Greetings! We have arrived at the 5th installment of Otaku Opinions. I am excited to be back with yet another discussion topic this week. This series has gathered a lot of support and I thank everyone who has voted and commented. It has been great to get your opinions! Now on to the results of this weeks poll question.

Is an anime or the source material the best way to experience a story?

The anime is always the best way to experience a story 4 votes

The source material is always best. 0 votes

Both the anime and the source material have their merits. 7 votes

It depends on the series. 1 votes

The only real surprise here was the fact the the source material got zero votes! I certainly wasn’t expecting that. My prediction was that there the votes would be split between anime and source material based on what i have seen in the past. Thanks to everyone who voted!

So what are my thoughts on the topic? Well I believe that both a source material and an anime each have their merits. I personally don’t believe that one is necessarily better than the other. Both convey their stories in completely different ways and are meant to entertain you in different ways. My inspiration for the topic this week was the statement that the “source material is always better”. I see and hear this statement quite a bit when discussing not only anime but other TV and films. I think this statement forgets one key aspect of bringing a story to other media. The aspect that they forget is that the story is “adapted” to TV or film not copy and pasted to the other works.

They are in themselves two different entities and two different ways to experience a story. Whenever a story moves from one medium to another it has to change to some extent. The methods that are used to tell a story in a written form don’t work in a more visual medium. And of course changes have to made when translating something from a visual medium to a written one. TV and Film can rely more on its visuals to convey what happens while a book/comic has to rely more on dialogue and written exposition. Imagine watching a movie or show with a narrator constantly dictating what is happening while you are watching it. It would get distracting really quick but such devices are necessary in books since you can’t see what is happening. Films and TV offer narrative tricks themselves that work better than in books. Visual media can take a complex scene and make it more digestible for the audience. Plot points that can take dozens of pages to describe in writing can be shown in minutes. Of course because of the differences between the two media there will be inevitable changes to make the story work for each medium.

I do agree with the notion that the source material is the purest form of any story. Of course it is. It is the original story developed by it’s creator written as close to how they intended as possible. I will agree that there is merit in enjoying a story as purely as possible. You always get a sense of the people behind a work and the story being told has not been touched by other people. Also experiencing a story in it’s original medium as the creator intended is a worthwhile experience. It is their brainchild after all and no one else can provide a better experience than the original source. Think of the game that kids play where a message is passed along down a chain. The minute it changes people the message starts changing and after a long enough chain gets completely distorted. This is not malicious of course, it is just the nature of how different people interpret things differently.

Of course having more people involved in presenting a piece can also have it’s benefits. Adding a new voice can sometimes improve a narrative or present it in a more desire way than the creator ever could. It is easy to be blinded to oversights or weaknesses in something one creates and having the second voice or set of eyes can close up issues and make a piece of art that much more enjoyable.

And of course there is the obvious statement that reading a book and watching a series/film are fun for their own reasons. Reading leaves a lot to the imagination as your interpretation affects how you view the narrative. It also allows stuff like deeper exposition and world building and better access to a characters thoughts and motivations. Watching a series or film can take things away but provide you with a presentation that can be more exciting with a multi sensory experience that you can’t get with reading. A well done series/film can immerse you into a world in a way that a book cannot. I personally like approaching this from both routes. The same story is a new experience for me because I simply approached it from a different angle.

Let’s keep in mind as well that different people are just hard wired to enjoy things in a different way as well. Some can sit and read in silence while others have an easier watching the events unfold. There is no flaw in someone preferring one way or the other. If a particular experience works best for a person then who are we to question them about it.

At the end of it all I view an anime and it’s source material as two unique experiences each with their own benefits. I like comparing the creators initial work with the new versions that are created when they are adapted. While typically there are not drastic changes to a story or characters, the differences and subtle changes are fun for me to look at. Each form has their own benefit and can provide you with a different experience. That is why I stand firmly in the middle in regards to this issue. I have watched an anime then was compelled to read the novel/manga and have some manga that I would love to see adapted into an anime. For me it has gone both ways.

And now on to this week’s poll question. Spoilers. Spoilers have always been a touchy subject with many fandoms. There are a lot of people who detest seeing a series or narrative that they are enjoying having it’s future events spoiled. Others could really care less about this. The anime community has a unique situation with many of it’s series being adaptations of novels/manga. Since those stories are usually farther along in their narrative than the anime spoilers can be difficult to avoid especially with the internet. This week I want to hear where you all stand on this topic.

I am excited to see what you have to say in regards to this week’s poll. Please respond on the poll above, leave a comment to hit up the Twitter poll which will posted after this post goes live. I know I kind of went on a bit of a ran this week so thanks for bearing with me and I hope my response was not too confusing. I have gotten some great feedback for suggestions for my 100 followers commemorative post and will have that up hopefully within the next couple of weeks. I will be doing a re-watch of the series that I will be reviewing and hopefully I can squeeze that in soon. So until next week, this is Railgunfan75 signing off. Stay safe, stay respectful, and stay geeky my friends!