science fiction & anime go together like pepperoni and cheese. Some of the most legendary anime have been sci-fi or had sci-fi themes, like Astro Boy Where gigantic. Then, as the medium matured, the genre grew. Mobile Suit Gundam and Robotech makes Mecha Anime a thing. Whereas cowboy bebop and Memories competed Extraterrestrial and blade runner in storytelling and theatre.

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Others have even outgrown their manga origins. One could argue that each ghost in the shell The film and television series owe more to the director of the 1995 film Mamoru Oshii than to its original creator Shirow Masamune. Others weren’t so lucky. Whether it’s just a few steps or a great chasm, these sci-fi anime series have fallen short of their manga in one way or another.

6 Planetes toyed with history to fill 26 episodes

Makoto Yukimura planets was a hard science fiction series in the vein of the work of Arthur C. Clarke. In this he tried to portray a realistic version of space travel. No high-speed spaceships or alien monsters. Just a story about the DS-12 ‘Toy Box’ crew cleaning up space junk while dreaming of bigger things. Which usually involved battling an anti-space terrorist organization, environmental issues, and the possibility of going on a mission to Jupiter.

This sci-fi based manga got an anime adaptation that really clicked with sci-fi fans. The 2003 anime series won the series the 2005 Seiun Award for Best Sci-Fi Series, three years after its comic predecessor won the same award. Even so, the anime had to create its own plot threads, character interactions, and subplots to fulfill the required episode count. They weren’t bad, even if they weren’t as polished as Yukimura’s handwriting.

5 Space Pirate Captain Harlock changes through mediums

Leiji Matsumoto stands alongside Osamu Tezuka as one of the most influential figures in sci-fi manga. He made his name with Space Battleship Yamato and galaxy express 999 with its cute comic-inspired illustrations. His style was even used for the space musical Daft Punk. Interstellar 5555. One of its most famous characters was Captain Harlock, who debuted in his own manga in 1978. Its space western setting paved the way for cowboy bebop and Trigun among others.

While Harlock has appeared in many films and series, including other franchises, they are all quite different from each other. The first anime series doesn’t quite follow the plot of the manga, and the 1982 film Arcadia of my youth does not follow any of its ancestors. The 2013 CG movie is the closest to an adaptation, but it adapts the anime series and costs 3 billion yen to get mixed reviews. So try to get Captain Harlock right can be an ordeal.

4 Trigun had too much fluff, not enough development

Vash the Stampede’s Wild West antics were a treat for creator Yasuhiro Nightow in 1995. It even had a Madhouse anime that lit up Adult Swim’s schedule in the early 2000s. The show was even praised for being more closer to the manga than other adaptations, with the otherwise pacifist Vash battling a horde of bounty hunters as he tries to figure out why he has such a high price on his head.

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Still, he had to make some changes. The manga expanded on the lore of the series, especially later in its run when the tone turned darker. While the anime kept it lighter and added its own plots, characters, and superpowers. He also stopped halfway through the story, ending before he could finish adapting. Trigun Maximum. That said, Orange is planning a new series for Crunchyroll. In 2023, Vash’s adventures could finally be over.

3 Battle Angel was too short

The battle angel The OVA adaptations were a nice slice of sci-fi drama, as cyber doctor Daisuke Ido reconstructs a cyborg woman, names her Gally (or Alita, depending on the dubbing studio), and raises her as his daughter. Except he also lives a double life as a bounty hunter. After Gally shows an innate talent for combat, she decides to become a hunter too. It impressed director James Cameron enough to spend nearly 20 years trying to make a live-action version before it was finally made under Robert Rodriguez to considerable success.

But the OVA only lasted 2 episodes: rusty angel and sign of tears. Even then, these are condensed versions of the Gunnm the first two volumes of the manga. According to creator Yukito Kishura, he was too attached to manga to focus on anime much. He finished it in 1995 and continued Gally’s story in two sequel strips and a spin-off series. But even 30 years later, there hasn’t been another animation project based onGally’s Adventures.

2 GANTZ just stopped

Hiroya Oku GANTZ is a product of its time. It offered strong dramatic beats, where even the vilest characters could elicit sympathy, and the nobles questioned themselves. The gory, alien action and afterlife issues also attracted many bettors. Still, people could easily label its nihilistic outlook as 2000s jitters. Nonetheless, its story of two recently deceased high schoolers drawn into an alien-killing bloodsport by the titular GANTZ had its appeal.

Enough for Studio Gonzo to make it a 26 episode anime in 2004. It was a pretty fine adaptation. Except its end. One of the protagonists, Kei, is taken back to the train wreck that killed him. Given the choice of re-enacting his death or defying it, he faces the train, gives it the gun treatment, and… it fades to white and ends. Whether or not Kei lived is up to the audience. Or they could just read the manga and get a much more conclusive ending. This could save time compared to catching the anime on Funimation or hoping for a Blu-ray release.

1 Akira is compressed and compromised

Without Akira, “anime” might not even exist as a term for Japanese anime. The 1988 film’s cyberpunk tones, mature themes, and outstanding animation quality took the medium to new levels. It let the proverbial genie out of the bottle and led to the West receiving many more cult classics and must-watch movies and shows. Yet by the time Katsuhiro Otomo was adapting his own manga for the screen, it had been 6 years and still going. It will not end until 2 years later in 1990.

The Akira the manga had a whole host of secondary characters with their own plots, twists, and plots. There were cult leaders, world leaders and psychic assassins. All were cut from the film or severely reduced in prominence. It was a necessary evil, because the final film was already 2:30. Still, its condensed plot feels incoherent and scaled down compared to the manga. Instead of waiting for the Hollywood version to leave development hell, maybe there should be a TV series to give these extra elements the attention they need.

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