Since the anime Koe no katachi was released there was a lot of comments in reddit and discord about how the manga was more emotional or better than the anime.So,I decided to check it out to see if the manga is truly as superior comparing to the anime as everyone says it is and after reading it last night I can certainly say that the anime is the better version of the story.
Don’t get me wrong.The manga was fantastic but the anime was a brilliant adaption of it’s source material.To be able to compress 63 chapters worth of material into a 120 minute film is not an easy feat and to do it with such coherence and precision is in itself is the movie’s biggest achievement.But yes,the manga has extra scenes,more character interaction,more character motivation and some different scenarios.It’s a 63 chapter manga against a 120 minute film.Of course there’s gonna be space to do a few extra scenes.
It’s not possible to point out all the minor differences.So,I’ll only talk about the major differences.The first major difference comes from when Ishida’s mom pays Nishimiya’s mom for the trouble he costs.When Ishida’s mom comes to pick Ishida up,we see that her ear is cut possibly from an earring being pulled out simillar to Nishimiya which was caused by Ishida.The manga doesn’t have this scene.The importance of this scene is the behaviour of Nishimiya’s mom.You can see that she’s frustrated with herself for taking care of Nishimiya.She can’t fix anything.The reason why she doesn’t abuse her children because her mother helps looking after her children and Nishimiya was the very reason that her husband divorced her.She wants to prove them wrong by raising her in the right way but she’s reaching her breaking point as well.So,she decides to resort to violence.This was a small little scene containing so much emotion.
Probably the major difference between the manga and anime is Ueno.She’s a very different character in the manga but she’s not as good as she should’ve been.After the fight scene outside the hospital.Her motivation becomes blurred and she takes the most cliched route possible.In the manga she doesn’t hide from Ishida and pretty much taunts him to come to her cafe when he sees her for the first time after junior high.To me that was a bad choice in the manga’s part considering in the last half you’ll have her feeling guilty for causing Ishida so much trouble in his junior high years.Also,in the manga when she asks if Ishida hates her or not.Ishida pretty much says it to her face that he hates her.It’s a betrayal to the formula of the story.If you have read the manga or seen the anime than you should know that the manga has “X” on everyone’s face that Ishida is afraid of looking in the eye,saying the truth without fear and afraid of listening to them.Despite Ueno having a “X” mark,Ishida was able to tell the truth and hear her truthfully.The anime handles the scene much more delicately as he’s afraid of confrontation and he hesitates in his conversation with Ueno.
The manga tries to find a convenient way to get all of them together and that way was making a movie.In the manga Nagatsuka decides to make a movie and everyone in the cast are given a role in the movie thus everyone staying on the same page.I can understand why the script writer decides to leave this piece out.The movie tried to be a tad bit more dark and serious considering the last half of the story handles a lot of heavy subjects.The anime also decides to cut out all the slapstick comedies and I personally think that’s a very good choice.The move was cut out to give the characters much more natural reason to meet instead of a superficial one.In the anime we see Kawai tries to patch up with Ueno and Ishida but in the manga it is much more of a necessaity for making the movie project.So,largely the emotion behind their meeting is overshadowed in the manga.
Next comes the one scene that every manga fan screamed about,The fight outside the hospital scene.I can understand where both the scenes were coming from and why they are different.The manga has much more raw emotion on Ueno and Yuzuru’s part which was really good.That scene also involved Sahara and Nagatsuka.I can understand why the anime decides to alter the scene.It would feel very hollow to have Sahara there without any sort of backstory and with only 120 minute in their hands the anime decides to take an Evangelion esque route where the story progresses through the exploration of the main character.I’ll talk about it more in the last part of this writing.The reason why the anime doesn’t have Yuzuru behaving the way she does in the manga is because her character from the beginning was set out to be an emotional pillar and almost a guardian for Nishimiya.Making her more mature than her age.The manga shows her vulnerability which is admirable.I’d say the movie’s one might not be as powerful as the manga’s one but it was still very effective due to a far better execution of the scene where Ishida falls from Nishimiya’s balcony.But the scene that impressed me the most was not the hospital scene but the scene afterwards where Yuzuru starts taking off the pictures from the wall.The manga had a better execution of this scene and I would’ve loved if the anime did it the same way as the manga did it.
The manga also has another confrontation in the hospital that was pretty good and it would’ve been a nice addition to the anime.In that scene when Ueno doesn’t let Nishimiya enter Ishida’s hospital room,Kawai tells it to Ishida’s mother hoping that she will let Nishimiya enter but she doesn’t.Her emotional strains were very clear at this point and if not completely than atleast she partially blames Nishimiya for Ishida’s misfortune.She asks Sahara to tell Nishimiya that she’ll talk to her after Ishida wakes up.But when Ishida wakes up both the families meet and have dinner without any sort of confrontation.They just have a happy meal.The anime doesn’t have this scene because unlike the manga the anime is much more serious.The manga from the start had light hearted elemets that’s why it was easier to put a scene like that.The anime needed to handle this matter differently and it handled it pretty decently in the end.
Now comes the ending.The manga has 5 extra chapters after the anime’s ending but the truth to be said there was nothing significant enough to put in the anime that’s why the anime decides to leave it out.The manga shows that Shimada saves him and asks Ueno not to tell Ishida about it but Ueno tells him anyway.Even with such an important event the manga really doesn’t do anything significant with it so,it was unnecessary to show that Ishida and Nishimiya going to the reunion unless the anime decided to have a confrontation between Shimada and Ishida but for the lack of time the anime decides to give Ishida’s character resolution so,that he has the ability to move forward and face everyone without hiding in his insecurities.The difference between the ending of the anime and manga was pretty much like the ending of Evangelion and End of Evangelion.Evangelion was about Shinji’s resolution where EoE was about the coherent conclusion of each character arc and with the shortage of time the writers decided to end the movie with Ishida’s character resolution.I personally found it to be a better choice and a fitting finale for the anime because the anime was about the exploration of Ishida’s guilt and his confrontation of his mistakes so,it would make sense to end the anime when he reaches that resolution.