Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aoi Bungaku 01

While Madhouse has done a first rate job pissing all over their reputation the last few years, they still managed to turn out at least one really impressive, unorthodox anime every year. Last year's Moryo no Hako clearly whet a few appetites around there for more literary work, so this year we get Aoi Bungaku, an anthology series in which different staffs adapt famous literary masterpieces with character designed done by Shonen Jump authors. Takeshi Obata is a no brainer; Tite Kubo is a bit more of a headscratcher, but one episode appears to have the goofy loonball who does Prince of Tennis in charge of designs, which simply boggles the mind.

The first and longest story up for adaption is Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku.) While I've never read the book -- like so many people in today's modern world, the INSANELY creepy host of the program regretfully informs us, I tend to think of 'literature' as hard to connect to -- but I knew the title (if only because Nisioisin referenced it in his second novel.)
So I can't really comment on how this is functioning as an adaption. What I can say is that it managed to hook me immediately, conveyed an awful lot in a few carefully chosen images, and follows through on that initial promise extremely well. Really looking forward to see the rest -- at least, for the four episodes of Ningen Shikkaku.


  1. It's fairly different to the book, but it's just changes in the structure so it works as an anime, and some stuff added in or sexed up to make it more accessible, which I guess is the point of this series. A more than decent adaptation as far as I'm concerned, although since it's such a classic there will no doubt be people who aren't impressed by the (at times massive) changes.

    Also the main character's voice is simply perfect. I know if I ever read the book again I'll hear it in that voice as if it was always supposed to be that way.

  2. Um, Casshern Sins was one of the best shows of recent years.

    Kaiba was hailed as a great show (although I didn't personally like it), Hajime no Ippo s2 was no doubt good (skipped because I read the manga), Kurozuka was quite excellent, etc.

    Your Madhouse hatred is inexplicable.

  3. Sounds good.

    The Madhouse hate is warranted but to be fair their reputation I would think is better than most since they actually produce a ridiculous amount of work while getting something out of it in the end: experience/budget/etc to do something completely fucking awesome.

  4. Like I said, Madhouse has continued to produce a number of good shows while fucking up their high profile projects. None of those were on my shit list. Allison and Lillia, Princess Ressurection, Neuro, Rideback, Tenjo Tenge, Shigurui, Souten Kouro, and Yume Tsukai all ranged from fucking inexcusable to shamefully mediocre. They are somewhat offset by Dennou Coil, Kaiba, Kemonozume, Oh! Edo Rocket, Moryo no Hako, and the Satoshi Kon projects.

  5. True. My Japanese comprehension is incredibly preschool so I wouldn't be able to compare the adaptations most of the time.

    I did enjoy Rideback but I could imagine how much better it could've been or already is (in manga form). I wonder about Allison and Lillia (the anime was kinda...dry) because I'm generally a fan of what little Kino is out there in english...

  6. Rideback just made up it's own plot, for some reason. I don't know why you'd grab a book that political if you were afraid of dealing with the politics. Maybe it got into them after I stopped, but somehow I doubt they were as intense about it.

    The Allison and Lillia novels are rip-snorting pulp adventure fiction that should have been impossible to not make into wildly entertaining anime, but by carefully cutting the best moments, fucking up the designs, and having no animation or directing involves, they did a pretty good gutting. Take, for example, the bit where they steal a plane -- in the anime, they just find the plane unattended, while in the novel, there's a guy there and Allison pretends to be a rich heiress from the estate that owns the planes and bullshits him into letting her take it. I couldn't stand to watch much more of it.

  7. "Allison and Lillia, Princess Ressurection, Neuro, Rideback, Tenjo Tenge, Shigurui, Souten Kouro, and Yume Tsukai all ranged from fucking inexcusable to shamefully mediocre."

    Remove Shigurui from that list, and I'd fully agree with you.

  8. I understand the show has it's fans, but I thought the glacial pacing destroyed the visceral appeal of the manga.

  9. Shigurui's 'glacial pacing' I felt had the odd effect of either muting or jacking up the viscerality of it but by the end of the anime I felt really, really gypped.

  10. I definitely found what I bothered to watch of Allison & Lillia to be a bit bland. Spots of excitement and brilliant, but all in all not particularly engaging.

    Shigurui, on the other hand, I enjoyed a great deal. Part of it was the almost-glacial-at-times pacing, but the real appeal for that show to me was the endemic insanity and rottenness of all the characters. I guess I was just never expecting a machismo battle or something so I wasn't disappointed when it was more interested in brooding and just being fucked than it was in straight-up fighting.