Coppelion Anime, Smooth and Round

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Coppelion anime feels like the Coppelion manga with its edges filed down. I don’t mean just that they’ve removed all references to nuclear radiation, or that if you add up all of the elements of each version that one is more “serious” than the other, but that there’s a distinct difference in presentation.

Though the manga is more overt with its criticisms of nuclear energy, at least at first, it’s also wackier in a lot of ways. Amidst the tragedy, characters make wild and contorted faces almost like they’re One Piece characters, and there’s even more fanservice to boot. Aoi, who comes across as more cutesy in the anime, has a greater degree of comic relief in her in the manga, and I think it just has to do with that sense of exaggeration.

Here’s Aoi in the anime:

And here she is in the manga:

Also note the difference in Ibara’s facial expressions.

I think in some ways, this difference in feel does more to change the contents of Coppelion than even the censoring, like the wackiness adds a certain element of permeating ugliness to the story which helps to foreground the social and environmental issues a bit more. That might just be my personal preference though, and I find as the show gets into the second arc it starts to adapt the original material better.

Genshiken Second Season Anime Initial Thoughts

The new Genshiken anime has begun airing, and with it comes not only a time skip over the conclusion to the original manga, but also a new cast of characters. Seeing as the anime is pretty much covering the manga panel-by-panel, and I’ve already reviewed the individual comic chapters along the way, there’s not much need for me to do a thorough analysis, but I do want to give some thoughts about the adaptation process at least. If you do want to see my thoughts on the events of episode 1 of Genshiken Second Season (or Genshiken Nidaime, or as I prefer to call it, Genshiken II), you can find them here and here.

By the way, the title of the first episode is a reference to the Japanese title for the Shinkai Makoto movie known in English as The Place Promised in Our Early Days.

While the anime is faithful to the manga so far, in watching the first episode I feel that the pacing of this newest anime is a good deal more frantic than what I’m used to seeing from Genshiken anime. While the series was never quite subdued moe comedy or Maria-sama ga Miteru levels of “slow,” there was always a kind of mellowness to them even in the sillier situations. Think of Saki talking to them about how Kohsaka (probably) watches anime while they’re having sex. The humor crescendoes, coming out gradually. With the new series, it feels like one gag after the other with little room to breathe in between.

The thing I’m not as sure about is to what degree this has to do with the adaptation itself by Production I.G. (and along with it the new voice actors), and to what degree this is because of the new cast of characters and their different personalities. Certainly as much as Madarame could get rather crazy in the old days, he’s no Yoshitake, whom Ogiue accurately describes as like Kuchiki, only with tact and sense. At the same time, I’ve re-read the manga recently and I didn’t get the impression that the pacing is different, even if some of the energy shown by its characters is.

If I had to pick out a major difference, I think it may have to do with the fact that the manga often presents varying pieces of information such as different dialogues and facial expressions at once, from panel to panel, while the anime presents the same stuff isolated from its connective moments. Of course, the fact that I’ve seen all of this already may also mean I’m more sensitive to this, and someone entirely unfamiliar with the new Genshiken might be taking in the crazy world of a girl-dominant Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture first and foremost.

I do also want to say just a couple of things about the voice actors. First, although they’re fine (but will take some getting used to), I experience cognitive dissonance when hearing Yukana as Ohno. No matter what, I can’t shake Cure White from my head. The other thing is that, in addition to finding Yamamoto Nozomi’s Ogiue performance to be somewhat similar to Mizuhashi Kaori’s other non-Ogiue roles, her Ogiue is actually closer to how I first imagined the character’s voice back when she appeared in the manga. At the time, I heard her voice as just the tiniest bit high-pitched with an equally small amount of nasalness, which Yamamoto has.

Speaking of Ogiue, one thing that didn’t occur to me while watching but I realize may be an issue with the animated Nidaime is that, for someone who had stuck only to the anime adaptations previously, Ogiue’s character might come across as way different from what they remembered. Whereas the last time we left Ogiue she had a tendency to stare daggers into everyone she met, now she’s kind of good-natured and filled with a good deal more joy, and without the Karuizawa arc from the manga showing both what her traumas were and how she eventually overcame then, this contrast in her old and new personalities is potentially jarring.

Anyway, to end things off, here’s a fun comparison for Ogiue fans everywhere.

K-On! Manga Too Extreme for TV

K-On!! episode 8 kind of disappointed me.

Before anyone knew that there would be  second season, I was reading K-On! manga. In one chapter, Yui is having trouble deciding her possible career path, and everyone else gives some idea of where they’re headed after high school. This includes Mugi, whose response clearly contains an underlying meaning.

If it wasn’t obvious before (and it was pretty obvious), Kotobuki Tsumugi plays for the other team. Not only that, but the sharper girls picked up on it long ago. She’s a lesbian, and others know she’s a lesbian. I laughed pretty hard when I first saw this, and it’s still one of my favorite moments from the manga.

So of course I was looking forward to this very scene in full color and animation once K-On!! was announced. And right when I realized episode 8 would be the episode, I sat there, waiting for the gag to hit.  I waited, and waited, and then… they removed it entirely?!

The only reference to it is that Mugi mentions going to an all-women university, but then it completely bypasses the setup and goes into some thing about the difficulty of the school she’s applying to.

Adapting a 4-koma manga into a full half-hour TV show requires adding extra material, but what gives? Did the K-On! manga cross some line that was unacceptable for Kyoto Animation? Are they worried that it damages Mugi’s image in some way? They animated a scene hinting at Mugi’s preferences in season 1, but in a situation where it’s made almost explicit, they shrink back in fear? Could it be that they think having her so clearly in the other camp might alienate some of her more devoted fans? Or perhaps their vision of Mugi doesn’t line up with the original author’s. It’s almost as is Kyoto Animation saw this and went, “Whoa! Too far! Are you trying to break the illusion?”

Maybe it’s the fact that it pretty much reveals Mugi as a lesbian lesbian, who likes girls, as opposed to just the one girl as you so often see in yuri material (especially yuri material written for guys). There, like in yaoi, the love seems to go “beyond” gender, but with Mugi that’s just how she is. So then I have to wonder if the problem is that it’s just too much to just outright state her sexual orientation in that manner.

Hopefully I’m wrong and they’re just saving the gag for another time. In that case I apologize for ruining the joke for people.

Oh and if you’re wondering, no, Mugi is not my favorite member of the band. I’m on Team Ritsu. But actually my favorite character is probably Nodoka.


X-Men by Yasue Kooji and Higuchi Hiroshi, published 1994.

By the way, this is NOT a doujinshi.

Note: The Japanese Word for “Snikt” is “Jakin.”