ANIME VS. MANGA
First of all, it is important to point out the great quality of the Animé adaptation made by Dezaki&Sugino of "Ace o Nerae" manga. The Animé (TV series, movies and OAVs) maintains the attraction, spirit and energy of the manga, at the same time that respects the style and the artistic resources of Yamamoto's art. Nevertheless, there are differences between both versions that, though not essential, bring up complementary aspects.
The author's original graphic style, and even the evolution of her graphic resources along the 3000 pages of the manga, has a certain visual parallelism with the Animé.
On one side, TV series exploit preferentially the use of animatic elements of the 70's (brilliant colours, visual references extracted from the aesthetics of the decade, use of silhouettes, indifference towards detailed scenarios, indefinition of lines) instead of making a more loyal adaptation of Yamamoto's art style. Due to that, the final product, though attractive, does not reflect either the artistic elegance nor the emotional depth of the original manga style.
On the other side, OAVs do not only show the emotional strength, dramatism and passion of the manga, but also do they improve some of the scenes that were only supposed to be adapted. Only Sugino's art style could match the intensity of the manga through such a wonderful character study, and even overcome Yamamoto's work in terms of dramatic treatment and empathy with the spectator. One of its great achievements is the wonderful adaptation of Yamamoto's art style in terms of physical development of the characters. As long as they mature, it is used a wider line style to emphazise their features, more shadows and trimming in the faces. At the same time, it is also reinforced the depth of the glances adding complexity to the design of the eyes; noses, chins, height and physical corpulence are enlarged; and hair style is redefined.
The OAVs are the ones that have captured and transmitted best the manga contents, though due to needs of film duration the whole range of secondary characters created by Yamamoto and their life circumstances are not developed. The original Yamamoto's plot is not followed either. Nevertheless the beautiful prose, sensibility and passion of the manga finds its best adaptation in Animé thanks to Dezaki&Sugino own style.
The story treatment is very different in the OAVs compared to the TV series. On the TV series the emphasis is made on the sportive improvement of the characters as they face a range of opponents that oblige them to continuously overcome their weaknesses, while their personal problems are less treated and subordinated to the action. On the contrary, the OAVs are centred on the personal and psychological development of the characters, giving priority to their showing of emotions, creation of relationships and growing up; so as, enlarging the possibilities of empathy with the spectator. Besides, TV series do not follow most of the most dramatic events of the manga, a defect that the OAVs supply thanks to flashbacks that explain the motivations of the characters and help spectators to anticipate their reactions, giving more depth to the story.
Most important differences between Manga and Animé
a) The characters.
- In the Animé, most female secondary characters have been suppressed: Rei Hannabuchi (who is infatuated with Hiromi), Saeko Houriki (Jin's fan), Georgie and Jackie Bint (decisive Hiromi's rivals).
- In the Animé, the only male characters that influence Hiromis life are Jin, Daigo and Takayuki; whereas in the manga, Hiromi maintains friendship relations with other male characters such as Eddy Reynolds, Kouzuki and Yuu Kamiya (those last two are in love with her).
- As a coach, Jin is softer and kinder in the manga, while in the Animé Hiromi refers to him saying that he is a demon coach. His firmness is reflected in the TV series mainly in his trainings (which are not only intense but exhausting) and in his conversations with his pupils, especially those with Hiromi (that hardly refer to other topics rather than sportive). Nevertheless, OAVs help to soften Jin's image showed on the TV series, developing a character with great sensitivity and vulnerability at the same time that emphasize his human side rather than his role as a coach.
- The Reynolds family takes a more important role in the manga: Mr. Reynolds, Angie and Eddy's influence on Hiromi before and after Jin's death is notable, whereas in the Animé they only appear briefly on the OAVs.
b) The relationships.
- Friendship between Hiromi and Maki is more intense in the Animé, as the latter is introduced as Hiromi's unique friend. In the manga, Hiromi has also many good friends among her female rivals.
- Manga treats Jin and Hiromi's relation in more depth, besides the sportive bondage. Whereas in the Animé, Jins feelings towards Hiromi are not expressed clearly; in the manga there is a scene where Jin, hospitalised, confides Tohdoh his true feelings concerning her with this words: In this hell of my life, Oka came and he gave me back hope. I love her but my life wont last any more. Please, make her happy.
- TV series do not use flashbacks explaining the reason of some of the characters' motivations. Jin's past as a tennis player, for example, which in the manga is detailed nearly at the beginning, is not mentioned in the TV series.
- The complexity of the relation between Ranko and Jin achieves its true climax in the manga. Whereas in the TV series the existence of any feeling, different from the fraternal one, is omitted, the OAVs give more information, not very detailed though, explaining the consequences of Jin's influence in her sisters life, before and after his death.
- Reika's jealous emotions and reactions towards Hiromi at the beginning of the TV series are more violent than in the manga, as well as the verbal attacks and ostracism that the latter must endure.
- Whereas in the Animé, Reika seems to be in love with Jin, in the manga her emotions do not follow that path: in fact, she appears to be in love with Katsura (it doesnt comer over suggestions but those suggestions are extremely obvious).
- Jin and Mr Reynolds relation is not fully described in the Animé. The manga shows their mutual respect for their aims and for their pupils successes, and also their camaraderie. Mr Reynolds so admires Jin as a tennis coach that he wants to make his dream, concerning Hiromi, comes true.
- In the manga Yuu Ozaki is in love with Reika, but his chances of getting her are very low. He actually doesnt act like he is in love with her, but there is a scene where he confides Todoh his feelings. In the Animé, Ozakis love feelings towards Reika do not seem to exist.
- Although it is not clearly stated in the Animé, manga describes Takashis emotional situation clearly: The moon is lonely too. Isnshe, Chiba-san?.
- In the manga, every love is platonic. Yamamoto never takes the step from platonic to physic love. Animé deals with this matter differently: though there are not many physical demonstrations of love, and the few that are present are very pure, there is a continuous and hidden stream of desire under many love affairs.
c) The situations.
- In the Animé, the decisive rival for Hiromi to reach tennis summit is Jean Ryder (she also appears in the manga but her influence on Hiromi's career is less important) whereas in the manga the decisive rival is Billy Jean King (who is only indirectly mentioned in the Animé).
- Trainings endured by Hiromi in the Animé are harder than in the manga, with her normally falling on the ground totally exhausted. Besides, in the Animé strange names for the tennis techniques are often made up while in the manga they are hardly used.
- The level of dramatism, effects and emotional intensity achieved in the OAVs that deal with Jin's death and wake is higher than in those very same scenes in the manga; consequently, its impact on the spectator is more intense.
- The story plot after Jin's death narrated in the manga is totally different from the one made up for the OAVs.
- The Animé is more centred on Hiromi's emotions and thoughts whereas manga describes the problems of a wider range of characters (main and secondary) offering a greater variety of perspectives.
- The manga includes more humorous scenes and visual gags than the Animé. And in comparison, OAVs have a more serious tone than the TV series.
- The Reynolds Family is australian in the manga, and american in the Animé.
- Jins father does never appear in the Animé. In the manga, he visits Jin while he is hospitalised. In this scene, it is clearly showed that Jin hates his father because he thinks he is guilty of murdering his mother.
- In the manga, Ingrid never has an accident while riding her motorbike.
- It seems that in the manga, Reika an Ranko give up tennis after Jins death because their appearances are very few. In the Animé, both characters do never lose their importance and their trainings and attending competitions are constant during the whole Animé story.
- The end of the story is different in the manga compared to the Animé. In the manga, Hiromis final adversary is Georgie Bint, while in the Animé is Jean Ryder. On the other hand, in the manga, Hiromis personal story concludes with her going to US with Takayuki; while in the Animé it ends with Katsuras reading to Hiromi and Takayuki Jins last letter.
- In the manga, Hiromi never really accepts Katsura as Jins substitute until the end of the story. In the Animé, their relation is deeper though it is never different from a trainer-player one.
- Takayuki never decides to become a professional tennis player and fly to the US. On the contrary, he is always by Hiromis side, helping her as a player, as lover, as a friend.