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Old 2013-04-18, 23:14   Link #1
Archon_Wing
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Anime Adaptations of Key/Visual Art's Works

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Anime Adaptations
(MAL used, because ANN is a terrible site that fails to list everything.)

I'm making this thread because most of their subforums are closed and I'm everyone who's watching Little Busters must be sick of people spoiling other series via comparisons, so I wanted to make this thread for cross-series analysis and ranting. I'm also surprised no thread was dedicated to this, when Studio Deen gets a whole thread to themselves, so here. Also, recent talk about Anohana brought that idea to my head due to similarities between that anime and Key works. I'm also looking for more discussion beyond "X is Kawaii" and "I cried 24 buckets". Although that's fine too, I guess.

Key is most famous for their release of popular Visual Novels that have released numerous anime adaptations, and one anime original series by the name of Angel Beats. In particular, their Kyoto Animation adaptations have been praised over the mountain, mainly because with Toei being the main competition, they sorta won by default. Okay, contrary to popular belief, Toei did not fail completely. The brand is famous for the "crying" story and moe girls. It certainly can be polarizing in certain places, and has been labeled many things ranging from the most heartbreaking, touching experiences ever to contrived, boring melodrama involving bug eyed girls.

I would post my own agenda, but since the world doesn't revolve around me and I would just be spamming the thread with images of several characters, so I would like to find what people think of their anime work as a whole. It'd be nice if you watched more than one of them, lest there be spoilers. Though if you've watched them once, you've seen them all. (Just kidding... maybe)
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Old 2013-04-18, 23:26   Link #2
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I'm just going to rename the thread title to make it more clear that this is about the anime adaptations of Key/Visual's Arts stories. (I know this is under General Anime... but people use search and sometimes don't read, so...)
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Old 2013-04-18, 23:33   Link #3
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I'm just going to rename the thread title to make it more clear that this is about the anime adaptations of Key/Visual's Arts stories. (I know this is under General Anime... but people use search and sometimes don't read, so...)
Ah, for whatever reason I couldn't even think of a proper title. That works perfectly.
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Old 2013-04-18, 23:35   Link #4
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I am so in love with ALL of Key's works.

...okay, so I haven't seen every single one. But I plan to. I dislike tragic endings but I love their characters so much...so I have a painful yet inseparable attachment to Key. My favorite series is Air, my favorite characters are Yukito and Misuzu, but I really like Kud and Kyousuke from Little Busters and Yui-nyan from Angel Beats as well.
I'm always collecting the figures of the Key bishoujo because I think they make the cutest ones and there is even a Misuzu plushie hanging in my car window and I customized my ball-jointed-doll to look just like her. I want to get a Yukito doll for her someday. I did make a Yukito plushie.

To sum up, Key fangirl forever. I hope they never stop producing.
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Old 2013-04-18, 23:52   Link #5
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I haven't watched nor read anything made by Key except Clannad and its After Story.

I did watched a few of Little Busters though. But that was a big let down. The drama is so forced (at least in Komari's arc. It's the only arc I watched. Afterwards, I dropped it). JC Staff didn't do justice to the series. But a lot of my friends told me to at least watch up to Kud's arc (which was the last one). So I may continue watching it again at some point.... Or I'll just read/play the VN

same goes for Angel Beats. I dropped that one too after the first episode cause I thought Yuri highly resembled Haruhi Suzumiya. Though I'm gonna watch it at some point too I guess
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Old 2013-04-19, 00:33   Link #6
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I'm not really a Key fanboy, but the Angel Beats original anime series and the anime adaptation of Little Busters are both decent, with Angel Beats a bit ahead. Well, Angel Beats does have an advantage of not being a visual novel at the start.

The Angel Beats Visual Novel is going to be one of my most anticipated media. I hope it completes the story of Angel Beats well.
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Old 2013-04-19, 00:49   Link #7
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Well I guess a "Key" based thread was due at some point or another. I wouldn't be surprised if a "Type-Moon" one popped up sometime soon in that case . I'll be focusing mainly on the anime adaptations portion of Key, as my VN experience is only limited to Clannad (which I played 50+ hours of and STILL did not finish - goddamn VNs are a massive timesink).

To be fair, I'm not particularly a big fan of "Key" and by extension Jun Maeda as a writer, though they definitely have some wonderful high points which I will get to shortly. I do however, respect the franchise in that they were the ones that popularized (not invented) the whole "crying" story genre in VN format instead of the more harem/dating sim like VN games that were dominant at the time. In other words, gave more "oomph" and meaning to their stories rather than your typical "choose the girl you wanna bang" and go from there.

One of the major reasons why I say I'm not particularly a big fan of Key is that I tend to get severe mood whiplash from their stories. What I mean by that is that it's silly, goofball and slapstick one moment, and nagging at you to cry over some dinnerplate eye-shaped Key moe girl the next (ok that was an exaggeration :3). I don't mind silly, goofball, slapstick series (as long as it doesn't involve some over-violent tsundere or oblivious perverted male harem lead) series on its own. Heck, Genshiken my favourite comedy anime (and manga) of all time was literally about a bunch of peeps celebrating otaku culture in a university club room, a bit like what OreImo is doing minus the incest implications and the gtfo that is Ayase. Recent examples include Daily Lives of High School Boys and the currently airing Hataraku Maou-Sama. But constantly switch between goofball one moment and heavy melodrama the next... it makes it quite difficult to take it very seriously.

Which brings me to the next point of melodrama usage. Melodrama by itself is by no means bad. If timed well and used sparingly, it drastically enhances a series and gives it a great notable high point. However, most animes and in particular Key uses melodrama in a poorly timed manner or irrelevantly. Examples, the Makoto arc from Kanon or the Fuko/Kotomi arcs from Clannad S1. The "drama" in those seemed irrelevant or "not worthy" of being sad about. To make it worse, it was preceded and proceeded by silly slapstick antics as mentioned above. This lead to me caring less than I would for even your generic K-drama soap opera. If Key's melodrama timing were all Clannad After Story episode 18 (I think it can be almost universally agreed whether you're a Key fan or not, that this was one of the best well placed drama episodes in recent anime history), but unfortunately this is not the case. There's a reason why I've been leaning towards the more "reserved", "understated", "genuine" anime dramas like Usagi Drop, Wandering Son and Tari Tari and that's because melodrama, 9 times out of 10 is simply not done well and either has me not caring or laughing at the wangst unintentionally e.g. Final episode of Anohana.

The third point of criticism comes to endings. Key anime adaptations and properties had endings that were simply balls. Air? Stupidly over-tragic. Kanon? One of the dumbest romance endings in anime history. Clannad? Rainbows shat out everywhere with how happy it was due to Deus Ex Machina bulls***. Angel Beats? Wtf was the point of this series in the first place?

Anyways that's enough ranting . Hopefully, there will be lots of fan/praise posts after my rather ugly blunt criticisms.

I might as well list what I thought were the best Key-anime properties, with the exception of Little Busters which I haven't watched yet or the Air/Clannad movies and TV series done by Toei since nobody cares about Toei like nobody cares about Studio Deen.

Clannad After Story (Despite the god awful ending)>> Kanon > Clannad S1 > Air >> Angel Beats (Rot in hell please :3)
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Old 2013-04-19, 00:54   Link #8
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^ Eh, let's give Angel Beats some slack. I don't know why the scheduled episode count for the anime was halved but all I know is that the production team is forced to tell a story worth two cours in thirteen episodes. Clearly we're expecting a trainwreck (no Angel Beats puns intended) here.

The prequel manga is doing its best in giving out the story that the anime is unable to handle, and I'm really stoked as to how they would handle the revised story in the visual novel.
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Old 2013-04-19, 01:19   Link #9
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I love my key stuff. That said, I ALWAYS avoid watching the animes because key is good at VNs, not animes. While the Clannad anime is 'good', and I'm sure the little busters and angel beats animes are at least 'decent', VNs allow for key to tell a much more compelling story with more justified endings, better pacing and an overall sense of immersion. I mean, while I love rewrite (despite it's inconsistencies), I don't know how they'll ever make an anime adaptation due to it's route structure; the routes are almost completely separate from each other due to the story.

I'm also looking forward to the angel beats VN -- the updated story is made with all the criticism of the anime, and will likely be extended over quite a lot of hours with good supporting content and improved important storyline bits.
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Old 2013-04-19, 01:44   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
and that's because melodrama, 9 times out of 10 is simply not done well and either has me not caring or laughing at the wangst unintentionally e.g. Final episode of Anohana.
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nobody cares about Toei like nobody cares about Studio Deen.
Speak for yourself! Fyi, the Air movie is the most visually beautiful anime movie I've laid eyes on.


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Angel Beats (Rot in hell please :3)
D:
Did Angel Beats kill your family or something?

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I dropped that one too after the first episode cause I thought Yuri highly resembled Haruhi Suzumiya.
I thought so too....but she only looks like her. Doesn't act like her at all.
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Old 2013-04-19, 02:01   Link #11
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I'm thinking that Key's works doesn't really work well with anime-format. This is more apparent on Clannad and Little Busters, due to how the content of game was structured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari Sweat
One of the major reasons why I say I'm not particularly a big fan of Key is that I tend to get severe mood whiplash from their stories. What I mean by that is that it's silly, goofball and slapstick one moment, and nagging at you to cry over some dinnerplate eye-shaped Key moe girl the next.
Precisely the formula they use on most of their works. The way how they roll on Clannad and Little Busters is to use the comedy as part of the main factor for gathering emotional attachment to the character in order to make the following melodrama take effect, though, this can be a hit or miss depending on how the development and execution go. I know some people are put off by this method.
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Old 2013-04-19, 02:02   Link #12
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
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YOUR HEART IS MADE OF STONE!
Nah. I was grown up watching Asian (mainly Korean) dramas and I know very well how wangsty they can get and anime unfortunately does the same . So, I've largely become desensitized.

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Speak for yourself! Fyi, the Air movie is the most visually beautiful anime movie I've laid eyes on.
Never saw it so no comment. Though I did watch parts of Kanon (2002) and lold at the massive chins.

Quote:
D:
Did Angel Beats kill your family or something?
Oh boy where to start.

1. In case you didn't know, I'm a big P.A. Works fan, and Angel Beats was done by P.A. Works.
2. Angel Beats is the second most commercially successful series for P.A. Works after the Professor Layton movie (which isn't a fair comparison since it's a movie and it was aimed for a general/family audience ala Ghibli/Hosoda).
3. Meanwhiles, actually good series like True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari sold less than Angel Beats combined.
4. Honestly thought it was the worst Key series because it made no friggin sense due to it trying to cram in way too much content for its own good.

Think of it like a Kyoani fan's reception to Haruhi Season 2.

Bonus 5. Recently found out that Froggen (League of Legends pro player), who is one of my favourite players to follow listed Angel Beats as his favourite anime .

So, although it did not kill my family, I have a lot of nasty baggage with it .
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Old 2013-04-19, 04:41   Link #13
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3. Meanwhiles, actually good series like True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari sold less than Angel Beats combined.
Never thought a series with a rushed ending would get so much sales. I bet that it would sell much more than that if they gave it two cours.
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Old 2013-04-19, 06:18   Link #14
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I thought so too....but she only looks like her. Doesn't act like her at all.
I forgot how what her character's like cause I haven't finished watching Angel Beats yet but I can say that their looks aren't the only similarities between her and Haruhi. This debate had been going on ever since Angel Beats started... let's not go there again
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Old 2013-04-19, 06:22   Link #15
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Only Clannad and Kanon ranks among the best....
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Old 2013-04-19, 08:14   Link #16
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Nah. I was grown up watching Asian (mainly Korean) dramas and I know very well how wangsty they can get and anime unfortunately does the same . So, I've largely become desensitized.
I feel sorry for you.

As a guy who likes emotional stuff, Key works doesn't resonate with me at all. I find it annoying it relies too heavily on tropes and cliche like Clannad season 1. For the most part, I felt really sorry for Sunohara being the unfortunate loser who always falls for the main character's jokes. The main thing it's terrible at is it doesn't build up well enough, by the time I finished the anime, I was only happy I finished it. Maybe there were way too many characters to handle, in the end none of them ended up fully developed even the main heroine herself just stays the same as the beginning.

This anime is a bit ironic as the main theme may be about family but it's more specifically about the troubled heroines and how you are supposed to feel for their ordeals they went through and help them get through. In the end you don't feel much for them and strangely enough the only sympathetic one was the main character's father who was most of duration portrayed as an useless and uncaring parent. He was the main reason why After Story left me an impression after finishing it.
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Old 2013-04-19, 15:17   Link #17
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^ Eh, let's give Angel Beats some slack. I don't know why the scheduled episode count for the anime was halved but all I know is that the production team is forced to tell a story worth two cours in thirteen episodes.
I'm honestly not sure where this rumour started, but the episode count was never "halved"; it was always one-cour show from the very start, as is the norm for new/original late-night franchises. Maeda came up with the concept and wrote the script for all the episodes himself as a 13 (+1) episode show. What came out in interviews was that the universe Maeda created was broader than what they could fit in the TV series, and hence why there had been some talk of making a game to flesh out all the ideas that couldn't be covered (or covering it in other ways, such as the manga, etc.).

In the end, I think it's more a case of an author who's used to writing long-form prose not exactly being used to writing for such a time-constrained/heavily-edited medium. As such, it feels like a show where the episode count was cut, even though it wasn't.
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Old 2013-04-19, 17:45   Link #18
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Key is good at making cute, likeable, colorful, endearing protagonists. I think they get "moe" to a degree that few other companies do.

Key routes (at least my experience with them in anime format) tend to be good, intriguing, nicely paced with excellent emotional payoff. Key is often accused of being "emotionally manipulative" but the truth is that they're simply excellent at knowing how to make a narrative very effectively play on their audiences' heart-strings. It's not "manipulative", as that implies an element of illegitimacy imo; it's simply very good writing and overall presentation at the emotional engagement level.

Key realizes that good drama has to be earned. You can't force it. You can't expect people to love your characters right away. So Key slowly and gradually builds up characters, and the relationships between them, causing many viewers to care deeply about these characters and their relationships. And then it brings in a gripping, and sometimes intense, conflict that leaves the viewer on the edge of his or her seat, hoping for disaster to be averted. If disaster is averted, its heartwarming, often to the point of drawing tears of joy. If disaster isn't averted, its heart-wrenching, leaving a strong and lasting impression of its own. It's not hard to see why Key works tend to be very memorable.


Key's comedy is hit or miss. It relies heavily on slapstick comedy. Sometimes I find it effective, sometimes I don't. I honestly think Little Busters! handles this best of all.

Key's biggest weakness, for me, is that sometimes it takes its own flavor of moe a bit too far, to the point where it's just not believable any more. Sorry, Kanon fans, but I don't think I'll ever be able to truly imagine Yuiichi and Ayu as a serious romantic couple.


Still, on the whole, I think that Key has contributed a lot to the anime world through the anime adaptations of its various works. Clannad is an all-time favorite for me, and I loved Kanon as well. Little Busters! was pretty good, and Angel Beats was a fun ride at least. I never finished Air.
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Old 2013-04-19, 20:30   Link #19
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People in this thread who are sick of typical KEY productions should definitely be anticipating an adaptation of Rewrite, if it ever actually happens.
Not that I'd really be the most unbiased person in recommending it though.
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Old 2013-04-20, 07:16   Link #20
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CLANNAD/+(~After Story), Kanon (2006) and AIR were among the first animes I had seen, and they've kept their place at the top for me. These three have awakened the feelings in me that I'd long forgotten about and made me love life and have hope for it again. I cried to them, and I absolutely love the main characters to this day.

I cannot say the same about other key's anime adaptations - Angel Beats!, having had huge expectations for it only because it's from key, disappointed me greatly. Same goes for Little Busters!, I even dropped that one so it wouldn't spoil the visual novel. And I have yet to read any of the visual novels (although Little Busters! is pretty magical so far on my playthrough).

But I am seriously starting to believe that whatever key does well, KyoAni is an absolute necessity for that to be brought to light. I think Tamako Market is the perfect example of just how good KyoAni is -- while Hyouka and Chu-2 Byou both had a unique and intriguing storyline, this one has barely any semblance of a plot. And yet I'd still found it immensely enjoyable. Just like K-ON!. Why? The characters of course. Yeah, this animation studio is unmatched in their visual craft but I don't think that it alone can suffice, as godly as it may be.

While these characters are rather generic - something that was perfectly obvious to me even when I first started watching anime with CLANNAD - other aspects start to bury that fact over time with KyoAni's animes. They walk that fine line that separates irresistible, gentle moe and moe that you simply cannot swallow and always end up in the former category.

To sum it up: I don't know what KyoAni's magic is or how it works. Perhaps it's the fine tuned pacing, lush visuals or the consistent, endearing character art. I also realize this post is about key, not KyoAni, but the thing is, I don't really know how good key is on its own. I'll have to finish the Little Busters! visual novel to know that first.
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