In an effort to catch up on some of my reading backlog, I recently found myself revisiting The Fruit of Grisaia, both the visual novel and the anime. Because sometimes time for reading is limited, and the story is pretty damned long.
In doing so, I’m kind of reminded of several things. The anime adaption while extremely well executed is also extremely condensed. Many key scenes are filtered through but as a whole: you only get something on par with 20% of the visual novel’s content. That is to say: the anime is great, but it’s like looking through a pinhole compared to the original media. Episode one’s one line summary of each character’s story is also spot on.
About 90% of the crude humor that makes Yuuji’s school life so enjoyable is cut, and each characters story is condensed heavily for time. For me that’s kind of sad because the joking and clowning around is part of why the novel left me laughing my ass of more often than not.
Considering that each characters story is practically a novel in of itself, the anime fairs pretty well for cutting out so much. You still get key moments like burying his classmate alive, but much of the detail around it is lost, such as the airhead’s true nature. I think Amane’s story is the only one that really escaped massive trim: probably because there’s no way to actually trim her story and keep the jist. By contrast, Sachi’s which is the longest character story in the novel: only got one episode that struggles to tell the jist of her condition. And the series totally misses out on her sadomasochist sense of humor to a fine degree, and Michiru’s constant bombardment of idiocy and subtle kindness. All sorts of things in the name of fitting into a standard season length.
Likewise things are quite twisted to create a point of co-existence out of the novel’s ladder like structure. So we don’t get to see how much Yuuji / Makina truly mirrors his relationship with Asako, as that would be destructive to a shared finish. And a host of other things. I don’t think we even get the hilarious Lamborghini and frozen turkey scene from Yumiko’s route which was just freaking awesome sauce. Instead a new ending is sort of created, and much of the characters’ suffering and healing is drifted off to the cutting room floor. But if you had to cram it down to about a dozen episodes, I’d say the anime is about as good as could be done with the story.
But then I remember what really made me interested in the story wasn’t Gurizaia no Kajitsu itself: but the anime adaptions of the follow on media. Which pretty much starts out by telling Yuuji’s story, and the road from his truly fucked up youth to his master, Asako, saving him for the pits of hell. It wasn’t until after the anime adaptions of the The Labyrinth, and The Eden of Grisaia that the original visual novel really went on my radar.
Which kind of leaves me wondering: and just how heavily condensed was the rest of the trilogy when they adapted them to anime!?