Supernatural the Animation at a Glance

Well… glance is a bit of a loose way of putting it; I’ve watched episodes one through six.

I find it kind of difficult to critique Supernatural the Animation adequately since I haven’t actually seen Supernatural the Not Animation yet (I’m still on the wait list at the library). So its unclear what of it is the doing of Madhouse versus the doing of the original material. I can say, though, even without see the Not Animation that the shortened format (twenty-two minute episodes instead of forty-minute ones) doesn’t seem to be doing it much favors. Out of the six episodes I’ve watched so far, there is one that doesn’t seem rushed at any point. It is also, incidentally, the episode I think that was the best.

Quite frankly, the Animation starts off incredibly roughly.

No, let me be clearer: the first episode is bad. It’s rushed and confusing. It also isn’t at all interesting, which is pretty boggling when you consider that there’s a monster, lots of blood, and a lot of shooting of things.

However, the second episode was excellent. The pacing worked perfectly, and the twist, if not entirely original, was executed in such a way that it was effective. I loved the second episode, and it gave me hope that the first episode was just a hiccup.

Well… turns out that that wasn’t really the case. Episodes three through six have been a pretty heavily mixed bag, and, really, it seems like its that matter of time. Episodes four and five were so abrupt, and I actually couldn’t even remember what happened in episode four until I looked it up – and I just watched it yesterday morning. Refreshing my mind, I think the pacing wasn’t too bad on it, but considering the pivotal point of that episode (spoilers: someone’s dead mother shows up), it really should’ve had more staying power. But it was just so… bland.

I just am feeling really ambivalent about the entire thing, and slightly thrown off, too, because I’m not even sure if this was a problem in the source material or in the adaptation’s execution of that material. Again, the shorter episodes is probably a huge part of that… but I don’t know that for sure.

However, I can be specific about criticisms relating to stuff such as music and animation!

Argh, the animation! It’s so frustrating! Once in a while it has these flashes of brilliance, but overall it looks very stiff. There’s also some pretty glaring use of bad CG (reminds me of Madhouse’s use of that in Mouryou no Hako!). The character designs are just unpleasant. Madhouse has been using this method where they are trying to make the people look more like how people do in real life, but it just doesn’t look good nor does it adapt to action shots well. This whole thing just doesn’t look like an OVA budget at all.

Oh, dear lord, and the music. Actually, the music isn’t bad overall. Not good, either, but not bad. But the ED music? Completely heinous. They use a cover of Carry On Wayward Son, one done by people who clearly don’t speak English. Although, actually, any cover of Carry On Wayward Son is going to sound weird, simply since it is such an iconic song.

I find myself fairly baffled by this. Sony owns the rights to the entire discography of Kansas. Sony partially owns Madhouse. Therefore, they don’t need to license the rights to utilize the song for the ED. This is also why they were able to do a cover, period, without it being prohibitively expensive. So… why the cover? Was it something to do with a voice actor trying to make some more money via CD sales? I could do research to see if the singer is VA’ing on the show… but I won’t. Too lazy. It just all seems like a strange decision.

Speaking of voice acting, I did watch some of it in Japanese and some of it in English. The DVD releases themselves come with both. I also tried watching with the English language track going and with subtitles of the Japanese language track; it was kind of weird to see the differences between them given that they were done simultaneously; the English language track isn’t a “dub” track in the way we think of it since they were produced in tandem. There are enough moments where there’s no dialogue in the Japanese script but there is in the English one to notice.

Comparing them on a more basic level… I’m leaning for the Japanese track. The VA’s on it are actually all VA’s, so they’re just better at it than many of the ones used for the English track. Some of the original actors from the Not Animation do the voicing of their characters on the English track, and to my ear it’s obvious that they aren’t accustomed to voice acting. I figure this is one of those areas where things should get better over the passage of time, though.

However, if you do prefer watching it in English, it really isn’t all that bad. There is very little difference between the overall scripts, and the voice acting isn’t terrible.

Sigh. I’m not exactly disappointed in the Animation, because I wasn’t really sure of what to expect anyway, but… it just isn’t all that good. Madhouse is making me pretty sad, what with their recent lack of quality. I’ve always liked them quite a bit. I know that studios do go through ebbs and flows, but they’d been going pretty strong for a while, giving us interesting stuff like Mouryou no Hako, Aoi Bungaku, and the Tatami Galaxy. So, sadface and all that jazz.

Ok, yes, the quality of this post is swiftly going down the tubes at the moment. My little brother just came in and is babbling about inane crap. Kind of hurts my ability to write posts.

Anyway, I’ll probably keep watching to tide me over until I can actually get the DVD’s for the Not Animation. Stop-gap, I suppose.

Yeah, this post has to end now, nerdy brother is now arguing loudly with my mother about Macs versus PC’s. I can no longer think straight at all.

….oh my fuck, and my brother just farted and oh sweet lord I think I’m going to suffocate.

In other news: stuff in Japan still sucks. Don’t suck too. Do what you can.

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10 Responses to Supernatural the Animation at a Glance

  1. foshizzel says:

    I have watched one through six too! So far I like what they have done with this anime version, that ending song takes a while to get used to.

    I didn’t really enjoy the shadow effect to much but after episode two I got over it, so far they are mixing up original stories with some stuff straight out of the show. So nice to see them at least try to push some original content out.

    Assuming we wait for six through twelve! I checked out the dub episodes on youtube, not bad weird hearing the actors dubbed over anime. I think the actor for Dean has done a few “anime” voice overs but it was some batman thing.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      I have to disagree with you, but I think that’s pretty obvious from my post, ha. I have watched some of the TV show since then, though, and I’m even more convinced that the length of the episodes is the major problem. It just is hard to cut a fortyish minute episode down into a twenty minute one.

  2. Scamp says:

    Not knowing the original version of ‘Carry on my Wayward Son’, the first time I heard the anime version I cringed at the cheese. But after 6 episodes it’s grown on me in a slightly corny sorta way

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Have you heard the original version now?

      • Scamp says:

        Yup. Honestly, apart from the more obviously American accent, I didn’t notice that much of a difference. Heck, I like the way the end of the episode leads into the song myself. Plus the lyrics are as cheesy as hell, which engrishy songs are often like anyway

  3. glothelegend says:

    I once saw one episode of Supernatural (non animation). It was pretty good.

    Then I never watched it again.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Well, I just started watching it. I still like the X Files better, though… but Scully’s hot, so that may be a big part of it.

  4. Marina says:

    Huh, well this is interesting! I saw 5 or some episodes of the American live action version, but I didn’t even know they had an anime version now. I enjoyed what I saw of the American TV show, but judging from your description, I’m afraid to try this anime out.

  5. Caddy C says:

    I saw two episodes of Supernatural the show, and they were both so terrible that I am immediately skeptical of this venture. But then again, maybe the source material is so bad that an animated version could only improve upon it?

    My feelings about Supernatural are best summed up by the South Park/Simpsons idea – The X Files did it. (And did it better.)

    • Marina says:

      Haha, well okay, to each her own. I admit to never seeing any X-Files episodes, despite it being fairly popular when I was in middle/high school. I don’t know why I never picked it up. Maybe I found Supernatural the TV show interesting b/c I like ghost hunting anime like ‘Ghost Hunt’, and it reminded me of that.

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