Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why the new Aokana anime betrays all expectations

  So um...hi, it's D.M...uh...I'm one of the (ex?)editors on this blog that sometimes posts random stuff.

  First off, I'd like to say that I'm sorry for the blog being inactive recently, and more importantly that I'm making garbage posts when many of you are probably excitedly waiting for new releases. For those that rushed over because you got an email notification saying that there's a new post and was hoping for a new release, you can probably stop reading right here because I'm wasting your time.

  ...however, I have a very important topic to discuss regarding the visual novel and recently released anime adaptation 「蒼の彼方のフォーリズム」(Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm) and why the director of the anime completely missed the point of the story.

  For anyone who have played Aokana, is currently watching the anime, or have the time to let me humor you, please read on...keep in mind that there will be minor spoilers.

**Update 01/25/16**

I just finished watching episode 3, and it's apparent that they'll never explain the rules of FC. For those who watched episode 3 without playing the VN, it's probably confusing as hell. Thus I make a proposal; should I make another post to explain what the rules are so that people can make sense of it?

I'm hesitant on making another shit-post because this isn't an anime blog, but if there's interest in such a post, I'd think about taking the time to write one as I really feel it's necessary. For those interested, please leave a comment saying so.

  For those who've never played the game but are watching the anime, you would recall that the very first scene of episode 1 was a flashback of Asuka on a (nice) boat. You would immediately at that point recognize that Asuka is the main character and that the story is centered around her. What you probably didn't know is that the first scene in the VN was actually a much longer flashback centered around Masaya (the main protag) and it revealed 2 things: That he gave a wing shaped ornament to a girl and that he was an enthusiastic/talented FC player who lost his motivation after having lost to a boy(?) with a baseball cap. This blatant change of the introduction already indicates the anime director's intentions and foreshadows what's to come. Several minor changes in episode one continues, such as the fact that Masaya not present when Asuka starts her first FC match Satouin, but that can't be compared with what comes next.

  There were 3 major points in episode 2 that completely destroyed the integrity of the series. The first comes from the fact that Shion and Madoka were already operating their FC club out of the abandoned bus. In the VN, it wasn't until Masaya was convinced to join that the club was officially formed. From that point, the lack of spare classrooms led them to the abandoned bus that they all pitched in to renovate and made their own.

  The second by extension to the first is that they went shopping for FC-use 'gravshoes' without Masaya, because at this point of the anime he hasn't yet been convinced to join. This scene was important because it established each character's personality and style. It also established that Hayato (the shop owner) was acquainted with both Masaya and Aoi (Kagami-sensei). The most important part of the scene that this skipped over was that Masaya picked out Asuka's signature red gravshoes, the 飛燕四式 (Hien Mk.IV), which is the newer version of the gravshoes that he used when he was a young FC pro, and that he picked them out for her because on top of their overall good build and versatility, Asuka reminds Masaya of himself. There was also an in-depth explanation of the science behind the anti-gravity 'membrane' generated by the gravshoes and how they react to outside forces, but I won't bore anyone with that.

  The fourth and by far most ridiculous change is that they haven't bothered to explain the rules of FC before showing the practice match between Misaki and Asuka. People I know as well as people in the stream comments have questioned whether or not using a shortcut is cheating because they hadn't explained that using a shortcut disqualifies you from scoring using the next buoy, and that the sole purpose is to cut off your opponent to score via tagging.

  All of the changes listed have one thing in common, and it's that Masaya was cut out of scenes where he led important explanations or was integral to the scene itself. The director has steered this series in the wrong direction, and is focusing it all on cute girls because that's what sells anime. The readers who have played the VN to true end would know that this story is about Masaya regaining his motivation from seeing the growth of the four characters. However, what we get is an anime that focuses on Asuka and Misaki, the two popular girls in the series (the ending sequences features exclusively them), and Masaya being demoted from the main character to a side character. To those who thinks I'm overreacting by calling Masaya a side-character, you can refer to the official anime website which lists Masaya under "other characters"

  To put things in perspective, this story was so well received that it greenlit its anime adaptation within 2 months of its release, and was one of the most anticipated release to many people. To watch its adaptation be twisted into a moe anime is sickening and I must protest that the VN is nothing like what this anime will become. To those that have read on for this long, I appreciate that you even bothered and I sincerely hope this rant expressed to you my love for the original work as well as my frustration at the anime adaptation; enough so that anyone who hasn't played the original would consider doing so.

Thank you for reading.

Everyone's favorite shit-poster

- D.M.


  1. Interesting. I guess I should pick up the visual novel then.

  2. This kind of reminds me of when they screwed up the movie adaption of "Eragon" or the mini-series of "Wizard of Earthsea." Its one thing to take some liberties by cutting unimportant details but to totally change the main character ruining the entire story is just disappointing.

  3. I haven't play the VN or watch the anime but what an asshole! I mean the director. Because of people like him games are now for casuals and there is no honor or dignity left withing the younger generation of gamers. The same goes for anime fans, it's becoming all about fan service and the story is now becoming irrelevant.

    1. Thats so true but to be fair the anime has less fanservice as the vn

    2. Thats so true but to be fair the anime has less fanservice as the vn

  4. Was it really the directors choice? Or was the new story decided when they approved of making an anime.

  5. i should agree with this .
    i haven't played it yet , though i've already bought the game this month .
    I want to watch the anime first to see if it's will met my expectation , the same with when i read the synopsys of the VN and the anime (it's pretty much the same) .
    but when i watch the first episode , my mind going like "the hell? she's not the protag,right?" , and then what i'm afraid of happenned . The story didn't focusing on Masaya , it focus on the freaking heroines and watched from their perspective!! and that ruins the whole story , the story i want to enjoy,laugh , frustates and cry when watching.
    i'm planning to just drop the anime and straight up play the VNs , maybe when i got time since right now i'm playing 4 VNs at the same time (too hard to focus to)

    Welp , hope the director pull something to make it worth for me to watch it again .
    On the contrary , rejoice for all of you who can't read japanese and want the VN translated , its already done . though , they haven't realeased the TL yet , it's still something you can expect to come in 2/3 months time :3.

    P.S : Crappy english , dont google TL it , it'll get worse :)

  6. You bring up some interesting discussion and I do agree with your points, but mind if I play devil's advocate for a bit here? Some of these changes might actually be better overall for its watchability. At the end of the day, anime is a visual medium so a direct line-by-line adaptation might be boring.

    The anime is only going to be 12 episodes long from what I gather, so they probably had to cut a lot of content to even get the story to fit. Cutting out the entire segment of the abandoned bus renovation could be a huge time saver. Going again on time savings, I feel that it's probably more entertaining to show the game be played rather than to listen to an infodump. For example, the whole shortcut thing. Yeah, it was a bit confusing when I watched it and I was thinking "Can she do that?" but gleaning over it visually, even if the rule wasn't explained you can kinda see it. When she skipped the buoy she did not directly go for the next one and instead turned around to tag. Stretching it a bit since they could've easily explained that by adding like 1 extra line and it'd fix everything.

    On the whole cutting Masaya bits, the flashback could just be them holding onto the "They knew each other in the past!" card to build interest. Even if they didn't explicitly show it, we can already figure out that he was good at FC and no longer motivated by the other scenes. The rest of the flashback may be shown going forward in bits and pieces. Being told everything straight up might not be the best watching experience when there's a week between each episode. Cutting him out of the shopping scene was probably a requirement if they wanted to keep the pacing of cutting out the bus part.

    Basically some of those changes may make it a better watching experience, which may be a requirement to get it to fit in this format. It would be great if they manage to fit every little detail, but as long as it's fun to watch I don't mind. Anyway, treat those arguments as you will, but this is coming from a guy that thought the first FMA anime stood fine on its own and treats it as a different entity to the manga.

    1. Woah there is many progresive analysis over here. But i am the side of anynomous but i felt symphaty for you. Once i felt betrayed with one anime because in the manga the hair colour is blondeish (very light tone), why the anime version is brown. It really ticks me.

      Conclusion: agree with anymous.
      Sympathy with Mr Tennou

    2. The 12 episode length is the kicker I guess. They probably wanted to get into the action as soon as possible, but the issue lies with the scene that they ended up skipping. The scene that convinced Masaya to join is about 5 minutes long, and that has already long passed in terms of the timeline. From what I can see, they'll end up making an anime exclusive scene to get Masaya to join then move onto the chain of events that was started by Aoi's phone call at the end of episode 2.

      As for the flashbacks, they could obviously squeeze them into later episodes. My problem with the whole thing is that I don't see the benefit of scrambling the order of these scenes. I also really feel that the shopping scene was way too important to skip. It was what established that Masaya is Asuka's mentor much like Aoi was Masaya's.

      ...also, as an avid FMA manga reader when it was on-going, I have to say that the first FMA overstepped a line when they started making up non-canon homunculuses. But then again everyone has different preferences.

  7. Same anon here and I'm curious about the shopping scene. Is the establishment of the Masaya -> Asuka's mentor and Aoi -> Masaya's mentor really all that important in the grand scheme of things at that time? Certainly establishing it early is better, but is it something that can be rewritten to later as the time calls for it? It does seem like as of episode 2, that point would just seem like a "That's nice" piece of information.

    As for the flashbacks, I probably didn't explain it very well. Fragmenting the flashbacks and revealing more as the time goes on is probably better for keeping viewer interest rather than dumping the entire thing at once. As the episodes go on, they could drop small bits of the flashback and let the viewers try to piece together what happened themselves. That's probably a better way to keep viewer interest as if they wanted to know more, then it's time to keep on watching the series. If it's dumped all at once, then it might as well end up being another "That's nice".

    1. I don't want to spoil anything, but the mentor thing is the crux of the entire story.

    2. Double post reply, whatever. I feel like I need to give an example of how crucial it is to the overall story.

      Imagine for a moment that you were watching Fullmetal Alchemist. It would be like them replacing the scene where they tried to resurrect their mother and instead doing it as a flashback with a series of still-images that Ed voices over. It would get the overall point across (that alchemists can't play God and human transmutation is wrong blah blah), but the emotional impact of it all would be gone.

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  9. lol...had this anime on my watch list...guess not playing the VN would help me watch this (eventually) since I don't know what I'm missing xDDDD Thanks for keeping the blog alive DrkMrc! xDDDD And for thos curious bout Seirei: 1. Yes, the TL is still ongoing (darn it Kyu), 2. Kyu has the raws for the LN's vol 1 and 2, 3. As for progress...you don't want to know (hides face with hands)...but I will nag him....so...ye....^^;;;;

  10. I knew it. I haven't play the game yet. But I know the anime will be a big disappointment because how they handled episode one. And after reading this post. It's pretty much sealed the deal. Not gonna watch or play the game at all. (If I buy the game, it's pretty much the same as saying that "anime promotion" was a success)

  11. I started watching this on Crunchyroll and I have to say I am very disappointed. The premise of it is interesting, even disregarding the fact that they completely screwed up what character was supposed to be the main character. My problems with it start with how lazy they are about the characters' histories, the fact that most of the competitions get glossed over and only show a couple scenes before showing their endings, and the fact that the characters we're following tend to lose most of their matches even up to the sixth episode.

    I could understand them showing them growing into it, but this is your standard anime with the standard number of episodes. So to show our characters as novices for so long is going to leave a very bad taste in my mouth if they win in the end. It'll be a deus ex machina of ridiculous proportions and a very poor conclusion.

  12. It's a bit late now, but they are explained. I've had no problem understanding the rules since the first "street fight." It was stated clearly that to score points you had to touch each buoy CONSECUTIVELY or TOUCH SOMEONE'S BACK. It only makes sense that it'd disqualify you from touching the next buoy for a point.

  13. Hi there, it's been a while. Just asking, do you have any plans for translating another novel/continuing SeiGenso/stopping for good ? Really miss this site, flashbacks to when you was translating HKnE.

    I hope you're fine and you don't mind to tell us your future plans,

  14. Basically some of those changes may make it a better watching experience, which may be a requirement to get it to fit in this format. It would be great if they manage to fit every little detail, but as long as it's fun to watch I don't mind. Anyway, treat those arguments as you will, but this is coming from a guy that thought the first FMA anime stood fine on its own and treats it as a different entity to the manga.

  15. I'm wondering if this blog is still active. I really love shinonome and your other works.

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  17. You describe it perfectly. I am waiting for more.