Welcome, one and all, to my first anime/manga comparative piece. Today’s focus is Flying Witch. Why? Well, I picked up the first two volumes of the manga back at Hyper Japan, and the anime is a firm favourite. Now, me only owning the first two volumes of the manga, I can only go as far as episode 6.5 or, to put it another way, half way through episode 7.
Now, when adapting anything from book to TV/film, there is always the potential for changes in terms of storytelling. The reason for that is that some things work better in books than they do on screen. Case in point, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Good film, but it misses a lot of stuff form the book that wouldn’t have worked out. With manga and anime though, the trade-off isn’t always as large scale. The stories being told in a visual format already means that they are essentially set up to offer an easy transition. Even so, things do sometimes change. When an anime overtakes a manga for example, such as with the original run of Fullmetal Alchemist, things can often go off in a very different direction.
But how does that apply to Flying Witch? Well, in this case, the story is entirely intact. Between the episodes and chapters that I’m comparing, everything follows the same path. In some places, the anime seems to have tidied the dialogue up a bit, but even then, it’s only minor in wording without losing the meaning.
A similar approach has been taken to the art style with the series. That may seem like an odd comment, but I still remember my surprise at how much of a difference there was in style between the Gravitation anime and manga. As you can see in the shots below though, Flying Witch remains consistent with the only real difference being that the added use of colour for the anime allows for a little more detail. Of course, the anime also has the advantage of being able to show minor movements. Like the mandrake wriggling and writhing. That still makes me laugh to this day.
When it comes to the art though, it would be fair to wonder if the manga is as picturesque as the anime. While some shots are perhaps toned back, such as the chicken chasing scene …
… it only takes one look at the covers when lined up against some of the scenic shots from the anime to see that the beautiful landscapes do translate from one form of media to the other. That was something that I was really glad to see. While I appreciate low detail backgrounds like those found in Shirow Miwa’s Dogs: Bullets and Carnage, the beauty on display in the Flying Witch anime was such a big part of why I loved it so much that I would find it sad if the manga did not reflect this.
But which version do I prefer? Well, I’m really enjoying both versions. If I was pushed to pick though, then I’d probably say the anime simply because the little movements and subtle touches really enhance the material for me. Plus, the slightly tidier translation of the subtitles compared to the manga is also marginally better. Would I still recommend the manga despite preferring the anime though? Absolutely!
So, what about you? Have you read the manga and watched the anime? Which did you prefer?