This is a blog series comparing a manga and its relevant anime adaptation, discerning which version is ‘better’. These posts will be spoiler-free comparisons helping to inform people on which version is better—in my opinion of course. Also, this post contains NSFW imagery.
What’s the important information? Monster Musume is an ongoing manga series that has been running since March 2012 and as of August 2018 is currently in its 14th volume. In Summer 2015 it received an anime adaptation of 12 episodes + 2 OVAs.
What’s it about? The series is a harem/comedy about Kimihito Kurusu, a man whose life is thrown into utter disarray as he unwittingly becomes involved in the “Interspecies Cultural Exchange” program which basically means a bunch of sexy monster girls start living with him and he has to deal with all their various quirks and proclivities—while offering a safe and happy home life for them all. I reviewed the anime series in full here if you want a more detailed review.
Which has the better art? Author Okayado’s artwork is something of a contentious point with me. While he sure as heck knows how to draw the female body (and all the monstrous permutations of) there’s always been something lacking about the way he draws action, added to that the fact that Lerche is responsible for the anime it’s no wonder that the adaptation looks as good as it does. While the girls always look good, the same can’t often be said of the surrounds. The anime wins here, if only because it’s more wholly consistent between the characters and the world they inhabit.
Which has the better comedy? This is a tough one to pick because the comedy always seems secondary to the ‘harem shenanigans’—which are plentiful. Since this is such a faithful adaptation, I’m going to call this one a draw, as neither one strikes me as funnier than the other.
Which has the better characterisation? Time makes fools of us all, but sometimes the best characterisation comes from biding one’s time—to see how a person would react against different stimuli in the grand scheme of things. With this in mind there’s far more room for characterisation and development against an unending backdrops of manga’s past, present and future than there is in a limited run of 12 episodes. The manga wins this battle.
Which has the better pacing? There’s something about a ‘one episode equals one new character in the harem’ approach to constructing a series that seems so inherently appealing on a fundamental level than anything the manga could have concocted. Indeed, giving each new character a definitive beginning in the form of an introductory episode serves to have you focus—and thusly connect with them on a more intimate level than simply dividing a chapter or two across however many books would do. The anime wins, but only out of the virtue of episodic hindsight.
Which has the better fan service? Oh gosh, don’t make me choose! One of the fundamental cornerstones this series was built upon was fan service, monster girl fan service—as if that really makes a difference. While the manga is impeccably drawn with specific attention to detail, there’s no denying how far—above and beyond the call of duty—did the anime animators go to make such a wholly satisfying and far more motion-filled adaptation of the bountiful ‘service that the manga first represented—the anime wins but only because I live to see ‘dat bounce.
What specifically is better about the anime? With the exception of a few scenes the anime feels more alive than the manga ever did and that’s hard for me to say because I love the manga this is based on but ultimately the adaptive process has done all the favours to this series. And, while it may seem unfair to mention there’s no denying the seductive quality of having what was once mere words on a page be voice acted in such flawless fashion.
What specifically is better about the manga? Monster Musume can feel busy at times, what with all the monster girls living under the one roof—the manga affords the reader the time to take in everything that’s happening on a given page and thus never feels as frantic as the series does which is both a good and bad thing depending on your inclinations. Also, while the anime has the benefit of seductive voice acting the manga too benefits from allowing your imagination to run wild—indeed the eroticism feels greater in the manga, undoubtedly elevated by the attention to detail in the mangaka’s artwork.
Monster Musume, Anime VS Manga—which version is better? It should be overwhelmingly obvious that the anime is the superior version—at least as far as the adapted volumes are concerned, the adaptation just does everything right and stays faithful to the source material while adding all the necessary flair to make it more kinetic on-screen. Don’t think this means that the manga isn’t worth your time however as without the manga this anime would be nothing and the manga has such worth on its own. If you’ve never watched or read the series the anime is my version of choice, however it’s worth noting that the sheer wealth of material that comes in the volumes not yet adapted makes the manga especially worthwhile for those wanting more out of this series.
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