Shōnen anime series tend to be faithful adaptations of their manga equivalent, with little to no differences, as is the case for anime such as Demon Slayer or Black Clover. However, this is not always the case, as some anime diverge significantly from the source material to introduce more exciting elements or not run too close to the manga.


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The effect of this divergence varies, with some being well received, like Claymore, while some changes spark outrage from fans, as in the case of Tokyo Ghoul. Along with these changes typically comes a difference in the main character’s personality, story arc, or perceptions of certain events. And like earlier, these changes could be for better or worse.

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7/7 Ayanokōji – Classroom of the Elite

Classroom of the Elite S2 featuring Kiyotaka Ayanokoji

Ayanokoji is the main protagonist of the anime and manga series Classroom of the Elite, and both medium portray him differently. For instance, the anime shows him displaying a more reserved, expressive, and quiet personality. He is also detached from his classmates, not considering his classmates as allies but as pawns to achieve his goals which were stated during his internal monologue in the very last scene of the anime’s first season.

In the manga, Ayanokoji is given a more realistic personality and is portrayed more like the regular manga protagonist. He has the usual teenage dilemmas and faces them as any average high schooler would. The anime series most likely adopted this personality change to maintain viewer interest.

6/7 Ken Kaneki – Tokyo Ghoul

kaneki tokyo ghoul

While Ken Kaneki did not undergo any drastic change in personality in the anime adaptation, his story arc does take a different route. In the anime, Kaneki leaves Anteiku to join the biggest threat to their existence, the Aogiri Tree. However, Kaneki does no such thing in the manga. While he does leave Anteiku, he does not join Aogiri Tree but instead forms a group of his own to become stronger.

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Although the reasons for leaving Anteiku in both the manga and anime are the same, the anime version does not stay true to Kaneki’s soft and non-violent personality. Tokyo Ghoul is one of those manga series that did not have the best anime adaptations due to having too many changes that just did not work, and Kaneki’s story arc is a prime example of that.

Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elric is the main protagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series, along with his brother Alphons Elric. Although manga and anime versions of Edward Elric are fundamentally the same, they experience certain events differently. For instance, Edward simply dismisses his father after seeing him for the first time in a decade. In the manga, he expresses his frustrations towards his father more.

The anime also takes Edward’s transmutation trauma a bit further. For instance, the manga and anime show Edward being troubled by nightmares of his mother’s failed transmutation after the events in the Tucker mansion. However, the anime takes this further by adding a version of the nightmare where Nina and Alexander are merged via transmutation.

4/7 Itadori Yuuji – Jujutsu Kaizen

Yuji Itadori in Jujutsu Kaisen

Itadori Yuuji is quickly becoming one of the greatest protagonists the shōnen demographic has ever seen. Jujutsu Kaizen does a good job adapting Itadori’s story from the manga, although little discrepancies exist. For instance, in the anime, Itadori seems to be unable to think about women beyond a flirtatious manner. This is shown in the tactless and disrespectful manner in which he and Todo discuss women during the Kyoto Exchange Team Battle.

However, in the manga, this is not the case. For example, in the manga, a young woman named Osawa has a crush on Itadori due to him being able to see her inner worth before judging her outer appearance.

3/7 Emma – The Promised Neverland

Emma from The Promised Neverland

Emma is among the main protagonists of The Promised Neverland manga and anime. The anime portrayal of Emma does well to stay true to the source material. However, it omits certain events that constitute hardship in Emma’s journey. These omissions make her journey throughout the anime seem much easier than in the manga. Her experiences with various characters in the manga tested many of her principles, but she stayed true to her nature.

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The anime’s second season also skips many chapters and does not allow for the proper development of Emma’s character as was done in the manga. The revelation of the Royal Family as the true villains is an example of one such omission.

2/7 Shinji Ikari – Neon Genesis Evangelion

Shinji Ikari As A Pilot

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the greatest mecha anime the subgenre has ever produced. The influential 90s anime blesses its viewers with thought-provoking themes, beautiful action sequences, and well-written characters. However, the characters in the anime are not strictly consistent with that of their manga counterparts, with many being somewhat dissimilar. In addition, the manga and anime versions of the main protagonist, Shinji Ikari, also have dissimilarities.

Shinji’s backstory is the same across both versions; however, there are differences in their personalities. The anime depicts Shinji as a pitiful coward who consistently loses his cool and wallows in a cesspool of self-loathing and indecisiveness. However, in the manga, Shinji is much bolder and brave, as he is always ready to prove himself in battle.

1/7 Yuusuke Urameshi – Yu Yu Hakusho

Yusuke Urameshi in Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hashuko is another anime from the 90s, with an easily recognizable shōnen protagonist in Yuusuke Urameshi. The series follows the story of Yuusuke, a teenage delinquent who was killed after he tried to save a child from a speeding vehicle. He dies and becomes a Spirit Detective.

While Yuusuke’s delinquent nature is present in both the manga and anime, Yuusuke’s vices go beyond that of the regular delinquent, being much darker and more dangerous in the manga. For instance, Yuusuke is addicted to nicotine, alcohol, and gambling. However, this side of him was not shown in the series to make it more suitable for younger audiences.

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