10 Manga That Make No Sense Without Watching The Anime

Most anime get adapted from preexisting source materials, most commonly, an already popular manga series. In many cases, the anime serves as an advertisement for the original and often only adapts a section of the story that might not make complete sense without going back to read the manga. However, not every anime and manga pair follow this familiar route. In rare cases, the reverse happens.


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Some anime originals, or shows based on other properties, such as light novels or video games, become so massively successful that they get their own manga spin-offs and continuations. Those manga target the fans of the original shows, so they often expect the audience to be already familiar with the story and characters. Those who haven’t watched the respective anime beforehand soon come to understand that the manga makes no sense without it.

10 Hokuto Gaiden Takes A Closer Look At The Supporting Cast Of Fist Of The North Star

Hokuto no Ken, or Fist of the North Star in English, was a defining shonen series for the 1980s, popularizing many of the genre’s tropes fans grew to love over the decades. In 2006, this legendary franchise inspired various manga authors to collaborate on a spin-off series based on Buronson’s original story – Hokuto Gaiden.

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It fleshed out various supporting characters from the original, making them the protagonists of their own adventures. And while any Fist of the North Star fan would be thrilled to take a look at their favorite show from a different perspective, Hokuto Gaiden will surely confuse any newcomer.

9 Samurai Flamenco Another Days Continues The Bizarre Adventures Of The Original Anime

Samurai Flamenco is an eccentric and over-the-top anime series following male model Masayoshi Hazama on his quest to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a superhero. The original anime, which was full of unexpected twists and bizarre genre shifts, inspired a manga spin-off that captures the energy of its source material brilliantly.

Samurai Flamenco Another Days leans into the bizarre even more than its anime prequel, giving fans of the original more insight into their beloved world and characters. And while it doesn’t work as a standalone series, the manga complements the anime wonderfully.

8 Shinji Ikari Raising Project Is A More Comedic Version Of Neon Genesis Evangelion

As one of the most influential mecha franchises in history, Neon Genesis Evangelion spawned countless spin-offs and alternate universe storylines rooted in Hideaki Anno’s original anime. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project is a manga series loosely based on a video game of the same name inspired by an alternate reality from Episode 26.

Unlike their anime counterparts, the Shinji Ikari Raising Project characters are far more comedic and laid back, providing a nice change of pace from the emotionally devastating and psychologically complex original story.

7 Chopper Man And One Piece Party Don’t Follow The Plotline Of The Original

For a show of such enormous volume and popularity as One Piece, a spin-off manga is inevitable. In fact, the franchise spawned two separate alternate manga series – Chopper Man, a gag story about Tony Tony Chopper’s superhero counterpart, and One Piece Party.

One Piece Party is a lighthearted anthology following the self-contained adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates and their friends. Both manga series focus on the comedic elements of One Piece, ditching the overarching plotline and making them great for preexisting fans but too confusing as an introduction to the franchise.

6 Puella Magi Kazumi Magica Is Even More Twisted Than Its Source Material

After the astounding success of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime series, this dark magical girls’ universe inspired multiple authors to branch off into creating their own interpretations of its concept. Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Innocent Malice was the first manga spin-off of Madoka Magica, featuring an original cast of characters engaged in their own tragic narrative.

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Kazumi Magica spotlights many of the same themes as its source material, including the twisted and mature deconstruction of magical girl tropes. The story expects the audience to be familiar with its roots, so it doesn’t work as well detached from the anime.

5 Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated As Yamcha! Rewrites The Original

Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha! combines the premise of the original franchise with popular isekai tropes. In this spin-off manga series, an ordinary Japanese Dragon Ball fan gets into a fatal accident only to reincarnate as Yamcha in the universe of his favorite show.

Aware of Yamcha’s miserable fate, the newborn hero vows to change the events of the original storyline in his favor and make his new persona the strongest character in the Dragon Ball universe. While this whimsical series will make zero sense to those unfamiliar with the original story, myriads of Dragon Ball fans adore this comedic spin-off.

4 Beast Switches The Roles Of Bungou Stray Dogs’ Original Cast

Bungou Stray Dogs’ supernatural mystery plot leaves a lot of room for compelling “what if” scenarios. And the franchise’s creators take full advantage of this potential, exploring these alternative storylines in manga and light novel spin-offs. However, none of them would make any sense without watching or reading the source material first.

These alternate plotlines are equally as compelling as the main narrative. Beast, the fan-favorite Bungou Stray Dogs manga spin-off, reverses the forces of good and evil, creating an alternative reality that shifts the original’s perspective and grants readers additional insight into the characters’ motivations.

3 Ergo Proxy Received A Continuation In The Form Of Centzon Hitchers And Undertaker

The cyberpunk classic Ergo Proxy left a lot of mysteries unresolved after the conclusion of its 23-episode run. Inspired by the positive reception of the anime’s compelling post-apocalyptic universe, Manglobe, the studio behind the original series, collaborated with the artist Harao Yumiko on creating a spin-off manga, Centzon Hitchers and Undertaker.

Structured as a book that Hoody reads to Pino, the manga follows a story set in the same world, albeit detached from the events of Ergo Proxy. For fans of the anime, this manga was a great opportunity to learn more about its confusing yet mesmerizing universe.

2 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-Hen Manga’s Setting Is A High School

School-based alternate universe spin-offs are a common trope in anime and manga, as they allow the audience to see their beloved characters interact in a much more peaceful slice-of-life environment. Studio Trigger’s hit mecha series Gurren Lagann featured an intense, over-the-top plot that was equally comedic and heartbreaking.

Yet, its fun and lovable characters fit perfectly into a more low-stakes setting of a high school. This potential was realized in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen, a laid-back comedy in which the old cast has fun in school together instead of fighting for the universe’s fate.

1 Code Geass Has Plenty Of Manga Spin-Offs For Its Most Dedicated Fans

Following the conclusion of one of the most iconic mecha anime of all time, Code Geass fans were hungry for more content featuring their favorite characters. And they’ve received it in the form of countless spin-off manga series that explore a whole new side of the legendary franchise.

Ranging from contemplative pieces that flesh out the characters and their relationships, like Suzaku of the Counterattack, to more bizarre prequel series, like the Edo-period historical drama Renya of Darkness, all Code Geass spin-offs and alternate stories have something new to add to the acclaimed original.

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