Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Should anime adaptations of manga stay faithful?

What's the one thing you always hear people say when they go to see a movie adaptation of a book?  Almost always, you'll hear comments about the book being better.  Taking a novel and cramming it into a 2 hour movie means that there are going to cuts along the way.  All the content isn't going to be there, and some things will have to be changed.  The end result is usually something that fans of the book don't really appreciate.  The same exact issues come up with anime and manga.

At least the translation from manga to anime isn't as rough.  With an anime TV series based on a manga, you have a lot more room to adapt the manga content.  You're not tied to a 2 hour movie that you need to cram full of content.  You have a certain number of half-hour episodes that can be used to explain a manga as thoroughly as possible.  Still, even with a much larger amount of time to work with, it doesn't mean that ever single manga element is going to make the translation.

There will be budget and time constraints no matter what.  There will also be content in the manga that just won't translate well to an animated feature.  The crew involved with putting together the anime adaptation will have to look at the source material long and hard to figure out what they can do to best preserve it. That is, if they don't feel like changing things up completely.

Indeed there are manga to anime adaptations that change things up completely.  Characters get added, storylines are changed, and sometimes all that's left of the manga is the name and a main character.  This could have something to do with the manga creator, as they're looking for an anime to take the license and run with it in a direction that works for TV.  You never know what the behind-the-scenes discussions really are.  We only get to see the end result.

When a manga does get an anime adaptation, what do you prefer?  Do you want to see the anime team take liberties with their interpretation, or do you want them to stay as close as possible to the manga?


  1. I prefer both, actually. I want the anime studio to prove to me that they took the time to research the source material, so I want to see similarities between the anime and manga, but at the same time I don't want it to be exactly the same because if you have read the source material, then the anime is nothing but putting the visuals into motion.

    School Rumble is a good example of this. Most of the episodes are faithful to the manga but the second series in particular took some liberties with some storylines and some of the original ones are just as good if not better than the manga. So I prefer both, mostly faithful with new things for people who have read the source material.

  2. Yes and no. This is something that really bugs me once in a while, but only because I'm not a huge manga reader (I'll admit it). When I do get into a manga first and then find out it's getting an anime adaption that ends up being completely different from the manga, in some ways I'm glad. If it went exactly like the manga there wouldn't be any surprises in the story. However, deviating too far from the manga can ruin the anime altogether. Change is good but making lots of major changes that make it nothing like the source material can be disastrous.

  3. Since I don't read manga, I don't really care either way.