Tag: Unpopular Anime Opinions

Anime vs. Source Material

Anime vs. Source Material


The battle between anime and source material has been raging ever since the first anime based on an outside source was created (probably). On one side you have those who believe the original content is the best form of a story, and on the other you have those who believe anime enhances the original story.

I won’t lie, I have a bias towards anime over source material, but it’s not because I think the anime versions of a story are always better, it’s simply that anime as a medium is more entertaining to me than the alternatives. You may have gotten a sense of this if you noticed there’s only one manga review currently on this site.

Don’t worry, manga readers, I’m slowly making my way through a second manga now, and I’ve added more to my Plan to Read list. But this post isn’t about the manga I plan to read, it’s about the battle between anime and source material.

Source Material

So what is source material? It’s the material that’s the source of the story or content used in an anime. Sometimes anime have original stories, which I’ll get to in a bit, but often they’re based off pre-existing works such as manga, light novels, or visual novels.

Let’s start with my least favorite, visual novels. A visual novel is a type of story driven game which often uses anime-style drawings and limited animation. The gameplay typically consists of clicking through text with the occasional choice between two or more options.

As the name implies, visual novels are very similar to novels in that they’re text-based and happen to be accompanied by somewhat animated images. However, they’re also the closest source material to actual anime (out of manga, light novels, and visual novels) because of this.

Now, I know, Steins;Gate is one of the most popular and highest rated anime, and it’s based off a visual novel. Also, the Fate/UBW is based on a visual novel, but let’s not forget most people prefer Fate/Zero which is based on a novel instead.

But how can adaptations of visual novels be bad if they give us anime like Steins;Gate and Fate/UBW?

Well, the thing is, those were the only two examples I could find of good anime adaptations of visual novels. And just because there are a few good ones doesn’t mean we can ignore the bad ones (although the same applies in the opposite direction as well).

School Days, one of the worst anime ever made, is an anime adaptation of a visual novel. In fact, School Days is so bad that it was actually banned in China back in 2015.

But the argument could be made that school days was a bad adaptation of a bad visual novel, so are there examples of good visual novels with bad anime adaptations? Of course there are, one of which you can watch this season called Island.

The Island visual novel is rated as a 9/10 on Steam and has a 97% positive rating on Google. However, it only has a 6.13/10 rating on MAL (which is low for MAL), and I currently have it rated at 3/10. So, either the people who played the visual novel don’t know what they’re talking about, or Island is a bad anime adaptation.

If you want to read about a visual novel, you can check out my review of Doki Doki Literature Club.

The next major kind of source material is manga. Manga is probably the most well-known type of anime source material for two reasons. First, it’s the source material for a large portion of all anime. Second, it’s the primary source material for some of the biggest anime around.

If you know anything about anime, you’ve likely heard of Naruto, One Piece, or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Shounen series like these are some of the most popular anime ever, and the biggest ones typically have their roots in manga. If shounen isn’t for you, maybe a shoujo series like Sailor Moon is something you’ve heard of. Well, that’s based off a manga too.

Joseph Joestar saying "Oh! My! God!" from the manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Joseph Joestar (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders)

So what is manga? It’s just a Japanese comic book. But, if that’s all it is, then why are so many anime based of them? Well, because manga authors have some pretty good stories to tell, and since their stories are coupled with visuals, are easy to imagine in a different medium such as anime.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “why, then, would manga be any better as source material for an anime than visual novels?” Honestly, I don’t know, but I can make an educated guess. Manga have one storyline from beginning to end (usually), while visual novels typically change depending on the choices the player makes.

Because of this, more time and effort is put into that single storyline, making it better. Also, even if all the various storylines of a visual novel are great, they can’t all be adapted into a single anime that easily. I mean, look at Fate, it has a million anime adaptations following different routes.

Unless something like that is done, it’s hard to get a complete adaptation of a visual novel. With many anime only being licensed for one season initially these days, it’s hard to fully adapt anything.

Luckily, manga, specifically shounen manga, doesn’t seem to have this issue. If a manga is well received, you can generally expect the anime to be well received too. And, if a manga is of the shounen variety, you can pretty much guarantee it will get more than one season, and so won’t be stuck unfinished.

If you want to read about manga, check out my review of Inside Mari.

The final of the big three anime source materials is the light novel. A light novel is basically just a novel with illustrations in the same way an illuminated manuscript is a fancy name for a handwritten document with some pictures.

Light novels are the wildcards of the anime source material world. While they’re certainly written by professional authors just like manga, they’re also just as likely to be written by amateurs, posted on the internet, and then picked up by a publishing company that needs to fill a quota.

Because of this, light novels and their adaptations vary wildly. For example, my highest rated anime series of all time is the Monogatari series, based on light novels, and my lowest rated anime I’ve ever completed, In Another World With My Smartphone, is also based on light novels.

The blessing of light novels is that the plot, dialogue, and text in general is the primary focus of the work, unlike with manga which uses art to express half or more of what’s happening. The curse, however, is that there are a lot of bad light novels that get adapted into anime.

Because anyone can, in theory, have a novel they upload to the internet picked up by a publishing company, there are a lot of light novels that seem like fan fictions based around other popular anime/manga/light novels. For example, the isekai genre.

Have you watched an isekai anime created in the last 15 years or so? Chances are it began as a light novel.

Some notable isekai, light novel anime are Sword Art Online, Overlord, No Game No Life, In Another World With My Smartphone, The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, KonoSuba, Re:ZERO, Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody, and Log Horizon.

If you want to read about a light novel, sorry, but I haven’t actually read any. I’d like to read the Monogatari series some day, so if you’re interested in that as well, why not check out my Monogatari series viewing guide? The second order in this guide is the light novel order.

Anime Originals

Now that we’ve talked about outside source material, what about anime original material? There are actually two different types of anime original material: completely original and partially original content.

Completely original content is when a story is written specifically to be made into an anime. An example of this is Madoka Magica, which was first an anime and later adapted to other media such as manga, light novels, and games.

The great thing about completely original anime is that they were written with the medium of anime in mind, and so should work better in that format than anything adapted into anime from another medium. If you’re writing a light novel you don’t have to worry about things like scene composition, but that becomes extremely important if your work is adapted into anime.

While nobody really seems to have any issue with completely original anime content, it’s the partially original content that comes to the forefront of the anime vs. source material battle. This is the material which only appears in the anime version of the story, not the source version.

Just about every anime adapted from another medium has some partially original content; it’s often necessary simply for the story to work in this different medium. However, sometimes this content isn’t necessary for the change in medium, but simply for scheduling purposes.

Enter, anime original filler. Ah, yes, filler episodes, the bane of the modern anime viewer. While some filler is actually written in the source material, there’s a lot of filler, especially in long-running shounen series, which is anime original simply because time needs to be wasted until the next part of the story is written.

However, one of the most controversial pieces of partially original anime content is the Fullmetal Alchemist anime. I’ve discussed this many times, but for those who aren’t aware, there are actually two different Fullmetal Alchemist anime: FMA and FMA: Brotherhood.

FMA came out first and only adapted the anime for the first 10 or so episodes. After that, it was an anime original story. The reason for this is that the manga wasn’t complete when the anime was being created, and so the anime had to come up with an original ending that didn’t spoil where the manga was going in the future.

Years later, after the completion of the manga, FMA: Brotherhood was released as a full adaptation of the source material, not a partial one like the original FMA. This release of a second, more faithful version of Fullmetal Alchemist is what makes this so controversial.

I think both versions excel at different things, but that brings us to our final segment.

Which is Better?

Continuing on with Fullmetal Alchemist, I think FMA: Brotherhood has better art, animation, and OP/EDs, but the original FMA has a better plot. But how can this be? The plot of FMA is mostly anime original and doesn’t follow the source material, so how can it be better?

Source material, like anything else, isn’t perfect. Just because something follows the source material more closely, or is the source material, doesn’t automatically make it better than something which strays from the original content.

I understand that FMA isn’t as faithful of an adaptation as FMA: Brotherhood, but it’s still better (plot wise).

By using this same argument, just because an anime is an adaptation of a manga, light novel, or visual novel, that doesn’t mean the anime is a worse version of the story. In fact, it could very much be a better version of the story because it was able to fix the issues of the original.

On the other hand, an anime adaptation is not automatically better than the source material either. There are many cases in which the anime adaptation is better than the source material, and many cases where the opposite is true as well.

What’s really important is choosing the right medium for you, as well as understanding the differences between the various media. As I stated at the beginning of this post, anime is the medium which works best for me because being able to see and hear the content is more engaging than simply reading (hear as in the OST and general sounds, not dubbed anime).

However, for some, reading the source material works better. If you’re reading a light novel, manga, or visual novel, you can move through the story at your own pace which may help with taking in all of the little details. It really all comes down to personal preference, but you need to find which medium suits your preferences the most.


I know that some people won’t be happy with an answer like that in the end, so for those who need a concrete answer: anime is the best medium, source material is worse than anime adaptations, and FMA is better than FMA: Brotherhood. Feel free to fight me on any of those points in the comments.

If you enjoyed this pseudo-comeback of DoubleSama’s Unpopular Anime Opinions, then leave a like down below this post. I’m thinking of reviving that series fully with a post about how Prisma Illya is the best entry in the Fate series, so stay tuned for that in the near future.

And, do you know the best way to stay tuned for future posts? That’s right! Follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog via email to be notified every time a new post goes live.

Sakura vs. Hinata

Sakura vs. Hinata


It’s time for the second entry in my Unpopular Anime Opinions series. While yesterday we took a look at what makes for a boring female character compared to a good one, today we’ll be taking what we learned and applying it to my favorite shounen, the Naruto series.

Within this series, Hinata is the fan favorite girl for some unknown reason. I’ve honestly never met a single person who could give me a good explanation as to why Hinata is the best girl in the series.

As you may be able to tell, Sakura is my personal favorite, although she too isn’t a perfect character by any means. However, Sakura has a generally bad reputation among most of the community

Since Hinata is the popular choice, we’ll discuss her first.

Hinata Hyuga

In the original Naruto series, Hinata shouldn’t even be considered a character. At this point, she’s little more than a flimsy cardboard cutout of her cousin Neji.

I know people who love Hinata like to argue that she’s her own character, but let’s be honest, she isn’t. She has no jutsu that make her stand apart from Neji, and everything Hinata can do, Neji can do better.

You may try to argue that since Neji is older it only makes sense that he’s better at fighting than Hinata, but consider this: Hinata’s younger sister, Hanabi, is also better than she is at everything.

Okay, so we’ve established that Hinata has nothing going for her fighting/jutsu-wise. What about her character?

For most of the series, all of Naruto and half or more of Shippuden, Hinata is just a dandere. A dandere is a trope which describes a (usually female) character who is extremely shy. Danderes often want to make friends, but their shyness gets in the way of this.

Hinata’s dandere personality, coupled with the fact she’s a worse version of another major supporting character, Neji, essentially makes her useless until Neji’s death hundreds of episodes into Shippuden (spoiler).

Finally, we’ll move onto Hinata in Boruto. Despite now being a jonin ranked ninja (probably), she’s been turned into a stay at home mom who doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t seem to have a purpose in the village anymore despite all her former classmates being important members of the village.

Hinata Hyuga from the anime series Naruto: Shippuden
Hinata Hyuga

Sakura Haruno

Now that we’ve established that Hinata is the most plain, boring, useless character there is, let’s talk about a good character who everyone apparently hates, Sakura.

I think the problem is that most people who hate Sakura are the same people who only watched the original Naruto series up until the chunin exam arc, which is only episode 20 or something out of 220 episodes in the original series.

First of all, the opinions of those people don’t even matter. There are over 750 episodes of the series all together so anyone who’s only watched the first 20 episodes doesn’t have a valid opinion.

Second, I agree that Sakura isn’t a good character in the original Naruto series, but she actually becomes a good character once we get to Shippuden. However, that said, she does have more character growth in the original series than Hinata did, even if it was barely at all.

One thing people have to remember about Sakura is that she’s a member of team 7 along with Naruto, Sasuke, and Kakashi. Since she’s on the same team as the three strongest shinobi in the village, and two of the strongest in the world eventually, it’s no surprise she seems useless compared to them.

However, we to really appreciate Sakura’s abilities we need to look at her compared to everyone else in the village.

First, Sakura becomes the physically strongest ninja in the village. Second, she becomes the best medical ninja in the village, if not the world. Compared to this, what is Hinata the best at? Nothing.

Now that we’ve established that Sakura is more useful than Hinata, let’s take a look at the rest of her character.

While Hinata was simply a dandere for a large portion of the series, Sakura isn’t simply a trope. She’s a complex character with a variety of emotions and traits even if they aren’t all good.

Sakura gets a bad reputation due to her love for Sasuke, but her love for him isn’t unconditional. She does struggle with the fact that being with Sasuke would mean going against the village for a large portion of the series. In fact, at one point she even decides to be the one to kill Sasuke herself.

I think the only time I truly hated Sakura was when she lied to Naruto and told him that she loved him. She knew how Naruto felt about her, and yet she still tried to lie to him in order to stop him from doing something he believed in.

But I think the fact that she has character flaws like that adds to her as a character. Sakura isn’t perfect, but she’s way better than boring Hinata.

The final thing I’ll mention about Sakura is that in Boruto she isn’t simply a stay at home mom like Hinata. Sakura works as a medical ninja saving lives, and she still fights when necessary.

Sakura Haruno punching a reanimated leaf shinobi from the anime series Naruto: Shippuden
Sakura Haruno


One thing I’ll concede is that Sakura is a main character while Hinata is a supporting character so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that she’s a more complex character. If I had to choose another supporting character who I like more than Hinata though, I’d probably pick Temari.

Finally, a fun fact: Sakura is the reason I have an affinity for pink-haired anime girls. She was my first favorite anime character and she’ll always have a place in my heart.

So now that you know my opinion, do you still think Hinata is better than Sakura? Do you agree with me? Do you think another female character is better than both of them? Let me know your opinions so I can tell you why you’re wrong.

Boring Anime Girls

Boring Anime Girls


Today I’m starting a new series on the site titled: Unpopular Anime Opinions. Specifically, these are my opinions about various anime or anime topics which I feel the general anime community disagrees with.

As you can probably tell by the title, this first entry into the series is about boring anime girls. So what do I mean by this? Simply put, what makes a female character interesting, and what makes her boring.

Now, I was originally going to use a large number of characters from various series to explain my point, but in the end I settled on two characters from different series. Along with our two main girls, I’ll also mention another girl or two from each series briefly just as examples to prove smaller points as I go.

The first girl is Utaha Kasumigaoka from Saekano and the second is Nadeko Sengoku from the Monogatari series. I felt it was only fair to pick characters from anime that I love for their character writing. That said, even the best character writers still fall short occasionally.

Utaha Kasumigaoka

While technically the more popular of the two, Utaha is my example of what a boring female character in anime looks like.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “but how can she be boring? She’s perfect in every way!” Well, that’s part of the problem with her. Despite there being conflict involving her within the Saekano series, Utaha herself is essentially flawless.

A character with no flaws is a character who cannot easily grow.

In the second season of Saekano there’s a point when Utaha is told that the script she wrote for the game is trash. This may seem like an example of her not being perfect, but she simply rewrites it without much issue so there wasn’t really any conflict for her character to grow from.

While character growth is an important aspect for a well written character to have, however, it’s not necessary. Likewise a character can grow, but still be a boring character (like Eriri Spencer from the same series).

So what else makes Utaha boring? She’s a trope. For those who aren’t familiar, a trope is a device which is commonly used within a medium or genre that is easily replicable, often overused to the point where it’s easy to identify.

Tropes are used frequently in anime, as well as most of your favorite non-anime movies, tv shows, games, and books. In anime specifically, female character tropes are some of the easiest to recognize simply because there are so many series which use them.

You may be familiar with some anime tropes such as tsundere, yandere, or dandere as well as various others, but there are more than just the -deres. In Utaha’s case, she’s a combination of the “popular girl in school” as well as the “mature older classmate.”

While the use of tropes is popular just like the characters who embody them, they’re predictable, and predictability leads to boredom.

In fact, the only character from Saekano who doesn’t appear to be a trope is the one the series refers to as the “boring” character, Megumi Kato.

Utaha Kasumigaoka from the anime series Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Utaha Kasumigaoka

Nadeko Sengoku

My example of a character who isn’t boring is Nadeko Sengoku, a character who many believe to be the most boring of the Monogatari series (they’re wrong; that’s Tsubasa Hanekawa).

So what makes Nadeko an interesting character? Simply put, she acts like a real girl her age.

I believe I covered this topic when discussing Megumi Kato in both my review of Saekano as well as my Top 10 Anime post, but the most interesting type of character for me is one who acts natural. Sure, the Monogatari series is supernatural, but the way Nadeko acts is natural for her age.

She isn’t a trope, she’s just a middle school girl whose crush doesn’t love her back. She’s relatable unlike the popular girl, Utaha, and that’s what I like about her.

She wants to be noticed by the boy she likes, she’s afraid of what her parents will think if she’s caught breaking rules, and if someone finds out she likes to draw manga she’ll literally die of embarrassment. We’ve all been Nadeko at one point.

Now, if you’ve watched this series or happened to scroll down and see the gif that I used of Nadeko, you might be inclined to argue that she is, in fact, a trope. What trope would this be? Yandere.

A Yandere is a girl (typically) who goes crazy due to her often one-sided love. She’ll try to eliminate her romantic rivals, the person she’s romantically interested in, or both as in Nadeko’s case. Yuno Gasai from The Future Diary is famously the #1 yandere.

Yes, Nadeko is a yandere. However, it’s just a phase. Nadeko would probably say something like, “this isn’t a phase, it’s who I am,” and that would also be completely in character for a 14-year old girl going through a phase.

But let’s be real, she’s not like this at the start of the series and she’s not like this at the end. Technically this phase only lasted a short few months before she got over it and was sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay for a character to have some trope-like qualities at some point, but the issue is when the character is the embodiment of a trope through and through.

Nadeko Sengoku from the Monogatari anime series
Nadeko Sengoku


So what have we learned today? Popular female character types are boring and real, normal girls are what make the best female characters.

But I get it, tropes are there for a reason. They’re so characters can easily be written and recognized as a particular type of person. Tropes have a place in anime as well as any other medium, but when they’re overused, they begin to get pretty stale just like anything else.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I was originally going to use a large number of female characters to illustrate my point, most notably Sakura Haruno and Hinata Hyuga from Naruto. However, I feel like those two characters alone would make a good Unpopular Anime Opinions post so look forward to that can of worms in the future.