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).


6 Responses to “Short Commentary on Aoi Bungaku”

  1. Run Melos is my favorite as well, and I fail to recall the name of that arc where there are two POVs, and that the second POV is a Madhouse original. That 2-part arc is my second favorite before No Longer Human.

    If it is indeed a Madhouse original (the alternate telling), then it is a great thing. It is a bold and clever move in adaptation.

  2. Jack Says:

    @ghostlightning : You’re thinking of Kokoro, I believe.

  3. gaguri Says:

    Yep it’s Kokoro and I liked the arc too in its own way. Certainly is an interesting way to tell a story isn’t it. Although the suicide part rubbed me the wrong way :/

  4. Atmosphere Says:

    No Longer Human was my favourite arc from Aoi Bungaku, the soundtrack for those 4 eps was simply phenomenal. On Kokoro, the aspect I found interesting about it, was that apart from the very beginning/end of the two eps, there was no music played, only sound effects. Gave that arc a different feel to the rest of the show.

  5. gaguri Says:

    Really? no soundtrack at all? My memory is bit hazy but if so, that does sound like an interesting approach. Of course, like ghost mentioned, the way they told the story again from another’s POV was the part that made the arc great for me.

  6. Atmosphere Says:

    I love different perspective stories aswell. Kokuro is probably my 2nd favourite from the series. It was definitely a nice touch without the music, just hearing the wind or the sound of cicadas worked really well with the setting.

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