Anime: Aoi Bungaku

The Hell Screen


Talk about amazing graphics. These scenes were one of the reasons both Spider Thread and Hell Screen were so enjoyable, despite the changed story line.

So Hell Screen was episode 12 and was purposefully linked to Spider Thread, through the use of the same setting and the same despotic king. It’s actually a really interesting link and I loved how they showed Yoshihide watching the death of Kandata at the end of Spider Thread. It was a nice touch and sort of set up the story for Hell Screen.

As usual major changes abound, the entire character of Yoshihide the artist you painted the Hell Screen was changed. He became a much nicer guy and the role that his daughter and the king played also changed pretty drastically. Although the anime doesn’t show the lengths at which Yoshihide would go for the sake of his art, it did something equally powerfully. It portrayed him as someone who would die for art’s sake. To stay true to the artist vision which is poignant and sweet and nothing like the book.

In the case of Hell Screen, I prefer the book to the anime. Simply because there were so many contrasts in the book, between Yoshihide and his daughter, between his love for his daughter and his love for his art. There was also a hint of mystery and politics. It was more complex and more moving, especially at the end. In the anime version, they chose to concentrate on the crazy King who already made an appearance in Spider Thread. It isn’t as dramatic and the beautiful climax when the hell screen is revealed just can’t make up for it.

This concludes my foray into Japanese literature for now. It’s really educational and exciting! I hope to find more of Akutagawa’s works in the library soon. For now, it’s back to children’s books. I need to boost my book count and not fall too far behind! So blessed Easter and I’ll see you in April!

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