Let’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)
Now 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.
Yes 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.