Why the manga is always (sort of) better than the anime

Manga to Anime manga and anime

I’ve already said the book is better than the movie, but when it comes to manga turning into anime that’s an entirely different story.

Many books nowadays are part of a series, and if one is picked up for a movie usually all will follow suit in subsequent movies.  When manga are picked up to be made into a product of the screen, however, the entire manga series is used from the beginning and is more often than not made into a T.V. show.

As manga themselves are written as installments of a story the format lends itself to T.V. show writing as it is easier to break apart into episodes, but that does not mean mangas turning into animes are necessarily anymore accurate than books turning into movies.

Though on occasion they are.  This issue is not as cut and dry as the book to movie problem, which is why I have to say that the manga is always (sort of) better than the anime.

As with anything, when a story goes from one format into another, things will be lost.  This holds true for manga that become anime.  No matter how close they get to the manga inevitably something will be missing in the anime.

Running out of Time

Ranging from a lot to a little the main problem for anything missing is that even though an anime has episodes, and thus a bit more time than your average two hour movie, it does not have as much time as you think.

Aside from anime like Naruto and One Piece, which seem to have no end, most animes are on average between twenty-four and twenty-six episodes long with the episodes running for an average twenty-four minutes (including opening and closing theme songs).

Unless a manga is super short, this will not be long enough to include or explain everything that happens in the manga.  Leaving those who have only seen the anime with lingering questions, that could very well be answered by the manga.

Ahead of Their Time

Another reason for the lingering questions that come at the end of an anime could also be the fact that when a manga series is picked up to be turned into an anime, the manga itself is often not finished yet.

Unlike books that are turned into movies where at least the book they are basing the movie on is complete (even if its series is not) an anime is most often based on a manga that is still ongoing.

This of course causes a lot of plot holes in the story which the writers of the anime have to fill.  Since they (nor anyone else for that matter) don’t actually know how the story will end, writers make up their own ending for the anime.

Sometimes their ending kind of works, but a lot of the time it really doesn’t make any sense with the beginning.  As the beginning of the series was based on the actual story written by the manga-ka and the end was written by different people you can see where the two halves of the series may not line up.

Another thing that happens in regards to that is that sometimes anime writers don’t try to make up an ending at all.  Sometimes they just stop where the manga stops which leaves the anime open-ended, and a lot of questions to still be answered.

Manga to Anime is not Always Bad

Now even though it frustrates me to no end when an anime turns a manga I love on its head, the truth is animes usually get closer to the actual content of the manga than movies get to books.

Mangas already include artwork, so usually anime artists follow that original template so at least the characters you love look the same.  Also there are some things anime can give you that manga (no matter how good it is) just can’t.

It is very hard to picture an action sequence in a manga, especially when it is drawn over several pages you have to flip through.  Anime solves this problem as it is able to show movement on screen.

Aside from that anime really does do its best to keep the integrity of the manga alive, where as I feel movies are not as concerned with that for the book.  Rarely have I seen an anime where I couldn’t at least see a little bit of the manga shining through.

Of course the anime will still be different than the manga, and as with movies based on books you just have to go in knowing that and look for the good bits.  Oftentimes the anime is actually very good, even if it does go off book a bit (or a lot).

Read the Manga!

It does annoy me though when people who have clearly only seen the anime, judge a manga by its anime.  Do not do this!  It’s the same thing as judging a book by its movie.  It’s just bad form.

The writers and artists of an anime, though they try to keep the integrity of the manga, are not the person who originally thought up this idea.

The truth is manga-ka usually have just as little say about the animes based on their mangas as authors do about the movies based on their books.

If you see an anime you like, but were really confused by and have a lot of questions still unanswered, READ the MANGA!  Chances are either the manga is still ongoing, or the anime couldn’t fit all of it in.

If you read the manga you’d be surprised how fast the ending and the entire series makes sense.

Mangas and animes are an entirely different breed than books and movies when it comes to turning one into the other.

However, they do face similar problems with their content being shifted.  The anime may keep better to the original manga, but still it is impossible for it to keep perfectly to the original story.

The anime and manga can both be good, but just remember do not judge a manga by its anime.

Why the book is always better than the movie

Book to Movie library-better-than-movie_000

People always say the book is better than the movie.  Well I am here to tell you that is accurate.  Really all you need to do is watch a movie based on a beloved book and be completely and utterly disappointed by its silver screen performance to have many reasons why the book is always better than the movie, but I’m going to highlight a few of the main reasons.

When books are turned into movies events are often changed.  Sometimes they are minor changes sometimes major, but they always seem to be exactly the piece that you love.

Don’t Understand the Movie?  Read the Book!

Not only that but often the part of the plot that gets changed from book to movie, whether minor or major, leaves a big gaping hole in the story.  This leads to confusion in the audience who haven’t read the book, anger in those who have, and worst of all misinformation about parts of the story.

Sometimes I feel I need to scold people when they walk out of seeing a movie based on a book who say, “Well that was good, but I didn’t really understand some of it.”  Read the book!  You’d be amazed how many gaps will be filled in if you do that instead of just relying on the movies.

Once I overheard some women discussing Harry Potter.   One of them was very confused about the relationship between two of the characters, and another one explained it.  She got everything wrong, but she was very certain that she was correct.

I knew immediately that they had not read any of the books.  It took all of my willpower not to turn to them and give them a crash course on everything Harry Potter, and end by telling them to read the books.

I had a professor in college who loved The Lord of the Rings, and he said he could always tell whenever people had only seen the movies.  They always referred to them as a trilogy.  It’s not a trilogy.  The Lord of the Rings is actually one big volume broken up into six books not three.  Those who have read the book know that.

My professor was always annoyed with the trilogy people who claim to love The Lord of the Rings so much.  If you think it’s a trilogy you may love the movies, but you don’t love the real Lord of the Rings.

What Book is this anyway?

Sometimes certain points of books are not left out of movies.  Sometimes the entire plot of the story is completely changed.  So much so that even if you have read the book, you leave the theatre just as confused as everyone else.  So much so you’re not even sure if what you saw was actually based on the book it said it was.

One example I have of this is Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief.  I love this book, I love the whole series.  The movie was vastly disappointing.

Aside from the fact that they used the same title and character names it could have been a completely different story.  This happens much more often than people think, and it is always hugely disappointing to the people who truly love the book and are looking forward to seeing it come to life on screen.

More Information

I do understand that as a movie that will be under three hours, screenwriters cannot include everything from book to movie.  Some things will get lost in translation.

That’s another reason why books are always better than the movies.  Books have more space.  They can flush out everything.

Even when the movie actually stays pretty close to the mark there are always some things that don’t get put in.  In the book you have access to everything.   Every single piece of information is put in regarding the story so you never feel lost or confused (even if you have to read it a few times).

Tips for Book-based Movie Watching

Now I am not saying do not go to movies based on books.  I certainly do and the way things have been lately if you don’t go to movies based on books you may never go to the movies again.  When you do here are some tips to help you enjoy the movie instead of spending the entire time complaining about how it’s nothing like the book:

  • Know going in that this movie will not be like the book.  Remember things always get taken out from book to movie whether small or big.  Prepare for both.
  • The author of the book usually has very little or no say in the writing of the movie script.  Understand that this happens.
  • Remember there is a limited amount of time to work with in a movie so don’t go in expecting everything to be gone into in detail.  It won’t be.  Make peace with that now.
  • There are things that you can get from the movie that you can’t get in the book.  Like getting to see the characters you love come to life, or maybe there was an action sequence that can be better clarified on the screen then in words.  Find those things and focus on them (instead of everything that they got wrong).
  • Enjoy the movie as a movie and try not to compare it too much to the book.  You’ll only be disappointed, and you might miss out on a movie that actually is a good.

Now of course even following these tips you’re probably going to find a movie that has disgraced the book so much nothing will stop you from being angry and that’s perfectly fine.

Let’s face it even if the movie is good the book will always be better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the movie too.  They’re going to keep making them and we’ll all keep seeing them; we might even enjoy a few.

But the book will always be better than the movie, so remember:

neverjudgeabookbyitsmovie

 

 

Why cozy murder mysteries are awesome

Cozy Murder Mystery cozy murder mysteries

The genre of mystery has always intrigued those with its puzzles, deduction, and looks into the human psyche to see how anyone could commit such a heinous act as murder.  Through the documented police procedural mysteries the reader gets a look at the seriousness of such a horrible crime, and often feels an amount of terror as the killer gets closer to being brought to justice.

That does make a good story, but some of us get a little freaked out by the upfront gruesome details of such a mystery or just need a break from it.  That is where the cozy murder mystery comes in.

The cozy mystery has taken on a life of its own filling the mystery section of bookstores and libraries everywhere.  It has almost become a sub-genre of mystery.

I know some people look at those little paperbacks and think they’re slightly far-fetched, I mean typically in a cozy the police officers involved in solving the murder don’t seem to be able to do it nearly as well as the average citizen.  Or that they don’t really hold a candle to a real mystery.  But I say they’re wrong! Cozy murder mysteries are awesome!

The Amateur Sleuth

Cozies are the home of the amateur sleuths, they feature a civilian as their protagonist not a police officer so if you don’t particularly like mysteries where police procedural is gone into in depth, or just need a break from it, this is the perfect read for you!

Now the basic police procedures are shown, but since the main character investigating is not a police officer they don’t go into that much depth because they don’t know it.  It makes the story very amusing to read as you watch the main character fumble around through their investigation.

Investigating Can be Funny

That brings up another point about why cozies are awesome: they are funny.  I know it’s murder, and murder is not supposed to be funny, but somehow the cozy makes it seem so.

The murder itself is not funny, but what happens after as our amateur sleuth tries to piece everything together while usually butting heads constantly with the proper authorities, is hilarious!  Cozies are mysteries and comedies all in one.

Themes

Another thing about cozies is that they always have a theme.  And there is literally a theme for whatever interest you might have.  Like gardening?  There’s a cozy for that.  Sewing?  They’ve got cozies for sewing, knitting, and crocheting (different ones).

You a book fan (probably since you’re reading this) you are totally covered.  They’ve got cozies about bookstores, bookbinding, book clubs, publishing houses, rare book researchers, and many more.

There are cozies featuring vintage clothing, food (muffins, cupcakes, chocolate, seriously this theme alone could fill an entire mystery section), antique shops, witches, antique shops with witches, libraries, animals solving crimes, magical animals solving crimes, theatre, this list goes on and on.

If I listed all the themes we could be here forever.   Just trust me browse through your local bookstore’s mystery section and you will find a cozy with a theme featuring your exact interest (there is a cozy featuring a snow-globe shop, trust me they have everything).

They’re Good

Another reason cozies are awesome is because they’re good.  They may not be hard core police procedurals with gruesome details, but they are hard core mysteries.

There are complex clues, engaging characters to sort them out, and often a twist at the end you didn’t see coming.  And they are well researched so that their facts are accurate.

The intricacies of a murder investigation may not be gone into as deep from the actual police point of view, but that doesn’t mean it’s not even looked at, or that what is put down is not accurate.  The police are just more in the background of a cozy so that the amateur sleuth can be featured.

Also, whatever theme they are using the author will have to do extensive research on that as well to make it believable.  It’s hard enough to write a convincing mystery, and cozy authors have to do that as well as write a convincing theme that ties in with the murder.  How does a chocolatier get involved in a murder anyway? (Read Kathy Aarons’s cozy Death is Like a Box of Chocolates to find out!)

Vacation Read

Cozies are also the perfect beach read.  I don’t know about you but I love reading on the beach, but it’s hard to find the right book for that kind of reading.

When you’re at the beach you’re already relaxed and reading something too dense or serious just isn’t something your brain is interested in.  But you also want to read something that is exciting and will actually keep you interested despite your brain entering catatonic beach mode.

Cozies are the perfect solution to this quandary as they are entertaining and make you think just enough with their mystery to keep you guessing, but are funny, light, and usually not too long so as to keep your beach mode brain happy.

This is true of any vacation destination not just a beach one so don’t worry if you can’t get to a beach that often!  Any vacation spot is even better with a cozy by your side.

Cozy Mania

Some cozies are actually becoming so popular that they have moved from paperbacks into hardcover (rare in the book world) which just adds evidence to my claim that the cozy murder mystery is awesome and that they are becoming their own section of mystery.

I am not saying the hard-boiled detective novels are not awesome as well, but I am saying cozies are right up there with them.  Just try one once and you’ll see.  And when you love it, and you will, you’ll be excited to know that cozies pretty much always come in series form.

Cozy murder mysteries: funny, hobby-oriented murder.  What more could you ask for?

Learn More

If you want to see a list of cozy mysteries or just want to know more there are plenty of places on the web to look here’s a site I like:

http://cozy-mysteries-unlimited.com/

Or just check out your local bookstore!

 

Why it’s ok to grieve for the loss of a character in a book

Character Death and Grieving sherlock holmes dead

I see it all the time in myself and in others who really love the books their reading.  A favorite character of yours dies and you grieve, and then people judge you in some way because in their words, “it’s just a book.”

Now if the book is non-fiction and someone dies then people may be more accepting of your grief but eventually they say something along the lines of, “well it’s sad but you didn’t know them.”

The thing that these people don’t get is that you did know them.  And the fictional characters you knew them too.  The book opened up their lives and stories to you, and there you got to know them.  Whether they are real or not when a character you love dies it’s a very sad experience, and as with any loss it’s ok to grieve.

Now I’m not saying you should wallow in your room for weeks on end, but it’s ok to feel a sense of loss when a character dies.  Who cares if they were in a book that was fictional?  During the time you spent with them while reading they were as real as anything.  They are for me anyway.  I’m still upset that (SPOILER) Fred died in the last Harry Potter book!

Characters Come to Life

When you read a book the author draws you into their world, into the lives of the characters.  Their job is to make you fall in love with their characters.  To care about their lives and what happens to them.

If you are not emotionally invested in the characters on the page than what’s the point?  If you start reading a book and half way through you still don’t care one way or the other what happens to the characters why keep reading it?

The plot and setting are important parts of a story, but it’s the characters that bring the story to life.  That give those places and times meaning.  If the characters are bland and boring and people you wouldn’t even look twice at the book falls apart at the seams (pardon the pun).  If the author has not written a story with characters that you can be emotionally invested in then they’ve failed at their job.

Most authors do not fail at their job so of course you feel emotionally invested in the lives of these characters.  You celebrate their joy with them.  You feel their sadness when they are hurt.  You yell at them, “No you’re not supposed to be with him you’re supposed to be with the other guy!” when they make a fumble in romance.  You shake your head at them when they do something stupid.

With all these emotions that you feel for them they become real people to you. Why wouldn’t you feel a sense of loss and grieve when the characters that have become real for you die?

My books have always been very special to me.  They were some of my closest friends growing up and still are now.  The characters in them became people I cared about, and really I never saw anything wrong with that.  I still don’t.

Yes I know they’re not real, that’s really not the point.  When I had a bad day it was nice to open a book and escape into a world nothing like my own reality for a little while.  And the characters in them invited me into their lives and took me on their adventures.

Even when I wasn’t having a bad day it was fun to do that.  That’s what books are for.  To take you out of yourself for a little while.  To join a band of characters that at least during your time between the covers are as real as you are.

So for anyone who still feels embarrassed that they feel grief over the death of a character, don’t.  It’s perfectly natural to feel that loss.  For anyone who tells you “it’s just a book” know that they are not a true book lover like you.

Why it Really is Ok

If you still feel awkward about it here’s something to ease your mind:

Back when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was writing his Sherlock Holmes stories he got tired of writing about Holmes so he decided to do what a lot of authors do when they get bored with a character: he killed him off.  The response to that was immediate and surprising.

Apparently Sherlock Holmes had become so popular and so much a part of people’s lives in London that when news of his death came in people were so grief-stricken they mourned him literally.  All over London people hung black wreaths on their doors (a symbol for mourning), they dressed in black, a memorial service was held and a lot of people actually showed up!

They behaved as if the character Sherlock Holmes was a real guy, and quite a few people thought he was.  There is an actual 221B Baker Street address in London. The real residents who lived their got condolence cards.

The mourning and outrage was so absolute that Doyle brought Holmes back to life.  Now the real residents of 221B Baker Street went back to their normal letters: job offers for Mr. Holmes.

There was a pole done in recent years that asked young people of today if they thought Sherlock Holmes was a real person.  Eighty percent of them said yes he was.  I tell you this so that you can take comfort in the fact that no matter how much you grieve for a characters’ death you will never be the craziest person out there.

So long as you stay away from sending condolence cards to a fictional character’s address, mourning the loss of a beloved character is normal and perfectly acceptable.  You loved them, now their gone, and you’re sad.  It’s that simple.

Why Science-Fiction and Fantasy are Not the Same Genre

Defining Science-Fiction and Fantasy scifi-fantasy

Science-Fiction and Fantasy are both two great genres.  However, they are not the exact same genre as many book listings would have you believe.

Often in bookstores you will find a science-fiction/fantasy section which holds books that fall under both of these categories.  There are also bookstores that simply mark a science-fiction section and then proceed to dump both science-fiction and fantasy under it confusing the issue more.

Now don’t get me wrong there can be quite a bit of overlap between the two genres, and there are parts of them that are similar.  For instance the fact that they both are fictional and thus are stories about things that have not occurred.  Despite certain similarities, though, science-fiction and fantasy have certain key differences.

There are many different ways of defining these two genres, and debates have been raging about what makes a book science-fiction or fantasy for a long time.  Here is a basic definition of each genre:

  • Science-Fiction: a story that, although has not happened, has a possibility of happening based on current real scientific facts.  These stories often take place in the future and/or show a certain phenomenon that is now possible such as time travel.
  • Fantasy: a story that is completely invented and could not (most likely) ever actually occur.  These stories usually have some element of magic to them such as supernatural creatures, people with some kind of supernatural ability, and/or take place in a completely made up world.

Separating the Two

Fantasy books are places where fantastical creatures are real, and people find out they have great supernatural powers and have to save the world.  It’s the land where the totally impossible is possible. Think things like Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Science-fiction on the other hand, and I cannot stress this enough, is a story about something that could actually happen.  Sure you hear “time travel” in a book’s summary and you automatically think, “that could never happen.”  The truth is it could, just not with what we currently have at our disposal.

The possibility is there.  That’s where science-fiction comes in.  As Ray Bradbury, who has written some awesome science-fiction such as Fahrenheit 451, stated “science-fiction is a sociological look at the future.”

Some parts of science-fiction that were written previously are actually starting to show up in current science.  It is currently possible to genetically modify a body before it’s born.  Most of this research is to help prevent birth defects and diseases, but the possibility now exists to choose genes for things like personality and physical appearance.

This eerily mirrors a character in Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Shadow who was part of an experiment which genetically modified babies in the womb giving them super intelligence.   This may be only one part of the story, but it does show how science-fiction stories, while not real, have the possibility of at least somewhat becoming a reality where as fantasy stories do not.

Science Fantasy?

There are some stories where the realms of science-fiction and fantasy overlap so much it’s hard to tell which genre the story belongs in.  One of the biggest examples of this is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels.

Although they have dragons, leading many to think of them as fantasy, they are based on and use a lot of science within them.  Anne McCaffrey herself saw them more as science-fiction as she always took great care to craft the science into her dragons.

There are those who put books like this into the newer genre of science fantasy, but explaining that would take a whole other post!  So for now just know that while it is possible for science-fiction and fantasy to overlap on occasion there are still certain key things about each genre which separate it from the other.

Why I feel I need to Tell You This

The other day I saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief labeled as science-fiction.  Granted this was the movie not the book, but seriously?  In what world is Percy Jackson science-fiction?  How is a story about demigods, and Greek gods, and magical this, and supernatural that anything other than fantasy?  When I saw that my pet peeve about science-fiction and fantasy always getting mixed up rose to the surface, and I just had to help spread the word.