In the case of many anime where the manga came first, things that are included in the anime but not the manga (such as filler arcs) seem to be not considered totally canon to the series, indicating that manga is generally what is considered to set canon. One example of this is the Quincy arc in Bleach. For series where the anime came first, such as Code Geass, is the anime then considered to set canon?

  • I'd guess this varies from series to series. My guess is that the "canon" one is probably the one that the initial author had in mind, whether that be a mangaka or not.
    – Cattua
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 18:03
  • Varies from series to series, but in many cases the original work is referred to as the "primary canon" and the new media is called the "secondary canon".
    – Lawton
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 21:57

3 Answers 3


What is considered canon is generally decided by the author(s) or license holder. I think you need to get a better idea of the definition of canon.

the original work from which the fan fiction author borrows


a descriptor of specific incidents, relationships, or story arcs that take place within the overall canon

So, to directly answer your question, if there was only a manga and anime, and the manga came first, then the manga is canon. I say only, because many manga and anime are based off of light novels or visual novels. In that case, the light novel or visual novel would be canon.

If the anime came first, then it will probably be whatever the license holder decides is canon. This is an assumption, because I think anime writers give up the rights to their work.

  • You might want to use the definition "canon is the material accepted as officially part of the story in an individual universe of that story.", since Wikipedia has since removed the lines you make reference to.
    – nhahtdh
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 17:52

When a series is presented in several media, most of the versions will usually be said to be "based on" some other version, and whichever version is not "based on" anything of the others is canon. Under normal circumstances, that one is the one that came first.

But this is only a general guideline. Sometimes things get strange. Consider Revolutionary Girl Utena, which has no fewer than four presentations: the manga, the TV series, the movie, and the manga of the movie. The movie-manga is based on the movie, of course, but the other three are considered separate canons. Sort of. Like I said, Utena is strange.

  • 1
    Another weird example is the Nasuverse, because how it's considers different storylines as parallel universes which can be accessed though the application of the 2nd Magic (Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg's inventions like the Jewel Sword, the Kaleidostick(s) or his trunk) it's hard to tell what's cannon
    – Memor-X
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 3:30
  • one thing that is considered cannon is that all branching plots which create parallel universes (the theft of the Greater Grail, the incident that drain the world's Mana in the 1900's) occur after Arturia was born so the gender of "King Arthur" is by cannon female so the one that appears in Fate/Prototype is non-cannon
    – Memor-X
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 3:31

Canon is whatever the rights holder (people who own the IP) says it is. Canon is always changing. Just look at the American comic industry, DC and Marvel are always retconning and reinventing the canon.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .