Short Commentary on Aoi Bungaku
November 30, 2010
What’s so special about Aoi Bungaku? Freedom. Creative freedom when it comes to adaptations. Even when adapting modern classics of Japanese literature like Osamu Dazai’s Run, Melos!, the creative staffs aren’t one bit afraid of toying around with the original text, even going as far as to adding anime original characters if it means better projecting their own interpretations and creating more theatrically engaging experience.
Unfortunately, good intentions don’t always lead to good results, as is the case for a number of weaker arcs in Aoi Bungaku. There are moments where it’s difficult to sympathise with character, because the passages that imbues them with strong motivations in the novel were either inadequately translated or left out completely.
Despite those less than perfect arcs, Aoi Bungaku still manages to be one of the more ambitious and interesting series to come out of year 2009, where bitter sadness, suffering, things that made these modern classics so timeless and evergreen (aoi) were painted over with Madhouse’s own colourful flair, for better or for worse. We definitely need more novel-to-anime adaptations like Aoi Bungaku to show that adaptations aren’t always doomed to be cast as fading shadows.
My ranking of the individual arcs
1. Run, Melos! – 9/10
2. No Longer Human – 8/10
3. Spider Thread – 7/10
4. Kokoro – 7/10
5. Hell Screen – 7/10
6. In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom – 6/10
Overall – 7/10
If you don’t feel like going through the entire series, I recommend trying at least Run, Melos! and perhaps No Longer Human. I recommend Spider Thread for its visual flair (all images provided from this arc).