Do you prefer the "original" work, or is there an adapted media type you prefer for certain series?

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    TL;DR: What do you guys prefer? Do you go out of your way to consume the original media / your preferred media, or do you settle for what's available? Are there any series that you're reading / watching that aren't the original media?

    The novelizations on this site (Ao Oni, Yume Nikki), and some novelizations on Bookwalker of manga titles got me thinking about this.

    For instance, White Album 2, originally a Visual Novel (VN), made into an anime, has a full light novel (LN) adaptation. I wouldn't mind getting the LNs in English since playing White Album 2 in English is a bit of a chore.

    Occultic 9 is another one that is interesting. It's a cross media project, with I think only the first two volumes releasing as LN before the anime, but then it got adapted into a visual novel. I don't know which I would prefer to consume between the 3 media if the visual novel were available since technically the VN isn't the original work.

    Fate / Stay is another one that kind of suffers from its adaptations cutting certain things that are essential to understand characters more in depth, like Shiroe's thoughts. But the Anime and the spin-off Gatcha game are pretty popular, and the VNs are nowhere in sight in English officially.

    There's a Nisiosin manga releasing now titled "Imperfect Girl" that was originally a novel... But we haven't gotten the novel stateside. That's a big conundrum for me, whether I should just settle for the manga or just ignore it.

    Some original death game genre manga got adapted to light novel format too, which I find a bit weird to me. I feel like I'd be getting just a more wordy version of something that the original writer didn't intend (that's more similar to those movie novel adaptations).

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    I prefer the LN to any other format usually. Except maybe in novelizations of movies (like Boy and the Beast and your name) where I want movies first though I may read the book too.

  • Staff

    I keep an open mind. I believe that being stuck on mantras like "original is best" or "manga/LN/anime is best" just lowers your chance of having a good experience with the preconception that "this will be better than X" or "this will be worse than Y."

    I personally just go into any version with the hope that I will enjoy myself. Sometimes the result is great (My Hero Academia anime adaptation is crazy good), sometimes the result is bad (Death March anime is pretty terrible), but if you go in with the mindset that "this will be better/worse than another version" then you're just setting yourself for a self-fulfilling prophecy/confirmation bias.

    In retrospect, I find that usually the original work is more complete since an adaptation rarely adds, more frequently removes, in order to fit the new media format, but that's not to say I haven't had better experiences with an adaptation than with an original work. MHA mentioned above, Chihayafuru anime has a huge advantage over the manga, SAO:P manga I like better than the LNs. I've found enough good examples that I always look forward to finding more.

    @Terrence RE: Imperfect Girl, if your situation is that you have the time and money to get into a work but you deliberately hold back for only the reason that it's not the original, it feels like putting the cart before the horse. Maybe you'll like it enough to want to hunt down the original work because you want to experience the original; maybe you'll hate it enough that you're glad you didn't bother waiting and using brain cells to keep it in mind. I don't know - as long as you have a good experience with the work, original or adaptation, I feel like that should be enough /shrug.

    EDIT: I think I got a bit lecture-y there, too used to arguing with boneheaded purists who don't even give other versions a chance for whatever reason. Sorry for that :<

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    I prefer the original material for my first experience whenever I can, but I also tend to consume the adaptations because I want to see stuff illustrated or just re-appreciate the story. Most of the time, going for the original material isn't possible though considering how small the English LN scene is at the moment.

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    Well, initially I only watched anime. From there I started getting into manga because I wanted to know how the story proceeded. And eventually, with Isekai Smartphone, I started reading the translated WN because the manga was way behind the anime.

    After reading the WN, and now LN with additional interludes/bonus stories, I very much prefer the original content. I've read LNs and WNs of other anime too and there is certainly a huge difference.

  • @terabyte I was the same. What got me into LNs was Overlord but what made me stick to LNs mostly was Heavy Object. Both LNs were so good I was hooked for hours. I remember reading both for 6 hours straight of course I took a few breaks like bathroom breaks and snack breaks.

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    Original because adaptions typically do not add anything, they usually detract. There are exceptions where I would rather experience adaption like say K-on, Sound Euphonium, Lucky Star ... wait I see a pattern here. well there is also the Mikagura school suite which doesn't really go with this pattern.

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    @myskaros I forgot to ask this; if all options are available to you for a piece of Japanese media, and you haven't read / played / watched one, what do you start with?

    If the original wasn't available, I'll take the wordiest thing available I think. Like White Album, I'd take the light novel. I totally would've read Occultic Nine if it came out on VN when the anime + LN dropped stateside.

    @myskaros said in Do you prefer the "original" work, or is there an adapted media type you prefer for certain series?:

    EDIT: I think I got a bit lecture-y there, too used to arguing with boneheaded purists who don't even give other versions a chance for whatever reason. Sorry for that :<

    Nah, I'm pretty boneheaded, so I take no offense. But I will continue to be boneheaded in the future since I prefer LNs and will wait for that adaptation with some media until I reach the End of Time and meet the beginning and end of everything, Nu. =P

    If what I want to consume is a mystery, as the novel / manga Imperfect Girl is, that makes it tough to reconsume it because you know the answers already. Of course, there are ways to do so, like honing in on foreshadowing in the light novel or critiquing the art + voice acting in anime, and there are benefits to each piece of media. But, consuming one piece of visual media I feel can also reframe your interpretation of the setting and character designs. That may not be a good thing for some who have ideas of how things look in their mind.

    I actually watched the anime for Steins;Gate before reading the VN, and my VN first time experience was pretty much destroyed. There's a few extra things, but the main path (especially scenes with Kurisu) was pretty well covered in the anime.

    Also, speaking of Steins;Gate, anyone see that they're releasing a remake where they rip out the Visual Novel art and replace it with the anime visuals? So there's another layer of "the original vs the remake".

  • Staff

    @terrence said in Do you prefer the "original" work, or is there an adapted media type you prefer for certain series?:

    that makes it tough to reconsume it because you know the answers already

    I actually watched the anime for Steins;Gate before reading the VN, and my VN first time experience was pretty much destroyed.

    Hmm, obviously I can't speak for your experiences, but I guess I just... feel like you're choosing to focus on only a single aspect to the detriment of the rest. Yes, the first time you experience a story is special, but the story is only one aspect of the media. If you're reading prose, there's word choice, descriptions and history, pacing, atmosphere. If you're reading manga, there's paneling, facial expressions, character space, backgrounds, and a sense of visual progression. If you're watching anime, there's colors, time, movement, sound, voice acting, music.

    Maybe it's just that I'm the kind of person who loves to rewatch and reread stuff, so I don't really put a lot of stock into the "first time" experience. I've watched Pirates of the Caribbean dozens of times and still enjoy the music and action and jokes. I've read The Chronicles of Prydain dozens of times and still get excited and feel my eyes tear up. Your "first time" should just be a test to see if you like it at all, then every other time afterwards is for appreciation.

    Lots of media benefits from rewatching/rereading because knowing the story ahead of time gives you mental allowance to focus on other things like minor details and foreshadowing. Why should knowing only one aspect of a work prevent you from enjoying that work? Did you not enjoy the Steins;Gate anime? Did knowing how that one route goes really distract you so much that you were unable to enjoy any other parts of the VN experience?

    I guess I just simply can't understand this perspective at all. I read the Hataraku Maou-sama manga first, then watched the anime, then read the novels. Each adaptation was progressively better. The LN ended up being the version I liked the best, as I said in my retrospect earlier, but it's not like my LN experience was ruined because I knew what was going to happen, instead I was able to enjoy the differences in the adaptations and pay attention to the smaller details and enhance my understanding of the story.

    This is why I prefaced with "if you have the time and money;" obviously if your resources are limited and you are unable to experience multiple versions of the same work, it would make sense that you'd want to choose the one most likely to give you the best experience. If that's the case, my opinion really doesn't mesh then, since my perspective includes the "replay" value and the indulgence of spending time to experience the same story in different formats.

  • I tend to prefer the original source as well, but in case something went under my radar I wouldn't pass on watching an adaptation before reading the source material. I mean, that's how most of us started anyways, watching an anime, getting hooked up and then reading the manga/LN. At least that's how I discovered my first LN, the Suzumiya Haruhi series back in 2008. Can't stop since then.

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    I generally prefer the original work, but I'm totally open to other adaptations.

    @Drone205 When I read your first sentence my first thought for an exception to the rule was K-on, lol. I was really surprised when I saw the manga & how bare bones it was.

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    @myskaros I am with you on the Re-watching and each media having its own thing it can add to a story. I can not say for sure but I probably would prefer the Garden of Sinners movies over the Books because of all the visuals and that God-tier music. I just can not see it as anything else but a movie. The same thing with Berserk, I can not see it being anything other than a Manga (the 90s anime is not bad though) let alone a LN. That to me would make no sense since the emotions are just so complex that it can not be represented in book form, only visual.

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    I'm my admittedly limited experience, if generally found anime to be lower quality than their source material, Smartphone and Eromanga Sensei being two of my favorite examples of this. Sometimes, the anime is better, like Attack on Titan, and sometimes, you just don't know (unless you can read Japanese) like Gamers!. Since I don't read a lot of manga, I'm probably missing out on a lot of information.

  • I feel that each media type brings with it their own set of advantages and disadvantages but to me personally the key is the creator's vision and storytelling ability.

    LNs have and advantage to world/character building and can afford to go into much greater details since there is no time limit. If it takes the author 20 LNs to tell the story as long as we readers keep purchasing their products the author has that flexibility.

    Manga adds in the visual dimension which allows us to "see" the story not just read it and try to picture it in our minds.

    Anime can bring it all to life. The characters move, talk and interact with their environments and each other. Additionally if the music is done right another layer is added to the overall product and enhances the experience.

    With all that rambling I personally don't have a preference to any of the types as I enjoy all of them unless they butcher the product when adapting from one form to another. As folks have already pointed out there are horrid anime adaptations of some great manga or LNs. There are also others where i feel the anime brings it all together, Your Name being a personal favorite. The visuals, music and storytelling are magnificent.

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    I'll read LNs and watch the Anime. Sometimes one is better than the other, and it's not always the original. I usually avoid Manga unless it's the only option, mainly because it's the most expensive for me.

  • I usually only aim for the original unless it has a spinoff in a different POV/perspective. Anime original are my favorite because I can't be spoiled and no one can spoil it for me (when it's airing at least). I can't say the same for LNS and Manga as it takes time to translate them and by than few spoilers seem to pass by. I personally don't mind small spoilers and some big spoilers, just don't tell me the whole story lol.

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    I typically prefer the original, but like Paul Nebeling mentioned, sometimes the adaption is better, but it's rare.

    The adaptions I've enjoyed the most aren't ambitious and simply try to bring a reasonable amount of the original over with better production values. For anime this can work pretty well, but one thing I've noticed with games is that modern remakes of games I played as a kid suck. They change the experience from 2D to 3D, add in a suite of bugs, and tack on some shitty dub when I was happy with no voice acting whatsoever.

    For anime adaptions of light novels, sometimes the studios need to get creative when handling narration. I'll bring it up, because I just finished it, but my opinion of Infinite Stratos changed because Ichika's first person narration changes his character so much.

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    I’ll add to my original comment that I just really like LNs, as a kid I read lots of Doctor Who novels and was fascinated by the Shadow and old pulp stories too and LNs are the modern version of that to me, and they’re written in a way that is generally breezy and as easy to read as manga. I haven’t found any other format that scratches my “love of reading” itch while still being so frothy and breezy which is why I wax and wane in my intake of anime and manga and VNs, but I keep reading at least a little bit of Light Novels year round. I love my job and have a good life, but it’s great to pick up an easy to read book and just hit the pause button for an hour. That’s why I prefer the LN format.

  • Generally I'm of the opinion that the original source is best, but I'm willing to settle for an adaptation depending on circumstances. For example if the adaptation is further along in story (in English) than the original work. Also sometimes you're not in the mood or have time to read the original LN and the adaption is good enough.

    Also sometimes I try to hold off going to the original if I'm enjoying the adaptation because after I see the original usually it's hard to enjoy the adaptation again (mainly because now I know what's going to happen).

    Just as an aside I just want to say that I think a good adaptation is something that changes things to make it a better fit for it's medium (while retaining the core of the original), rather than something that just cuts and removes things. (For example I know the Rokujouma anime changed some of the jokes in the LN to make it better for the medium)

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    It depends. There's no catch all rule for this, it's really on a case by case situation. There are some things where the original work is just "okay" or not great, but the adaptation made it amazing. I can think of two great examples off the top of my head:

    1. Blade Runner. The original Philip K Dick story was decent, but it was pretty different from what Blade Runner ended up being. And all the things that made Blade Runner a classic? Things like the visual style, the performances by the cast, those were all things that were only there for the movie adaptation, not in the original novel.

    2. Ghost in the Shell, the 1995 anime film. This one hews closer to the manga than the Blade Runner example, which changed so much it was basically a whole new story. The movie keeps most of the same plot as the manga, but the visual style was heavily influenced by Masamune Shirow's art, but the anime team did a great job with the direction of the film, and they trimmed out a lot of the fat in from the manga and tightened up the themes and characterization to make a truly great movie.

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