Five anime better than their manga and novel source material, according to fans

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TOKYO —

Only a small fraction of the huge quantity of anime that Japan produces starts off as animation, with the rest being adapted from preexisting works such as serialized comics or novels. But because making anime is so much more capital and labor-intensive than drawing a manga or writing a book, oftentimes fans prefer the original, lamenting that the creator’s genius is watered down when he has to relinquish control to the many disparate interests that make up an anime production committee.

But the jump to animation isn’t always seen as a step down in quality. A recent poll asked fans which anime they thought had surpassed their source material, and here are the top five responses.

Japanese Internet portal Nico Nico News asked 500 adult men and women which anime series they felt were more entertaining and interesting than the works they sprang from. To be fair, the four manga and one novel series the answers pointed to are all massively successful, but even still, these fans thought their anime adaptations took those same stories and did them one better.

5. Sword Art Online (3.8% of responses)

Starting off, this tale of gamers trapped inside a fantasy online role-playing game is the only non-manga in the top five, instead being based on a series of books by author Reki Kawahara. “The director did a wonderful job with the anime,” said one fan, “and it also delved deeper into the characters’ emotions than the books.” Another felt the anime more clearly established its setting than the novels, which helped him settle in and start enjoying what the show had to offer.

4. One Piece (4.8%)

It might seem weird to see the most consistently popular series in the history of manga on this list, but the Straw Hat Pirates check in at number four. One anime lover explained her answer with “The anime’s fight scenes do a better job of making you feel like you’re right there in the center of the action.” Also, the vocal cast has had over 15 years to fine-tune their performancse, and for some, silently reading Luffy and friends’ manga dialogue just can’t compare.

3. Gintama (7.2%)

Hideaki Sorachi’s manga can rightly be called unique and genre-defying, mixing elements of comedy, action, science fiction, and traditional samurai drama. One respondent wouldn’t necessarily call it pithy, though. While he appreciates the story-telling and humor, “The original can get wordy and bogged down,” making the anime the less painful way to consume the many different elements the series has to offer.

2. Dragon Ball (9.2%)

Similar to the situation with “One Piece,” “Dragon Ball’s” voice actors have had a very long time to figure out the best way to portray their characters, and one respondent pointed out that the manga version can’t match the excitement of the anime’s sound effects as the characters pummel and shoots blasts of energy at each other. Plus, it’s hard to convey what a good dancer Goku is in still pictures.

1. Attack on Titan (11.6%)

At the top, and by a pretty wide margin, is the anime version of Hajime Isayama’s epic tale of man vs. naked giant. Even as each new volume of the “Attack on Titan” manga sells in huge numbers, it’s not too hard to see why many prefer the animated version.

For starters, even readers of the “Attack on Titan” manga seem much more enthralled with its setting and characters than its artwork, so the shift to the cleaned-up designs used for the anime version aren’t a minus in many fans’ eyes. Plus, as cool as the idea of the heroes using their 3-D maneuver gear to zip through the air and fight towering monsters is, the sense of speed and height involved comes across much more dynamically in animation. And last, but no least, there’s the soundtrack, which alternates between oppressively somber and dramatically adrenalin-filled, right in step with the psychological state of the on-screen characters.

This acceptance of seeing “Attack on Titan” in a different medium than it began in is especially interesting in light of the upcoming release of a live-action theatrical installment to the franchise. Will fans end up loving it even more than the anime? That remains to be seen, but at least it looks like many will give it a shot.

Source: Nico Nico News

 

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