Many anime enthusiasts don’t understand the pains of selling manga in Japan. While the West has gained hundreds of series, Japan still has a great number of anime and that creates a bit of a problem for newer works. How does your new action-drama or ecchi-themed romance light novel/manga put itself out there against heavy hitters like One Piece, Boruto, and Monster Musume? Simple, make an anime series and have it air nationwide in Japan—and eventually America—to get your new work noticed by the world.
However, while anime does boom and gets people excited for the creation, it also causes its own issues. Today we’re going to discuss why anime fans truly get hit the hardest by being linked to an ongoing manga/light novel series and maybe a possible solution that is both risky but a nice middle-ground for both mediums!
We here at Honey’s Anime have long considered ourselves anime/manga/light novel experts—in our own minds, at least—meaning we know a lot about the inner workings of anime. We also know the pains of crafting a series and the pains of promoting it to the wider world. With that being said, these are our opinions and if you disagree—or maybe agree—don’t forget to comment below to share your thoughts!
Painful Realization #1: Season 2? Never…
Here you are—an anime fan—sitting down on your couch binging a series like No Game No Life, Deadman Wonderland, and Hataraku Maou-sama! and guess what…you binged through the entire series faster than what seemed possible! Now you’re probably excited to see where season 2 is and notice…there is no second season. How is this possible? Where is the second season that continues the laughs, the epic fights, and the drama?!?! Unfortunately, that second season isn’t happening…at least for a while.
Manga and light novel adaptations need to sell well and if they don’t, then here’s some bad news for the anime watcher. A second season—sometimes a third—won’t come because there is no drive to create one. How can a mangaka convince a big studio like A-1 Pictures or Wit Studio to continue a series with no popularity behind it and with incomplete source material? Bottom line, an anime will become an incomplete one if the original medium sells poorly and shows people just don’t find it worthwhile.
Possible Solution #1: Anime-Original Endings
Back in the 80s, 90s, and even early 2000s, a lot of anime came out that was based on unfinished manga series and anime viewers back then knew the pains of incomplete anime. While anime would tend to push past the now normal 12-episode count—series of yesteryear would go way beyond 20+ episodes—they often would just abruptly end or be left with a weird cliffhanger that only reading the manga could solve. One of the most famous series—Full Metal Alchemist—used an anime-original ending to prevent the fans from becoming restless while waiting for the manga’s completion. This might seem annoying but here’s the reality folks; we need more series that are willing to do anime-original endings!
An anime-original ending might not work with the original manga series’ ideas but it gives anime fans a sense of completion. There is no worse feeling than having to switch to a new medium and wait weekly—sometimes monthly—for a new short chapter which means the entire work could take easily years before it reaches its climax! If anime studios started taking more risks and developing anime original plots we wouldn’t mind. Though, some thought does need to go into making an anime-original ending so nothing ends up feeling overly rushed.
Painful Realization #2: Choose…Anime or Manga?
Here at Honey’s Anime, we have a very diverse team of anime/manga fans. Some of us love anime more than manga and there are on the other end of the spectrum. We might disagree on which is better but one thing we agree on is the pain of choosing between either reading a manga series or watching the anime adaptation. The problem with the latter choice is the ultimate realization when you look at the episode count. You’ll see that dreaded “12” and it will hit you immediately—This anime is probably incomplete…
Many probably also assume that a series that’s 24+ episodes might be closer to completion but that isn’t true, unfortunately. The painful reality is pretty blatant. Do you read the manga for a series that piques your interest? or do you take a chance with an anime, fall in love with it, and then go to the manga to re-invest in the original work/find out where it goes from the last aired episode? The choices are hard and as fans of anime, manga, and light novels, it seems like sacrificing any of the three is an easy move to make.
Possible Solution #2: Wait and Hold Out!
A wise man once said, patience is a virtue and we often hear this line in everyday conversations. This might annoy some readers out there but that line is what could save our hearts as anime fans. Yes, we might want to jump ship and dive into a manga series of an ongoing anime or buy volumes 1-10 of a light novel to see what lies in wait for our main protagonist next but here’s the simpler solution. We might need to just wait for a series to progress.
Now, we believe that you clever readers out there know this solution might collide with the fact that anime is meant to be a promotion piece for manga/light novels to sell their works further. Thus, waiting to watch a series goes against that very ideal and could hurt the creator/company in making a series progress further. What we instead think fans need to do is just wait for that possible season 2 or ending they desire. We’re not saying don’t watch/support the anime you’re eyeing but have more patience and understand it can be maybe years for a possible continuation to happen. It hurts, but as anime fans, we have endured this issue for a long time and we know how to survive…by watching even more series!
Realization: Anime Will Always Pose Risk
As anime fans, we don’t want to believe that a series will never reach completion—especially longer ones—but we need to face a terrible fact: Anime will always have the risk of being incomplete. Even the best series with the biggest budgets and largest fandoms can end up facing cancellation and its not always due to sales figures or viewership. We often forget that anime is done by creators who are human beings and we humans have a time limit…
Looking back at shows like High School of the Dead or Kaze no Stigma, we realize that even the most beloved franchises can be axed due to creator illness or death. The above-mentioned series were booming in both the manga and anime world but were canned and left to become unfinished due to the creators dying. Hunter X Hunter is another series whose mangaka—in this case Yoshihiro Togashi—often has health issues due to his weak back and the series ends up in hiatus for what seems like months.
The same reality exists in the world of light novels. MM! and Trinity Blood are just a few light novel series that had their respected authors die before their works could be completed and finished. Death can happen at any time to anyone of us and for creators, it is sometimes untimely due to the pressures of their work—it is extremely hard to work on time constraints/deadlines—and the world around them. That’s why, when a series is put on a long hiatus—again Hunter X Hunter—we tend to worry less about the next upcoming chapter and more about the mangaka/creator.
The Pains of Incomplete Anime is a pain we’ve all experienced at one point or another. Anime tends to only produce enough to pique the interest of a fan and then hope said fan will dive into the source material to help the series progress further. Will there ever be a radical change to this system? Probably not, unless creators complete series and/or big studios are willing to always go the route of anime original endings/plots.
There is no simple cure-all fix here, readers, but we do pray that one day, we won’t have to wonder if a season 2 will release but just wonder when. What shows do you desperately want a season 2 for and/or what shows do you want continued? Comment below to let us know and stick around to us here at Honey’s Anime for even more articles like this one!