Alright, alright. Settle down, purists. I know this debate of the manga vs the anime is a tale as old as time. But really, when you can down to it, which is better for To Your Eternity? Let’s talk!
What came first, the anime or the manga? In most cases, the manga is the first medium which then gets adapted into an anime later on. However, that isn’t always the case. Some rare shows that had the anime air before any manga serialization include Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a subversive dark magical girl anime that got a manga release after the original show aired back in 2011.
But what makes one medium better than the other? Personally, it depends. Manga is always touted as the original source material since it’s got the most input from the creator. This leads it to be the ‘purest’ form of the story. Whereas an anime is considered the most interactive, since the voice acting, music, and visual aspect make it a more dynamic medium.
For today, let’s look at the story for To Your Eternity, a manga by writer Yoshitoki Ōima which was adapted into an anime by Studio Brain Base for the 1st season and Studio Drive for the 2nd season.
To Your Eternity: Impeccable Storytelling
The plot for To Your Eternity follows Fushi, an immortal creature who has the ability to take on various forms in order to stimulate as it learns what it is to be truly human. This is a tale of growth and revelations. It’s about the fleeting beauty that is human life and how we those we meet in the past, impact our future.
The way Yoshitoki Ōima tells Fushi’s tale ends up depending heavily on the scenery, where she doesn’t over exaggerate the art. This way, the emotions displayed during a pivotal point in the narrative impact more. How that translates from the manga to the anime ends up having some differences.
The Art Of Negative Space
Yoshitoki’s art style in the manga is more expressive than in the anime. Which sounds like an oxymoron, considering how anime works but it’s true! The artist takes more advantage of the negative space available in the manga, which the anime doesn’t.
Their paneling style means she shows impactful scenes in white voids instead of detailed backgrounds, which emphasize the moment. Even in ‘filler’ scenes, she focuses more on the character she draws with subdued scenery as the backdrop, bringing your attention to the object with minimal details.
Detailing Without Overcrowding
Anime is, obviously, a more involved means of storytelling. There is music, sound, and animation that all come together while the plot unfolds. However, that doesn’t always mean it’s more detailed than the manga. And sometimes, the silence of the manga adds more to the tale.
Whereas the anime ends up being more active, the manga doesn’t crowd as much. During peaceful scenes in the anime, you can still hear the sounds of the environment. Blizzards, birds chirping, and the like end up influencing the narrative in your head. But when you read the manga, the absence of that sound paints a more tranquil scene in your head. The peaceful illustrations flow better in your imagination than on the screen.
That doesn’t mean the manga is less detailed by any means. The way the characters are animated, they automatically require fewer quirks to work out. The mangaka ends up adding tiny flourishes here and there that the anime can’t do a 1:1 recreation of.
Less ‘Pretty’ Characters, More Realism
This might sound nit-picky, but I’m more sold on the story for To Your Eternity being described in the manga because of how stylistically different the characters are. In the anime, they almost come off as too ‘pretty’, which breaks the immersion of a narrative so rooted in the grit and dirt of early human life.
The ‘roughness’ adds to the realism of a story where female characters are staying up all night to break out of prison, getting assaulted by soldiers, and surviving onslaughts by enemies. And when all that hardship and violence is viewed through the black-and-white lens, it just hits your harder.
When a character is lying there, pooled in their black tinted blood, it looks almost inhuman. Their hair blends in with their details, becoming virtually indistinguishable from the gore. And while the anime comes close to replicating that scene, it isn’t quite as good as the manga.
Smaller Changes That Build A Larger Narrative
There are a ton of different ways that changes from manga to anime change the scene composition. Which you’d expect the anime to do better since it’s so visual-heavy, but not always.
Scene distortion comes across as more imposing thanks to the brilliant art style the mangaka employs. Certain ways an object is shown, and the shadow play that happens in the manga, end up exaggerating the scope almost unnaturally. Whereas in the anime, it ends up just being straightforward. And that ends up being a little underwhelming.
Similarly, because of the way paneling works in the manga, the scenes are more confined to being concise when compared to the anime. Which could be a detriment. But it ends up working in favor of the manga when the scenes get almost hyper-focused, adding depth to the shifting medium.
To Your Eternity: Faith In The Audience
This is a strange pet peeve, but I cannot stand how some anime adaptations get rid of the subtlety of a manga and end up over-explaining. In doing so, it both ruins the environment the manga has built and makes the audience feel stupid.
Like when the Beholder, the one who created Fushi, explains experiences stimulating Fushi’s growth. In the manga, readers must make their own assumptions about what experiences contributed to his character, but the anime adds this odd ‘shiver’ to show Fushi had an impactful moment. And honestly, that ended up losing the nuance of the character development.
These were the differences I picked up when reading and watching To Your Eternity. While I personally am a big fan of manga, I do think the anime can be enjoyable too! So, between the manga and the anime, which do you prefer?