10 Anime That Didn’t Follow Their Source Material Entirely

“Read the source material” is a phrase you’d hear someone say in the anime community. While most Japanese Animation Studios do their best to provide source material enthusiasts with a quality adaptation, others opt to go a different route with a specific story’s iteration. 

Though some adaptations that follow this path produce quality results, others fall flat on themselves, resulting in manga readers using the above phrase. Regardless, this article will feature 10 Anime that didn’t follow their source material entirely. Although some studios have reasons for diversifying the anime from the original work, many will argue that some shows mentioned here would’ve been better off following the beaten path. 

Nevertheless, feel free to leave your comments about our choices below. We’ve included links to programs we’ve covered in the past too. Lastly, this article will contain spoilers for the following series: The Promised Neverland Season 2, Sound Euphonium Season 3, Death Note, Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Akame Ga Kill, Claymore, Deadman Wonderland, Dragon Ball Super, and Akira

The Promised Neverland Season 2

The Promised Neverland is arguably one of the best thriller anime to release in the late 2010s. It provided viewers with something fresh, thought-provoking, and downright horrifying. The anime’s first season left audiences wanting more from its story, characters, and world. Eventually, Cloverworks Studios delivered another season of the show.

Fans were interested to see how Emma and her friends’ journeys would continue. While all seemed well with Season 2’s adaptation, there came a point where Cloverworks Studios chose to change things for their adaptation of Kaiu Shiriai’s manga.

For instance, they skipped out on important story arcs like Goldy Pond and removed incredible characters like Yuugo. Both of which were critical in helping our main cast grow. Also, these aspects improved the manga’s world-building, a component many didn’t like from the second season.

Next to having poor pacing and an arguably unsatisfying conclusion, it’s no wonder fans want The Promised Neverland Season 2 to receive the remake treatment.  

You can read our thoughts on The Promised Neverland Season 1 in our full-season review here!

Soul Eater

Another Shonen gem that can be hit or miss with fans is Soul Eater. This anime is set in a fantastical city where students attend a mysterious academy. We follow several students as they tackle multiple tasks to protect their gothic-like city from doom. While fans adored this anime for its dark aesthetic and fun action, many weren’t thrilled to discover that it didn’t adapt the manga’s content properly. 

For example, some of the manga’s world’s principles weren’t tackled correctly in the anime. Several examples include giving various characters soul-consuming capabilities. Moreover, certain characters survive in the anime adaptation, despite dying in the original manga.  Lastly, some characters are recontextualized in the anime. This didn’t bode well for fans who wanted to see these characters’ true personalities shine in animated form.

Although this anime is worth watching, Soul Eater fanatics may likely develop a deeper appreciation for Soul Eater by experiencing it through its manga. 

Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)

Akame Ga Kill

Assassins and bloodshed are what you’ll find in this anime. Akame Ga Kill is one of those shows where it’s best not to grow attached to its cast since most characters will bite the dust faster than you’d anticipate. This anime follows Tatsumi, a boy who encounters a formidable assassin group called the Night Raid. The Night Raid convinces Tatsumi to join their legion and fight for their cause. 

Although many appreciated this one for its action, emotional segments, and horrific imagery, many didn’t like how the anime handled the characters. Also, the anime opted for original content, which was funny considering the manga was releasing new material simultaneously. Nevertheless, White Fox Studios had to make changes to ensure Akame Ga Kill fans had a fine adaptation to sit with. 

Due to releasing in conjunction with the manga, the anime skipped out on a major arc. This story arc introduced new foes for our protagonists to battle. Our leads also received new relics (Teigu) to use against their new enemies. Moreover, the manga’s portrayal of certain events in the anime appears more brutal and grotesque.

Lastly, some characters who perished in the anime didn’t meet a similar end in the manga. That said, an Akame Ga Kill remake wouldn’t be a terrible idea one day. 

Clare From Claymore


Classified as the female equivalent of Berserk, Claymore is a remarkable medieval fantasy series. This one would get Dark Souls and Elden Ring fans shaking in excitement. This story follows Clare, a female claymore who is searching for a former claymore named Priscilla. She vows to exterminate Priscilla because of her past actions.

This story has everything a dark fantasy fanatic would love. It has horrifying abominations, extremely violent action scenes, and fine character development. Nonetheless, Claymore’s anime adaptation has issues. First, it features some filler content. From its different conclusion to its inclusion of lackluster non-canon characters, fans won’t be happy with Madhouse Studios’s direction with Norihiro Yagi’s story.

Moreover, the character designs aren’t one-to-one with Yagi’s designs. Madhouse Studios opted for a simple approach to Clare’s and others’ designs, which won’t sit well with those who admire Yagi’s artwork.

Next to having rough pacing, a Claymore remake in 2025 and beyond doesn’t sound like a bad idea, Madhouse Studios.

Deadman Wonderland

Deadman Wonderland was a fun anime that was released during Toonami’s rebirth era in the early 2010s. This horror anime follows Ganta Igarashi, a boy who witnesses an evil being called Redman murder his classmates. Ganta gets blamed for his classmates’ deaths and gets sentenced to a prison-like amusement park called Deadman Wonderland for his crimes.  

After meeting a strange female named Shiro there, Ganta vows to escape Deadman Wonderland and clear his name by bringing Redman to justice. The now-defunct Manglobe Studios worked on this anime. While the anime has captivating moments, it doesn’t recreate certain scenarios to the best degree.

First, the anime omitted specific story arcs and characters, the latter of which serve important roles in the story later. Moreover, the anime sped through certain arcs, making matters feel weightless and less developed, unlike the manga. Most importantly, the manga offers a more concrete finale to this world. This is something the anime may never deliver since Manglobe Studios is out of business.

Therefore, if you’re interested in Deadman Wonderland, it’s best to revisit or experience this action horror series by checking out its manga. 

Dragon Ball Super

What, Dragon Ball Super didn’t follow the late Akira Toriyama and his protege Toyotaro’s original work? Unfortunately, yes. Much like other anime mentioned here, Dragon Ball Super’s anime adaptation was released in conjunction with Dragon Ball Super’s manga. Funnily enough, the anime animated story arcs before Toriyama and Toyatoro had a chance to draw and release their take on said story arcs. 

One arc worth noting is the well-beloved Tournament of Power arc (or Universe Survival Saga). Many events during the anime’s airing of said arc differ from the manga’s. From the Gods of Destructions’ battle royale to Goku using different forms during one of his fights with Top, many fans may prefer one’s take of Dragon Ball Super’s material over the other.

Additionally, Dragon Ball Super didn’t start strong, visually or narratively. This anime’s retelling of Goku’s initial fight with Beerus as a part of its Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods recap arc is a great example of that. Next to having unneeded filler episodes, Dragon Ball Super’s anime wasn’t all that great in retrospect. 

Sound! Euphonium Season 3

One of the more recent examples of an anime deviating from its source material can be found with Sound! Euphonium Season 3. Although past films in this series don’t do certain characters justice like in Ayano Takeda’s original work, Season 3’s closing moments left fans mixed. For those who don’t know, Sound! Euphonium follows Kumiko, a girl who enrolls in Kitauji High School.

She wants to avoid this school’s concert band like the plague because of the problems she endured in middle school. Unfortunately, Kumiko gets forced into joining the school’s concert band and comes face to face with Kousaka, a girl she had minor issues with. To help Kitauji High School claim gold at the National Competition, Kumiko must persevere through the internal and external obstacles that lie ahead.

For the most part, the anime is faithful to the manga. While some scenes and arcs are handled better in the source material, fans will love Kyoto Animation Studios’s handling of Takeda’s story here. However, one of the major differences arrives in episode 12, notably Kumiko’s soli audition duel with Mayu. Unlike the anime, Kumiko claims victory over Mayu in the source material.

While Kyoto Animation Studios portrays the characters’ reactions to Kumiko’s loss in the anime to wonderful effect, those who were looking forward to seeing Kumiko defeat Mayu in the anime may be disappointed. 

You can read our thoughts on Sound! Euphonium Season 3 in our full-season review here!

Death Note

Death Note is one of the best 2000s anime of all time. This series knows how to keep its grip on folks. This is due to the story’s thrilling turns and twists that’ll come at you like a curve ball on a baseball field. Additionally, one would argue its characters are responsible for helping it achieve worldwide fame. This story follows Light, a high school student who stumbles upon a mysteriously dark notebook called the Death Note. 

Light learns he can murder anyone he pleases with it by jotting down specific details on its pages. With aid from Ryuk, a deadly Shinigami, Light embarks on a murder spree as Kira. This gets the authorities and a young detective named L involved. Thus, a back-and-forth mind game of epic proportions ensues between L and Light.

Firstly, Death Note’s anime conclusion differs from the manga. Matsuda shoots Light, which entices Ryuk to write Light’s name in the Death Note. But in the manga, Light doesn’t get shot. Instead, he pleads with Ryuk to kill his current enemies. Ryuk refuses to write Light’s name in the notebook because he doesn’t want to wait for Light to die in a cell.

Additionally, the manga examines the characters further than the anime does. From the origins of L’s name to the occasional deep dives into Light’s psyche, Death Note fans may want to read the manga to spot the differences. Regardless of said differences, Madhouse Studios delivered a spectacular adaptation that’s a must-watch for anyone who adores crime shows.  

You can read our thoughts on Death Note in our full-season review here!


It’s amazing how “the Kaneda slide” is still referenced today in popular media. Considering Akira’s reputation in the industry, it’s likely more creators will continue to reference that iconic moment for years to come. That aside, Akira is a classic 1980s animated film. It has highly stylized action scenes, an interesting plot, and enough bizarre moments that’ll leave an impression. 

Unfortunately, what the anime offers in incredible visuals, it lacks in masterfully written storytelling and characterization. For instance, Akira’s manga variant explores multiple characters like Kei and gives readers alternate takes on others. Tetsuo’s character in the manga is a great example of the latter. Tetsuo’s personality change occurs swiftly in the manga, causing him to feel more barbaric. 

Additionally, the anime omitted several characters from the source material and gave individuals like Lady Miyako less importance than what was originally planned for her.

While Akira’s anime has its highs, some folks will notice and ponder its lows, or in this case, the “what could’ve been(s).” 

So, there we have it, our picks for 10 anime that did not follow their source material entirely.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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