For my last part on my piece about manga adaptations, I will be discussing one of the most popular kinds of anime in recent years, the 4 koma slice of life about a group of cute girls doing cute things. There are many examples, some of which I really enjoyed, like Lucky Star. There are others that were never really my cup of tea, like Hidamari Sketch. However, the two I picked to compare for this post are K-ON and Azumanga Daioh. The first should come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog, but the latter may come as a surprise, especially since I’m going to be critical of it. I assure you that my criticisms are not without good reason though.
For the second part on manga adaptations, I will be comparing how changes in the story can sometimes help or hurt an adaptation. When adapting something to an anime, the ending is almost always changed, usually due to the source material not being done yet. This is inevitable, and not worth talking about. What I wish to discuss is when the writer makes major changes to the story. On one hand, if done correctly, could make the viewing experience feel fresh again to those who have read the source material. On the other hand, if there are too many changes, they risk alienating this core fanbase. So here are an example of a well done, and poorly done adaptation from earlier this year.
Most of the anime in the past 20 years has been an adaptation of some other piece of media. Whether the source material was a manga, light novel, or video game, adaptations have become a staple of the medium. This isn’t a bad thing as there are some very good writers who just express themselves using a different medium. However, many times with adaptations, the writers may not always do a good job of transferring text and images to the small screen. I would even go as far as to say that making an effective adaptation is an art form. So what makes a good adaptation you may ask? In a nutshell, I believe a good adaptation should tell the same story while adding a personal touch to it. To illustrate this point, I will take popular anime from the past few years and explain why I think they’re a good or bad adaptation. I will be using manga exclusively as I have read a lot more manga than I have light novels.
Fall 2010 is a particularly strong season. A lot of studios are putting their best foot forward and producing shows of suprisingly high quality. However, the show that surprised me the most in its quality was Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, OreImo for short. To put it simply, OreImo is the most honest look at otaku since Genshiken. It also handles the incest theme with a remarkable amount of tact, which is rare in today’s anime market (I’m looking at you KissXSis). This well handled story combined with it’s high animation quality and solid voice acting make it my favorite show of the season, and probably one of the top 5 for the year. Continue reading
Angel Beats has convinced me that Jun Maeda doesn’t know how to write an original story. His previous hits Air, Kanon, and Clannad have been about a bunch of mentally and/or physically broken high school girls who all fall in love with a guy whose only significant character trait is that he exists, and along the way one of these girls will die of a mysterious illness. For Angel Beats, Maeda twists his tried and true formula by having all the characters dead to begin with, and stuck in some sort of high school purgatory, where a group of kids shoot a little girl in the kneecaps for no good reason.
Long time readers of my blog know that I am a bit of a K-ON tard. That being said, I was delighted late last year when a second season was announced for the Spring 2010 season. Soon after the first episode aired, it was revealed that the second season would be 26, making me even more excited. However, my common sense and a bit of simple math kicked these positive emotions away as I realized that there wouldn’t be enough material in the manga for 26 episodes without making stuff up. I then remembered that the first season did this very well, and fleshed out the simple original gag strips without feeling forced or dragged out. Now that we are well over half way through the second season, I have mixed feelings about the show. The tl;dr version is that it’s not as good as the first season. For a more complete view, read on.
Greetings readers. It’s been a long time since I last updated this blog, and I apologize to all of you who like reading about my point of view on anime. With the winter season wrapping up, I am looking forward to many of the new shows coming next season. The problem is, I have many reasons to doubt many of these new shows. Because of that, there are only a handful which I am sure I will watch all the way through to the end. So continue on brave reader.