When it comes to anime and manga, I generally will only watch the anime or read the manga of a series instead of pursuing both. I do this because I get turned off of buying a manga when I already know what happens in a significant portion of the series because I’ve already watched the anime adaptation. There have been some series (such as Boys Over Flowers and Kodocha) that I loved so much that I broke this rule, but I’d say that this holds true for most of my manga collection. However, there are some series I feel like I’ll always wonder if I should have pursued their manga. This is especially true for shojo series because anime adaptations of shojo manga tend to run shorter than shonen series and thus animate only part of the story, which means if you’ve only watched the anime you’re probably missing a bunch of important stuff. His and Her Circumstances (a.k.a Kare Kano) is the main series that comes to mind – I really liked the anime, and I’ve always been curious about what happens next in the series. In particular, I wanted to learn more about Arima’s ‘dark side,’ which had only just begun to be touched upon in the anime, and I also wanted to see more of Tsubasa and Kazuma’s developing relationship. As soon as I started to seriously consider picking up the manga where the anime left off, I began to hear that the ending of His and Her Circumstances left almost everyone dissatisfied. Spoilers already turn me off from pursuing series, but finding out that even people who loved the series thought it was horrible by the end made me decide not to read the manga. Yet I still feel as though I’m missing out on something, and that maybe I should give it a chance – because it’s not the destination that counts, but rather, the journey.
Another anime I watched that made me wonder if I should read its manga is Fruits Basket. I’ve already made it clear that I find Fruits Basket to be overrated and that I have problems with Tohru. Even though there are parts of the series I do enjoy, such as some of the more tragic storylines involving Hatori and Momiji, I still wasn’t engrossed enough by the series to continue it. But it’s precisely because I’m so critical of the series that I feel I should read the rest of it. Many fans of the series defend it by arguing that the manga is much better than the anime adaptation, which, like His and Her Circumstances, only told part of the story. Maybe I’m missing something by not reading the series later developments. Maybe the second half is amazingly original and captivating. Maybe there’s some extraordinary quality in the manga that was lost in the anime. Or maybe I should just read the whole thing to confirm to myself that it’s overrated and I was right.
My reluctance to pursue more than one incarnation of a series has even happened when I start off with the manga first. The main series that comes to mind is Nana – I read the first seven volumes of the series in Shojo Beat then collected up to volume twenty-one of the manga as graphic novels. However, I’ve always heard great things about the Nana anime, particularly its music. While this would not normally be very important to me, the fact that Nana‘s plot heavily revolves around music has always made me curious about checking out the anime to find out if the music and voices sound like I imagined them when I read the manga. But the fact that the anime only goes up to volume eleven of the manga makes me wonder if watching the anime is worth it, especially since it covers material I’ve already read. So do you guys both watch the anime and read the manga of your favorite series, or do you choose between them? Or does it really come down to the series?