Pedestals are awful things. They force everyone to watch you, and your mistakes become twice as obvious. It’s why when our favorite shows mess up, however minuscule it may be, it stays with us no matter what. Because something we hold in such high esteem shouldn’t make obvious mistakes, right?
Or maybe the creators are human and nothing is perfect. Weird concept, I know.
Obvious statements aside, even that which we love can trip over its own feet. My big favorite shows are far from perfect and have parts to them that just tempt computer-screen-breakage on occasion. Today we only note a handful of missteps and poor decisons on behalf of quality programing, while also jotting down how they got around it. Because no mistake is uncorrectable in writing, and the best know how to wiggle around it.
Sailor Moon – Sailor Mars Reboot
Oh, the mistakes of my childhood love would be an entire post itself. We’d be here all day if we wanted to discuss Dic and Toonami’s attempts to hide same-sex couples and Japanese culture from their childhood audiences. But there was one change they made that is less known, or perhaps not as contested with the fans. This change is particularly bothersome because the reason why is not really obvious and makes the story change quite a lot.
That failure is Sailor Mars: The Anime Edition.
Why yes, Rei, someone’s finally calling you out
Fans of Sailor Moon will inevitably find the manga and notice a collassal change in both tone and character. The Mars in the manga wasn’t the feisty, callous, downright mean Mars from the anime. Rather, she was a mature but stubborn girl who’d simply been burned too many times to trust easily, and who lacked the patience for Usagi’s childish antics. Sure, she scolded Usagi when she messed up, but it came across more like an older sister than a nag who never saw you when you did well. Not only that, but rather than being a romantic rival for Usagi, Manga-Mars doesn’t trust men at all.
In short, she was testy to more than just this poor sod
I consider this a failure because, to this day, I still don’t understand why Rei went through such a big change for the show. But I also don’t hold it against the writers because it didn’t ruin the entire experience. Mars’ attitude is addressed several times, and she still proves herself to be a loyal friend when the chips are down. She’s far from perfect, and not the kind of friend I would want, but her fighting spirit and burning passion help make the show awesome.
Rurouni Kenshin – This is Far less Brutal Than I Remember
Rurouni Kenshin is both a shounen classic and one of those rare gems, I.E your average anime fan hasn’t seen it but your average Otaku holds it in high esteem. It has that cheesy shounen vibe that early-ish animes had, but it also boasts a really enjoyable plot, cool action scenes, really likable characters. But the raw story also features something that’s missing in the anime: brutality.
When it comes to the Kenshin fandom, there’s a split between fans of the anime and fans of the manga. This split comes from a manga that was far more graphic than the anime was. Blood being everywhere was common; people lost limbs all the time; horrific and disturbing imagery weren’t “celebrated” but weren’t hidden from the reader either.
Just as these poor sods
Still, the lack of disturbing imagery is hardly a drawback, especially as the show is still pretty adult without it. The step down in gore didn’t take away from the show’s sense of humor or cool sword fights. It’s good fun with a really gripping story, even without the realistic violence, and I think it will always remain one of the classics.
Yu Yu Hakusho -GET TO THE END ALREADY!
This one may be less to do with the show and more the fault of Toonami. But it’s still worth mentioning here because it is the one thing that somewhat sours my memory of my favorite shounen. Mainly, much like Samurai Jack, I never got to see the end.
I know Botan, I know
Toonami had a host of issues when it came to airing dubs. When it didn’t have to remake and edit footage to hide “inappropriate nudity” it had to deal with anime that wasn’t dubbed in its final seasons, or couldn’t be edited for 4kids standards. This forced it to start over several shows from the beginning, usually just before the conclusion. This was the case with Yu Yu Hakusho which would get to the Dark Tournament arc, stop about three-fourths of the way in, then start right away on the very first episode all over again.
My thoughts exactly.
But this, like I said, was not a failure of the show. This was a casualty of import, and a publishing company that botched the job at the last minute. I still encourage anyone with a passing love of Dragon Ball Z or any fighting shounen anime to take a gander at Yu Yu Hakusho. The ending is elusive but the cool is anything but.
Fruits Basket – Beg Pardon, But Did We Forget Anything?
But there is something that’s far more frustrating than an inability to see the ending: a lack thereof.
The anime for Fruits Basket, as wonderful as it is, is tame when compared to the source material. But the gutting of the story didn’t stop at just removing the graphic bits, the super dark bits, and the messed up family drama. They also cut the anime off at a different point than the manga and cut out the rest of the Sohma Zodiac members. The gave the show a “non-ending” where the main antagonist was dealt with, but none of the show’s long-standing issues were resolved completely.
Get thee back, closure, BACK!
And yet, I still recommend the show because it does good with what little it has. It took the tiny script it was given and made a huge impact, hitting all the right notes in both drama and comedy. It might have petered out and rushed into the end but it still makes a great gateway shojo.
And that, at the end of the day, is why I forgive almost all of these slip-ups that should have killed my interest. Because they didn’t let the failures snag and drag them down. They kept going and stuck to what they did best, and that’s all any of us can ask of our favorite shows.
I still wuv you, so much…
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