Anime for Book Lovers: More in the Manga

Just like any book-to-movie, or comic book-to-movie, adaptation the manga version of an anime will often have tons material that didn’t make it to the screen. Some anime act like an alternate dimension, missing characters and straying wildly from the original plot, others will start off in the same place as the books, and then end up in a radically different spot. Occasionally, when you are very lucky, a manga series will keep going past the last episode of a series. This means that you get all new story lines and character arcs, and is a beautiful thing if you have become attached to the characters (I am looking at YOU Kimi Ni Todoke). The three titles explored below are extremely popular shows that fall in to the last category. Enjoy!

Ouran High School Host ClubOuran High School Host Club


  • Manga by Bisco Hatori (18 Volumes) Completed
  • Anime (Season One- 26 Episodes) Completed

Ouran Academy is a private school where students from super rich families kill time by participating in a series of fabulous and extravagant club activities. Allegedly they also attend classes, but little of that shows up on screen. Scholarship student Haruhi breaks one club’s expensive vase while looking for a quiet place to study. Now Haruhi must work for the Host Club to pay back the cost of the item… but what exactly do they do?

Costume changes and shenanigans, romantic and otherwise, abound in this classic comedy anime. It only ran for a single season back in 2012, but the twenty six episodes have lived in anime fans’ hearts forevermore.  The differences between the anime vs. the manga start off fairly mild, with extra scenes sprinkled throughout the first few volumes, but the end of the manga run has tons of new material on all your favorite characters. More Tamaki, more Haruhi, and a whole alternate ending! 

Kimi ni Todoke

Kimi ni Todoke – From Me To You 

(Slice of Life/Romance)

  • Manga by Karuho Shiina (25 Volumes) Ongoing
  • Anime (Season One- 25 Episodes, Season Two- 12 Episodes) Completed

Sawako Kuronuma’s big goal is to finally make friends this school year. This will be tough because in addition to being super awkward she looks just like the ghost from “The Ring!” It is hard to make friends when everyone thinks you can curse them. Then the effortlessly popular and handsome Shota Kazehaya starts paying attention to her. Is he interested in something more? Things start to look up on the friend front after her class’s assigned seating is reshuffled. Will she be able to make friends with the blunt Chizuru Yoshida and the sophisticated Ayane Yano? 

The writing for this High School series is delicate and nuanced. The work is full of funny moments, and Sawako’s new friendships are given as much weight and time as the romantic plot lines. She is a delightful protagonist and getting to see her grow and fall in love is a real treat.  There are two seasons of this series and the anime included almost all of the stories from the Manga up through volume 11. The best part? The manga is still being published! (Volume 25 has a US publication date in Sept 2016)

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan – Shingeki no Kyojin

(Science Fiction/Horror)

  • Manga by Hajime Isayama (18 Volumes) Ongoing
  • Anime (Season One- 26 Episodes, Season Two- To Be Announced) Ongoing

For the last hundred years humanity has shut themselves up inside a series of walls as protection from being devoured by the monstrous Titans. In what seems like a coordinated attack, a Colossal Titan breaks through the outer wall, and the monsters swarm through the city, massacring the population. Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert, along with other survivors of the fall of Wall Maria join up with the military. These troops are humanity’s only hope of survival.

Wall Maria, Wall Rose, Wall Sina
Wall Maria, Wall Rose, Wall Sina

The show is rated TV-MA, and the manga contains the same level of violence. Both are beautiful and bleak with fast paced action sequences. The battles, intense character driven drama, and the high stakes of the setting combine to make a compulsively watchable series.  There is a ton of extra information in the manga (including the identities of the Colossal and Armored Titans), so even though the end of the first season picks up at volume 8 in the manga, I would suggest starting with volume 1 of the original series. 

As if that wasn’t enough, here are is a partial list of the other manga/anime titles that expand the Titan universe:

Attack on Titan extra titles

Before the Fall  is a prequel series

  • Manga (7 Volumes) Ongoing

No Regrets explores the origin story of Levi and Erwin

  • Manga (2 Volumes) Completed
  • Anime adaptation is an Original Video Animation, US release To Be Announced

Attack on Titan: Junior High is a light comedy set in an alternate universe

  • Manga (4 Volumes) Ongoing
  • Anime (12 Episodes) Ongoing

The Harsh Mistress of the City is set after the fall of wall Maria, and focuses on Rita, a young field commander.

  • Manga (2 Volumes) Completed


— Jennifer Billingsley, currently reading Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman