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Old 2012-10-28, 16:17   Link #1
hyl
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Faithfullness of adaptations

Despite that this topic may sound similar to another one made 15 months ago (maybe there was one made even earlier, but either i couldn't find it or didn't dug deep enough. So mods, feel free to delete or combine this thread if needed), the main focus is probably a little different.

These days it's pretty common to see animes that are adaptations based on either games, VN's, LN's or whatever the case is. Unlike several years ago, there have been an increase of people who have seen/read the original source. Like for the recent "Little Busters"anime, because it had an English patch and for SAO (although i can't say that much about it because i never read the original). As such i have been seeing more complaints that certain animes are "messing up" the original story

I am aware that an anime adaptation of such work will never be the same as the original due various reasons like the problems caused by being in a different media, time restrictions due the amount of episodes it has, sometimes it's caused due to the lack of budget etc.
Not all changes do have to be bad. I have been surpised in a good way a few times by a change, because it was an issue that the original overlooked.
But my question is:
In order not to "betray" the original , what changes are acceptable and which ones are not?

Examples:
Some say "filler episodes" (which is very common for "shounen jump" series) or "filler content" are a direct betrayal, while some people say that they add something to the original if it is executed well.
Spoiler for bleach:

Also some adaptations stray from it's source completely, but would that mean it's a "complete betrayal" or just "tribute" for it's original?
An example of this was the original FMA anime, because ended very different because the manga was ongoing. However many people back then liked it's original ending.
Majikoi and Koihime Musou have been very different from the original, although i didn't watch those animes there have been lots of negative comments about those series.

Are "technical changes "like different art or even seiyuu's (for games and VN's) a problem for the fans? While it has become less common today that seiyuu's are changes for VN adaptations, it used to happen more like for Gift, Da capo 2 and the adaptations of the 2 Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru games.

Some examples for series that i have "analyzed" when it was airing
Spoiler for Mashiro iro Symphony:
Spoiler for Koi to Senkyo to chocolate:


I would have made an OreTsuba and Hoshikaka comparison but i doubt that people have read it nor would they care for the bad anime adaptations.

Last edited by hyl; 2012-10-28 at 16:28.
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Old 2012-10-28, 16:43   Link #2
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I don't mind if some things get changed, as long as it pertains to the spirit of the original source material. It's bound to happen, depending on how long the season is or the movie

I haven't read too much VNs yet....so I can't really compare them but since you have bought up Bleach as an example(which I have seen and read):

Spoiler:
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Old 2012-10-28, 17:52   Link #3
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Originally Posted by hyl View Post
Are "technical changes" like different art or even seiyuu's (for games and VN's) a problem for the fans?
As an anime-only viewer, I don't care. I just want the anime adaptation to be internally coherent and have a decent ending. Claymore was a pretty good show until the end when Madhouse had to create an anime-only ending and left viewers like me unsatisfied.

Any anime adaptation that relies on its viewers having prior experience with the source material fails in my book. Adaptations need to stand on their own.
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Old 2012-10-28, 18:02   Link #4
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
As an anime-only viewer, I don't care. I just want the anime adaptation to be internally coherent and have a decent ending. Claymore was a pretty good show until the end when Madhouse had to create an anime-only ending and left viewers like me unsatisfied.

Any anime adaptation that relies on its viewers having prior experience with the source material fails in my book. Adaptations need to stand on their own.
Of course an adaptation needs to stand on it's own , but that was not my point here (with the exception being "supplement animes" like Cromartie, which even made references to events from the manga a few times, or the final school rumble OAV)

My thread was more about unfullfilled expectations and hopes because of having prior knowledge. People who don't know the source, don't have any comparisons to make.
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Old 2012-10-28, 18:11   Link #5
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It's an adaptation, and adaptations are derivative works not meant to be strictly confined to the original ideas of the initial creator. I honestly do not care if an adaptation is too faithful to the original work (though divergences are acceptable, they must be justifiable within the new story being told), in fact if an adaptation is merely based on an idea or a character from an original work, I would be fine with that as well. Like everything, though, the new work must be well done else, no matter the inspiration, it will be little more than emerging crap .
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Old 2012-10-28, 18:32   Link #6
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Eroge adaptations, that used an unified format (as Mashiro-iro Symphony and Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate did) are by necessity going to have significant changes from the source material. They simply have to, it's inevitable. If you're going to fuse 3 or more different "romance routes" into one coherent narrative, of course there's going to be changes.

And as for Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate specifically, I'm glad it focused a lot on the elections part of its premise. That was by far the strongest element of the narrative, imo.
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Old 2012-10-28, 18:33   Link #7
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Originally Posted by hyl View Post
I would have made an OreTsuba and Hoshikaka comparison but i doubt that people have read it nor would they care for the bad anime adaptations.
I liked OreTsuba. It was probably one of the VN adaptations I was most able to get invested in recently. Though the content density was high for a one-cour anime and some things were left unexplained, it didn't really bother me that much. This is at least partly because the comedy was still really good.
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Old 2012-10-28, 19:03   Link #8
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Originally Posted by hyl View Post
Some say "filler episodes" (which is very common for "shounen jump" series) or "filler content" are a direct betrayal, while some people say that they add something to the original if it is executed well.
Spoiler for bleach:
For me the bount arc wasn't a problem since they were "filler episodes" and i could skip them when i got enough of it. But the following arc got some "filler content" (a couple of characters from the bount arc didn't want to leave) and that really anoyed me, even though i've never read the manga

Filler episodes, content and other ways of deviating from the original aren't a bad thing in itself but they are rarely executed well. So most of the time the faithful adaptions are the better ones.
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Old 2012-10-28, 19:14   Link #9
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I never even knew that the Bount Arc was filler when I was watching it.

Anyway I wanna bring up the point that the "faithfulness" of the adaptation (if the adaptation itself wanted to be faithful) really depends on the content and who's handling it. For example, this season's Sukitte Ii Na Yo is in snail's pace but the slight touch of perfection here and there is what's making it elevate above a lot of high school romances right now. In contrast there's Magi which just blew about 15 chapters into three episode but it managed to include all the important things but most importantly, the feeling I got when I was reading it was translated perfectly.

While I don't really care much about how faithful an adaptation is, I do care about the feelings I get from the manga being translated in anime form. I mean you can be creative and all but you don't have to insult and step on the source itself (Vampire Bund).
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Old 2012-10-29, 21:52   Link #10
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All I'm going to say is that if faithfulness to the source material is used to defend a show, it probably means the stuff in the original work didn't flow so well either. I doubt the bulk of adaptations are consistently based on something at least decent. I'm just saying.
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Old 2012-10-29, 21:56   Link #11
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Adaption doesn't mean it had to be Exact. And there is no rule about it.*

*I speak of Eroge to anime here....
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Old 2012-10-29, 22:25   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
As an anime-only viewer, I don't care. I just want the anime adaptation to be internally coherent and have a decent ending. Any anime adaptation that relies on its viewers having prior experience with the source material fails in my book. Adaptations need to stand on their own.
Absolutely this.

As someone who only cherry-picks reading mangas, and hardly reads books, comic books, mangas and the like, it's appears to not an anime-only phenomenon but seems to to prop out in pretty much every medium whereby angry source-material readers rebel against their TV or movie adaptation. Take Game of Thrones for example. Overall, a brilliant series (both seasons, though season I was slightly better) yet we have some tightass bookreaders that like to whine that X and Y was ommitted or changed from the original book. I mean FFS, you get probably the best executed fantasy epic in a visual format since Lord of the Rings and then you get a bunch of bookworms conjuring a storm about it .

Anime is very much the same. And the studio who takes the most cop from "deviating" from the source is none other than the infamous J.C. Staff. Now granted, a good half of their series are indeed subpar but that's because what's shown in the visual format just doesn't work, whether it be too much emphasis on moe or slapstick hijinks, rushed pacing, filler and whatnot and NOT because X and Y was ommitted or changed from the original source.

Take Sword Art Online for example. From what I hear and my limited reading of the first few chapters of the LN (did it for comparative purposes), and yes a few bits here and there were omitted which pretty much happens with ANY source material not just anime, but otherwise it's very faithful, to the point the series even adapted the side chapters. Problem? They frontloaded all the side chapters at the start for chronological order convenience instead of dispersing them within the main plot line and made the series essentially feel 'filler' like (I hadn't read any of the source at this point). Not the mention the massive time gaps between said side stories which made it a nightmare from a pacing point of view. Not to mention the amount of asspulls and deus-ex like plot elements it implemented and somehow if you didn't read the source you won't be able to understand but that's for another day. But in conclusion, the series failed for me as an adaptation due to reasons of its adaptation and NOT because of what was changed or ommitted from the source. I also watched a good half of the series before dropping it so I gave it more than a chance due to its popularity and hype whereas a lesser series would be dropped by the 3 episode rule.

This is why I welcome any "anime original" project be it the intriguing Psycho Pass that's airing right now or the safe, tried and tested but very genuine Tari Tari of last season. No hissyfit comments from the source material peanut gallery that X and Y were changed or ommitted because the series itself is the original source!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Eroge adaptations, that used an unified format (as Mashiro-iro Symphony and Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate did) are by necessity going to have significant changes from the source material. They simply have to, it's inevitable. If you're going to fuse 3 or more different "romance routes" into one coherent narrative, of course there's going to be changes.
Two great examples where deviating from the original VN netted large benefits for a person who has nevery played the VN.
Spoiler for Comparisons to Mashiro-iro Symphony and Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate w/end-story details:



Summary Version:

1. Faithfulness to an adaptation is pointless for visual adaptations.
2. A series should be judged on its own merits and what works for a visual format may or may not work for what did for its original source.
3. More anime originals please.
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Last edited by relentlessflame; 2012-10-29 at 23:01.
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Old 2012-10-29, 23:23   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
Problem? They frontloaded all the side chapters at the start for chronological order convenience and made the series essentially feel 'filler' like (I hadn't read any of the source at this point) not the mention the massive time gaps between said side stories which made it a nightmare from a pacing point of view.
This is actually a funny case as far as "faithfulness" goes. Doing it this way wasn't just for chronological convenience, but to avoid the problem of having to overload the viewers with terminology in a rather short main story. This is much easier to do in a book that's full of narration, but here they could introduce all the game mechanics gradually over the course of many episodes without having giant info dumps that interrupt the main story once it starts. Basically, it lessens the learning curve significantly. Plus, while short stories may make sense in a book, in an anime having these stories after the fact would feel even more like filler because you already know the end result. I think it's sometimes hard to catch all the questions and issues that were avoided by doing it this way.

Of course, I suppose you could also say that they could just liberally re-write the story to make it even more suitable for anime, but again the consequence here is making mistakes in showing or not showing things that will be important to the story later on. If the producers are planning to turn the anime into a franchise (and not just a one-shot adaptation), this can be pretty risky.

So all that to say... sometimes the anime writers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are things that work well in a book don't necessarily translate well to 22-minute anime episodes with limited overall episode count constraints. So it's always a question of compromise. Every compromise has a consequence, and sometimes it can be hard to see why it was necessary unless you force yourself to think about the constraints they were under (some of which could be hard/impossible to see).

That doesn't necessarily address your second issue, but that could be a topic for a different thread. I think that's an entirely different issue of faithfulness, and I don't really agree with the reason you attributed to it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
Two great examples where deviating from the original VN netted large benefits for a person who has nevery played the VN.
Spoiler for Comparisons to Mashiro-iro Symphony and Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate w/end-story details:
I think it's funny that people use this example as a story that "deviates from the source material" -- the deviations were actually quite small.

Spoiler for Mashiro-iro Symphony:
The main benefit a VN adaptation has (that an adaptation of an ongoing manga/novel series does not) is the benefit of knowing the full scope of the work. So that's why it's somewhat possible, with a fair bit of care, to edit such a large work down to a shorter period of time. This can still be a challenge at the best of times, of course, but it does have the potential of finding an easier balance between strict faithfulness (probably impossible) and liberal rewriting (always a risk when the original source fans are part of your audience). Toradora and this season's Sakura-sou also had/have this advantage of writing the anime with the source material ending in sight, so I suspect the decisions it makes in terms of what gets emphasized or cut in the anime will probably work out fairly well.


(Oh and also: one thing that's near certain is that source material fans will almost always complain that their favourite stories need: more episodes, more budget, and a "better" staff. Of course, it's never possible to give every show out there that sort of treatment. So again, it's the fight against compromise, and fans admitting to themselves that the anime may never be as awesome as they imagined it could have been. Competing against a franchise fan's imagination of what could have been is hard at the best of times.)
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Old 2012-10-30, 00:48   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
This is actually a funny case as far as "faithfulness" goes. Doing it this way wasn't just for chronological convenience, but to avoid the problem of having to overload the viewers with terminology in a rather short main story.
"Infodumps" can be a problem... which usually happens because the team ran outta time and it's more than likely only a 1cour series so they cram it all at the end with a subpar conclusion. Take your time with "infodumps" by dispersing it within episodes or even better, foreshadow them at the start and then build on them like Shin Sekai Yori is doing this season - a great example of how to do 'infodumps' right. SAO? They just dumped it all the start with little to no foreshadowing with pacing that is all over the place and expected the audience to accept it, which unfortunately for non-source readers like me (might as well put in this group since I've only read a few chapters to get a "feel") don't buy.

Quote:
This is much easier to do in a book that's full of narration, but here they could introduce all the game mechanics gradually over the course of many episodes without having giant info dumps that interrupt the main story once it starts. Basically, it lessens the learning curve significantly. Plus, while short stories may make sense in a book, in an anime having these stories after the fact would feel even more like filler because you already know the end result. I think it's sometimes hard to catch all the questions and issues that were avoided by doing it this way.
I don't see how it cannot be done for a 2 cour series.

Spoiler for Sword Art Online Approach and Possible Spoilers:


Quote:
Of course, I suppose you could also say that they could just liberally re-write the story to make it even more suitable for anime, but again the consequence here is making mistakes in showing or not showing things that will be important to the story later on. If the producers are planning to turn the anime into a franchise (and not just a one-shot adaptation), this can be pretty risky.
From a commercial point, it is indeed risky as you risk angering the source material fans. But if I were to be selfish, I simply don't give a damn since I want to be presented characters and a plot that I feel engaged with. If it means rewriting a large chunk of the source material to fit in with the visual format, then so be it.

Quote:
So all that to say... sometimes the anime writers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are things that work well in a book don't necessarily translate well to 22-minute anime episodes with limited overall episode count constraints. So it's always a question of compromise. Every compromise has a consequence, and sometimes it can be hard to see why it was necessary unless you force yourself to think about the constraints they were under (some of which could be hard/impossible to see).
Compromise is necessary from a commercial point of view, but sometimes adaptations are so focused on "pleasing" the source material fans that they almost ignore everyone else. And as Akito said, the original source material is often used as a defence to defend poor work. And again to iliterate my above point, if I were to be seflish, I couldn't careless how faithful a source is but rather how well it is portrayed in a visual format.

Quote:
I think it's funny that people use this example as a story that "deviates from the source material" -- the deviations were actually quite small.

Spoiler for Mashiro-iro Symphony:
Spoiler for Comparisons to Mashi-iro Symphony and KoiChoco:
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Old 2012-10-30, 00:49   Link #15
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I'm generally an anime-only viewer, but I do watch a fair number of TV shows based on books, so the perspective should be about the same. Adaptations should be able to stand on their own without any reference to the source material. And so, it stands to reason that almost any amount of change is fine as long as the final product is good. If a show is satisfying and entertaining, then there isn't much cause for complaint.

For the most part, anime and most other media have vast differences in the way that they function, and the kind of appeal they operate on. What works in a novel can fall completely flat on the screen, and a boring fight scene in a book can be utterly riveting in motion. I expect that any adaptation keep this in mind, and that they exploit the advantages animation bring to the utmost.

Having said that, it's my experience that generally the shows that stick closer to to the source material are better than the ones that take liberties. It only makes sense since a very faithful adaptation is often indicative of a staff who really like the original and are likely to know how to bring out its strong points. Another aspect is that anime writing has a lot of weak points, so original material has a high chance of being relatively poor.

Still, shows like Sengoku Collection prove that it's quite possible to make a good show even if you discard the source material entirely (and throw away any attempt at creating a narrative to boot).
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Old 2012-10-30, 01:00   Link #16
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@4tran:

I agree with almost everything you said but this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Having said that, it's my experience that generally the shows that stick closer to to the source material are better than the ones that take liberties. It only makes sense since a very faithful adaptation is often indicative of a staff who really like the original and are likely to know how to bring out its strong points. Another aspect is that anime writing has a lot of weak points, so original material has a high chance of being relatively poor.
From a source-material fan point of view, of course since they are biased in that they will most likely defend it, but how does having poor anime writing (which I do agree with, anime tends to be bottlenecked with certain irritating traits in storytelling) are leant more towards original material. I find mangas and light novels to have some pretty banal writing quite often so I don't see how having anime original material is usually worse than the source material, which in my eyes has bad writing a lot of the time. A faithful adaptation from a source that has bad writing, is gonna end up bad. A liberal adaptation of a source that has bad writing may be better.
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Old 2012-10-30, 08:36   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post

Spoiler for Comparisons to Mashi-iro Symphony and KoiChoco:
Spoiler for Mashifoni:


Spoiler for koichoco:
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Old 2012-10-30, 08:38   Link #18
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Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Still, shows like Sengoku Collection prove that it's quite possible to make a good show even if you discard the source material entirely (and throw away any attempt at creating a narrative to boot).
The show did have a narrative, it was simply more of a thematic one, and not necessarily presented in a linear fashion. I will agree that doing its own thing was the key to its success, though.
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Old 2012-10-30, 09:05   Link #19
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K-On!! strikes me as an example of where being "unfaithful" was actually good for the show.

K-On is based on a comedy-based 4Koma manga. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it doesn't necessarily lend itself to a lot of depth.

The 2nd season of K-On has all sorts of anime original material (simply based on what I've read from readers of the K-On manga), and I definitely think K-On benefited from it.


But, it's kind of a case-by-case basis. And if I was a guy in charge of adapting a LN, VN, or manga into anime my standard would be "Any change has to have a good reason for it, and not a purely subjective one". Thankfully, I do think most changes between source material to anime happen for a good reason (i.e. content had to be slashed to fit within the anime time-frame provided, too much narration for a visual medium, fight scene made more elaborate since visual medium can make it more 'fun', etc...). However, you'll encounter real head-scratchers from time to time (such as an anime choosing to leave out rather important expository dialogue that would have greatly aided viewer understanding of certain plot points).
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Old 2012-10-30, 09:12   Link #20
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^ I'd say "Hidan no Aria" is one that although I enjoyed, I think I heard a lot of comments from people saying that staying faithful to the source material actually hurt the success of the anime. Albeit Vlad was kind of a big wuss when animated .. there was nothing jarring that was particularly outright not faithful to the source material.
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