Anime: Aoi Bungaku

Specifically episodes 7 and 8 which tell the story of Kokoro.

Rewatching these two episodes after reading the book has made me realize many things. Firstly that it only tells about a third of the book, the story is worlds apart and they added the perspective of K which never happened in the book, although you could probably guess his thoughts through the telling of the story.

In comparing the book and the anime, there’s going to be a great deal of spoilers so before we get to that, let me say that I prefer the book. It’s a wonderful read that should have been adapted in its entirety. With only a portion in anime form, there’s a lot of character and back story missing. The  theme of transition between the eras is also lost. Instead what we get is a drama about love and betrayal. It’s very different and although it’s good in and of its own right, it disappoints. It doesn’t retain any of the good bits of the book, instead we are presented with something completely different. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the show I feel. Aoi Bungaku is a showcase of some of the best literary works in Japan but what is the point when the adaptation is so different.

The anime is good if we weren’t considering it as an adaptation. It’s animation is fluid, I love how the two episodes are parallels of each other, how situations and people change with perspective. The colour palette is put to good use in displaying the contrast between the two. And I absolutely LOVE the music. Yes, these are good episodes to watch. I think the entire series as a whole is good quality stuff. Whether the rest are decent adaptations remain to be seen.  But let’s no digress, with the more general points all said and done,

let the spoilers begin!

Kokoro Aoi Bungaku

Sensei in the book is presented as a man who has seen many things in his life, a huge portion of it is hidden from the protagonist and only revealed in the last section of the book. It is presented in the form of a letter detailing the one event that has changed his life forever. It is during his university days when he was renting a room from a window and her daughter  Slowly but surely he falls in love with her. During this time in order to help his friend, he invites him to stay with them. This causes many problems.

Firstly Sensei is super paranoid and this is due to past events where family betrayed him for money. K on the other hand, is sure of himself and the path he has chosen. Yet he too has hit on hard times, as his adoptive family has stopped sponsoring him. The backstory for both characters are whittled to a few sentences in the anime and it makes hard to get a feel of characters.

Secondly K falls in love with the daughter. The end result is the suicide of K. Yet the way the book portrayed the lead up to this was more due to the manipulations of Sensei. Yet in the anime both perspectives feels as if blame is being laid on K and to some extent the daughter. I wished they had stayed true to the book. Why change something when nothing is wrong?

I admit that 2 episodes is hardly enough time to get a glimpse of the book, but a loyal fan of the book, the adaptation just doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t capture that theme of how egotistical Sensei was, which I think is key in the story. The ending of the first episode does speak of the isolation Sensei would feel in time to come, yet what of the isolation and the determination of K? It is spoken but never shown. K’s determination was in following the Way, and when he fell in love he fell away from that Way of life. Sensei cunningly reminded him of that determination and his Way and to me that was what drove him to suicide. It was his determination to stay true to his Way that drove him to that act.

And that is enough ranting about the anime. I could go on endlessly, but I shall spare you. Just read the book and ignore the anime. Perhaps the movie adaptations were better.


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