Twelve Days of DAL (#8): The Anime

All right, this time i’ll talk about the anime adaptation. So, does it elevate the source material? Or does it crash and burn on itself?

Short answer: it’s a disappointment

Long answer: well…….

DAL

The anime, all things considered, were decent. Most of the event didn’t deviate from it’s source material and it didn’t resort to an original anime ending.The animation quality was above average and the aesthetic were good, although the second season do suffer a downgrade. What i liked the most however, is the soundtrack done by Go Sakabe (i should probably keep in mind of this guy). It range from happy romcom/slice of life music to haunting choir battle theme with an orchestra for good measure. Butt, it do suffer to some problem.

One of those problem was the pacing. It felt a bit rushed and sometimes the event feels disconnected and disjointed, particularly in season 2. It feels that they just cut out some of the detail and just connect what’s left without any sense of flow. Characterization also suffer because of the cut content.

Of course, when you try to adapt text media onto visual media, you need to cut out details in order to fit the inherent time constraint. And that’s fine, it’s reasonable and i understand that.

Then comes my major issue with this adaptation which is less forgiveable.

And that is replacing those cut content with an original scene/humor that doesn’t add anything to the story.

To give you the better idea of what i am talking about, lets just take a look at one of the most important episode that will set the mood for the rest of this series.

The first episode.

The first episode of started out cliche enough. It begins with a depiction of a disaster that kills millions of life only to cut to our MC getting rude awakening by his own sister. This part, generic they may be, was still fine enough. But what happens afterward, is the point where i started raising my eyebrow.

First, when Shido and Kotori walked to school together. Second, the commentary by the trio girls and Origami out of place stalking. Lastly, the introduction and the conversation between Shido and his friend Tomodachi about Tomodachi’s apparently virtual girlfriend.

The event i just describe above are all anime original scenario/humor that adds nothing to the story and these are all just few examples (and they’re not even funny). Keep in mind this only just the first episode alone. They small, but it adds up and it also detract time focus off one of the most important scene in this episode that set the tone and people expectation for this series.

Shido’s conversation with Kotori on Fraxinus.

In the LN, after Kotori deliver some exposition, she began to taunt Shido by saying that it’s probably for the best for the Spirits to be killed by the AST due to the destruction they caused. Shido object this because as she says, spatial quake happens not out of Spirits will and he believed that the mysterious girl (Tohka) won’t caused destruction out of evil deed (he knew this after seeing Tohka’s sad look which reminding him of himself). While Kotori said Shido may had a point, she said is still too risky to compromise the world safety just for one girl only, but Shido persisted on finding another way. Finally hearing the word that Kotori wanted to hear, she offer Shido an assistance from Ratatoskr, supposedly because the organization are build for his sake. After Kotori explaining the method i.e. dating them and make them fall in loved, Shido refused. Having no other way however, Shido reluctantly agreed to the term.

What happen in the anime meanwhile, goes something like this:

Kotori : “So this is a Spirit (insert exposition), this is AST (another one) and they’re here to kill them.”

Shido : “Huh! Kill!?”

Kotori : “That’s right. But there is another way to solve this and we need your help to do it. Your training starts tomorrow. Kay, cool.”

That’s it.

Oh yeah, that’s not even the end of the episode. So after that scene, Kotori revealed the training to be a dating sim. When Shido started the dating sim, it opens with a Star Wars-esque narration info dumping on the circumstances with a really self-mocking bored monotone voice over.

Yep.

Do you realize how different both of those feels?

In the LN, the situation on hand is presented as an actual legitimate conflict while also giving clue on something bigger despite of it’s ridiculousness. But the seriousness was undercut when Kotori reveal the dating method followed by Shido’s facepalming to it (yes, Shido literally facepalm). It wasn’t too serious, but at least they bother trying to build a tension. So when serious plot related moments do happen later on especially during the event of volume 3 or in the anime episode 7 up to 9, it wasn’t too unbelieveable.

The anime meanwhile, treated the scenario like a joke to the point it being self parodying. It also really seems Shido is just pulled along by the plot and accepting toward the circumstances, which really making him more bland.

This may seems minor, but this is one of the factor why people feels there’s tonal dissonance in the anime. If you already treated your own conflict like a joke, people will have an expectation and treated the entire event like a joke. And quite frankly, if i watched the anime first, i don’t think i’ll take the anime seriously and be invested in the conflict. First episode serves as the first impression on what’s to come and it won’t come twice. Depending on how you presented yourself, you either got the audience hooked and invested or just being dismissal on anything and at worse, bored.

Then comes one other gripping problem for me in this adaptation.

The lack of foreshadowing.

In the anime, exposition feels it was spited out without any care. There’s no implication on bigger things nor there’s even foreshadowing. The cut detail doesn’t help either.

And my final problem with this adaptation, is one episode that really ruined tone. Episode 6.

What happens on that episode is basically DAL anime (it’s a filler) being a complete parody of itself. On the outset it’s just a harmless fun and if you like complete mayhem humor then you’ll enjoy it. But the event is so detached from the rest of the series and feels like a whole different story altogether. Not only it was worthless because it detract focus from adapting more plot related content in the LN, it also hurt tone management and further emphasize the tonal dissonance problem.

After that i decided to check out the staff for this anime and what i found isn’t exactly pleasing.

Directed by Keitaro Montonaga (Jormungand)

Okay. Weird to put Jormungand considering this guy also directed Katanagatari which i liked, but okay.

From the studio that produced Cat Planet Cuties

Ummm, well Madhouse also the one who produced Photo Kano sooo…..

Series Composition by Hideki Shirane (Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar; Master of Martial Hearts; Queens Blade)

Ugghh……

But you what irks me the most? When i was looking at a certain website for the review of the anime, the reviewer said that both the narration at the end of the first episode and the filler episode were a part of the AIC+ realization that they were adapting otaku pandering crap and he was happy for it that it was being self parodying.

Oh reaaaaallllllly……

Then why the cliche emphasization? Why the original humor/content i just mentioned? Why did the studio have to be self parodying this series if they’re just going to also adapted the serious plot content? Why not just go all out if you’re just going to be self parodying so i don’t have to care? Besides i am pretty sure the LN are quite self aware enough already.

Jeez……

Sorry i got to angry rambling there. You can see my problem with this adaptation and how people view it. Well, that’s pretty much all i can say about the anime adaptation, so i’ll be continuing this next time.

See you around and again, i am sorry.

End notes:

– While i liked the music overall, it can be out of place at times. During the choice moments, while it is comedic moment, the music can be a little too cheerful.

– Tohka also came across as an idiot airhead rather than naive and oblivious, especially on the original content and the filler episode.

– Funimation advertisement doesn’t help much either. The literal tagline they came up for this series is “kiss the girl, save the world”.

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