Watched the anime, didn’t read the manga

Watched the anime, didn’t read the manga

The Kare Kano manga - which I still haven't read.

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?


16 thoughts on “Watched the anime, didn’t read the manga

  1. I find it interesting that you don’t feel the need to read the manga series when you watch the anime. If I happen to watch the anime first and end up liking it, I immediately run out to buy the manga series. Adaptations don’t really do the books justice. And, of course, like all adaptations things will get cut out or changed for whatever reason. This is why I’ll always watch the anime and read the manga series. I always want to know what the anime did differently or how the original story played out in the manga series. I personally don’t like to wonder if I may be missing something by choosing not to read the manga. I like to compare the two side by side.

    1. I think it’s strange that I tend to do this as well, since most of the time I’m aware that the anime adaptation has only told part of the story, but for some reason I just can’t get into buying the manga after finishing the anime, even for series I’ve enjoyed. Like you, I’m always curious about how events happened differently in the manga and would like to compare them (such as in Fushigi Yugi) but I guess my brain can’t justify buying a series that I already know what will happen because I’ve watched the anime – especially when I could buy new series I’d like to read instead. I guess when the anime leaves out a significant portion of the story, like Boys Over Flowers, which animated about half of the series, I feel like I have a lot more to look forward to and thus made the exception. The fact that I was absolutely addicted to that series didn’t hurt, either.

  2. As a counter example, I initially bounced off the Oh My Goddess! TV series, but knowing that it covers some of the better chapters in Vols 11 – 14 is making me have 2nd thoughts…

    1. I think especially when it’s stuff you’ve really enjoyed that it’s tempting to see how the material was handled in the original work/anime adaptation. In a way, I guess I did this with Oh My Goddess! because even though I haven’t read the manga, I’ve watched both the OVA and TV anime adaptations which cover some of the same material.

  3. First of all, sorry for my english. I’m a french shojo reader and I’ve not a good english.
    About Kare Kano and Nana, I’ve seen the anime first. It made me want to read the manga to follow the story.
    As you said, I wanted to now more about the Arima’s dark side , Arima and Miyazawa relationship ect..
    The end of the anime corresponds to the volume 8 and Kare Kano have 21 volume, so you miss a lot of things by not reading the following of the story, revelations about Arima’s past and events in the relationship.
    Likewise with Nana, there are changes in couple relationships but also in the relationship between the two Nana.Ditto with Fruit Basket.
    Personally, I’ve reed the end of Kare Kano in english scan (because it’s hard to find this série in France), and it’s enjoy me. Then I found the end of Fruit Basket agreed. But as you said, the most important is the journey..
    You can start the serie where the anime left off.
    I hope my message is clear…
    If you understand French, visit my website about shojo:

    1. Thank you for commenting! Your english is better than my french is and I took french in school for eight years! Kare Kano is the manga that I’ve always been the most on the fence about not reading its manga and I’ll probably get curious enough to read it one day, especially since I really enjoyed the anime and don’t have major problems with the series like I do with Fruits Basket. And like you suggested, I have actually started the series where the anime left off for Kodocha.
      And I’ll be sure to check out your website. 🙂

  4. I don’t think there is anything wrong w not reading the manga after seeing the anime or vise versa. I am the same way. :c) It never fails that if I do both I will end up being disappointed regardless. Either the anime never tells the whole story or the manga is diffrent then the anime and I get confused on where the anime was coming from. I do have to admit though that Nana and Fruits Basket are the only 2 that I really want to read the manga on just to see where the story goes since the anime cut it short. That and Future Diary. I read the manga and just started the anime only because the manga was so good that I hoped they would make an anime out of it lol! But from just the first 2 episodes I can tell they moved the anime along much faster than the manga and left out some parts I thought was cool imo. The live action I already know is not going to be anywhere near the manga.

    1. Sometimes the changes made to an anime adaptation are interesting but other times they add in random stuff that makes no sense or don’t catch up to the manga. Many times both things happen at the same time: I’ve heard people say that the Fruits Basket anime is much funnier than the manga, however the anime only tells about a quarter of the story and doesn’t forshadow certain important revelations. I think it’s when these things happen that I’m the most tempted to check out how different the original manga was.

  5. I can understand where you are coming from. I used to be the same, but then I started watching more anime adaptations and got into it. I tend to read the manga first (although not always) and I’m always curious about how the characters act/come to life in animation. Also I like looking for differences too. I find it so interesting to see what sorts of music play at a certain scene and how certain scenes are animated and what sort of VA was chosen for a character. It helps keep the anime fresh to me. :3 Or if it’s a series I really liked, it helps me continue within it for longer. But yeah, I can also completely understand your point of view. It can get tedious to re-read or re-watch something you already have in another format (not to mention if you are buying everything, it gets really costly).

    As for Fruits Basket, I haven’t seen the anime, but read up to the 4th volume and I personally don’t see the big deal. I know people think you shouldn’t judge something if you haven’t seen all of it, but I personally believe that if by 3 or 4 volumes a manga fails to grab me, it doesn’t deserve my time or money.

    1. I think the fact that I tend to be especially reluctant to read a series I’ve already watched the anime is because at least when you’re going from manga to anime, there are many new elements (voices, movement, music, etc.) to look forward to – but when you start reading a manga after watching the anime you lose these things.

      And about Fruits Basket, I agree with you completely – although I can understand why people feel you shouldn’t judge a series if you haven’t watched or read the whole thing, if it hasn’t managed to capture your attention or affinity from what you’ve seen of it so far, then that series probably just isn’t for you.

      1. The move from anime to manga is harder for those reasons, I agree. I’ve only done it a few times and it took me a few chapters to get used to the change. I recall taking my time with earlier parts because I knew what was going to happen as well. I guess I could start from whatever chapter/volume the anime series ended, but it feels like I would be missing something. This is partly why I try to read the manga first before touching the anime. 🙂

  6. I’ve done it with Skip Beat although I do check some chapters just to see if there are any differences. And I’m kinda glad I did or I might have missed the part where Ren was riding Kyoko’s bike. I was kinda disappointed they didn’t include that in the anime.

    The series I’m not really sure whether I’ll finish the manga version or not are Ouran High School Host Club, Kaichou Wa Maid-sama, Special A and Fruits Basket. I tried reading some of the continuation but so far, all I can tell is that they’re heading towards the same direction (romance-wise). The female leads in these series appear to be uninterested with romance in the anime version but then we see them “slowly falling in love” or “slowly realizing theirs feelings” for the main lead in the manga. After they get down to dating, the plot then starts to focus on side-stories of other characters (which I find boring than entertaining). Then there’s the usual obstacles too. I just don’t find it so engaging like how those series first started. But maybe I’ll pick them up again someday if I find the time and motivation.

    1. That’s interesting – I’ve always heard Skip Beat’s anime adaptation is very faithful so I’m surprised. But I guess every single scene can’t make it in. I was always a little curious about reading Ouran‘s manga because the anime condensed the story a lot, but I think because the story wasn’t exactly ‘deep’ and I wasn’t extremely attached to any of the characters (though Tamaki’s great), I decided not to.

      Ah, yes – it’s very common for the story to start focusing on side characters once the main couple gets together. It can be done well, but I’d much rather focus on the couple developing their relationship.

  7. Fruits Basket is definitely overrated. The characters are so stereotyped. As for Karekano, I think the anime followed the manga very well, in fact I thought the manga was sappier. But I kept reading the manga for Kazuma and Tsubasa’s story. I was really into their relationship. I think the main couple is extremely boring and Yukino lost some of her charm through the series.

  8. I can enjoy both, but for me, the manga is ‘canon’ and deviations in the anime tend to bother me. The one exception to this rule so far is Angelic Layer, where I found the anime to be far more enjoyable on every level.

    Nana is exceptionally faithful, and both the faithfulness and the music, along with the really lovely art and pacing make the anime very enjoyable to me. With very few omissions and one example that I can think of only because I was watching and reading simultaneously where a line was given to the wrong character for obvious reasons (that I don’t agree with), I don’t think a reader who loved the manga would suffer at all from the anime.

  9. Fruits Basket the manga was definitely better. It expanded on the zodiac as a whole. You found out more about Akito and the reason for his (i won’t spoil it if you haven’t read it yet) mistreatment of the zodiac. Momiji, who i loved in Anime, was really better in the manga. In fact, i was rooting for him and Toru by the end. Haru gets a love interest who is one of the most interesting females in the series (not counting Hana or the other woman who you will find out about later) Toru got some development and they gave a reason for why she acts so perfect and you find out about her father. Yuki reveals his true self and gets a girl who i really like (even if she is a little nuts). And there’s a lot of other stuff that you will miss out on if you don’t read the manga. I honestly wish the anime would have continued. They left out all the good stuff.

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