August 14, 2015

GATE -- Character art

I have spent a lot of time reading the manga for this series and I've gotten used to how the mangaka draws the characters and their costumes. The anime diverges quite a lot from that, enough to be jarring.

Sometimes it's due to censorship, because the manga has quite a lot of nudity and explicit bloodshed and gore. But sometimes the changes are practical, because the mangaka's art is too elaborate to be reasonably animated.

I brought up the question of Bozes in her nightgown yesterday. Here's what they did with it:

All the changes are understandable, but it means this isn't going to be a "Buy the BD's" moment. (We'll get some of those later, though, unless they radically change the Onsen scene.)

They changed the catgirl and the bunny girl a lot.

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And in this case I think it's a mistake. These two are revealed as being extremely dangerous fighters, and in the manga they really do look formidable. In the anime they're all cutesy; it's completely out of character.

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This is the Princess and Bozes in their formal uniforms. It's really a huge change, and I don't like it. The costumes per the manga simply could not be animated, so it's obvious that the change was going to be radical, but the anime versions just don't work for me. (Lose the hats, for one thing!)

And one more example, but some commentary first. When people grow from childhood to adulthood, different parts of the body change at different rates. The femur, for instance, probably grows 500% or more linearly speaking. The skull, on the other hand, doesn't change very much at all (I think it doesn't even double linearly speaking). So a child's head is proportionately larger compared to its body than an adult's head. And it turns out that we adults are genetically programmed to find things with disproportionately large heads to be "cute". (Which is why we are suckers for kittens and puppies, not to mention human babies and children.)

Stephen Jay Gould did an article about this once, and in particular he talked about Disney and Warner Bros characters, because he noticed something interesting. Over the first ten years or so of those characters, the heads of the Disney characters tended to grow proportionate to their bodies, while the Warner Bros characters went the other way, with the heads becoming smaller relative to their bodies. The result psychologically is that Bugs seems like an adult to us, but Mickey is more like a child. Daffy's head is a lot smaller than Donald's head.

They did that here, too. In the anime, Lelei's head is bigger than in the manga.

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And obviously they changed her clothes. I really prefer the manga version of her costume, but it's obviously impossible to retain it, and on balance the anime version is still rather nice.

UPDATE: As to episode 7, well, it proceeded on the plot line but the only important thing was that the Princess decided to accompany Recon 3 back to the JSDF base so she could apologize. And then it was decided to let her visit Japan. Ep 7 ended just before the party entered the Gate to go to Japan. Next episode we get to see the Diet. Will ep 8 give us the onsen scene? Probably that gets pushed out to ep 9.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 12:08 PM | Comments (21) | Add Comment
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1 Welcome to the club. Jitsu wa Watashi wa featured a similar adaptation, as did Non-non Biyori.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at August 14, 2015 12:33 PM (RqRa5)

2

It isn't always like that. Fairy Tail didn't do that; the art in the manga and the anime are virtually identical.

Also, the first series (first 175 episodes) pretty much used the manga as a storyboard.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 14, 2015 02:50 PM (+rSRq)

3

Fairy Tail didn't do that; the art in the manga and the anime are virtually identical.

Given my distaste for the art style of Hiro Mashima, that is not exactly a compliment.  Though at least Fairy Tale's artwork is better than Rave Master's.

Posted by: cxt217 at August 14, 2015 04:39 PM (oiyoz)

4 It is also worth noting that Gate originated as a online story series that eventually was rewritten and published as a series of light novels.  The character artwork used for those are different from the manga.  You can see some of them here.

Posted by: cxt217 at August 14, 2015 05:26 PM (oiyoz)

5

Money being what it is, I can understand simplifying the uniforms for the anime.  Bunny-warrior isn't all that different, but making Purrsia purple was uncalled for; it cute-tifies her for no reason.

Princess Pena and Bozes are now stewardesses on American Airlines circa 1974?  Please someone explain this to me.

It's a transitional episode, so - barring the outfits - I saw what I expected.  From the drive back to Aldus, more and more of Princess Pena dies inside; how much of that was day-to-day training and the rest for her 'benefit?'

Love this show.

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at August 15, 2015 01:13 AM (lU4ZJ)

6 I don't mind the art changes, or the younger version of Lelei.  It's a consistently intelligent show - not perfect, but intelligent - and I'm enjoying it greatly.

There are three shows I'm watching live this season, which hasn't happened for a long time.  (Gate, Himouto, and Ushio&Tora.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at August 15, 2015 04:53 AM (PiXy!)

7 I'm a sucker for any show where other-worlders or other-timers marvel at our current technology, and Gate doesn't disappoint. I thought the scene where Yanagida (Itami's superior) kept teasing Bozes for information why she'd slapped Itami was somewhat out of character for the Japanese military. Maybe that's supposed to show that the SDF doesn't really perceive Pina and her knights as any sort of military threat.

It seemed like more of an "American" attitude, if that makes any sense.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at August 15, 2015 10:07 AM (r4uXE)

8 Or maybe it is just Yanagida.  The man has all the makings of a slippery operator.  Also notice how the lieutenant general commanding the garrison, told him to stop it.

Posted by: cxt217 at August 15, 2015 10:13 AM (oiyoz)

9

@wahsatchmo

It seemed like more of an "American" attitude, if that makes any sense.

No, that was pretty far out there for the US military as well.  If there was ever a time for an O-2 to be seen and not heard, a meeting between an O-9 and a diplomat from another nation-state was it.

That general probably wouldn't have yelled at the lieutenant, he'd have blamed the colonel the lieutenant was subordinate to for taking his d**k out of the LT's mouth.  The meeting might actually use that phrasing.

You have to make some allowances in fiction, because a real command structure would have too many characters to be easy to produce or easy for the audience to follow.

Posted by: CatCube at August 15, 2015 11:46 AM (fa4fh)

10

Yanagida is the same rank as Itami (1st Lieutenant). But Yanagida is Intelligence; Itami is Infantry. That's why Yanagida was there for the interview with the Princess.

Yanagida has some issues. In the manga just before Itami's group went back through the Gate to Japan, Yanagida cussed out Itami pretty seriously with the two of them alone. (Later he apologized.) They left all that out in the anime.

Hazama is a Lieutenant General (O-8). In Japanese his rank is 陸将 rikushou which makes him a General of a Division. (They apparently do not have a rank equivalent to "Brigadier", so he's a second-level general.) According to Wikipedia, umm...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 15, 2015 12:04 PM (+rSRq)

11

As to Yanagida:

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 15, 2015 12:26 PM (+rSRq)

12

The table from Wikipedia uses the NATO rank codes (OF-x), which aren't quite equivalent to the US pay grades (O-x).  Both 1st and 2nd Lieutenants in the US (O-2 and O-1, respectively) are OF-1 in the NATO system, and a US Lieutenant General is an O-9 in the US system or OF-8 in NATO terms.

The NATO system includes combines both kinds of lieutenant into one grade, and has General of the Army or Field Marshal as OF-10.  In the US pay grades, we have lieutenants as their own pay grades (O-1 and O-2), though they don't traditionally exchange salutes and are equivalent socially, and General of the Army is rolled up under O-10 as a special rank.

For US Army officer ranks:

O-1=OF-1=2nd Lieutenant (2LT)

O-2=OF-1=1st Lieutenant (1LT)

O-3=OF-2=Captain (CPT)

O-4=OF-3=Major (MAJ)

O-5=OF-4=Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)

O-6=OF-5=Colonel (COL)

O-7=OF-6=Brigadier General (BG)

O-8=OF-7=Major General (MG)

O-9=OF-8=Lieutenant General (LTG)

O-10=OF-9=General (GEN)

O-10=OF-10=General of the Army (GA) (not currently used)

Pedantry about classification systems aside,

Posted by: CatCube at August 15, 2015 12:57 PM (fa4fh)

13 Thanks for the clarifications on Yanagida's rank. His attitude gave me the impression that he was Itami's superior, so I can see the jealousy factor at play now that I understand they're the same rank.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at August 15, 2015 01:01 PM (r4uXE)

14 Just to muddy the waters a little bit more, the JSDF does not have a Brigadier (British)/Brigadier General (US) rank.

Posted by: cxt217 at August 15, 2015 06:07 PM (oiyoz)

15 Speaking of that, do you know how that particular rank got skipped?  Did they get rid of the "brigade" level in a reorganization and drop the rank?  (The US dropped the "regiment", led by a colonel, but in the new structure a colonel became a brigade commander and left the brigadier general as a staff position.)  Or is it a concern about not having enough OF-8s in their ranks to be taken seriously internationally when intermingled with other nations' forces?

Posted by: CatCube at August 15, 2015 07:30 PM (fa4fh)

16 They probably never had a brigadier/brigadier general rank to begin with.  The Imperial Army did not, and while the JGSDF does not claim any lineage to the IJA, they would be following standard European practice not having a brigadier/brigadier general.

Posted by: cxt217 at August 15, 2015 08:05 PM (oiyoz)

17

The JASDF doesn't actually use the rank structure that armies from Europe use. The English names we refer to are by analogy.

Officer ranks are three tiers of three titles each. So there are a total of nine, and by convention the top tier is translated to "general". Hazama's rank is the middle one of three in the top tier.

The rank insignia for the bottom tier is one bar with one, two, or three stars. The second tier is two bars with one, two, or three stars.

And the top tier is two, three, or four stars with no bar and don't ask me why. Hazama has three stars.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 15, 2015 09:06 PM (+rSRq)

18

I realize that the ranks are translations of concept, rather than the literal words, but as you noted they broke pattern and skipped the obvious "1-star" rank option, both in insignia and in OF-grade.  That seems to indicate a deliberate effort to maintain some sort of equivalence with other nations.

If they retained names of ranks from previous rank structures, but reworked the insignia and grade that would seem that they wanted their system to top out at OF-9, and jiggered the insignia and rank equivalence to do that.

Posted by: CatCube at August 15, 2015 09:25 PM (fa4fh)

19

Aaagh, hit "Post" rather than "Preview".

I was wondering if somebody knew for a fact that this is what the JSDF was doing, rather than my just surmising their intent.

Posted by: CatCube at August 15, 2015 09:29 PM (fa4fh)

20 My interpretation of that scene was completely different. Yanagida wasn't being insubordinate; the exchange was scripted beforehand for the benefit of Pina.

She's someone who's high in the command of an unfriendly force. She's initiating diplomatic contact, directly after having made a colossal diplomatic blunder. The Japanese don't intend to declare war over it, but at the same time, it's a heaven-sent opportunity for them to open negotiations in a favorable position.

The Japanese are trying to understand the local power structure before they go making any decisions. But the locals are hotheads and already there's been significant casualties from their leaders deciding to attack first. If they want the Empire to agree to peace, the Empire is going to have to understand just what they're up against. But to do that, they need to deal with the Empires' representatives, and those representatives are completely unused to the idea of taking a passive role. A Pina who shows up and starts dictating terms, then stomping off when they're not immediately accepted, represents a failure in negotiation.

But an apologetic Pina is one that's not likely to push her luck, at least long enough that she can get the idea of what Japan actually represents; she's worried now, but not nearly worried enough, right? She represents an opportunity that the Japanese can't turn down, one that lets them get information about themselves back to the Empire's leadership.

That said, it would be pretty crass to actually say "so, you guys really blew it here, huh?" So they're doing something more subtle. "Hey, we understand you did this, but surely there was some kind of mitigating circumstance, right?" That kind of question isn't actually fishing for information, it's just pointing out that no, it was a total failure of Pina to enforce the agreement she'd just worked out. A way of grinding their nose in it, but in a deniable fashion; "why no, we weren't being rude, we were just assuming they were fellow reasonable people who don't go beating up our people for no good reason, right?"

Once that's done, Hazama puts a stop to it. Classic good-cop, bad-cop routine, an indication that the Japanese are perfectly aware that they've got every reason to give Pina the boot, but are prepared to let things go at that (with an implied "this time"). Pina gets it too - she's being let off the hook, but not because the Japanese didn't know she was on it in the first place.

That explains just about everything about the encounter - why the JSDF was showing off helis and tanks, why a junior intelligence officer was piping up in a fashion that might be unproductive, why Pina didn't actually resort to trying to make an excuse for what happened. She's not unsophisticated and it's likely that everyone in the room understood exactly what was going on.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at August 16, 2015 03:50 PM (qxzj1)

21

That sounds reasonable to me. Ironically it's yet another case of continuing a line originally started by Itami. Remember he told Rory that part of his motivation was to convince the princess that it was better for her if she was friends with the JSDF than if she chooses to fight them. Hazama is continuing in that same direction.

Probably the decision to send Pina through the gate was another step on that same road. And it worked. When she came back (in the manga), she was utterly convinced that if the Empire tried to fight the JSDF the Empire would be completely obliterated, and thus it was her highest duty to try to prevent that.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 16, 2015 04:04 PM (+rSRq)

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