When Anime Insiders’ Oxen Are Gored
Essentially, this episode was about a bubbly girl author’s hopes and dreams getting hit with, as Random Curiosity’s reviewer puts it, the reality bat when faced with animation staff. Through interventions by her loyal big brother, and also, by her friend and fellow writer “Kuroneko” (“Black Cat”), show star Kirino gets most of what she wants and is very happy – and never finds out what was done behind her back, it seems. This is in spite of Kuroneko not even liking Kirino’s style of work (and taste), but she wants Kirino’s work as an artist and creator respected because she’s a creator, too.
Anyway, that’s the short version. The show goes into the issue of how works get modified, sometimes very heavily, when adapted to anime (TV or film).
But, apparently the episode itself was altered compared to the novel version. More on that another time, though.
The point is, Ito Makoto, the anime producer of “School Days” and “11 Eyes,” has made a Twitter statement to the effect that this OreImo episode made him distinctly uncomfortable.
Basically, his point was that this is a delicate issue for producers and original authors to begin with. Why stir it up? Why portray the two sides as antagonists? In his mind, it’s a cooperative effort, not an adversarial one.
I’m hardly going to call this a bad statement. I’m cursed with the ability to see all sides of any dispute. (It’s inconvenient, I tell you.) But I think that there’s a side to this that may not have been obvious when watching the show.
The Fan View
It’s not really about the authors feeling that their works are being butchered. It’s about the fans feeling that their favorite authors’ works are being butchered… and with high irony, this includes this very anime episode, which you can see in the Random Curiosity comments (in which I have myself commented). There’s criticism that this episode strayed too far from the original author material… though there is a reason for that.
Anyway, the point is, there’s mouthpiecing for the usual fan complaints that anime is too altered from the original. Surely we have all seen this. There are things where original material simply doesn’t “work” on the screen; Monster comes to mind, and yes, I have read the manga from the first volume to the bitter end. There are also works where a film is so wildly different from the original material that one wonders why anyone bothered.
And so forth.
So, this episode took two sides.
Side #1: There really are many considerations that must go into an anime version, like it or not. This includes the schedule.
Side #2: Producers and their staff bear a responsibility to be as faithful to the original material as possible, not to just butcher it out of laziness, and even out of intellectual spite that they have to work on “popular crap.”
Of course, side #2 is what got Ito-san worked up. I understand that.
But, I think that the real message was to the fans themselves. That is, be very grateful when your favorite work (like uh… Ore no Imouto Ga Konna Kawaii Wake Ga Nai, itself?) gets animated and is as close to the original material as it is, because there are a LOT of barriers in the way, not just to get a show on the air at all, but to keep it faithful.
If this sounds like a backhanded apology of some sort, that’s because it kind of is.
The Story Behind The Story
Spoiler tags below, because this would spoil the plot of the third novel volume. (And I’m working hard to make these work properly on my site – J)
So now you know… the rest of the story. …I’ve always wanted to say that line once.