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Top 10 Terrible Anime Adaptations of Great Manga

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly McKean
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Anime, you done goofed. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Terrible Adaptations of Great Manga. For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that majorly fumbled when adapting beloved manga series to the point of infamy. Prepare for some light spoilers and some major sourness down the line!
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Top 10 Terrible Adaptations of Great Manga

Anime, you done goofed. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Terrible Adaptations of Great Manga.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the anime that majorly fumbled when adapting beloved manga series to the point of infamy. Prepare for some light spoilers and some major sourness down the line!

#10: “Zetman” (2012)


Okay, so it may not be the most masterfully written piece floating around, but there was still a lot of joy to be found in seeing our titular dark vigilante go around beating the seven bells out of various monsters and evil corporations. It’s a simple enough plot and one that can easily be turned into a fun romp for fans to indulge in. Not in this case. The anime wasn’t only pretty visually poor to behold, but the action felt weightless and had no bite to it. Overall the whole thing came across as a low-budget attempt at a gritty superhero series.

#9: “Black Clover” (2017-)


Yes, the source material is basically an uber-shonen that has every kind of trope imaginable but that’s exactly what makes this series such an enjoyable read. When we first heard that this show was animated by the shonen juggernaut that brought us the likes of Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto and Bleach we were cautiously optimistic and for the first couple of episodes we were quite impressed. However this was not to continue as thanks to a very limited budget and severe pacing issues the quality dipped drastically. Sorry Asta, looks like Boruto stole Studio Pierrot’s attention this time.


#8: “Bokurano” (2007)


Giant robots, child soldiers and an endless cycle of death, how delightful. As a group of school friends suddenly find themselves as unwilling pilots of the giant machine known as Zearth, it soon becomes clear that there’s a lot more to be afraid of than losing a fight against other mecha. Tension-filled and utterly depressing, it was a truly macabre experience any manga fan should read. Oh, you want to know about the anime version? Well it turns out the director was a little too afraid about what would happen if the series followed the book’s dark narrative, and as such cut out a lot of the grimmer elements. Lame.

#7: “Rosario + Vampire” (2008)


Nothing beats a good ol’ supernatural harem. You have your roster of busty girls, the wimpy main lead who still never gets any bedroom action, along with the odd panty-shot filled action scene. What else is there left to say? As it happens, turns out the manga has more shounen elements than the anime gave it credit for. Our boy Tsukune was done a disservice, as his manga counterpart not only mans the hell up…but actually gets some?! A main character who goes all the way with his love interest? What parallel world is this?!

#6: “Gantz” (2004)


Aside from the fact it decided to give us an original anime ending that was rather underwhelming, this adaptation still missed a few beats when it came to the characters. Yes, it managed to capture some of the gruesome content but turns out that our perverted lead was a little more likeable on the page. Characters are smarter, make wiser decisions, don’t spend ages standing around debating whether to shoot an alien while everyone else is massacred. If it stuck a little closer to Hiroya Oku’s original works then maybe Kei wouldn’t have gone down as anime’s thirstiest protagonist.

#5: “Deadman Wonderland” (2011)


Remember the adrenaline rush of the opening scene? How it shocked us to no end? Needless to say it didn’t last too long. The horror aspects were slowly replaced by generic action until it reached its anime original conclusion that unfortunately dragged the whole thing down into the realm of mediocrity. The manga itself may not have been a supernova of magnificence, but it certainly knew how to inject a fresh dose of genuine dread every now and again.

#4: “Hakyu Houshin Engi” (2018)


Aka, How To Enrage Fans: The Anime. A beloved fantasy manga that ran it course in the late nineties, many were anticipating this second anime adaptation of Taikobo’s heavenly adventures. Turns out Japanese fans were so unhappy with the final product that a petition went out to remove it, one that’s already on the cusp of receiving 1500 signatures, and you don’t see that very often in Japan. It’s not hard to understand why they were upset, after all even newcomers should be able to see that plot points are all over the place, characters are hardly developed and the pacing is liable to give you whiplash.

#3: “The Flowers of Evil” (2013)


What have you done?! You maniacs! What are we even looking at here?! The answer to that would be a snippet of an excellent manga that explores the hellish years of adolescence, which then proceeds to devoid it of its most unnerving moments, and then animated through the oh so distracting medium of rotoscoping. Honestly, whatever potential this anime had to capture the source material’s unadulterated primality was tossed aside when we got a look at the creepy character models. This anime is more like a failed experiment than a faithful adaptation. What a shame.

#2: “Berserk” (2016-17)


We’ve talked to death about this particular continuation of the original 1997 anime, how it not only fails as a spiritual successor but essentially spits in the face of arguably the greatest manga of all time. As such, here’s a rapid-fire summary: the 3D CGI looks terrible, never blending with the environment and constantly taking you out of the moment, failing to counterbalancing what little genuinely good animation they had. The character models are stilted. Corners are constantly cut and on nearly every level this adaptation falls short. But hey, least the music was good.

#1: “Tokyo Ghoul Root A” (2015)


We won’t pretend that the original Tokyo Ghoul anime was perfect, but it was a damn good first attempt that hit a lot of the right notes. A successful sequel should have been a no brainer. After all, the manga is well on its way to becoming a modern classic. However, what we ended up with was a series that decided to go off on the mother of all tangents and essentially undo everything epic and enthralling about its predecessor. Fans of the manga hated it, fans of the anime were disappointed, it pretty much was doomed to fail from the very first frame. And who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to completely skip the final boss?
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