Requirements For Manga to Get an Anime Adaptation – Using Citrus as an Example

I’m quite sure I’m not the only person wondering about the reasons why specific manga get chosen to get an anime adaptation while others don’t. Some choices seem quite questionable to me, while I’m still waiting for other specific manga to finally get noticed as well.

Since I think this is a pretty interesting topic, I tried to come up with a list of possible requirements for manga to get picked up by animation studios. Please note that this list only contains my personal thoughts and opinions, and it’s surely not an universal checklist for these kinds of decisions. So if you have any additions or disagree with any of my thoughts, feel free to let me know.

Also, and please don’t complain about this right away, I decided to use Citrus as an example for this little list. It’s probably the yuri manga with the highest demand for an anime adaptation right now, so please just try to deal with it.

1. Popularity of the Manga
First of all, it’s pretty obvious that said manga needs to have some kind of fanbase, or in other words, people who will be interested in the anime adaptation and eventually also watch it. The popularity can be measured by many things other than how many people actually talk about it online. Some ways to tell if a manga is actually popular is by seeing that the work gets translated into other languages and to see whether enough people buy it.

In the case of Citrus, it’s quite easy to say that it would definitely pass this requirement, since this is pretty much the most popular yuri manga out there right now.

On Amazon as well, Citrus managed to take the place as the best-selling Romance Manga

2. The Overall Reputation
Being popular doesn’t always mean that the manga is well-liked, so having a good reputation is probably a necessity. For example, a controversial manga is something that many people know of and talk about, but it is not necessarily something that many actually enjoy and want to watch.

The mangaka as well needs to be known and have a good reputation. In some cases, you can even see that specific mangaka get multiple opportunities to get their works animated, so this is definitely an important factor as well.

Citrus definitely counts as a controversial manga, but in this case, I am quite sure that even those yuri fans who don’t like it would probably watch the anime version anyway. In the case of the mangaka, Saburouta, I do believe that she has a good reputation, but she still hasn’t been around for too long. And Citrus is still pretty much the only more or less known work by her, which is why it’s really hard to make a good judgement here.

3. The Length
If a manga only has a few chapters or one single volume, it’s probably not enough to make an entire anime out of it. A few volumes are simply needed, even if it’s only going to be a short show.

Citrus currently has 4 volumes, with that number growing. This is more than enough for a typical 12-episode show.

4. The Current Situation
Is there actually a demand for a specific show, or in other words, do people really want to see it right now? For example, when do you think more people will watch a show about a school swimming club like Free!, in winter or in the summer? This is an example on a smaller scale, but we should always keep in mind that it’s all about numbers, and the animation studios are surely keeping an eye on what the majority of people actually want to see at the moment.

We can see that our favorite genre is on the rise, even though it’s probably a very slow development. However, we do know that ecchi shows are always, without exception, represented in all anime seasons all-year round. Yuri characters are also known to be liked, however, a pure yuri show seemingly still doesn’t appeal to enough people. Personally, I believe that we just need that one perfect yuri show to change it all, and believe it or not, I think that Citrus might be just that.

5. The Content of the Manga
I’m not talking about the plot or anything like that. What I mean is rather if a show can actually be aired during the day or whether it will be deemed as inappropriate for a younger audience, which simply means that it will air during later times.

Sakura Trick, for example, as pure as you might think it is, aired during times when most of us were probably long asleep, making it pretty much impossible to get a good TV rating. As you can see, yuri shows don’t have the best requirements, making it really hard to get good numbers. A Citrus anime would definitely not air at any better time. In fact, it would probably air even later, thanks to the ecchiness of the manga.
Scenes like this might the big problem here…
Colored by TempestDH

6. Possible Merchandise
As already mentioned, it’s all about the money, so other than good quotes and DVD sales, it’s always good if the series actually allows the selling of specific merchandise; be it figures, cards, plushies, or other things. Maybe you can even make some games about it. The more you can make out of it, the better.

In the case of Citrus, there is nothing special that comes to mind. Of course, you can always sell cosplay apparel, figures, posters, and stuff like that, but that’s unfortunately about it.
Stuff like this would actually be really nice, but doesn’t really work in case of Citrus.

7. Connections and Anime Studios
In the end, even if we enjoy something a great deal, that doesn’t mean that others do so too. The ones who make these decisions are the anime studios, so it’s all up to them. Having the right people see specific works is probably the key here, so connections are needed.

Well, knowing that we all want some more yuri to appear, it’s quite hard to say whether specific animation studios are actually into that. There is Kyoto Animation for example, that often brings in some strong or not-so-strong yuri subtext, but never goes all the way. There are also others who have either released some full yuri shows or a lot of subtext ones.

In the end, I believe that there are not that many studios that I can really see working on Citrus. One studio, however, should definitely be mentioned here for its above-average amount of yuri shows. And that is Studio Deen, housing some very popular yuri titles like Sakura Trick, MariMite, and Simoun. So, does Saburouta have any kind of connections like these? Unfortunately, I don’t know.


36 thoughts on “Requirements For Manga to Get an Anime Adaptation – Using Citrus as an Example

  1. We should open a petition to pressurize Studio Deen, to create the anime adaptation for Citrus.
    Because honestly, this manga is so flipping good for a YURI.
    I hope one day they will make it.


  2. To be honest, if I knew how this works, I would have opened many petitions already.
    Though, I don't know how to do it, how to really reach enough people, and how this will eventually reach the right people or in this case, an anime studio.

    One day though, it just has to happen! 😛


  3. Girl Friends could also meet most of those requirements. The sales of all 5 volumes is nothing to shrug off, the length could be easily condensed down to your standard 12-13 episodes, the reputation is obvious, and the few “nude” or “sexual” scenes could easily be toned down. As for everything else, however, it is almost 10 years old and I'm sure there isn't a “huge” demand for it (though there's a lot of anime out there that I can hardly believe had any kind of “huge” demand to me made). Other than your DVDs/Blu-Rays. Soundtracks, Character Singles, and various nick-nacks, just like Citrus, Girl Friends is in the same boat (though there's really not too much more you could ask for).

    It really is unfathomable why great Yuri like Girl Friends gets passed up for an anime. I'm sure even now there's a large enough market for Girl Friends and even more so for Citrus at this moment. Well, I just want a “serious” Yuri Manga adapted into an anime at some point, because the market's definitely flooded enough with all the Yaoi out there.


  4. With this post, you further solidify your status as the Yuri Goddess, L. 😉

    Pure yuri shows are already rare, so getting one that also deals with pseudo-incest in a mostly serious manner like a potential Citrus anime would might be impossible. Candy☆Boy might be the show with the closest similarities in that regard, but that was originally an 8-minute ONA that was streamed online, and the weight of the subject matter can't really be compared to Citrus'. Even though CB later got more episodes, those were also streamed online. It didn't air on any of the TV networks, so who knows how receptive they'd even be to airing something like a Citrus anime. For them, the risk (and potential backlash from watchdog groups) could outweigh the reward.

    And when you consider that pure yuri shows from recent memory have performed poorly (Sakura Trick didn't sell well, and Yuri Kuma Arashi sold even worse), it's a little easier to see how there might be hesitation on behalf of the decision makers in the anime industry. 😦


  5. Girl Friends is actually the one manga I'd like to see get animated the most. However, after so many years have passed chances are too slim.
    Citrus is probably the manga with the highest potential to get picked up, even though it's still not the best choice going by what I wrote in my list, which is actually pretty sad.

    A serious romance as you said is what I'm waiting for the most as well. Every season is packed with romance stories, why not just add a few yuri ones?


  6. That is so true and so sad at the same time.

    Though, to be completely honest, I can see why shows like Sakura Trick or Yuri Kuma Arashi didn't do well, and I know for sure that something a little different from all of this, with a real plot and a serious romance would definitely do better.

    I don't even understand how a manga like Sakura Trick actually made it that far. No offense, but there are so many better yuri ones out there. Same goes for Yuri Kuma, but in this case the mastermind behind the anime probably just had a vision of yuri bears and needed the right manga/artist for this vision to come true in form of an anime.

    I also can't really understand how it is okay to stream so many yaoi shows, while they are seemingly still afraid of yuri. And they can't even judge Citrus for any pseudo-incest that is going on. They are not sisters. And even so, there are already enough romance anime out there focusing on stuff even worse then just step-sisters.

    Damn, I'm getting agitated 😛


  7. I have heard that Girl Friends wasn't animated because there's a scene where Mari and Akko drink alcohol, and apparently that is among the list of things animation studios are reluctant to animate, because too much controversy. I'm not sure whether it is true or not, but I think that explanation makes sense, since I really can't see any good reason why Girl Friends couldn't become an anime (aside from the fact a full yuri anime wouldn't be too popular.)


  8. I've never heard of that, but it's a possibility.
    Though, anime adaptations are almost never 100% the same as the manga. They could easily take out specific scenes that they don't like.

    Well, it might be easy to take out one scene with alcohol. Taking out all scenes with yuri in it is harder. And honestly, I think that's rather the problem then some alcohol.


  9. From what I've read, Aoi Hana and Sasameki Koto didn't so any better than YKA.

    But Mai-HiME, MariMite, Strawberry Panic, and apparently Revolutionary Girl Utena all killed it, so you might be right about that~

    I think I have a tendency of causing that to happen, don't I? 😛


  10. I think the best part about Citrus, even if you love it or hate, people are still talking about, it is popular and I feel that it could tell a better story from an Anime adaptation

    but in my opinion, there needs to be someone who is willing to take a chance, but since I am no expert in the yuri genre, I cannot say for certain what it would take to make Citrus an anime series, I think the series has more potential than some people say, so I for one am not 100% certain as to how long it will take, or whether it will be an anime series.

    I am thinking that if it were to get a series it wouldn't be until sometime next year.


  11. I think the exception is Gakkou Gurashi – School Live.
    The manga sales were terrible, no one would have considered it for an anime. But after the anime aired, it's manga sales sky rocketed almost 3000%, That is one heck of an accomplishment.

    If the New York sales are to be true then Citrus has a strong fanbase outside of Japan so airing it late at night wouldn't be a problem since most viewers watch it online anyway. They are better off putting it on Crunchyroll if they have too. It has a way better chance than most other Yuri manga out there.

    We just have to wait for more chapters to come out for there to be an anime since there isn't enough materiel for 13 episodes. probably 5 volumes minimum.


  12. Aoi Hana and Sasameki Koto both dealt with the underlying subject very carefully. An even if I might risk being hated by others, I think they were too boring exactly because of that.

    Bring in some drama, and definitely more “visible” yuri.

    And yes…. you made me look 😛


  13. I think they already took chances with Yuri Kuma and Sakura Trick, and as hard as it is to admit, they didn't do well…

    Citrus on the other hand… it has so many things that could make it a success, though that is of course just my personal opinion.


  14. Gakkou Gurashi is exactly this kind of adaptation that goes beyond whatever I could and have come up with in this list. They just took a risk, and I think they are doing pretty well.

    Someone should just do the same with Citrus 😛


  15. Actually I like to dream that are waiting for has more chapters of the manga, enough to make an anime of 24 chapters.
    Already are the dramas-cd`s.
    I really would like to see an animation but also good, but that's another topic.
    I did not know, that anime Yuris had such a difficult time.
    Very interesting topic of conversation.
    Not you plan, make a review of Volume 3 of Citrus?
    And finally I would like to see it animated by Mad House, though unlikely.


  16. Are you saying that this anime is based on a Manga by Saburouta?
    I'm googling it right now, and this is actually quite shocking! I didn't know that, thanks a lot for mentioning this!

    Now, this makes it even more likely to see more of her in the future~


  17. This time, I think I won't be writing another review about Citrus. I've already reviewed Volume 3, so I guess you meant Volume 4 😛

    Though, I could add in a little review about the short stories of the drama CD, hmmmmm…


  18. Actually, that series is not Saburouta's. It's originally a light novel by someone called Tsukasa which ended up getting both a manga & an anime adaptation. Saburouta is simply the artist hired to illustrate the manga, like how she was hired to do an AKB0048 manga spin off.


  19. Found out about this too, which is also why I didn't have to update the post 😛
    Though, it's still important to know that she was involved in all of this.


  20. Reading your Anime Adaption, I kind of understand why some yuri manga will never get anime adapationt. But I feel your reasons are not good enough. I mean there are so many great manga meet these requirements and yet never get anime. Also there are so many anime that got cut-off for whatever weird reason, even though their manga are doing good and popular. And also some people prefer manga over anime :/
    Anyway, there are enough of yuri anime so I'm happy. I mean 2014 got a lot XD And this year too and next year (I hope) 🙂 Yuri anime will never die!


  21. saburo uta posted sometimes on her twitter acc about that anime/manga. but yeah since her drawing are so fucking amazing its now wonder she did the drawing their ^^


  22. After reading your points i kinda reminds me of the Manga Bakuman where they also discuss what does it takes to get a manga a anime adaption. right now i agree that citrus had the best chances to get a anime but also the important thing is how does things look in japan about it? i mean i dont believe the anime studios care much about if the manga is popular in europe or maybe america. i remember some manga got anime adation and then they kinda cut of the anime because it didnt went well in japan but in europe. taking about merchandise i guess there is pretty much of things that could be sold. maybe another reason is that the stuidos believe anime with just yuri subtext might be better like look hope popular love live gets. how many Seasons it already have and seeing this huge amount of merchandise their


  23. I know it might not happen but if KyoAni did something with this just like how they did the animation in Hibike! Euphonium and actually went along with the yuri instead of ''queerbaiting'' that would be pretty neat.. I'd watch that.


  24. I think what I listed as point 7, is what's actually most important. No matter how great your manga is, you won't get anywhere with it if it's not seen by the right people.
    There are simply so many shows airing that I just don't understand why and how they made it, and there are just as many that I think are great but will never make it.

    It's not only what I listed, there are probably many more reasons, but I think this process is really hard to get.


  25. In unfortunately didn't have any screenshots of popularity charts for Japan, so I had to go with what we have here. I also don't think that it's really that important how well it does in Europe or America, but I think they might actually take that into account as well.

    It's not only Japanese people who buy merchandise and DVDs after all, and they might also profit from translations, be it for the manga or the anime.


  26. The Question here is how much important is the market that lies outside of japan. at the othere hand ppl from outside of japan might also order stuff from the japanese market. there was also some other thought that Citrus might be a bit too dramatic and too serious from the story and everything maybe this is not good for some anime adaption when i think of the yuri anime that has been released like Yuru Yuri, Sakura Trick, Candy Boy, Maria-sama ga miteru.


  27. Citrus is different from most of the other yuri anime that have already aired, which might be a very good thing.
    I think it would be refreshing to see something like this, and I'm personally waiting for a yuri drama like this.
    Let's see for how long I will keep doing that.


  28. there are many online petition hosting websites that can be used to create a petition! and they can be 'advertised' through social media, esp tumblr, which has quite a large yuri community (:


  29. True, but I fear that we would just do it in vain.
    Well, maybe if we got some famous bloggers to help us reach more people it would definitely at least get to a certain number.
    Though, I still doubt that it would be enough, even through Tumblr etc.


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