Visual Novel-Styled Anime

leopard-raws-suzumiya-haruhi-no-yuuutsu-08-raw-tvs-1280x720-h264-aac-mp4_snapshot_2009-05-22-10_38_50Let’s make a few things clear. This will not be about anime adapted from visual novels or visual novels with anime cut-scenes in them. This will be about anime with styles very similar to visual novels. This can be seen through similar plot structure, visual and sound similarities or simply anime that could be adapted quite easily into a visual novel. (Opinions of which I will be very interested to hear.)

To stress plot let’s look into some general plot elements of the visual novel. Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to the rule which diverge from these elements but I’m going to stick to some generalizations here because… well, I’m lazy. There I said it! Okay, you start playing your average visual novel, what do you expect? To begin with you can expect a 1st person P.O.V (exceptions for Ef) and this will be a big part of the visual similarities in some of these anime I’ll be talking about the next paragraph. You can expect a setting which has enough consistency for a story the length of a book and which involves multiple characters (*ahem* High School) and you can expect a few heroines or characters which routes you can the play the story of. I bet you can already think of multiple anime that apply these elements. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Toradora, Bakemonogatari, hell even Sword Art Online just to name a few, but do you notice anything else similar about these anime? Maybe the fact that they all are adapted from Japanese light novels and have a very obvious harem element to them?
(Note-to-Self: Post on similarities between VN and LNs)

bake4Now onto the visual aspect. This is a big element and you will see here why I posted the pictures I did and why in fact I’m writing this article to begins with. I mean look at it! Does the style not seem familiar to you? In most visual novels there is some form of background art, character avatars in various states of emotional poses and, of course, text. Unless you’re watching subs, obviously much of text is unnecessary due to the actual animation part of the anime as well as the audio but that will be discussed in the next paragraph. It’s not hard to see how only animating one character in a scene could be easier than animating multiple but the real immersive aspect of most visual novels is that they are in first person. I don’t think I’ve ever seen of fully 1st person anime before, it could be cool though. In 1st person you are in the shoes of the main character, seeing the world through their eyes and reading their opinions, or in the case of anime, listening to them.

little-bustersYes that was a Segway. Due to the fact certain sounds and inner monologues can be done through the audio script itself is another reason why much of the text is not necessary and is one of reasons why some people prefer anime to visual novels (too lazy to read). Examples where this was done very well are anime like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Bakemonogatari. On the other hand this does not necessarily need to go to the extremes it does in these series and in fact there have been anime adaptions of visual novels with very little monologue scripted into it. BGM is generally not much of an issue as we can see how the tracks from visual novels can be fit into it’s anime adaption. As I noticed in the Little Busters anime this can some times be a problem for certain scenes that are shorter in the anime as they may not end up giving the music the time needed to truly experience the atmosphere of each song.

With Angel Beats being adapted to a new visual novel, it’s not hard to see the relevance of this grey-scale in style between anime and visual novels. Now I’ve already given a few examples of anime that I think would make good visual novels, most of them adapted to them already to be honest, but what are some that you think could work?

What anime would you want to read the visual novel of? What visual novel would you want to watch the anime of? I’d be interested to hear any suggestions.

This entry was posted in Anime, Bakemonogatari, Discussion, Haruhi Suzumiya, Little Busters, Visual Novel. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Visual Novel-Styled Anime

  1. Kai says:

    Even though you only titled the post “Visual Novel-Styled Anime”, I noticed you make a lot of comparisons with visual novels to light novels. I think one of the reason why some anime seem to be styled so much to visual novels is because these anime (most seemingly from light novels) has very similar structures from the storytelling side of views. Light novels focuses a lot on characterizations – using monologues and soliloquies to emphasize a character’s views and personality. Similarly, it is also something visual novel tends to do a lot. Not all light novels focus on characterizations on such extreme levels however, and some light novels tend to focus more on the settings and world instead, you can very blatantly see the abnormally increased descriptions of the world, which also might be something visual novel-styled anime was also aiming for.

  2. The Otaku Judge says:

    I think Another would make an interesting Visual Novel or Shiki.

  3. Silvachief says:

    While this is certainly an interesting subject you have to be careful to separate 1. Anime techniques that are similar to visual novel techniques, 2. Similarities existing solely because the productions are Japanese/target the same audience and 3. Coincidence. Keeping those categories in mind, I would argue that most of the similarities you may notice fall into the second set.

    However, it’s worth noting that the similar methods of production/writing make it very easy to adapt visual novels into anime and vice-versa. Making anime based on visual novels works well because many people will be interested in seeing their favorite characters and scenes animated regardless of the quality of the adaptation – you’re condensing a proven plot into a smaller dose so you’re practically guaranteed some success.

    Going the other way, though…means taking a completed story and trying to add something to it, since a direct adaptation would make for a very short visual novel. That gives you two options: filler, or new, unproven content. With failures like the Toradora visual novel out there, it’s easy to see how things can go wrong. Angel Beats is probably the first major anime to visual novel adaptation, so it will be interesting to see how that goes. Even if it’s successful, you would have to keep in mind that the writer of the anime had previous visual novel writing experience and is also going to be the person to work on the adaptation, so it’s not exactly a generalisable case.

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