Sorry for getting to this thread so late. @Lily-Garden Gave a very good general response that I don't think I can top. But I did want to make a few specific comments.
Anime is its own medium. It is well-suited for certain kinds of storytelling. I mostly look for an anime to tell a compelling story in a way that uses the strengths of the medium to maximum effect. Compared to many people, I think that my expectations tend to be very forgiving when watching an anime adaptation of a beloved story. Indeed, I've noticed that people get really upset when the anime makes changes to a story. But for me, I expect the anime to make changes... otherwise what is even the point? I've read (or can read) the LN, so please tell me something than can only be expressed through a visual medium. It's a bit like when I listen to a cover of a beloved song - I will be disappointed if it is too true to the original. After all, I can go back and listen to the original at any time. Instead, I want a cover artist to reinterpret the song for me. When done well, I can re-experience the joy hearing a beloved piece of music for the first time. I feel roughly the same about anime adaptations.
I get really annoyed by the "alpha geek" tendency within niche sub-cultures to hate everything that isn't obscure or old or original. Only the original version released 40 years ago is good enough for the alpha geek (and if the original isn't 40 years old yet, he will find it inferior to something that is). This individual will find glee in pointing out every single discrepancy between the versions. In my opinion, this person is missing the forest for the trees. He is so focused on tedious minutia, that he has lost the ability to enjoy the work as a whole.
One of my favorite recent examples is "Make My Abilities Average". The story in the anime was quite different from the LN. BUT! The story itself is not meant to be all that serious, and the anime added visual gags that were very much in the spirit of the series, but that could not have been made in a printed medium. I enjoyed that adaptation (at least the first half) very much.
Another thing to consider is people who are not familiar with the source material to begin with. For example, I found Arifureta through the anime. The story itself was so strong that it somehow shone through the terrible animation. After the second episode, I couldn't wait to see what happened next and gobbled up the LNs. Indeed, it wasn't until I went back and tried to re-watch the first couple episodes that I even realized how bad it was.
Anyway, there's probably more that I could say, but I will stop there for now.
And as I gave the example with Lovecraft. Yes I know he was a white supremacist. But I still enjoy reading his stories. Some could say I overlook this theme in his books as I know why he wrote it. It still doesn't change that he was one of the most imaginative writers for horror stories.
@saskir Most of those are not particularly difficult calls. Dante, Lovecraft and MINE (NG+) didn't bother creating a line between their beliefs and their works; it's all on display. I'm not familiar with Cordwainer Smith. James Gunn didn't create GotG on his own so whether you think that BD needs destroyed depends on how you weigh others' contributions.
Oh I never said they did. Just wanted to point out well known authors whose works are still read by many. But I need to interject with something. MINE. Yes his main character has a resemblance about someone linked to a massacre (to the tee with the mentioned victims). But I don't see him proactively propagating Japanese supremacy (although excluding contempt for anyone who pisses him off). Except you take the part of it that even though he killed so many he is not seen as a bad person according to the system.
And if it was not clear (but I think you meant it in jest). Nope I will not burn my BD.
I'm slowly watching Abilities Average, and it's a bit weird after reading the LNs for years.
They cut out most of the Mile / Adele humor that amused me, for example all of the hunter school arc where she is trying badly to be a "normal" girl and is satisfied with herself when her cunning plans succeed (in her mind).
Instead the humor is "someone calls her flat-chested and she explodes". It's replacing sly and clever fun with dumbed-down farce.
@Jon-Mitchell Thanks for the thoughts, but this isn't really what I'm asking. I'm not really interested in which sub vs. dub is better, nor looking for weaknesses or limitations of each approach. Although for the record, I also prefer subs to the point where I won't even consider watching a series dubbed.
When I watch a dub, the result - to me - usually comes off as excessively "corny" to the point that it affects my ability to enjoy it. When wondering why this might be, I can think of a few possibilities:
The anime is inherently corny and only my poor grasp of Japanese (and thus the fact that I experience it with my reading voice) prevents me from realizing it.
The anime is fine, but the English translation and/or the voice acting is just poor
The anime, English translation, and voice acting are all fine, but cultural differences make the English dubbing strangely awkward
I wanted to focus on the last possibility and the extent to which anime dubs might be unavoidably "corny" in ways that no amount of time or money might be able to rectify.
Hence my mention of Princess Mononoke, arguably one of the best anime dubs ever. As a limiting case it would seem to be a counter-example. Except that the movie's tone doesn't really lend itself to the kind of cultural impedance mismatch that I'm referring to. If we could think up examples of series that are often considered to have superior dubbing and if the series manages to avoid the sort of "corniness" that I'm describing above, then this would effectively refute my conjecture.
I like the show. Even though there are some questionable animation parts. Especially the part with Zero against this demon prince (was it Alvid). I don't know if they wanted to make it more hilarious but damn this rolling after the punch was just ... bad. Or how Queen got pushed back by this attack beam.
Now that the final episode is out, I guess my 2¢ is that the anime basically played out as expected. It so closely matched my expectations for an adaptation that I don't have any comments about it. On its own, it gets a passing grade for entertainment, but since it only passes it's not going to have any long term influence. It's unfortunate, but strict translation of literature to screen can only result in a disservice to both the screen and to the story being told.
Doing a search of the forums, I came across this old one.
If you ever get a chance, try and get a read of the light novel, which shockingly...has not appeared to be licensed.....someone probably should create a suggestion topic.
But I hope now that the series is completed you managed to enjoy it, the ending being anime original compared to the source, which I am of two minds whether it is better or worse.
Also do not forget to watch the movie if you have a chance. I have watched it in both native and dub, both to my enjoyment.
@timmaaah While it was a web manga done in long strip format more often associated with Korean manhwa, as far as I'm aware, the releases where behind a publisher paywall, so it's more like it was a strait up digital manga that just skipped the weekly print releases that you get with things like shonen jump and just went strait to tankobon print (though it may have started initially as a web manga at the very start).
yea, I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I watched it and wept.
I'm of a previous generation- Yes I watched StarBlazers and G-force (Gatchaman) when I was 11 or 12. But before that I watched Ultraman and Space Giants (Ambassador Magma) Live Action Kiaju, on the local UHF channel, on a black and white TV, when I was in kindergarten! I didn't realize until really looking back how much Japanese media influenced my tastes
EDITed to add:
wow - I didn't know until just now (thanks Wikipedia) Osamu Tezuka who was the creator of Space Giants, also created Astro Boy and Black Jack! and might be the originator of Anime as we know it (He is credited with first using and popularizing the 'large eyes' style of character design, now a hallmark of japanese anime/manga--and highly influential globally. (Compare Princess Elsa to Snow white and tell me that the Disney company isn't influenced by anime!)
I agree, heck it gets worse than that since the anime staff completely missed the entire point of the tournament. In the light novel their was never really any question who the winner would be but so their was no drama their, however it was all part of Mile's plan to make her friends seem more amazing than her which naturally fails. Hopefully the anime can get back on track now.