A way for studios to avoid bad fillers

Show your anime some love

It’s com­mon knowl­edge with­in the ani­me fan­dom that series based off of on-going man­ga or light nov­els resort to pro­duc­ing orig­i­nal episodes, which serve as padding, in order for the ani­me’s sto­ry to main­tain a cer­tain dis­tance from the orig­i­nal story.

How­ev­er, there’s some­what of an inher­ent prob­lem with fillers or ani­me-orig­i­nal episodes. Half of the time they’re bad, some­times they’re decent, and very rarely are they ever as good as the gen­uine arti­cles. More on this after the jump.

I WILL WRITE ALL OVER YOU

The thing about filler is that it does have as much poten­tial to be as good as an episode based off of orig­i­nal con­tent. The term “filler” itself is wide­ly skewed as it does­n’t have to be an ani­me-orig­i­nal episode. Episodes based on chap­ters of a book can also be con­sid­ered filler as well — if they don’t serve to fur­ther the sto­ry or char­ac­ters in any way, they can be con­sid­ered fillers. The dif­fer­ence between ani­me filler and orig­i­nal man­ga filler is that ani­me filler isn’t writ­ten by the orig­i­nal author/mangaka most of the time.

This is where the prob­lems arise. Since many ani­me-orig­i­nal fillers are writ­ten inde­pen­dent­ly from the orig­i­nal man­ga writ­ers, there’s always a high chance that those episodes or arcs will con­tain many con­tra­dic­tions and fail to retain the orig­i­nal feel of the story.

Down with Beetrain

There are a few exam­ples that come to mind. I remem­ber Tsub­asa Chron­i­cle being one of the most ter­ri­ble adap­ta­tions of any CLAMP man­ga that ever came into exis­tence. It start­ed off alright, until Bee Train decid­ed that their ideas were bet­ter than CLAM­P’s and start­ed to break many estab­lished rules with­in their man­ga­verse. Heck, one filler episode revived an entire city’s worth of peo­ple (one of the most piv­otal points of the plot was that DEATH CANNOT BE AVERTED) and they spent anoth­er whole episode try­ing to fix their mis­take. And then we have anoth­er episode that tries to break a pair­ing estab­lished in Chobits (poor Hide­ki! D=), even though CLAMP nev­er breaks pair­ings (regard­less if it’s an alter­nate universe).

Even­tu­al­ly Bee Train decid­ed to con­tin­ue with their non­sen­si­cal hap­py-go-lucky fillers instead of mov­ing the series along with the actu­al plot (which took a rather dark and grit­ty turn). Because their writ­ing skills were sooo much bet­ter than the women at CLAMP. Thank­ful­ly, CLAMP stripped them of their rights to ani­mate their baby and we have the faith­ful OVAs, but I don’t think Tsub­asa will ever heal from Bee­Train’s extreme­ly dis­re­spect­ful fillers.

Anoth­er exam­ple would be the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Mon­sters ani­me, in which over half of it con­sist­ed of filler that tried to top the actu­al sto­ry by adding RELGIOUS SYMBOLISM WITH CARD GAMES or mak­ing stuff up dur­ing the “canon” parts. The ear­ly parts of the man­ga could be con­sid­ered filler, but at least they all retained a con­sis­tent feel­ing that could be tak­en seri­ous­ly in terms of a gam­bling man­ga, unlike the ani­me’s betray­al to the man­ga’s mood dur­ing var­i­ous fillers.

Ani­me stu­dios should NEVER act as if they’re bet­ter writ­ers than the per­son who wrote the prod­uct that they’re mooching off of. Not only is it dis­re­spect­ful, but it almost always bog­gles down the final prod­uct in return.

Feed the fans some awesome!

From what I’ve observed from many adap­ta­tions I’ve watched, there is an EXTREMELY sim­ple way to make good ani­me fillers and ani­me-orig­i­nal content. 

Get­ting input from the orig­i­nal man­ga­ka. It’s not that hard.

What makes Card­cap­tor Saku­ra and Koba­to superb adap­ta­tions of their respec­tive man­ga despite being very dif­fer­ent from their source mate­ri­als in many ways is because they both had a lot of input from the head writer of CLAMP, Nanase Ohkawa. Even though they devi­ate from their sources in some cas­es, they keep the spir­it and style of their orig­i­nal sto­ries and thus have much of the same appeal and qual­i­ty that made their man­ga coun­ter­parts well-liked by their fans.

If the result from the above can be so good, just think about an ani­me that sticks to the orig­i­nal sto­ry close­ly dur­ing the man­ga parts, with the filler padding hav­ing input from the orig­i­nal author(s)? Input from the orig­i­nal author can also be used as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to improve some of the weak­er aspects of the orig­i­nal sto­ry, such as fillers that was already there to begin with, if they are con­sid­ered so. 

Less they pull a Drag­on Ball and ignore fillers that end up con­tra­dict­ing the very next episode.

Just food for thought. ;P

2 thoughts on “A way for studios to avoid bad fillers

  1. Hi there, I heard about many peo­ple bash­ing Bee Train for the adap­ta­tion, but I also heard ( from a man­ga forum ) about when Bee Train offered to do the series, Clamp was also busy with oth­er projects. Most prob­a­bly thats why there was a miscommunication.

    I thought the ani­me was pret­ty cool though, its too bad nobody did the celes arc.

    1. @Tohru: Kind of a stretch, see­ing how heav­i­ly CLAMP was invest­ed into the Tsubasa/Holic man­ga at the time. The ani­me was good at first, but then went down­hill right when the last episode of the first sea­son came around.

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