Manga to Anime – Comparisons

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)

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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)

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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.

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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.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Dub Review (Episode 1)

 

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Recently FUNimation announced they were making a dub for Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White With The Red Hair) and I wasn’t very surprised but I was curious. I don’t normally spend my time with dubs, not because I’m a sub purist, but because I’ve usually already watched it subbed and don’t want to watch it again. However, since Shirayuki-hime is one of my favorite manga/anime I decided to give it a go and see how they did casting wise. I’ll start with each character individually and then add my final thoughts.

Shirayuki (Brina Palencia) – Now I think she did a fairly good job as Shirayuki. The only other role I’m familiar with her as is Chopper from One Piece so I was a bit nervous if she could pull it off. I must say I was a bit surprised with her voice actually somewhat suiting the character. Now there were some dialogue that was kinda awkward to listen to but you can more or less blame the script writer not the voice actress herself. I’m not sure if she was 100% into her role but maybe she’ll sound more comfortable in later episodes.

Zen Wisteria (Josh Grelle) – I’ve never really heard of this guy and to say I’m less than satisfied would be an accurate statement. I don’t know, something was off-putting about such a manly voice coming out of a character that is supposed to be 19; but that could just be me. I think the voice actor is very good at what he does, just not well suited for the role he was placed in.

Prince Raji (Todd Haberkorn) –  I’ll be honest, Todd Haberkorn is my favorite dub voice actor, even if his voice tends to sound the same in any role. Do I think this was his best role? No. But I did rather enjoy his performance as such an eccentric character, which is what he does best.

Mitsuhide (Ian Sinclair) – I gotta say, I rather liked him for the role of Mitsuhide, I think he did a great job at capturing Mitsuhide’s dorky watchdog like character and I honestly don’t have much negative to say regarding voice performance. There was a line where he said “I told you so, Zen.” and it sounded like he said “I told you, Sozen” and I think a brief pause was needed but even I agree that this is nitpicking.

Kiki (Jamie Marchi) – Okay, I’ve never really heard of this voice actress, much like Josh Grelle, since I haven’t been watching many recent dubs. So you could say I’m a bit out of touch with the voice actors and who’s who. But she gave a great performance as Kiki even if Kiki had so very few lines. When she did talk it felt as if she was Kiki. It felt believable with Kiki’s nonchalant attitude and I really appreciated her in the role.

Sakaki (Rob McCollum) – He only had about two lines and I don’t recall disliking his performance as Sakaki but I’d have to hear more in the future to know for sure. It was fine enough since Sakaki isn’t known for being over the top or out there.

As for my final thoughts. It’s definitely one of the better dubs I’ve experienced and it falls quite comfortably into the average category of dubbed anime. It had it’s fair share of flaws: the usual butchered Japanese names, and awkwardly scripted lines. I really don’t know why they changed Raji’s name to Raj but it was very strange to hear his name suddenly drop a letter and I’ll forever wonder why. I don’t have any major problems with it and some of my problems are just minor nitpicks.

I say, if you like dubbed anime, give it a go. But if you already watched it in Japanese with subtitles, I’d just continue on with that since you’re probably more used to it anyway.

I might watch later episodes for my impressions on Obi’, Garak’s, Ryu’s, and Lord Haruka’s voices. But for now I’ll leave it be.

Score: 6.5/10

Komomo Confiserie (Volume 1) Review

Synopsis:
“Komomo is a spoilt princess who enjoys bossing her servants around. She has taken a particular liking to Natsu, the son of her family’s favorite patissier; so the poor boy has to endure every one of her whims until his family moves away to France.

Years later, Komomo’s family has lost their social standing, and the inexperienced girl is left in the care of strangers. Around the same time, Natsu returns to Japan as an acclaimed patissier. How will their paths cross after their lives and positions have changed so much?”

I was super excited to read this newer series as I am a fan of some of Maki Minami’s older works, especially Special A, and I was curious if this work would be as good. And I got to tell you, I am glad that I picked it up.

From the very beginning I started to love it. Watching young Komomo interact with young Natsu even if she went pretty overboard sometimes teasing him was kinda funny. Kind of felt bad for Natsu though.

Ever since she was young Komomo’s parents would not always be there so she relied on Natsu’s sweets and Natsu’s sweets only to sooth her. She feels so much comfort that she begins to cry upon tasting it.

As the story progresses we get out of backstory area and into the present day plot which is where the rest of the story takes place. We get to see just how current Komomo is dealing with abject poverty and frankly she’s handling it well emotionally (cutting out a lot of the ‘woe is me, I’m not rich anymore’ which is refreshing). As for how she’s handling having to work, that’s not going so well. She’s proven to be quite lazy about her jobs and as a result gets fired many many times.

Just when she thinks she’s all but hopeless a tv special showing her childhood “friend” shows in a display window as he announces his return to Japan from France. Not liking the news, as he would see her in her current state of poverty, she heads into hiding of sorts only to be quickly found out. Much to her dismay.

Now’s as good a time than any to talk about Natsu’s character. In the past it seems he was very tolerant and let Komomo run things so to speak and when he returns seems to have more of an established mature attitude. He’s kind to her, asks if she would mind helping at the family cafe only for this image to be shattered once she starts working there. He demands high productivity from Komomo who is too busy trying to sneak sweets rather than actually working.

Komomo eventually has a breakdown after running back to her old home and Natsu offers a job at his father’s shop once more only for things take a turn with Natsu turning out to be not quite what he seems.

All this being said I really enjoyed the way the two character’s played off of each other and even when a third character, Yuri Lacroix, is introduced the series doesn’t lose it’s charm. I find all the characters to be appealing visually and the same goes for their personality.

Speaking of the being visually appealing, the art is gorgeous. Every dessert and food item looks too good to be true and the attention to Komomo’s western style’d clothing is something to be noted.

Another thing I like how this volume specifically deals with the various forms of bullying. There is your childhood “I’m better than you” bullying, your blackmail, teasing, and even some school bullies that try to take things too far. But they are really no match for Komomo’s strong will.

All-in-all I really liked volume one and I can’t think of anything that was overwhelmingly negative or that I didn’t enjoy (I think that all depends on what bothers you in a Shoujo manga). The characters were well-rounded, the art was pretty, there was even a fair bit of character development present towards the end of volume one. I must say I really look forward to volume two.

Score 8.5/10

Should you read it? If you’re a fan of shoujo manga or romance then yes.