The source material for an anime is often considered sacred, unable to be surpassed no matter how well the adaptation is received. But sometimes, anime directors and scriptwriters add in extra material that expands on the original story in a way that makes it even better (or at least more interesting) than before. It might be an expanded scene based on something that was only mentioned in the manga, a new character that brings a fresh perspective to the table, or a complete rewrite of a part of the original that fell a bit flat when it first debuted. Let’s dive right into the most interesting anime moments that weren’t in the manga!
5. The Endless Eight from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2)
- Episodes: 14
- Air Date: May 2009 – September 2009
Very few fans would argue that the anime’s version of the “Endless Eight” arc was more entertaining than how it went down in the light novel, but it certainly hammered home the crushing monotony and despair that Yuki and Kyon experienced during their centuries-long summer vacation. Expanding from a single chapter of the light novel that only narrated the final time loop, the anime devoted eight full episodes to showing slightly altered versions of the same vacation over and over and over. Fans are still salty that a full half of the second season was devoted to this arc, but Kyoto Animation certainly made their point.
4. Edolas Gajeel’s Adventures from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Air Date: October 2009 – March 2013
Fairy Tail’s “Edolas” arc gives many Fairy Tail guild members alternate world counterparts, all of which have opposite personalities to their “Earthland” versions. Edolas Lucy is a no-nonsense tough girl, Edolas Natsu is a timid racecar driver, etc. Hiro Mashima wanted to include an Edolas version of Gajeel but ran out of time in the manga’s original run. So, when it came time for the anime, Edolas Gajeel made his long-awaited appearance as an intrepid reporter who tears down corrupt politicians with his scathing journalism. Somehow, he and the normal Gajeel (a musclebound, heavily pierced antihero) get along famously! Their adventures across Edolas are some of the best parts of the entire arc.
3. Rui’s Spider Family Flashback from Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Date: April 2019 – September 2019
Demon Slayer has always taken time to showcase detailed backstories for each of its demons, casting them in a more human light before they inevitably bite the dust. Rui the spider demon lost his real family due to his own mistake, so he creates a makeshift family out of captive members of his own kind that he transforms to resemble him. That’s horrifying enough, but the anime shows how cruelly Rui controls his “family” in an extended flashback where one of the members mounts a failed escape effort and ends up lashed to the rooftop to be exposed to the burning sun. Yikes!
2. The Freezing Alchemist from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Air Date: April 2009 – July 2010
Since most people had already seen the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, which faithfully adapted the first third of the manga before diverging, Brotherhood had to rush through that material to get to the new storyline as soon as possible. To whet viewers’ appetites for the political intrigue plot that would be coming later, Hiromu Arakawa worked with the anime directors to create a new character for the first episode – Isaac MacDougal, the Freezing Alchemist. He’s already figured out that the military is corrupt and he’s about to expose their secrets, but Fuhrer Bradley covertly takes him out before that can happen. Still, he caused enough of a fuss that Edward, Mustang, and all of the new fans know that something is up... and it wasn’t caused by Danté this time.
1. The Final Battle and Ending from MÄR
- Episodes: 102
- Air Date: April 2005 – March 2007
The original manga for this shounen isekai romp was extremely rushed near the end, leaving Ginta and his friends with a half-baked conclusion to their magical adventure through Märhaven. Luckily, the anime adaptation was able to almost entirely rewrite the final battle and ending to MÄR so that everyone gets the happy ending they deserve. Snow is able to fuse herself with Koyuki so that she can be with Ginta even in the real world, and she also gives him the power to defeat the evil orb that has defeated most of his friends.
With a climactic fight and an emotionally satisfying ending, MÄR fans can finally rest easy... unless they’re outside of Japan, since Viz Media canceled the series’ distribution 50 episodes in. At least fansubs still exist!
What did you think of our list? What are some anime-only moments you find interesting? Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!