It’s pretty common knowledge that most anime is an adaptation of something. Manga, light novels, visual novels and even mobile games all provide source material for anime. There are a few original anime, but they’re vastly outnumbered by all the adaptations produced every season. As with any adaptation, there are plenty of people who are fans of the original material and complain if the anime changes things and that following the original work is always better. The problem with this mindset is that there’s nothing inherently better about following the source material. All that means is that the anime will have the exact same strengths and weaknesses as the original, so if the original did something badly, so will the adaptation. That said, in my experience, adaptations that stick closer to the source material tend to be better, but not for the reasons people normally give.
While he’s not as well known as Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Hosoda, Makoto Shinkai is still one of the most famous anime directors currently working. Prior to seeing Your Name, my only experience with Shinkai’s work was the 2002 OVA Voices of a Distant Star, but I already had high expectations when I saw Your Name at Anime Expo last weekend, expectations that it more than lived up to.
If you’ve been involved with the anime community at all in the past year or so, chances are you’ve heard of a little show called One Punch Man. Based on an already popular manga and webcomic, One Punch Man has exploded in popularity since the anime first premiered last year. The big question here is why. The easy answer is “because it’s really good,” which, while true, doesn’t actually answer the question. There’s a lot of really good anime out there that, for whatever reason, never got as popular as OPM, which means there has to be more to it. It’s not just the flashy action scenes either, although that definitely helped. OPM started to get popular back when it was just a webcomic, and the comic didn’t look very good. The story and the fight scenes were basically the same, but the art was pretty bad and obviously amateur. It says a lot that something that looks so unappealing at first glance was able to get so popular.
My first impression of Kiznaiver after finishing the first episode was that, regardless of whether it was good or bad, it would definitely be interesting. The premise was unique, albeit convoluted, Trigger has a strong style and writer Mari Okada (Anohana, Toradora) has written a lot of highly regarded anime before. The first episode also made it very clear that Kiznaiver wanted to explore complex themes about human connection. As it turns out, I was right.
If you’ve been involved in the anime community at all in the past five years, you’ve probably heard two things about Sword Art Online: it’s the greatest anime ever and it’s the worst anime ever. It was hugely popular when it first aired in 2012, and the backlash that inevitably comes after that much popularity was just as intense. It’s almost popular to hate it now, and I can’t say that SAO’s detractors don’t have plenty of good reasons, but it’s nowhere near as bad as they say, and there are plenty of good parts as well.
When I first got into anime, it was through long running shonen, mostly Naruto, One Piece and later Bleach. Looking back, I can see that Naruto and Bleach had some pretty big issues, although I still enjoy them. The only anime from back then that I still love is One Piece. One Piece gets a bad rap sometimes, mostly from being lumped in with Naruto and Bleach, and it’s not perfect by any means, but it’s still one of my favorite anime. Hopefully I’ll be able to explain why here. This isn’t an actual review (One Piece is waaaay too long for that and isn’t done anyway) as much as the reasons why I like it. This is more of a broad look at the series as a whole, so I won’t be doing any plot summary here (I’m assuming everyone at least knows the basic premise).
Warning: this editorial will contain unmarked spoilers for the Evangelion Rebuilds, especially 3.0.
It’s impossible to talk about UBW without mentioning the hype surrounding it. Fate/Zero was a massive hit, and people were talking about UBW months before Ufotable even announced which route they were adapting. Ufotable’s reputation and Fate/Zero’s popularity meant that expectations for UBW couldn’t be higher, which ended up being its biggest downfall; nothing could live up to those expectations and please everyone.
Spoiler Warning: There will be some small spoilers from Fate/Zero here since the two are so closely connected. I won’t spoil anything major, but there will be some small details here and there.
Even though Fate/Zero was the first popular Fate adaptation, it wasn’t the first to be released. That honor goes to the 2006 adaptation by Studio DEEN, which has a somewhat dubious reputation. It wasn’t good enough to garner mainstream attention, and it made too many changes to have any appeal to fans of the source material. That said, it’s not a bad show and is still worth watching.
Fate/Zero has a lot of backstory, both in the show itself and regarding its origins. It was originally a novel series by Gen Urobuchi, but that series was a prequel to an existing visual novel by Kinoko Nasu called Fate/Stay Night. That means that it has to both tell its own story and connect it to Fate/Stay Night, since the events it covers take place directly before Stay Night and play an important part in that. That places a heavy burden on the show, which somewhat weakens an otherwise strong story. The Fate franchise has been especially popular lately and Zero is what started all of that (at least outside of visual novel fans).