Article: Way of the square peg and the round hole

Way of the square peg and the round hole

Way of the square peg and the round hole

One thing that can be said about anime is that in most cases anime shows are adaptations of other material. Anime is a fairly expensive medium to produce although cost has gone down in recent years with the advent of computer made animation. Moreover since most anime these days is produced for broadcast on television there to be some certainty that any given show will have an audience. Thus the usual way to mollify studio and network bean counters is to adopt a previously existing story that has an already existing audience.

The most common source material for anime is manga. It would seem like a natural source for new anime shows as both rely on drawn pictures to convey information to their audience. Yet this is often far from flawless. The main problem is due to the length of manga as it rarely fits into 13 or 26 episode without some creative editing. The result is filler episodes and/ or a lackluster ending that in effect bringing the story to a premature close or sometimes both. Ending of this type are especially common in adaptations of manga that are still being made when the anime is created. A particularly severe version of this phenomenon is His and Hers Circumstances which ends very abruptly in the middle of a story arc without even a cursory attempt to tie things up. On the other hand the Full Metal Alchemist anime diverges from the manga story line Over a dozen episodes before itís competition giving it enough time to invent itís own properly epic ending.

Another problem with manga to anime translations is the content of the manga chapters. Most popular manga (the ones that get adapted into anime) originally appear in monthly or weekly anthologies. Such divisions are not made for express use in anime adaptations. This can present a special problem s in manga that assumes a break in the story between manga chapters. In these cases the episode is padded with some sort of filler material. A clear example of this phenomenon is the first season of Magic Knight Rayearth when wandering monsters appear whenever an episode has spare running time.

An even more difficult problem lies with adaptations of video games, particular Renai games. While both manga and anime have a single, linear plot those in Renai games feature a branching plot often with a branch dedicated to every major (often called datable) character other than the viewpoint that the player controls in the game. Since these games have a following for each of the major characters the makers of anime have to create a compromise somehow. There is no standard way of doing this although approaches vary from the filler storm of the first half of Da Capo to the multiple male route used in EF a tale of memories.

While the article so far may make it sound like most anime should just be skipped in favor of watching the original material this is not always the case. Some times in the hands of a good writer the mangaís plot can be added to such as the way that the supporting cast was fleshed out in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Even in other cases such things as music and the joy of seeing characters in motion will always be the main draw that anime has.

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