When I first learned of an anime called “Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne“, a series I highly recommend by the way, I remember doing some brief research and learning that a light novel was in release before the anime started airing. Without pursuing it further, I assumed that the anime was an adaptation. Of course, you know what happens when you assume! Some time later, I actually looked deeper and learned that the novel had only begun a month before the anime started airing and was only completed after the anime had ended! Similarly, many original anime series may decide to release manga tie-ins prior to the anime airing and so I thought it might be interesting to take a look at a few examples and to consider why a company, likely a production committee in these cases, would choose to do this.
When I think of manga tie-ins that came out before their anime, the first one that comes to mind is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Beginning nearly a full year before the anime began airing, the manga adaptation was done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who also served as the character designer for the TV series, and ended up running for over 18 years. It’s since proven to be quite financially successful with about 25 million copies sold and has also been very well received and, while this is very much a personal statement, I actually ended up preferring the manga over the anime TV series.
Since we’re on the topic of Gainax franchises, it’s also interesting to note that Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, a Gainax anime from 2010, similarly had a manga tie-in begin about two months prior to the anime. Similarly, RahXephon’s manga tie-in began about six months before the anime began airing and a particularly notable example is The Vision of Escaflowne which began release about a year and a half before the anime airing and, due to being based on early concepts for the series, ended up being quite different to the anime incarnation.
Given all of these examples, you might be wondering why you would want to release a manga tie-in prior to the release of the anime, particularly when the success of the anime is, at that point, unproven. Besides the possibility that the manga itself might prove to be profitable such as in the case of Neon Genesis Evangelion, it can also serve as an excellent marketing tool.
I’ve spoken about manga magazines before but it’s always important to remember how many copies they sell and how effective they can be at marketing. For example, Monthly Shonen Ace, the magazine that many of the series that I’ve mentioned like Neon Genesis Evangelion and The Vision of Escaflowne ran in, sold about 100,000 copies a month between 2014 and 2017. As you can imagine, this can prove to be a very effective form of marketing that can help drive interest in a show.
Let me know your thoughts on manga tie-ins that come out before their anime, what additional tie-ins you are aware of, your thoughts on them as a tool for marketing, whether you ever mistakenly thought that an anime was based on a manga when it was just a tie-in and any additional information you might have on the topic.
Hopefully you have found this article interesting and informative and, if you wish to seek any of the works I mentioned, don’t hesitate to use amazon.co.uk or amazon.com for all of your needs!