Monday, December 10, 2007

Heat Guy J

Heat Guy J is a fun anime with a great soundtrack set it what is perhaps a future. It builds up a fairly interesting world as the backdrop for a story that is too complicated to fit all the details into 25 episodes. Also, I don't actually own it (and saw it quite a while ago) so I can't refer back to it as I look at the manga, which is what I've got here.

Whereas most anime is derived from manga source, this one is the other way around. If one didn't already know that, the list of four names on the cover might give a big hint. So as a derivative work, and having seen the original, the question "What does this add?" seems valid. After all there was plenty to try to fill in with the original story and surely many new stories that could have been written. So, what does this add?

Unfortunately, the answer is "absolutely nothing". What you get in the manga is a choppy retelling of 4 early episodes with foreshadowing of the overall story thrown in here and there to try to get the reader hooked into wanting to read more. Clearly there was a plan to continue on and maybe eventually add something but, well, there is a reason this book doesn't have the expected volume number on it. It just doesn't carry. What was dramatic in the anime is not dramatic placed in a single panel, at least not the way this was carried off. However, since the treatment isn't changed any, all the visual elements have to work the same way when they are shown panel by panel as when they are shown animated. It just isn't the same. The result is generally blah.

Also, it's totally missing that great soundtrack.

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