Bored With Adaptations

November 14, 2008 at 10:06 am | Posted in Articles | 18 Comments
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

18 Comments

  1. I’ve never actually read the Skip Beat! manga before, but I kind of understand where you’re coming from. I’m watching the anime because everyone seems to love the manga, but I’m not finding it too interesting…The latest episode was much better for me, but it’s probably the show I least look forward to during the week…

    And about ItaKiss, the manga isn’t even finished, so you’re actually getting more story with the anime, than the manga. :]

  2. @kel aka gandy: and continuation to that manga we will never see due to the fact that the mangaka died. From what I saw of the manga, the last chapter was when Kotoko found out she was pregnant so there isn’t much difference in the amount of contents between the manga and the anime.

    Fuyu-chan, I get perfectly what you are trying to say. I feel the same way as you do. They did a perfect adaptation from a great manga to an anime but they failed in adapting the emotions that the pictures made us feel, into animation. I only feel like it’s a good thing to makes us imagine how the scenes would look perfect if they brought the right mood (background music) and humor into accompanying them.

  3. Ah, ok. I knew the mangaka died without it being completed (some freak moving accident wasn’t it?), but I wasn’t actually sure how much was covered in the manga.

  4. “Impact is important.”
    Damn right it is! I don’t have much to say about Skip Beat! since I never read or watched it (don’t kill me) but this is what’ve I’ve been feeling about adaptations lately, too, though in a different way.
    & being specific, it’s HakuYo. If you saw my Twitter update, you know. And I’ve never read any translations of it until a few days after watching ep 6 but I’m still upset. It’s probably because I’ve been listening to the drama cd so much that I think this way (because the drama was done SO much better) but there are some other things that detract points from the anime.
    For one thing, HakuYo seems be following the plot faithfully but it’s just that I think they’re too concerned about that particular process of cramming it into 13 episodes, which is why I’m starting to think it would’ve been better if they didn’t make an anime at all…but then I would never have heard of the series so I can’t complain there.
    Still, it feels like they’re compromising the performance. Art is nice and all but the still shots are starting to get annoying. And I don’t give a rat’s ass if they’re on low budget or not. If you’re going to make me an anime adaptation of something I like, then you better make sure to give me something that can at spark a “Ooo, that was nice” from me even if it’s going to cost you some extra bucks. Otherwise, it’s not worth wasting my time watching it on screen when I already read or listened to the same thing and the studio’s time and money on something that is only relatively average. And I say this because Lydia’s passive face while talking to Paul about his childhood and the whole romantic scene between her and Edgar without the “struggle” (I didn’t get that feeling like I did with the drama) really pissed me off. It felt like they just did it just for the sake of doing it – that it would fit within the amount of episodes that will be broadcasted. Everything was so rushed and the acting was so shallow, it really disgusted me. But then again, I go into rages really quickly so maybe that’s why. *sigh/shrug*
    Of course, I don’t blame the seiyuus for this because I always think they give their best when they’re voicing characters. I blame the producers for being so lax about their project. It’s like how it is with the recent Disney movies and products. They chalk up some stuff just to get a little quick money. But that’s Disney, and this is anime, which I’m passionate about and when I’m passionate, expect me to be severely critical (I don’t even know if I’m talking about the same topic anymore, oi…). Hmm, this would be a nice thing to put on my blog…
    But anyways, that’s kinda more or less the same on your third-to-last statement. It’s an awful feeling of watching something you like be downgraded right before your eyes not just because it doesn’t live up to the original (it rarely does but everybody should already know that) but because it’s not trying hard enough to live up and maybe even attempt to surpass it, regardless of whether it can be done or not. I think that’s what I’m trying to say. Sorry if I confused you.
    K, thx for posting this. It made me feel so much better and I think I’ll go work on that blog idea now because of it. Lol xD

  5. I can see what you mean. Compared to the manga the anime does lack a certain something. It’s almost better to watch the anime and then read the manga so that you don’t have anything to compare it to.

  6. “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.”

    WOW ! your THAT disappointed and bored from skip beat ? i haven’t actually read or watched skip beat because i prefer watching Shugo chara and Soul eater even though shugo chara is all about the filler arc now but i will wait for ikuto’s arc and while it comes i keep on watching soul eater because its awesome :D its even better than shugo chara right now because it follows the manga more than SC :)

  7. I love how you say your going on a hiatus but you coming back =D

    Anyways, this may sound odd but after watching Skip Beat anime and S.A Anime, and then reading the manga after I can’t fully enjoy the manga even if I see the anime first. It’s weird I know, but it’s the truth. The only one that has ever gotten me interested in both anime and manga is Vampire Knights. It’s my type of book and I enjoyed it.

    You can’t compare Shugo Chara/Skip Beat in animation I agree with you their. Tho I do like the chibis in the Skip Beat alot and that’s what I really base the animation on when reviewing.

    Vampire Knight was a good manga and I currently read in Shoujo Beat, I have all current volumes in english and I have the Japanese volume of volume 6. The first season of the anime totally disappointed me, but the second season in my opinion is the total best.

    Tho the one thing about the Skip Beat anime is after reading the manga, It feels more alive in the animation =D

  8. kel aka gandy: So the anime-only viewers are getting the same sort of feeling. That’s good, I don’t sound like a whining manga elitist then. The Ruriko arc is where things get better though, so it might just be that some fans haven’t gotten addicted to Skip Beat! yet like the manga fans all eventually did.

    Oh well yeah. The whole ItaKiss not beign finished thing is another deterrent for the manga, but they skipped past some storylines and content in the anime so they could get all of it, plust the last episode in there.

    ForeverOblivion: Yes! Exactly! You basically just said in a couples of sentences what I rambled on about in a whole post.

    xiao_jie88: You’re going to have to read the Skip Beat! manga someday. It’s becoming practically unavoidable. better to try sooner rather than later too considering how long it is.

    Ah. I’m glad I haven’t checked out anything besides the anime for HtY yet then. I do get the feeling that it’s rushing things, but I’m going to stick to my adaptation rules and enjoy the lesser before going towards any…better or just more content, versions.

    Gah. Disney. You said the magic rant word, but I’ll do my best to ignore it. Except I just have to say, Disney is being so generic and cartoony with everything that it makes me sick. I miss the real animation where they took care in designing the characters instead of making them all look goofy. Ugh. And OMG those Fairies. Adding the extra ones, whatever, but they made Tinkerbell talk. 50+ years and she’s never said a word and they make her talk now. She’s already a Disney icon and they just ruined it. Agh! (It’s okay if you don’t get my ranting, I’m just so pissed that Disney seems bent on destroying my childhood memories.)

    I’m not confused. It’s impossible to confuse me…about things like this. Big words will do it though when I have a cold.

    Yes. Work on that blog idea~ Work on it now.

    warriorhope: Well, I usually do prefer to watch an anime then a manga, but in this case I’m glad I read the manga first. I’m pretty sure the anime will lack impact no matter what, so I’m afraid that the manga would be influenced by my thoughts already being stuck on the average adaptation.

    Mo0on12: I’m starting to get used to and even like the filler arc a little actually. Though I still have my complaints with how Satelight is executing it (which I’m getting to tomorrow in my post). But yeah, Skip Beat! is that disappointing for me. But it’s not as disappointing as my extreme, “OMG what the Hell is Satelight doing to my COOL & SPICY anime” disappointment after the first full episode of Doki.

    …Though I may be speaking too soon on Doki. The episode preview for 59 gave me an ugh feeling over some art quality. It was bound to go down sooner or later…

    Maura: Well…it’s just a half-hiatus, so I’m posting when I can, but taking a general leave from trying to do stuff.

    Well I can understand that too. After writing this post I started thinking about how I might not like Skip beat! as much after watching the anime, because the anime would be stuck in my mind.

    The chibis in Skip Beat! were one thing that translated very well to anime and they are completely unbeatable in the chibi world (in my mind anyway).

    Hmm…Guilty’s better than the first season, huh? Well then I might just have to check it out, but I’ll wait until I have free time. God forbiad I add anything else to my plate right now.

  9. I too, tend to favor the manga more. Since the anime often comes after the manga, you’d think they have a chance to improve the piece. However, for some reason, this is never the case.

    I watched Sola the anime series first. Recently, I picked up the manga. As usual, I prefer the manga version.

    An interesting post :).

  10. I don’t watch much anime anymore but I find myself quite enjoying the Skip Beat anime and not getting tired of rewatching it ot rereading it (yet)…I’m still in my SKip Beat obsession mode just like I was in my Princess Tutu (The BEST anime) obession mode earlier in the year.

    I actually quite like the anime and can’t find myself choosing one over the other as each have their own good points. The anime for me gives the series colour and life and good use of chibis.Episode 6 had really good use of colour.

    I stopped reading Vampire Knight after the first volume and stopped watching it after the first 5 eps, the main character was getting on my nerves a little cos she didn’t/couldn’t do anything. Maybe I should retry it. According to my friend there might be a little incest theme, not sure if I like that… but zero is hot!!

  11. The more you love the original source, the more likely you’re gonna be nitpicky about the adaptation. That’d be the simple explanation for this. It all boils down to a choice though, whether you’d be affected by the disparity between the two, or accept that adaptations are what they are, let go of your predisposed expectations, so you won’t be jaded / biased and be able to enjoy both for what they are :)

  12. When I love the manga and I heard about it getting an anime adaptation, I become extremely hyped about it. It’s just two things for me: the manga had more impact in you or the anime had a lot more to show than the manga. Lately, manga-to-anime adaptations are not that good unfortunately.
    Very interesting article ^_^.

  13. Although the animation and music isn’t that great, it makes me hope that the budget they’re not spending it going to be used to make more episodes.

    I like it when anime adaptations kinda “add” to their manga counterparts. Like Gintama (okay, that’s not a shoujo series, so that was a terrible example).

    This is the same reason why I’m hesitant on starting the Monster anime (okay, not a shoujo series again..) because it’s so faithful to the adaptation, the suspense won’t be as surprising.

  14. i actually started blogging skip beat in arcs rather than per episode because of the exact same reason.

    the manga was great, but the anime is turning out to be a blow-by-blow account of the manga that the excitement kinda fizzled for me. such a downside of reading it because of my impatience. but as i mentioned before, i’m not really complaining because it’s not like they’re empty episodes, but yeah… i’m not really sure if i’m gonna find the show dragging if i never read the manga.

  15. Lol, Take your time!!! I’m still waiting for Yuuri-san subs to sub Episode 6 of Guilty. Lol!! Tho I know there is a subbed on youtube but I rather wait for a subbing group to sub it. Know what I mean?

  16. I don’t get to read much manga, but I’ve seen S. A. and I’m following Skip Beat. I didn’t like S. A. but my waifu says it’s funnier than the original manga. This is a good topic, and I think about it a fair bit. Good post.

  17. […] conclustion of Skip Beat’s first big arc. While I agree with Fuyumaiden about the fact that the Skip Beat Anime lacks impact, I’m going to continue to enjoy it. […]

  18. […] seeing a moving version of the manga because it’s THAT faithful – a point raised before about the suitability of the story to be adapted into an anime. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing… especially considering that it’s gonna be […]


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