heroics, drama, and adventure. This means that there is something for everyone.
One can argue that stories that get into school life have been most prominent in this regard. If you think of your top five animes, most if not all of them likely involve students and school subplots.
Mangas with fantasy and sci-fi themes are also popular anime adaptations. This is regardless of what overarching genre they fall under. Hence, famous anime adaptations range from Gundam to Sword Art Online.
When do Mangas get Adapted?
Most mangas get adapted before the mangaka is even finished with them. It is why series such as One Piece, Berserk, and My Hero Academia still have no conclusions. Both the mangas and their anime adaptations are still incomplete.
This also allows for the possibility of more seasons to get produced in the future. Anime studios typically wait until the mangaka is finished with a certain arc. Once this is done, they can begin working on a new season. As such, it is not uncommon to have running animes go by for three years without a new season.
An excellent example of this is Attack on Titan. Seasons of the anime adaptation were delayed. This is because the studio had to wait for more source material.
However, a manga needs to have enough chapters for at least one season to begin adaptation. If one season is the standard 13 episodes, this would mean that a manga can get adapted after it hits 50 chapters.
What are the Best Anime Adaptations?
Fans will argue over what would count as the best anime adaptations. To remain objective, we will consider three things:
⦁ Faithfulness to the source material
|Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood||Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is praised by fans and critics alike. It currently holds the slot as the top anime on My Anime List. It has a score of 9.13, as rated by 1,579,540 users as of this writing.||Square Enix||500 million yen ($4,560,525)||It also adapts the source material completely. Making it a hit among both manga readers and anime watchers.|
|Attack on Titan||Attack on Titan is aptly ranked as the second-top anime on My Anime List. It has a score of 9.10, given by 1,045,860 users. It remains a household name to this day.||Wit Studio||Each season has a budget of $5,000,000 ($150,000) per episode. $20,000,000 for 4 seasons.||The anime stays true to the manga panel-for-panel. Nothing has been skipped; nothing has been omitted.|
|Hunter x Hunter||Hunter x Hunter is 7th on the My Anime List’s top anime. It has a score of 9.06, rated by 1,209,145 users.||Madhouse||$3,000,000 for 13 episodes. $230,769.23 per episode.||There are no noticeable differences between anime and manga. Some fans would say that it is nearly 1:1. But given that the anime’s art is more consistent, some fans prefer the anime adaptation to the manga.|
Now, it’s time to hear from you:
Did I miss anything?
What is your favorite anime adaptation?
Whatever your answer is, let’s hear it in the comments below.