I can imagine for many people outside of the anime and manga community, it would be easy to assume that when adapting manga, a format that tells it’s story mainly through images, that there is little room for manipulating the content in an anime adaptation. In this article, I want to use the example of two mainstream anime that have been adapted from highly successful manga in very different ways. I’m not aiming to particularly share my views on how successful these adaptations are generally, though I will inevitably touch upon my personal opinions of the quality of each adaptation.
So what are these two ways of adapting manga into anime? And which examples will I be using. The first is the one I alluded to at the start of this article – that is that the story is taken aspect for aspect from manga into the anime. The second is where key points of the plot, including ending, character defining moments and essential events, are maintained, while other parts of the story are altered to be more effective in the anime medium.
For the first method, I’ll be looking at chapter 42/episode 31 of Attack on Titan. If you don’t mind though, I’m going to start with my second example first: Tokyo Ghoul chapter 120/episode 19.
People eating other people usually isn’t a particularly palatable topic on screen (see what I did there?). For some reason while television and film, may that be anime or otherwise, has in recent times glamourised the concept vampires and all that comes with them, it has very rarely and only cautiously dabbled into the realms of cannibalism.
Tokyo Ghoul then steps bravely into this gap, telling a story where eating people is not accepted or chosen but is necessary. It is a story that questions society as well as the morality of those within it.
Background and plot
The world in which Tokyo Ghoul is much the same as modern Japan today. Set in Tokyo (well, duh), the world is inhabited by humans and ghouls. To the eye there are no difference between the two, with ghouls fitting into society seamlessly, with only one thing giving them away: devoured humans. The one difference between humans and ghouls is simple – ghouls eat humans.
As with any horror based plot, the main character is unassuming and in this case lonely and parentless university student, Kaneki Ken. Kaneki lives his typical human life quite happily until a date with the seemingly like minded and beautiful Riza goes wrong when he becomes her dinner. After being saved by an accident (?) Kaneki is forced to have an organ transplant to save his life, and thus transforming him into part ghoul.