Movies in Japanese

Hello, I had a question about Japanese movies/TV shows. I was wondering if there is a book, I want to read in Japanese is the movie usually better? I know in English I often hear the book is always better but is it the same in Japanese. I would assume it depends on the book and the movie though. When I talk to some of my native Japanese friends, they usually have only watched the books I told them I have read.

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Generally speaking I think the original version of something is typically the best, simply because that’s the medium it was originally written for. That’s not always the case of course. For example, the anime film of 時をかける少女 is far better than the original book, but that’s also not a direct adaption. And there are certainly occasions where a film or show could better present the originally text-only material due to the added audiovisual component (for example I really prefer music anime even if they were originally a manga or novel).

But I think that’s more the exception than the rule. Far more often, adaptions have pacing issues or cut content due to the limitations of film and television. Of course, even this isn’t always a bad thing. I liked the film adaption of 聲の形 better than the manga because it was more streamlined.

Anyway, I think this is language agnostic and varies from one case to the next. But if you asked me for my general view, I’d usually say the original is better and recommend that over an adaption when possible.


quite a few book to movie adaptations, I have found, are only inspired by the book and don’t follow extremely closely. Case in point: リング or 時をかける少女 (as mentioned by seanblue)

other times the book came after the movie and is a novelization of the movie… (which, I think, is less common in the western world)

Personally, so far, I usually end up prefering the movie/series. :upside_down_face:

It probably depends on what you want out of your experience with a story.
Especially with LNs you get a lot of filler stuff, that is often left out in the anime adaption, etc. Makes for a snappier story progression, but gives you less insight into the characters…
on the other hand you often also have filler episodes in anime, because the series is not fully published and they have to wait out the story to complete.


(tl;dr: if you just want to know what the story is about, go for the film adapation. You can always go back and read the book if interested, but a movie is much less of a time sink.)


I haven’t yet found one single book that I’d consider better than the movie/TV adaption.

The best I could find is that they are equally good, like e.g. for 狼と香辛料、思い出のマーニー、お兄ちゃんはおしまい、ふらいんぐうぃっち.

Here e.g. I think the adaption is better than the book: 魔女の宅急便、時をかける少女(anime version)、のんのんびより、Another、リング.

I would say that it depends, just like adaptations of media in other languages can differ in quality. Sometimes it can also depend on the genre of the source material.

I like to read modern literary fiction and haven’t watched so many movie adaptations of that genre, but I found the adaptation of こちらあみ子 | L27 to unfortunately not come close to the original, despite its best efforts. Same with the adaptation for 共喰い | L44.

The film versions had some strengths, such as creating a strong atmosphere and mood through visuals and interesting soundtrack choices, but the subtleties of the characters inner worlds and the metaphors in the text didn’t come across the same way so I didn’t find the movies as heart-wrenching as the books.

I do think there can be great adaptations of literary fiction though, I just can’t think of any off the top of my head! :thinking:


I personally think the おしい刑事 TV show was leaps and bounds better than the books. The characters were funnier and felt more real, whereas the book felt more like dumb slapstick.

Overall I’ve also liked books better than their movie adaptations. The adaptations I’ve seen often leave out too much, or they rewrite things to be less intense / more palatable for a wider audience.