What does it mean to stigmatize studios?

Stigmatizing (or labeling) is the act of characterizing or branding something with negative feelings. In this case, labeling certain anime studio’s with words like ‘disappointment’ when we observe any series that particular studio is adapting (or creating if it’s an original work). Most of you have seen and contributed to the Sekijitsu poll on our website. Due to the results, a majority of people judge anime studio’s by the shows they’ve done although a significant number of people also said that they prefer not to stigmatize studios as much as possible. But some of you are wondering why the hell is Tofu talking about this? Well that’s because, I wish to inform you mainly of the con’s when it comes to stigmatizing studios solely based on the shows they’ve adapted while ignoring their ‘ability’ in how well they can adapt certain materials or through any originals that have been made.

Why does it really matter?

If you look at Little Busters which is being adapted by J.C Staff and track back to when this simple news was announced, you’ll notice a huge commotion between fans. Some believed KyoAni should’ve adapted Little Busters as they did a brilliant job adapting Clannad (another KEY work) but alongside with that mindset, there was hostility towards J.C Staff and a lot of disappointment. Some fans even choose not to watch Little Busters solely because J.C Staff are considered a ‘bad’ studio in their eyes based on past adaptations they’ve done – mainly listing out what they considered to be really shit shows like Shakugan no Shana, Zero no Tsukaima, Hayate no Gotoku, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Hidan no Aria and etc. But wait just a minute, maybe your taste in those particular animes aren’t similar and maybe the story isn’t anything interesting but to judge a studio based solely on the shows they’ve adapted is the same as judging the writers of these stories you are hating on. Studios offer to adapt other peoples work into an anime, they don’t write the stories themselves.

Furthermore, if you do choose to judge a studio, you should mainly judge it based on ‘how well’ they can adapt from the source material. We all know studios have a little bit of influence on the stories they animate in order to transfigure those original works into something more suited for the television, but all in all, the main story is the writers creation. Take Little Busters again as an example. It is being adapted from a visual novel that contains A LOT of mini game material embedded throughout the story. That makes it really hard for J.C Staff to adapt such material in order to give it the ‘anime’ feel. The first episode was a great example of J.C Staff needing to put more effort into making Little Busters feel more like an anime than a visual novel on the television. After a few episodes into Komari’s arc, it finally felt like I was watching an anime instead of watching someone else playing a visual novel I have no say in. Although I commend J.C Staff for their effort in making Little Busters feel more like an anime, their ability to adapt and capture the pure emotions from the game onto the television is lacking. If you wish to see Little Busters for what it really is, I suggest playing the visual novel.

As for judging studios based on any original works they’ve done. It’s a completely different but interesting story. I’m sure most of us are familiar with the anime K which is an original anime created by the studio GoHands. They’re definitely not that well known with hardly any adaptations. But their adaptations include Mardock Scramble, Princess Lover and even one of my favourite comedy series of all time~ Seitokai Yakuindomo! And I really loved how they brought the 4koma to life. It really did show me that as small as the studio GoHands is, they have potential to be big in terms of their ability to adapt from source materials. But for GoHands to create an original anime that is practically opposite to sexual comedy, it really makes you question just how well this team is able to pull it off.

Personally, K took way too long to kick in with the whole “I AM ACTUALLY THE COLORLESS KING!” and they need to fix their lighting but before you question why I’m blabbing on about nonsense, please take into consideration that if a studio DOES choose to make an original, it can serve as a reference in terms of how well that certain studio can handle anime adaptations. Whether their opinion in modifying source materials are for the better or worst based on how well their original anime’s story plays about. If a studio is able to create a successful and popular original piece, it shows us that these guys know how to make an anime look impressive with hardly any plot holes THUS we can be more at ease if that particular studio chooses to adapt whatever their next series will be or create another original work.

So… your point is?

My point is that if you’re going to judge a studio for whatever series they’re covering, please judge them based on how well they’ve adapted that story in making it feel more like an anime. If possible, try not to judge and label studios at all. It could even improve your enjoyment when you watch that particular anime since you won’t try to pick out the bad stuff but instead, look out for the good things or just enjoy the roller-coaster. But it is impossible to not judge anything. One day, whether you you purposely did it or you sub-consciously labeled anything, it will happen but if it does happen, keep in mind what it is exactly that you’re judging that studio for. I personally don’t like judging studios which is why I don’t pay much attention to whoever is adapting what. Although for special cases where I’ve read/played/watched the source material, I know that I’ll sub-consciously compare their works and make my judgement on how well this studio is doing in terms of adaptation. But then again, everything here is a subjective speculation on my part, you will have your own say and ideas on whether I’m right or wrong but whatever it is, please do share it! I’d love to hear about your own opinions when it comes to labeling studios!