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Top 10 Anime Series Better Than The Manga

VO: Dan Paradis
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Sometimes animation does it better. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are better than their manga counterparts. For this list, we’ll be looking at the rare cases when an anime adaptation of a manga has managed to surpass the source material. As such, be on the lookout for a few spoilers down the line. Special thanks to our users EveniaBlackTear, William Leão, supersonicmario56, Ashjbow, and sonicsaiyan07 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Anime Series Better Than The Manga


Sometimes animation does it better. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten anime that are better than their manga counterparts.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the rare cases when an anime adaptation of a manga has managed to surpass the source material. As such, be on the lookout for a few spoilers down the line.

#10: “Card Captor Sakura” (1998-2000)


A classic of the magical girl genre, Sakura Kinomoto’s quest to seek out and capture the Clow Cards balanced fantastical action with more than its fair share of heartfelt moments. So, what did the anime do better? While the original manga only had nineteen cards for Sakura to snatch, the anime went balls to the wall by adding more to create a total of fifty-two. Granted some of this results in filler, but it also extends the adventure and allows for more meaningful interactions with our characters. Case and point; Sakura and Syaoran’s relationship is given time to breathe and build, resulting in a much sweeter pay off.



#9: “Kuroko no Basket” (2012-15)


A manga that knows the ins and outs of a specific sport combined with cast of indefinable characters? Sounds pretty good. An anime that brings the fast-paced moments of said sport to another level along with said cast? Sounds like perfection. Yep, anime adaptions in the sporting genre seem to go hand in hand, and few have transcended to the screen better than Kuroko and Kagami’s battles against the Generation of Miracles. Aside from its stunning visuals, it also managed to go beyond what the manga’s conclusion offered and gave every major player a proper send off. How’s that for a slam dunk?



#8: “Food Wars” (2015-)


Shun Saeki’s artwork is undoubtedly striking and manages to deliver images that will dazzle you with both its portrayal of food as well as its rather busty characters. However, as with sports anime, the animation totally transforms the subject matter. The way the series portrays food isn’t only a marvel for the eyes, but will likely stir all your senses until you are dying for a bite to eat. Also, considering how heavily the show relies on visual metaphors to describe how said food brings about such pleasure, the anime is the way to go if you want to see foodgasms in all their juicy glory.



#7: “Mob Psycho 100” (2016)


Hats off to the folks at Studio Bones for giving us an adaptation that totally aced the source material and its signature quirkiness. The goofy yet endearing art-style the manga is known for is preserved beautifully in characters like Mob and Reigan, crazy exaggerations and all. However, what raises it above its printed page counterpart is how they handled the fight scenes. When Mob lets his inner esper loose, the animation goes full on psychedelic. Almost abstract in the way it conveys the destruction that follows, the anime truly bares its teeth during these amazing sequences.



#6: “Planetes” (2003-04)


Shovelling trash has never looked more spectacular. In a slight departure from the manga, which chooses to take the slice of life approach involving a group of interstellar debris retrievers, the anime instead opts look at the grander scheme of things, putting emphasis on the political subplot and a spotlight on the conflict with terrorists. While each of our characters still get the careful development they need, the switch in focus injects a fresh dose of tension and action without losing the humanity the crew bring to the forefront.



#5: “K-On” (2009-10)


We could go about how the anime really brings the cuteness of the girls from the Light Music Club to life. How their quirks and sense of friendship really blooms when shown through the lens of the series’ crisp and adorable animation style. But really, the only point we need to make is that in the anime you can actually hear the music! While great writing and art can certainly illustrate a performance, it’s a whole other thing to hear each instrument put into practise.



#4: “Usagi Drop” (2011)


As our two lost souls, dysfunctional adult Daikichi and the adorable illegitimate child Rin, find each other, we’re treated to a tale of love, acceptance, and what it means to be a parent. The fluffiness of their interactions and earnest goodwill made the whole show a delight to watch. So how does the manga compare? Well let’s just say there’s sound reason as to why the anime ended before the time skip… Fair warning to fans, if you don’t want to see Daikichi and Rin’s relationship take a much more…ugh…adult turn, then stay far, far away.



#3: “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood” (2012)


Looking back we have a lot to thank this iteration of JoJo for. It introduced us to the phenomenal villain and future meme Dio Brando, while protagonist Jonathan Joestar’s sense of gentlemanly conduct made him a protagonist so vastly different from his descendants that he remains oddly flattering. This all stems from Hirohiko Araki’s writing, both in the emotional complexity of the JoJo/Dio conflict as well as the narrative’s more eccentric aspects. That being said, the artwork for Phantom Blood is…yeah, a little outdated. Luckily the anime managed to modernize this and turn the first of JoJo’s exploits into a true diamond in the rough.



#2: “Attack on Titan” (2013-)


As we’ve seen, the storytelling of this hit manga packs just as much of a punch as its vast array of its cannibalistic giants. However, even with its almost-detective style approach, the anime adaptation knocks it right out of the park in terms of sheer scale all the while maintaining the overall themes of survival and hopelessness. The fast pace movements of the Three Dimension Manuever Gear, the crazy fights between Eren and other Titan Shifters, basically anything that Levi does, it all comes together in a collage of bloody animation that easily surpasses the grimness of the manga.



#1: “Gintama” (2006-)


To this day, this manga is continuing to push out outrageous humour and fourth wall breaks that even Deadpool would be proud of. So how could an anime adaption possible beat it? By taking things even further, that’s how. With the added bonus of having such spot-on voicework, Gintoki and company never fail to put a smile on our faces with their various misadventures, direct addresses to the audience and even discussions about the failing of the anime itself. Oh, and the times that action scenes do take place, they turn out to be some of this anime’s best.
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