All too often, a manga’s humor must be adapted, and these shows show how that may go either way.
Anime adaptations of manga have been a popular form of entertainment for decades. While many adaptations stay true to the source material, some take creative liberties and significantly change the manga’s humor. While the anime adaptation can bring beloved characters and stories to life, it can also significantly alter the tone, themes, and humor of the source material.
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From subtle shifts to bold departures, these anime adaptations navigate the delicate balance of maintaining the essence of the original manga while infusing their own innovative twists. While some changes in the humor of an adaptation have left fans reeling in excitement, others earn the ire of said fans.
6 Death Note
The Death Note anime and manga series is centered around Light Yagami, a high school student who stumbles upon a powerful notebook capable of causing the death of anyone whose name is written in it. Motivated to eliminate criminals and establish a perfect world, Light employs the notebook, drawing the interest of the enigmatic detective, L. The duo’s relentless pursuit of each other unfolds in a captivating game of intellect, cunning, and deceit as they strive to outmaneuver one another and fulfill their individual objectives.
Despite being a dark psychological series, the Death Note manga series had a couple of comedic and lighthearted moments. However, as the anime series wanted to portray a continued dark and serious theme, such humorous moments were downplayed significantly. This led to an overall change in the humor of the anime adaptation of the manga.
5 Prison School
This comedy anime and manga series revolves around five male students at Hachimitsu Academy, a newly co-ed institution. Their excitement for their female counterparts quickly fades when they are caught peeping and sentenced to the school’s prison. While enduring harsh treatment from the female student council, the boys strive to escape, but to no avail.
The Prison School anime has a different humor style than the manga. The anime uses more slapstick comedy and visual gags, while the manga focuses more on dialogue and character interactions. The anime also exaggerates character designs and expressions for extra comedic effect, while the manga relies heavily on conversations, and fans prefer its comedic tone. Fans also appreciate that the manga explores more content than the anime.
4 Soul Eater
As an action-fantasy anime series, Soul Eater follows the story of three teams of students at the Death Weapon Meister Academy, a school for supernatural weapons and their human wielders. The teams consist of a weapon and a meister, who work together to collect the souls of evil beings and turn their weapons into Death Scythes.
The humor in the Soul Eater anime differs from the manga due to the anime’s original story, which deviated from the source material after catching up to it. The anime’s approach to humor is imaginative, featuring unexpected twists, playful scenarios, and clever humor. In contrast, the manga relies more on witty conversations, clever banter, and dark comedy than what is portrayed in the anime. These contrasting styles create distinct comedic experiences for fans, offering a notable difference in humor.
3 Rosario + Vampire
Following the portrayal of Tsukune Aono, the Rosario + Vampire anime series portrays how he enrolls in a school for monsters. The school, Yokai Academy, is a hidden boarding school for monsters, and Tsukune is the only human student. He quickly befriends a group of female students who are all attracted to him and a vampire who becomes his love interest.
The anime adaptation of Rosario + Vampire has a different approach to humor compared to the manga. As the series is centered around romantic comedy, the manga focuses on character development and story, while the anime places more emphasis on ecchi and fan service. In particular, the fan service in the anime is toned down in the manga, which uses its story to get the reader’s attention rather than focusing mainly on visual means.
2 Fullmetal Alchemist
After a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy, the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric suffer a great loss in terms of their body parts. To regain what they have lost, the brothers set out on a journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone, a powerful artifact that could help them regain what they have lost and more.
The Fullmetal Alchemist anime adaptation undergoes noticeable changes in its humor compared to the manga. Before the creation of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the anime adaptation caught up to the manga and diverged from its humorous themes. The anime incorporated additional comedic moments, light-hearted banter, and visual comedy to enhance the overall comedic experience. It introduced new jokes and comedic situations not present in the original manga.
1 One Piece
One Piece is a long-running anime series that follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates. The series is set in a world where pirates roam the seas and the search for the ultimate treasure, the One Piece.. Luffy and his crew set out on a journey to find the One Piece, but many obstacles stand in their way.
The One Piece manga is excellent, but it contains fewer humorous moments than the anime adaptation. The anime added more exaggerated comedic moments and visual gags than the manga, and the inclusion of many filler episodes centered around humor was also added to slow down the anime’s progression in relation to the manga.