type_wild: (Stare - Subaru and Hokuto)
[personal profile] type_wild

So there was this anime and it was kind of a mess that also did its most important job more than well enough to work for me. There were the novels from which it was adapted, that I can't judge because it was a fan translation and you noticed, but which were kinda... eeeh, didn't work entirely well, either, but if you're not picky about the fic you read, goes down more than fine.

And then there's the manga, which seems to have been comissioned to be published alongside the anime adaptation, but follows the plot of the novels much closer. And go figure: it feels a lot less like a mess than the anime does.

I say "feels" because I can't properly judge it. Mostly, I think, because I've watched the anime like three times within five months (once more for the dub, then once more for the audio commentary, because oh my god I DO love it); I know the story too well to properly pay attention. I found myself skimming a lot, particularly the early parts that mostly correspond with the anime. And when I'm skimming, well, we can safely say that it won't be a particularly noteworthy comic you've got in your hands. But with "noteworthy comic", I'm essentially making the comparisons to Kaoru Mori and Fumi Yoshinaga, and I'm pretty sure nobody going into the adaptation of the adaptation is expecting that anyway.

What is to be said is that it's good at what it's doing; it tells the story effectively and it looks nice doing it too. The anime has its derpy bits; the manga doesn't. It does, moreover, have more time to do its thing. The anime has pacing issues, but in retrospect, I wonder if that isn't so much because cutting any more of the early stuff would require even bigger re-writes of the ending. Which, yeah, they should've done anyway if that'd left us with a better story. I didn't notice any of the bloated middle and rushed ending in the manga, which has the time and space to include the full ending of the novels rather than cutting it short and including Those Supernatural Bits in what comes across as a dumb melodramatic asspull rather than an integral part of the plot.

And for all the skimming I was doing during parts of it, there were others that made me sit up and take notice. Like (spoiler warning) both times Nezumi gets shot are beautiful sequences in all their violence. There's this heartrending daydream or fantasy sequence of Shion showing Safu around the West Block that I don't think were in the novels either. Nezumi's singing scenes just work better - probably because you get to fill in your own apropriately ethereal music instead of what the anime delivers. Inukashi's journey from "god I hate you losers" to volunteering to follow Shion back into No. 6 is a lot more believable here; Rikiga doesn't quite come across as pure comic relief any longer. And the thing that above all does work in the anime works even better here: Shion and Nezumi and their whole "this person is the reason I became myself" ("and I can't deal", in Nezumi's case) is just really great, okay. I think it's in part because the manga allows for more internal monologue than the anime does, but it also has the space to include a lot of small details that paint the picture of a relationship that is... more than what the anime gets around to, even though they end up in the exactly same place.

In conclusion, it's good enough and it does the story better justice than the anime did. So if you're at all interested in No. 6, my recommendation is in fact going to be that you read the manga first. Sure, the anime is almost guaranteed to be disappointment after, but you'll probably get to do what I didn't: to experience the best (available) take on the story without it being tainted by its inferiour sister.
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Type Wild

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