The Dangers of Reading Source Material

Another post where I usually would do a review, but this time I’d like to point out something that gets me almost every time.

The Good and Bad things about reading the original source materials of a series.

In Tuesday’s Terminology post about Light Novels, I talked briefly about how anime are most often adaptations of some other source material that uses a different medium like manga, light novel, or a visual novel game.  This Fall season I have encountered at least two instances of Good and Bad in regards to currently airing shows.  This isn’t the first time these things have happened, but this time I figure I’d write it down.

Good:

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Medaka Box vol.13 cover

Medaka Box: Abnormal – I love the Medaka Box series (Kumagawa is my favorite btw).  I have been reading the manga since it debuted in Weekly Shounen Jump several years ago.  With GAINAX animating the anime, I look forward to seeing the battle-manga in action with it’s crazy cast of characters.  While it still remains a question that the 3rd story arc could be animated in a possible 3rd season, I still look forward to seeing the next episodes.

Bad:

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Little Busters!

Little Busters – I love the story of Little Busters, don’t get me wrong.  However, it may have been a horrible idea to read/play the original Visual Novel from Key (Clannad, Kanon) in close proximity to the airing of the animated adaptation.   I had gone through all the story routes for each girl and obtained the true ending.  So basically, I spoiled myself the enjoyment of the anime version.  By watching the anime now, it feels more like a chore to see the same scenarios I had just gone over in the Visual Novel.

So what did I learn, boys and girls?  Time proximity is vital to reading the original to the adaptation.

In many cases, it may be a good thing to hold off on reading the original and finish the anime.  Most often, the anime will stop after a certain story arc or have an anime-original ending.  And if you’re lucky, a series might get an animated reboot like the difference between Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

So let’s take a look at the Good and Bad points to this simple matter.

Good:

  • Get to look forward to seeing certain scenes animated.
  • Voice acting brings out more of the character.
  • Well-produced music to make scenes more dramatic.
  • If the manga/novel is ongoing, the anime is sure to end at a certain point.

Bad:

  • Close time proximity may make scenes feel boring/redundant to watch because you’ve already just experienced them.
  • Spoilers and you’ll already know what happens next.
  • Art/Animation style may be a downgrade (applies to Visual novels)
  • If the manga/novel is ongoing, the anime is sure to end at a certain point.

I know the last points in both categories are the same.  I mean, it sucks when an anime gets stuck with the anime-ending when there is so much more material to cover.  But it’s also a good thing that you may have read the source material ahead of time.  You aren’t left with a cliffhanger like others would if they never read the manga/novel.  Also, take it as an opportunity to further your fandom by checking out what really happens beyond where the anime ends.

It’s hard to resist when you really, REALLY like a series and know the means of checking out the rest of the story.  However, if you’re not bothered by it, you just might be able to enjoy both at once.  For some series, it works, others not.  I know right now I am trying to hold off on reading the Magi manga and Sword Art Online novels while the anime are running this season.

–Hako

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