10 Anime Art Styles That Looked Better In The Manga – CBR – Comic Book Resources

August 14, 2022

While the anime’s plot might be as good as the source material, sometimes, reading the manga is the only way to appreciate the art style of a series.
The manga market coexists with the anime industry as the source material hub of most stories for hit anime series. Adapting already popular and well-regarded narratives into a different medium is beneficial for both manga and anime creators.
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New adaptations attract pre-existing fans of the source material while spreading the word about the original manga, alluring more fans to check it out. This symbiotic relationship between the two industries made many underground series into worldwide phenomena. Nevertheless, anime production is a collaborative task, while a single artist is usually responsible for drawing the entire manga. As a result, not every anime manages to capture the mangaka’s original artwork and do justice to the artist’s tremendous skill and effort. And while the plot of the anime might be as good as the source material, sometimes, reading the manga is the only way to experience the story properly.
The breathtakingly disquieting coming-of-age manga Aku no Hana, known in English as The Flowers of Evil, tells a disturbing story of an aloof middle schooler Takao Kasuga and his abusive relationship with a sadistic classmate Sawa Nakamura. The grounded, ugly reality portrayed in the manga was deemed very mature and realistic by the anime director, who found Aku no Hana’s narrative more suitable for a live-action film.
The creators used the experimental rotoscoping technique to make the anime feel more life-like. Aku no Hana was the first anime to use rotoscoping exclusively, which resulted in the show looking disturbingly uncanny. Instead of the fascinatingly creepy manga artwork, the anime adaptation turned out repulsively eerie.
The iconic action series One-Punch Man began as an amateur satirical webcomic making fun of the superhero genre with its childlike artwork. Its manga remake drawn by Yusuke Murata had a much more polished art style that brought the original story to a whole new level. The first season of One-Punch Man done by Madhouse studio did justice to Murata’s fantastic art and was a phenomenal success.
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The show’s second season was redirected to a much smaller studio, J.C.Staff. Unfortunately, the new animators were unable to capture the mangaka’s incredible artworks as well as their predecessors, resulting in a disappointing and lackluster continuation.
The world of fantasy manga is full of impressive artistic talent that captures the magical awe of their multifaceted worlds. The dark fantasy manga Claymore was a hit seinen series from the early 2000s that introduced its audience to a captivating medieval-inspired world.
Claymore’s mangaka, Norihiro Yagi, was a master at creating believable, enchanting visuals, inviting the readers into the grim yet beautiful world of magic. Like many popular manga from that era, Claymore suffered from an incomplete and visually boring anime adaptation, making the legendary story fade into obscurity.
Myriads of One Piece‘s diehard fans believe that Eiichiro Oda’s enchanting story needs to be experienced in its original form. And their devotion to the series’ manga is completely understandable. While the One Piece anime has many positive aspects, such as incredible music and impressively emotive voice acting, the adaptation can never do justice to Oda’s masterful skill as an artist.
Despite putting out a chapter of One Piece every week for 25 years, the legendary mangaka continues to grow and evolve as an artist, making every new arc of his saga look and flow better than the last.
The king of horror, Junji Ito, is universally praised for his ability to create chilling and disquieting artwork that elevates his manga above everyone else’s in the industry. The intricate monster designs created by the iconic mangaka make the fans’ blood run cold. Unfortunately, every attempt to adapt Ito’s work to screen fell short in capturing the artist’s style and attention to detail.
The Junji Ito Collection anime was one of the most disappointing efforts to bring Ito’s work to life. Instead of scaring the audience, the show can only make them laugh at how grotesque and comedic the poorly adapted monsters look and feel.
Diehard manga fans despise the anime adaptation of Gantz for myriads of justifiable reasons. The rushed and incomprehensive anime adaptation of the beloved seinen manga wasn’t loyal to its source material and suffered from a lot of fan backlash.
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Most notably, the 2004 anime series disregarded the original’s phenomenal artwork, making Gantz‘s grim and memorable world look bleak and uninspiring. The bizarre visual direction and low production quality could never compare to the manga’s raw and impressive art, which made Gantz stand out as one of the best seinen series of its time.
Historical works of fiction majorly rely on the author’s ability to suspense the audience’s disbelief and flesh out the portrayed historical era as authentically and realistically as possible. The Kingdom manga nails the depiction of its ancient Chinese setting, mostly due to the mangaka Yasuhisa Hara’s unbelievably intricate artwork.
While the anime adaptation of Kingdom remains faithful to the source material in storytelling aspects, it undermines the author’s incredible visuals. The series’ extensive utilization of poorly executed CGI takes the audience out of the experience and never lets the viewers become immersed in Kingdom’s thrilling storyline.
The complex and alluring universe of the science fiction manga Blame! was created by an ex-construction worker Tsutomu Nihei. The mangaka’s past occupation greatly influenced Blame!’s visual direction, as Nihei tried to make the manga’s convoluted architectural elements look as realistic as possible.
The animators behind Blame!’s infamously awful adaptation didn’t have Nihei’s impressive background, failing to capture the mangaka’s signature style. As a result, every attempt to give the iconic story a new life as an anime couldn’t come close to the mastery of the original.
A few industry professionals excel at creating such a distinctive and magical art style as Jun Mochizuki. Her breakthrough manga Pandora Hearts started as a rather conventional series in terms of visuals, portraying an immersive yet generic Victorian-era-inspired magical universe.
Nevertheless, both the story and the artwork of Pandora Hearts improved tremendously over the years, securing the series’ place as one of the most well-regarded manga series in history. The prosaic anime adaptation of Mochizuki’s masterpiece didn’t go through the same transformation, remaining dull and painfully unoriginal till the very last episode.
The most influential dark fantasy manga in the medium, Berserk, had multiple failed anime adaptations. Yet, every single one of them failed to capture Kentaro Miura’s mind-blowing artistic talent. While some fans of the original might earn for an anime adaptation that will do justice to their beloved story, the manga might just work in its intended medium the best.
No artist can come even close to replicating Miura’s magnum opus, so everyone who wants to experience the mastery of Berserk should follow the advice of the series’ diehard fans and just read the manga.
NEXT: 10 Manga That Actually Fixed Their Anime’s Mistakes
Maria Remizova is a writer, reader, filmmaker, and media analyst based in Los Angeles, US. After working as a journalist for a major television network in Russia, she moved to the United States to study filmmaking. A graduate of Full Sail University’s Film program, she now writes for CBR’s Anime Lists and works as a screenplay analyst. From childhood, Maria was enthusiastic about Japanese media and culture and has watched over 2500 anime in her lifetime. Her favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee.
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