Anime vs Manga and Light Novel There are no comparison isn’t it? Anime has colour, moving pictures, sound and everything while manga and light novel are mostly static pictures and words. There is even a up and coming trend with proclamations of anime > manga using the same argument here, surely dynamic moving frames are definitely better than static picture, yes?

However, after reading the Another novel and thinking back on some of the manga I read, I realize something , anime even though has more tools in their hand, it still has restrictions that is absent in manga and novel.

Have you ever seen an anime with a first person perspective? The Another’s novel is told in the first person view but why didn’t the anime do the same?  The mystery and intrigue works so much better with a first person view because the character can only grasp and know what is in front of him. It also makes the character more believable and relate-able so why did the anime choose to deviate from it? Is it because anime doesn’t work at all with first person perspective? Or will a first person perspective just end up in a exposition mess?

List me some anime episode or long segment of film told in a first person perspective. I sure that it exists but I can’t name any off the top of my head. The only one that came to mind is something I heard of about Seraphim Call and how there’s this episode where everything is told from the perspective of a teddy bear or something. Other than that, I can’t think of any because first person perspective is very hard to capture and sustain in anime.

However, it’s very prevalent in manga and novel because their medium allows it and this is just one of the many examples of how anime lacks the literary devices that manga and novel have.

What I am saying is that, sure, manga and novels lack the free range of colour and sound but they gain the free range with literary tools. I have seen so many manga that make up a scene with just scenery shots and beautiful poems just because they are allowed to do that . It’s hard to pull that off in an anime without looking lazy.

Not only that, in terms of practicality,  light novel and manga aren’t restricted with a budget. Name one large scale complex army battle in anime. Again, there aren’t that many and most of them are done with battleship and full of static frames. There aren’t that  many sword to sword, man to man army battles like those you see in film because Anime just doesn’t have the budget for it. On the other-hand, manga has no problem with large battles since the cost of an epic grand battle is hardwork.

The budget issue is really the final blow to the guts for anime because in turs of it,  it  loses out when compared to the wide variety of range allowed in manga. Anyone can make a manga with minimum cost. Authors wouldn’t lose millions of dollar if a manga didn’t sell so they are more willing to try. What you get from this is tons of wonderful works and tons of matured adult stories that were so sparse in anime. For every Only Yestarday in anime, you will have 10 stories about adulthood and the struggle of salary man.

This is undeniable fact and the reason why you can’t compare anime and manga because they are different.

Sure, theoretically, anime can have tons of stories about salary man and pull of episodes told in a first person view but will it happen? No, because anime needs to be marketable. Art house stuff elements in anime is always a risk.

For example, there’s a reason why Planetes deviate from its source material because Planetes after volume 3 gets really meta and art house like. If you were to animate that, it will have 3 whole episodes of Hoshino, floating in space, asking questions about life and poems by Kenji Miyazawa. No one will watch an anime about that.

Manga can gets really abstract and transcendent sometimes. I have experience it so many times while reading stuff like Planetes and Asano Inio’s work.  Shit can get so introspective and transcendent, it brings you to weird places. Contextually, the stuff they wrote can be abstract and makes no sense but mentally, you feel out of this world. This sounds so goofy and corny and high on cocaine but it’s true.

It’s not something I can feel with anime because it’s too passive. Anime lacks the activeness in manga to be so engrossed that it makes you feel surreal. Passive vs active is yet another major difference between anime and manga. I find it easier to pick up manga than anime because it’s easier to get into. You are also more lenient when people stand around talking because you are the one who control the pacing, another advantage anime doesn’t have.

I can understand when people say that anime is better than manga when the anime is a page by page adaptation of the manga with some other value added scene. Surely, now the manga has nothing over anime right? In fact, I felt the same for some of the series but that’s because they are masterfully pulled off.

You will think it’s not that difficult to pull off a page by page adaptation but look at Bakuman, I don’t think it’s weird that people grade the manga so highly while thinking the anime is shit.  What happened there? Maybe because Bakuman isn’t suit for an anime because it loses its meta-quality of manga about manga? Maybe it’s because Bakuman has tons of people standing around talking and anime about people standing around talking is boring?

I guess what I am getting at with that Bakuman example is that sometimes, manga stays the best as manga and a masterful page by page adaptation like Cross Game, Black Lagoon, Major and Genshiken may just be an exception to the rule. Not to mention, sometimes, just like the Another anime, you can’t pull off the same execution found in the source materials because it’s difficult to make it works. In the end, the differences in execution make them feel like totally different work that should be assess differently even if they have the same gist.

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