Bored With AdaptationsNovember 14, 2008 at 10:06 am | Posted in Articles | 18 Comments
Tags: ehhh..., generic
Lately I’ve hit a problem that seems both blasphemous and logical at the same time. I’m getting bored with adaptations of series that I love and really looked forward to.
Of course, right now there’s really only one adaptation that I’ve read the source material of. That would be Skip Beat!, so that’s what I’m mostly talking about here.
I’ve gotten bored with seeing adaptations of shoujo manga. It’s a pretty bad realization since I’m so fond of anime and manga, pretty much equally. But if I experience both of the same series, the manga usually works best for me if I read the manga after the anime and the two are different enough for me to enjoy it like it’s reading something new. (Of course, that’s only if the manga is the source material and not the adaptation itself…I mostly ignore manga adaptations of anime.)
Unfortunately, right now I can’t really think of any examples where I was able to enjoy the adaptation first and then the source material second. Because I’ve often turned to the source material because the adaptation ended without me feeling satisfied.
Fruits Basket I guess would be a good example. Personally I don’t think the anime is all that good (what’s best about Fruits Basket all comes after the anime), but I did enjoy both. I started with the first two-three volumes of the manga then got to watch all of the anime and ended up way ahead. Then the manga was different enough, because of the way the order the anime put things in and the future plot hints it left out, for me to enjoy reading it.
However, I haven’t really been able to do this lately. Usually I only like shoujo enough to check out the source material after I finish the anime (there are exceptions, I wanted to check out Full Metal Panic! and Haruhi too). The past few shoujo…well let’s go through them one by one.
Itazura na Kiss‘s manga has weird art and it’s too long.
Special A, I’d already read all of the manga that the anime ended up covering.
Vampire Knight I’ve also read all the manga of.
Skip Beat!, I’ve read all of the manga…many, many times.
All of the anime that I’d read the source material for ended up pissing me off or boring me.
Special A was a bad adaptation, we pretty much know that. Vampire Knight was never anything I really cared for, so it’s natural for me not to get bored. Skip Beat! however…is troubling.
I still like watching Skip Beat! every week, but there’s absolutely nothing for me to get excited about. Any fangirl moments kind of get headed off before they even start because I know what’s going to happen. It’s because it’s such a good and loyal adaptation, but to be honest…it’s not that great.
I can imagine being stabbed a hundred times for saying this, but I’m enjoying watching the filler arc of doom in Shugo Chara! more than I’m enjoying Skip Beat! now.
Yes…I know. Filler crap > Faithful adaptation? I must be crazy.
It is rather logical though. Even if Shugo Chara! can piss me off sometimes, it’s still a lot of stuff I haven’t seen with a lot of characters I really love. Skip Beat! has characters I love as well, but I know every thing that they’re going to do in absolute complete detail. I’ve read all the way up through the Dark Moon arc maybe ten times now. Even more for the earlier arcs since I had access to the printed volumes longer.
So if you’ve read something that often, it makes sense that the exact same thing would be boring. But then we hit another small snag.
Why do I enjoy Shugo Chara!’s episodes of things I’ve read and know about also? Why can’t I enjoy Skip Beat! the same way? Shugo Chara!’s manga episodes follow the manga really closely after all.
Well I’d say it’s partially because I haven’t read Shugo Chara! ten times. I’ve only been a fan of it for…pretty much exactly a year now. Skip Beat! I’ve been a fan or for about four years now. Big difference. But I’m almost certain that’s not the only reason.
Shugo Chara! has some things going for it that Skip Beat! severely lacks. Shugo Chara! has unusually good animation for a shoujo anime. The art has its inconsistincies, but that’s usually pretty good. Skip Beat!…well that’s certainly something it doesn’t have. The animation is…well not very animated and the art somehow made Kyoko look like a heroine from the 90’s even though Skip beat! started in 2002 and the manga art doesn’t look that way. I also love the background music in Shugo Chara!. Well all know how I feel about the music in Skip beat! already (it usually makes the mood feel odd).
These three things are what enhances and can make certain scenes more enjoyable in anime vs. manga. Just adding in good voice acting, which Skip Beat! does have, it’s just…not enough to make up for the other stuff.
I guess it’s the lack of good music, animation, and art that explains my “something’s missing” feeling when I watch Skip Beat!. As expected, I am enjoying Ruriko’s arc more than the past few episodes, but like saimaisama said back during episode 02, it’s missing impact. I think the anime is trying to make up for that missing impact with some rather unfortunate choices in sound effects too.
Part of the missing impact is because I know everything up and down, but I get the feeling that people just watching the anime aren’t really feeling that “special something” the rest of us felt when we read the manga.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that…an adaptation of a great manga doesn’t mean that the anime is going to be great just by following everything completely. The only fans you’ll make happy that way is the manga fans, and then if there’s not much else to it, we’ll get bored. Impact is important.
There’s also another problem though, not all manga are best suited for anime adaptation. Personally, I always thought Skip Beat! was, but I was thinking of the humor and such with Kyoko’s grudge demons. These things also require pretty good animation in order to capture what Yoshiki Nakamura made us imagine.
Yeah, it is kind of disappointing that I felt the manga was more “animated” than the anime has been. But let’s move on.
The normal parts in Skip Beat! can actually feel quite slow when they are converted to anime. Things like Kyoko and Moko talking just felt…boring. Maybe it’s me personally because I love to read, but I prefer to read dialogue rather than hear it with slow pans of a person’s eyes or something.
I can imagine Maria’s arc being incredibly boring unless they add in the appropriate music (unlikely from what I’ve heard so far).
Some manga just don’t lend themselves to animation specifically. And Skip Beat! seems to be in the odd position of being half and half. Half destined for anime, half…not.
I guess a problem for me is that you can’t help compare an anime to a manga. At least when there’s something that they screw up 100% I can complain and rant about it all I want. At the very least I enjoyed blogging Special A so I could get all that “agh!” out. For Skip Beat!…it’s just that I can complain about the lack of impact (which is just saying, “this could be better” every time) and also…a very distinct lack of attitude.
Yeah. That’s it. If I were to complain about one thing about Skip Beat! it would be the lack of attitude. Even in the previously mentioned “boring” (discussion) scenes, the characters all displayed a distinct personality and attitude in the images that just went very well.
Obviously, the anime can’t match with everyone’s imagination and I never expect the seiyuu to say a line like I thought they would, but comparing an image of Moko in the anime and Moko from the manga, anime Moko really is missing that, “Moko~” attitude that I love so much. She just looks bored rather than confident.
The point I’m trying to get to is like what I said before, a loyal adaptation isn’t necessarily a good adaptation. In this case, it feels like it’s just copying the manga without bringing any of the originality along for the ride. Kyoko is still Kyoko…but that’s about it.
And the big moral of the story here is that I’m going to be more careful about what manga I wish would get adaptations. I was going to make my first return to my Top Ten lists be an anime adaptation wishlist, but now there’s a few things that need to get knocked off because I know that no one will do them right (ShinKuro is still on there, because I think the right company could do a great job with 24 episodes). I’m not even sure if I’m quite left with ten anymore. Though hopefully it will be a more interesting list when I fully explain why I think it would be a good anime outside of liking it.
An anime adaptation can’t ruin my enjoyment of a series, but it can bring your overall excitement down with a few disappointments. So I’m really starting to think and understand why some fans say, “be careful what you wish for” about adaptations.
To be clear, I do still like the anime for Skip Beat!, just not nearly as much as the manga. It’s just become something that’s difficult to come up with things to say about. This doesn’t mean I’m dropping it either. Just that it’ll likely stay in “grouped episodes” blogging even after I come out of my half-hiatus.
Also apologies for possible messiness. I’m still sick, but actually came up with something I could write full post on without it seeming like a chore, so I did it. The lack of variety and quantity of images if pretty much for the same reason.
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