Most of us see Manga and Anime as the primary Japanese export. And for the better part you are right. Each year, hundreds of anime are released that are most likely based on a popular Manga series.
However, what distinguishes the Japanese model from., let’s say, the American one is that they also offer a lot of adaptations. But if you immediately think the forgetful Netflix Death Note adaptation or the horrible Japanese attempt to make the Attack on Titan a live-action movie, you can forget about those.
There are actually a lot of really good adaptations that become Anime from Manga or even the other way around.
Great Teacher Onizuka
Not a lot of people remember the anime series called Great Teacher Onizuka. The story revolves around a former biker gang member who decides to become a teacher in a private school. The Anime had a good run with 43 episodes and even had a Manga adaptation which ran for five years encompassing 25 volumes.
First, there was a rather popular live-action series created in the 90s, which has mixed reviews. It was released before the anime even started but only ran for one season and had 13 episodes. But in 2012, Great Teacher Onizuka was revived with a completely new and fresh cast and ran for two seasons with much better results.
Holyland was a Manga created by Kouji Mori. It was released for Young Animal in the period between 2000 and 2008. The story revolves around the main hero called Kamishiro Yuu who developed a technique with a single boxing punch to fend off bullies on the street. His reputation lead him to be known as the Thug Hunter.
Surprisingly, Holyland never received an Anime adaptation of its own. But the Manga was turned into a somewhat successful live-action series which ran for one season and 13 episodes in 2005. The show even had Hidenori Tokuyama playing the lead character.
Patlabor: The Next Generation
Patlabor is yet another Anime gem with giant robots. The original Anime was released way back in 1988 and was highly popular. The story of Patlabor revolves around humanity developing to an extent where they started using giant robots called Labors for major construction work. However, so did Labor-crime come to be and customized Labors designed to deal with it.
The 90s saw a series of live-action films depicting an alternative timeline of the Patlabor story. However, a more successful series of films was released in 2014. This time the story follows the story from the anime and there is a total of seven different parts with the last being released in 2015.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon fans will be happy to know that there actually is a live-action show version of it out there. Furthermore, the story is almost unchanged to the original down to all the details as well as costumes.
The Sailor Moon series had a very successful run of 50 episodes released between 2003 and 2004.