I've never really gotten into anime. To be fair, I really haven't given it a try. So what better time to test the waters than when the CW offers two free episodes of Supernatural: The Anime Series on their website.  They are also available as extras on the Season 6 DVD set. The episodes posted are "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1 and 2," two of my favorite episodes of Supernatural to date. So right off the bat I knew this anime version had big shoes to fill.

I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It helped that both episodes were voiced by Jared and Jensen. I understand that Jensen only voices a handful of episodes in this season. I really can't imagine anyone else as Dean so I think this was a huge plus. The anime episodes run 22 minutes as opposed to the regular series’ 42 minutes so things move quickly.

"All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1" starts with Sam disappearing into thin air. We later learn he was transported to Cold Oak (although I think they referred to it as Cold Creek at one point) a ghost town where Azazel has gathered all the special children. It is discovered that only one of them can leave Cold Oak alive and the killing ensues. Poor Sammy. Part 2 picks up with Dean talking to Sam's dead body; A scene that has always tugged at my heart strings. I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up but this abbreviated scene just didn't have near the emotional pull of the original series. Dean goes on to make the deal at the crossroads and bring Sam back to life. They reunite with a shell-shocked Bobby and begin to discover Azazel's plan to open the Devil's Gate.

The basic premise of these episodes follows the regular series closely. It's the details that are the big difference. For instance, Jake is a Sasquatch. Not a real one, of course. But he is huge. Bigger than Sam if that's possible. And they definitely cast him in a bad light from the beginning. There is no mistaking that Jake is a force to be reckoned with, something that I didn't necessarily get from Jake in the original series. It also comes up that Sam and Dean had saved Jake's mother and sister from some kind of Supernatural attack in the past, which I thought was an interesting twist from the original episode. Missouri, the psychic who appeared in a handful of original episodes also plays a significant role in these episodes, taking the place of Ellen. Dean and Bobby even go to Missouri's house to see if she can help them find Sam only to find it burned to the ground, much like The Roadhouse. I have always liked Missouri's character but I don't see her as a fair replacement for Ellen but maybe that's a personal preference. Anyone out there who has watched the whole season, is Ellen in any of the episodes of the anime series? I'd be interested to hear. 

The Anime Series also relies heavily on effects; something they have the liberty to play around with much more than the regular series. When Jake uses his super strength he basically Hulks out, ripped shirt and everything. Even Sam seems to have heightened powers he doesn't normally possess. When Sam sleeps and Azazel talks to him, it is in a much more dream-like state in the anime episode. He watches Azazel feed him demon blood while perched on top of a giant, very veiny, yellow eyeball. (I'm really glad the regular series didn't go that route.) Things are also much more bloody in the animated series relying less on guns and more on brute force. I gotta say, I missed the guns a little. And when Jake sneaks up on Sam for the final blow, it's not a knife in his back. Instead, Jake shoves his entire fist through Sam's abdomen. Talk about bloody.

If I had to use one word to describe these two episodes I would probably call them stunted.  That's not to say they were bad, just condensed. Some aspects of the series suffered more than others. For instance, the emotional moments between the brothers don't read quite as well in this format. Some of that may be because Jared and Jensen aren't really voice actors by trade (although I think they do a pretty good job). And some of it may be the lack of their pretty, pretty faces on my screen. Who knows? But lines like "I've got a year to hang out with you, Sam" certainly didn't help the depth of emotion any. I also found that the plot moved so fast that at times I actually got a little confused even though I know the general premise like the back of my hand. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has seen the anime without ever watching the original series. I'd be interested to see if they were able to follow the story easily. Although I think it's a safe bet to say that they aren't reading this.  

So, I did it. I finally gave anime a try and I liked it. Did these episodes change my life? Not really. But I enjoyed them for what they were; more Supernatural. And that's never a bad thing. 

I'd love to hear what you guys think of the Anime Series. Should I buy the whole season and give it a once over?

 


Comments  

Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-09-14 06:42
I like anime personally. It's been awhile since I've watched any, though.

I'm not surprised that they had to condense so much of the episodes to fit. I'm also not surprised by the amping up of violence on screen.

I don't really know why, except that they had limited time and had to gloss over so much, they'd make Jake come off as a villain. Until he stabs Sam in the back, he seems to be drifting looking for an answer as to what they should do. One of them has to die in order for them to be able to leave. It isn't until it's just him and Sam that I think he comes to that conclusion, so yeah.

I might check out these episodes on the disc. I'm a bit of a purist, though, so once I've seen/read something I tend to find a adaptation to fall short always.
sofia
# sofia 2011-09-14 08:20
That was my thinking too. In the original series I didn't see Jake as a villain during the episode, so him stabbing Sam came out of nowhere for me and I really liked that. Not Sam dying, just the element of surprise and emotion that came along with it.

I am a bit of a purist too but I'm also curious!
Shelbie Nae
# Shelbie Nae 2011-09-14 07:16
I watched the entire anime series a couple of weeks ago. I do agree that the episodes were seemed rushed but the major thing that I felt was missing were the heart-to-hearts the brothers always have during the regular show. I am an anime fan and I understand that they were trying to amp up the action because that is what is expected of most anime these days, but one reason why I love Supernatural is because of the emotion. All in all it is a pretty good series and if you are a fan of the show you may as well watch it. I enjoyed them.
sofia
# sofia 2011-09-14 08:29
Sam and Dean's brotherly relationship is what sucked me in to the show so it feels like a big sacrifice for the anime series to make. Not that they totally eliminate the emotional bond, but it's less important to the story. But I agree, I did enjoy these two episodes and it definitely wouldn't hurt to give the rest a try. Thanks!
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2011-09-14 14:29
I am not surprised to hear that the two eps on the DVD are AHBL 1 + 2. These two eps are the only two with Jensen's voice on it.

While Jared voiced all episodes. It was hard to get used to a different voice next to Jared's but the voicing was done so well, that after a few episodes I was able to except that. The die-hard SPN fan in me had problems to get used to the changes of the stories sometimes. But again, after a few episodes I was able to except that too. But till this day I have my problems with Dean's jacket as well as him having brown eyes. Had the chance to talk to Jensen about that during the coffee lounge at the German con. He didn't even know that anime Dean had brown eyes. He wanted to recheck the contract since he believed anime Dean was supposed to have green eyes. Also talked to Jared about the voicing during the panel. He said that it wasn't easy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OZMoVoHhUs He also said in there that if there will be any more animes Jensen will do all the voicing.

I also did a recap of episode 1 back in March. One of the commentators explained why Missouri is drawn the way she is. If your interested here is the link for it. http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-list/category16/16146-qsupernatural-the-animationq-review-and-first-episode-recap.html?start=3

I did enjoy the scenes they put in for some more background information, e.g. how Sam met his girl-friend at Stanford. My favourite episode is episode 4. I had a real good laugh when Sam and Dean met a homosexual cop.

And to answer your question. If I recall it right, Ellen is not in the anime.
sofia
# sofia 2011-09-14 14:55
I don't know how I would feel about someone else's voice next to Sam! I guess it would just be an adjustment.

Thanks for the links! I'll be sure and check those out.

And thanks for reading and taking time to comment!
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-09-14 19:19
Sofia, I bought the Anime set on dvd, and was all hyped to enjoy it. But, I am finding it very hard to watch them. I have even skipped some episodes because it seemed as if Sam and Dean were going to be pushed to be just supporting characters.

All I have left to watch are the re-tellings of WIaWSNB amd AHBL.

I have not seen Ellen in any of the episodes. But Bobby is a three hundred pound bald guy. All the girls seem to look the same. Mary looks like Jessica. It seems like everyone has green eyes except for Dean.

I will probably watch the final three anime episodes after I have finished the season six episodes (just got my copy today, thank you Best Buy). :-)
sofia
# sofia 2011-09-16 08:29
I really couldn't get over Bobby! How hard would it be to just make his character look more like Jim Beaver? Instead he looks like a used car salesman!

I really think AHBL is worth a watch. Don't give up now! You're so close!
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-09-17 15:32
Sofia, saw the final three episodes last night. You were right.

WIaWSNB wasn't that bad. It was true enough to the original for me to enjoy it and different enough for me to like it.

I also enjoyed AHBL. What was the best part, dah, when anime!Dean opened up his mouth, real!Dean's voice is heard. I had gotten so used to anime!Dean that when I heard Jensen, I realized that Andrew Farrar was close, but there is only one voice that will always belong to 'Dean Winchester'.

I can honestly say that I will not be re-watching any of the anime episodes.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2011-09-14 19:54
My son gave me the anime for a birthday gift, something I very much appreciated. I decided to approach watching this the same way I did season 6, just sit back and enjoy and not get ruffled by the differences I knew were coming. With all the attention this got up front I was very much aware that the retelling of Supernatural episodes would have their own "spins" to them so I expected and actually looked for those differences. And I found that I did enjoy them. Yes, the brotherly bond is not there but I think I just decided to be okay with that. Probably because anime is it's own world. I did have a hard time getting used to their version of Bobby.

I really enjoyed the original stories. How Sam met Jessica was really good and the one that takes place in Las Vegas is hilarious! I felt the actor who did the voice over for Dean did a great job. For me he did capture the essence of Dean. It was nice to finally hear Jensen in the last two episodes.

If you are a fan who does not like thngs changed then this is not for you, but,if you don't mind seeing things mixed up a bit you just might enjoy it. Of course, it will NEVER be what we all come to know and love. Can't wait for the 23rd to get here.
sofia
# sofia 2011-09-16 08:44
I think that's a great way to approach watching something like this. As with the regular series, there will be certain things that you may not like but it's still an overall interesting and enjoyable experience. What's the point in getting caught up in the few negatives?

It sounds like it's worth watching all the way though. Thanks!