A huge chunk of anime we’ve watched and loved or hated were adapted from literary works like books, manga and visual novels. There are many ways a story gets adapted into anime like promoting a person, place or company, or an animation studio seeing the potential of a story, or a company just want to profit as much as possible using a very popular series. Sadly, this trend carries a ton of problems that affect the consumers--the anime fans--because we will never get the full experience from these stories. There are exceptions, of course, like Naruto, that finally ended and was more or less faithful to the manga (which also ended), but not every series and genre are as popular as Naruto and the shounen genre.
Honey’s Anime will talk about two major issues with anime adaptations and discuss how it’s affecting the end users--the consumers of anime--as a whole. Yes, it’s already a problem when adaptations rarely follow the source material faithfully or have inferior art style, but these are major practices of adaptations use that to break the experience and enjoyment of the story, especially to those who prefer an audio-visual experience.
The Lack of Sequels
One of the many goals of adaptations is to promote the source materials and get more users to buy their books by making anime shows out of them. The problem with this are these types of adaptations weren’t made for long-term experiences, and they only adopt a few chapters of the anime to encourage their newly-acquired fanbase to buy their manga or subscribe to their monthly magazines. It’s purely business. There will be the occasional sequels and a few OVAs to expand the story and extend the exposure of the series, but the publishers are not going to animate the last few volumes of their works. You just have to buy them if you want the ending.
A good example of this is the anime adaptation of Citrus. The anime glossed a few things here and there, and it was very faithful to the source material, but the fact they had to fit in as much story in 12 episodes, the anime ended right after the so-called Twins Arc, where Yuzu finally confessed her true feelings towards Mei. While the anime has an ending, the story of Yuzu and Mei is continued on in the manga. Will we ever get a second season? If you take all things we mentioned into consideration, and the manga is still ongoing, then the answer is likely a “no.”
Even with the ending in place, Citrus anime still has a ton of unanswered questions, and this brings us to the second curse of anime adaptations…
The Cliffhanger Endings
Anime adaptations are glorified ads promoting the original source material, and they’re not gonna animate every chapter, every arc, every story out there. Apart from it being expensive to animate everything, the publishers carefully pick the best chapters from the manga and broadcast them on public television to gain interests. While this practice has been done many times with positive reception, there are some instances an anime abruptly ends, or an anime ends while teasing the next big story arc. Other examples included are: the true villain has appeared at the last few seconds of the last episode, a dead character was alive all along, or a girl said “I love you” to the guy but the anime ends mid-way of the girl saying it. Want to know what’s going to happen next? Most likely, a second season isn’t happening, so go buy their books to find out more!
We’re bringing up the anime adaptation of Citrus, again, because it’s the perfect example of anime that is made to sell the manga and nothing else. Yuzu and Mei are officially dating in the last episode, but there are a ton of chapters left that go even further with their relationship, as well as, sex, betrayal, the fate of Mei’s fiance from episode one, the complicated relationship between Mei’s father and grandfather, Matsuri’s role in the story hinting a blooming relationship with Harumi, and more. Knowing these, do you think the ending of Citrus--huge cliffhanger--was acceptable? No!
That’s the sad reality of anime adaptations that are made to entice people rather than giving the full experience. Yes, just go read the manga or books if you want the true ending, but does it have to be this way? Not every book and manga will get translated while anime, thanks to western companies like Crunchyroll and/or FUNimation, they easily get translated and it can reach more fans better than untranslated books can. Anime has advantages over written work like animation, voice acting, and music, which stories like Citrus are best animated. A slow, passionate kiss with the two girls gasping for air as they twist their tongues in their mouth cannot be replicated by a single manga page or a paragraph worth of text.
How do you feel about these strategies? Let us know in the comments below!