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I got into a debate with a friend about whether or not it's possible for an anime to come out before its manga.

He claimed that there were several instances where the anime actually preceded the manga. Is this the case?

P.S.: I know that there are several anime without a manga. I also know that there are manga created from games. That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking whether or not there is a series where the anime came before the manga.

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30

Yes, there are exceptions to the "rule" that an anime must be inspired by a manga. There are indeed some anime that do not have a manga corresponding, and other such things.

But yes, there are also anime series which inspired one or more manga.

The following list are some of the (arbitrarily selected as recognizable) names from a more complete list featured on the TVTropes article "Anime First":

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  • 1
    There's also some great shows based on video games (Gungrave) or novels (Baccano), rather than mangas. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 5 '13 at 0:07
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    The one that I like is Initial D. First the anime came out, then the manga, then the manga surpassed the anime, then the anime started following the manga... – Peter Feb 7 '13 at 14:32
  • Evangelion, Suisei no Gargantia – n611x007 Jun 11 '13 at 9:39
  • also Nagi no Asukara – オレンジ Jan 30 '15 at 2:58
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Yes it is possible. And it is actually quite common. A couple of recent examples would be:

Note that in both examples here, there is some overlap between the release dates of the Anime and the Manga. But the key point is that the Anime was started first.

Often times an Anime would be done as an original work. Then if the Anime turns out to be extremely popular, then the producers will go ahead and do a Manga as well. (To milk the cash cow.)

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  • Thank you for your answer! I've accepted the other one because it contains more well-known anime, which will aid in the debate I have with my friend. +1 for you though! – Obito Uchiha Feb 4 '13 at 22:53
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Two more examples of series where the anime came before the manga that I am familiar with are Vandread and Sakura Taisen (a.k.a. Sakura Wars); though to be fair, that latter series was a video game franchise first, before being adapted to anime, and then adapted to manga.

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It seems that I may be of little help to you, but there is a manga currently ongoing and the anime is ahead of both the spin off and the ongoing series. The manga/anime is called Mushibugyo, and the second series is Joujuu Senjin!! Mushibugyo.

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There is no particular rule that anime ought to be adaptions of existing manga. Many anime are original, written by the director and screenwriters. Some of the most popular of these receive manga adaptions after the anime has started airing. Some of these receive both a shounen manga and a shoujo manga, which are illustrated by differing mangaka and either run in different magazines concurrently or run at different times. Some examples of these titles which have both a shounen adaption and a shoujo adaption are:

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Code Geass
  • Shin Kidousenki Gundam W
  • Tenkuu no Escaflowne
  • Mahoutsukai Tai!

Anime that later get adapted into manga is not uncommon in shoujo, as shoujo manga magazines an not financially-viable and make less money than shounen magazines, so they are keen to cash in on a title that already has a fanbase (thereby collecting those prior fans who will then begin to buy their magazine and/or graphic novels who otherwise would not have). Some examples include:

  • Cowboy Bebop and Cowboy Bebop Shooting Star published in ASUKA
  • Pretty Cure (many varieties) published in Nakayoshi
  • Ojamajo Doremi published in Nakayoshi
  • Akihabara Dennou-gumi published in Nakayoshi
  • Super Doll★Licca-chan published in Nakayoshi
  • Mahou no Stage Fancy Lala published in Ribon
  • Aikatsu! published in Ciao and Pucchigumi
  • Pocket Monster PiPiPi Adventure and Pocket Monster Chamo Chamo Pretty published in Ciao
  • Tottoko Hamtarou published in Ciao
  • Majokko Tickle published in Ciao
  • Cutie Honey Flash published in Ciao
  • Corrector Yui published in Ciao
  • Jewelpet published in Ciao
  • Fushigiboshi no Futagohime published in Ciao
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