Because of a conversation last night with a friend I got to thinking about the various ways some companies take creative liberties with certain series or sometimes specific characters. Sometimes bring a manga straight to anime with no changes can be rather boring and some animation studios choose to embellish the story, characters, or script to make it flow and have it presented more cohesively. This can either leave you with something changed beyond recognition leaving a sour taste in your mouth or something changed just enough for it to be familiar yet a new experience. I could be going somewhere incredible with this or it could be a completely pointless read for you. With that, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Now as most are aware the manga Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, known in English as Snow White With The Red Hair, received an anime adaption by Studio Bones recently with it’s first season airing on July 7th, 2015 and more recently it’s second cour (season) airing on January 12th, 2016. This just so happens to be one of my favorite manga and I was thrilled to see it getting an adaption and a full 24 episodes at that. So when it premiered in July of last year I was all hyper and excited, waiting for the first episode to be available for my viewing pleasure. The scenery was beautiful, the voices were lovely, the music was atmospheric. I watched it and patiently waited for my favorite characters to appear, with the most hype surrounding my absolute favorite, Raji Shenazard. It’s safe to say I confused quite a few anime only watchers with my odd choice as he’s first shown as an egocentric moron but that is not the purpose of this post.
Now I’d like to get to my point and the purpose of this long drawn out post that seems like it’s going nowhere because of tendency to ramble. This post is not so much about how much I like a certain character as much as my praise of the animation studio for making him actually more likable then he already was.
I’ll now be using some manga caps to compare some key scenes from chapter one and episode one where he was first introduced and see if you see a theme… (I’m using gifs since a single frame doesn’t really get my point across)
You’ll begin to notice just from this that things begin to look more theatrical, even including some slow motion to show the idea that Raji is shocked and offended. You don’t quite get this from the manga, in fact, and it may just be the bad scans, but he looks more hurt than shocked. (also keep in mind this is chapter one and Sorata’s art has gotten much better over time)
This time the manga portrays him as just looking shocked for a moment and while the anime keeps the same sentiment it’s also shown the fact he’s afraid now that he’s realized Zen is also a Prince. I like the fact it’s more clear in the anime that he’s a scardy cat verses the manga where, while it’s there, it’s less apparent.
Now we’ve come to basically the entire reason for me making this blog post in the first place (gosh, that sounds lame). This scene right here… Granted I don’t have the best memory but I generally remember what happened in an episode but don’t think too much about the animation. For some reason this scene has always stood out to me and I remember it more than most. As you can see in the manga panel there was originally no shot like this, you only have what little text there is to convey his emotions and reaction to being accused of poisoning the apple. Studio Bones went all out by giving the scene something there was not, over the top, theatrical, and exaggerated hand motions as Raji tries to express his innocence.
This stuff is probably not important to many but I always found these little touches made the character more likable, at least somewhat, from the start of the anime when the manga didn’t give you much of a reason to care about him or if he ever reappeared. There are other scenes throughout the first and second season (so far) where Studio Bones used this same technique for him, making his emotions and body language seem more meaningful and I really appreciate that.