Netflix Anime Summit: Anime And Manga Creators Have No Qualms On Manga-To-Anime Adaptations

Anytime a manga series gets a sizeable enough of a following, it’ll receive an announcement for either an anime or live-action adaptation, or *shudder* both. Though fans of the manga series will no doubt be celebrating, there are bound to be a group of fans wary of such adaptations, and for good reason, as many of us remember the bad ones out there. 

Questions like, how much of the source material will be changed to fit the new medium as well as other questions are sure to flit across their mind and understandably so. Fortunately for fans like these, they’ll be happy to know that anime production studios are actually more than aware of such fears, or at least David Production, the studio behind the highly popular anime series, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures.

In a media interview during the Netflix Anime Festival, Shuichiro Tanaka, the producer of David Production shared that he does feel a lot of pressure when making an anime adaptation from a manga. 

“I do feel a lot of pressure from the fans obviously,” Shuichiro stated, “especially when you work on a manga that has a lot of fans following.”

Shuichiro then shared a little more on what goes on behind the scenes at David Production, when creating an anime adaptation.

“We hold meetings for several days,” Shuichiro said. “We discuss what is the core of the story. We were talking about what’s so unique about anime and how can we bring that along with this story? What is it that we want to achieve by making an animation from this original manga?”

It’s clear that Shuichiro and his team put in a lot of effort into their anime adaptations, and it shows in how well-received their works are, with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures being incredibly popular with viewers of all ages. He also shared how his team even made a trip to Italy when producing Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, as the anime itself is set in that country, so as to stay true to the source material and not only make sure they do not disappoint fans of the manga, but also be able to better portray Italy. 

Meanwhile, for manga artist Mari Yamazaki of Thermae Romae fame, anime adaptations staying true to the original source material is actually not something she is particular about. 

Her reason? Well, her manga itself borrows heavily from other sources as well, and she understands the need for personal interpretation. “because I have been drawing a lot of historic-themed manga, and I researched a lot of books,” she explains.

“And so I do all this research and it goes through my interpretation and from my perspective, I draw my manga. So it is the same process,” Yamazaki shared. Yamazaki is the artist and creator of the award-winning manga series Thermae Romae, which is being made into a Netflix original anime series that will release sometime in 2021.

She adds, “As an original author, I do not feel that strongly that an animated version of my manga should look like this, or should be told like this. I want the creators of those projects to express it in their own way.”

Of course, Yamazaki notes that with how anime is becoming increasingly global, especially with platforms such as Netflix, it is important to be careful with ideas that could become potentially causes of conflicts, such as different interpretations of Christianity or Islam. 

Indeed for some, it can be important for adaptations to stay loyal to its source material but as Yamazaki stated, sometimes it can be for the best that anime adaptations stray off the path a little, sometimes new characters not in the original manga can be introduced to help further the protagonist’s character growth or to help push the plot, or backstories that were not stated in the manga can be added to help give them a little more depth and complexity. These can all help to give a more well-rounded experience to fans of the series. 

After all, one can do so much with anime as the medium of choice so there is no reason to simply limit the series to strictly following its source material, couple that with great voice acting, and a stellar score and you have yourself a series worth binging for the next few hours.