The Problem with Juni Taisen: Zodiac War | From Light Novel to Anime

I've always loved the idea of a death game it's such an interesting idea for a plot and lends itself to intense and horrifying actions and consequences and a fearful and Nev ability that cannot be matched by many other plot structures yet I've never seen one in the felt satisfactory from The Hunger Games to future diary they've always left me just disappointed and feeling like there were so many problems and yes I haven't seen battle royale yet I know I know I need to get to that soon well I have a number of problems though with these death games I've seen the biggest one is this they're too predictable and they don't really manage to make me care enough about most of the characters for the story to be worth my while despite this predictability and Junie Tyson zodiac war definitely doesn't nothing to avoid predictability in fact Junie Tyson is meant to be predictable after all the order of deaths is based on the order of the Chinese zodiacs and the myth behind the Chinese zodiacs the original light novels author and a CEO a scene was never trying to be unpredictable and the anime doesn't stray from that at all and that's okay but if a story is going to be completely predictable if a death game is going to lack that tension of the unknown it better have something else in its place so let's talk about Junie Tyson zodiac Wars light novel and its anime adaptation and see the differences between them and whether either of them managed to create a story I could enjoy ECOA Singh's novel has a very specific structure that is followed throughout its entirety there are battles each of them with a winner and a loser before each battle there is a brief biography of sorts provided for the character who is going to die except for the rabbit for the most part these bound if you serve to show us almost all of the backstory we are going to see for these characters with the only truly notable exception being tiger and perhaps ox whose relationship and developed because of the shared past experience that is described by the end of the plot the anime however takes these sections and for many of the characters creates backstories out of them having that backstory occur within the episode wherein the character will die this is by far the largest difference between the anime and the light novel and it was an interesting choice to make as it completely alters the animes focus in the anime these backstories are mostly made up of specific events that get across the point the light novels character bios drive to building a relatively specific narrative when we learn more about the characters past this means that the anime becomes more of an episodic character study with a death game as the overarching structure tying those character studies together as opposed to a death game that has tagged on and brief summaries of character traits in many ways this is a very intelligent change as a light novel fails in a number of respects just because of the way it handles its character development or lack thereof in a death game that quickly becomes predictable removing us from the characters only makes the events boring and bland this problem with unidentified or at the least uninteresting characters is made even more problematic because so much of the novel consists of inner monologues to the point where from the most part there's very little description of setting or battles mean this to say this means that I didn't care much for the novel and its largest saving grace was that it moved quickly in thus that it was over quickly which meant that some of its strong moments such as the interactions between ox and tiger did stand out but the anime has theoretically taken when I see is the best approach possible the crater seemed to say let's take this character information and make something interesting let's make the audience care about these people and sit there knowing that they are going to die and just feeling distressed because they know what's going to happen but they don't want it to happen but such a huge change in focus is ambitious and requires a large amount of new material and the key here is that we need to care about these people or at least hate them enough that we are excited to see them die that element without either really wanting them to live or really wanting them to die this whole new focus does very little to improve the story unfortunately this is the case with Ginni Tyson's anime adaptation the changes have been made but the backstories are mostly just okay I could go on about each individual one explain why this is the case but I think most people agree with this point but I will say the biggest reason I think it's this way the anime didn't stray far enough from its source material yeah I know that's a pretty weird thing to say but they needed to commit to this change and they just didn't commit enough as they pull so many of the characters and her monologues from the light novel and use them as the characters thoughts within the show this means that often we are being told instead of shown something or that what we are seeing is being repeated to us in a way that is either so obvious that we don't need to hear it again or something that we just don't really need to know and thus takes away from the impact another major change made in the anime adaptation is that it includes the events of its sequel which was written and published before the light novel and this we see rat trying to decide what to use his wish on unfortunately I can't find the sequel so I can't really discuss how it was adapted however the very inclusion of these events is in and of itself a big change that we should discuss in the light novel we do not get to see rat swish and as such the end of the novel is anticlimactic and disappointing in the anime however we do get to see his wish so this might seem like a good thing after all that should fix the issue shouldn't it unfortunately I don't think that it does because rats character has so lacked and character development up to this point and his backstory is never covered in the anime I had no emotional investment in his wish he could choose anything and it wouldn't be expected or unexpected we know next to nothing about him and all we really learn in this final episode is that he hates people which is one of the few things that we actually already knew about him because of his interactions with monkey so him finding it impossible to choose a wish and eventually just choosing to forget really didn't land that's not to say that it couldn't have it's actually a really interesting idea and it has a lot of potential to be interesting but when he broke down and said that he just wanted to forget I thought oh okay yeah I guess that could be I mean he could be that sort of guy I don't know so in the end I found Junie Tyson's light novel be boring because of its necessary predictability in the way its structure and focus failed to complement that predictability meanwhile I found the anime disappointing because it attempted to alter the structure and focus in a way that could possibly turn predictability into an interesting narrative tool but failed because it didn't make me care about the characters thus the show suffers from awkward pacing and a whole lot of anticlimactic experiences overall I didn't enjoy either version of Junie Tyson and I'd be really curious to hear what your opinions are down in the comments below either way I hope that you enjoyed this video I'll be making many more of these videos in the near future on series like Full Metal Alchemist land of the lustrous Fievel ever earn and the ancient majus bride thank you for watching and I hope you have a great day

30 thoughts on “The Problem with Juni Taisen: Zodiac War | From Light Novel to Anime

  1. Future person present and says : man I recently read the light novel and started the anime to see what I couldn't see otherwise , and now watching this video I'm shocked because at his chapter said that I've seen other times and in one of them I was with rabbit and I was surprised his much I have In common with him so he didn't meet him once but in the anime he meets him???? This conclude that the anime is another route of actions (that I really consider should have been done )

  2. There was a lot of things the anime did well. The decision to make the Nezumi's origin and abilities a mystery, knowing he was going to win, was brilliant. I just think the issue lies in there not being a big enough pay off.

    Overall, Nezumi's ability was amazing, and fit perfectly with the plot, the conclusion of the whole thing being the whims of wealthy godlike people is kind of hilarious and totally fits the edgy plot.

    However, epilogue, his "wish" bit, was disappointing, which I now realize is due to their reliance on source material. I got more info on the snake and dragon tend than Nezumi and Usagi, who were the biggest mysteries in the whole anime.

  3. it wasn't a sequel in the sense it was published early it was part of the ogiri series which was and anthology of different illustrators all being written by nisioisin put together by an editor who would a some sort of topic basically death by xxx, by being a little vague, in junitaisen's it was death by wish witch broke the whole conceit of the anthology by killing him 99 times

  4. Well now I feel stupid. I never noticed that the deaths were in order, although I watched the show, never read the novels.

  5. Dale una oportunidad a tomogurui ese manga muestra un juego de muerte que no resulta tan predecible

  6. I thought that the anime was great until the last episode happened. For me personally it ruined the show.

  7. I agree that most death games lack something. The best one I know of is the Daganrompa game series…but that one doesn't really hit its stride until the second one. The third one is the best.

  8. Its weird how the only 2 wish's that actually make sense and tie in with the main theme of the story were rat and dragons. Infact dragons wish actually makes more sense considering rat can just end up winning another one and go through the emotional turmoil he went through all over again. Would of been super cool to see dragon win and then wish for nothing.

  9. well if this anime of Chinese zodiac didn't make you happy, just watch and read manga of fruit basket XD LOL. same folktales story.

  10. I pretty much enjoyed everything about the anime except for the last wish and the brother's backstory (which was just boring and lame). It woulda been nice to have some longer fight scenes too. Sheep, Chicken and Dog mainly could of had some actual fights, even if they were severely one sided, instead of instantly just killed.

  11. I think one of the biggest problems was that the characters I cared about most died first. I actually liked the first characters, but horse, dragon, snake way too simple of characters to justify the 3 episodes in the middle. I also agree that Rat was kinda a bland character. Still overall, seeing the wishes of the characters through Rat with the last episode was a saving grace in my opinion.
    I don't really see how to get around this problem,though, because if Rat was more of a protagonist it would have been really similar to Steins;Gate or Re;Zero. I think maybe one of the reasons Rat was boring is because despite a really interesting introduction, (who is this sleepy guy? he's probably OP) his development really falls flat during the rest of the show. If he had more stake in his conversations with Horse and Monkey, maybe I would have cared more about him.
    Boar, Chicken, Tiger, and Sheep were my favorites, and only Tiger got the screen time I think she deserved. I'm not sure when Isin wrote this, but I think he tackled fights way more elegantly in Katanagatari than in Juni Taisen.
    Great video Lowart, hope you had a good holiday season. Well I guess if you're Chinese then it hasn't begun but whatever, thanks for the video

  12. Appreciate this video! I was wondering about how the novel differs, and your explanation gives me the feeling there's not much there. But I personally don't agree with your arguments that the backstories of the characters in the anime are not compelling. I'm guessing maybe it's because you have already read the novel and are therefore not excited as they unfold in the anime adaptation. Personally, I was drawn to many of the characters through their backstory (Ox and Tiger of course. I desperately wanted Monkey to win so I could know her impossibly grand plan for ending war) and was annoyed by others' lack of compassion (Boar and Dog). Then in the last episode, when Rat divulges a bit more about each character, and you realize that characters such as the Dog, can be brutal in battle but are actually really good people. Also, when Rat talks to both brothers at the last episode, you briefly realize that they secretly each feel unfulfilled and perhaps held back by the other in the mutual maintenance of their facade that "money is all that matters in the world." I feel like the anime, with such a constraint of 12 episodes, did a good job of showing minimal cracks of psychologically revealing vignettes into their lives. By the end, I wish I had several spin-off animes about each of the characters' lives.

    Also, I think we learned so much about Rat's psychology and character by the end that his wish DID make sense. We learned why he was so damn tired and lazy all the time – it's because it's beyond mentally exhausting to constantly go through 100 scenarios, face countless deaths, betrayals, confessions from people 24/7. It also adds to his jaded (though immature) character towards people. Also, being a person who also suffers from analysis paralysis, I'm just biased towards his character…

    Those are just my thoughts though! I'm eager to check out more of your videos!

  13. God, why is his voice so damn comforting. Not only that but these videos are so well written as well. Can't way until this channel blows up. Cheers!

  14. I don't think Juuni Taisen is a traditional battle royale series at all, which is part of why I liked it. Really, it subverts and mocks a lot of what makes these shows so popular, turning it into a story about how war is senseless and violence shouldn't be glamorized like in most battle royale series. That's why I love that this series was so anti-climatic. It's quite literally portraying a senseless war where one little mistake gets you killed no matter how well you planned, where the trauma has irreversible impact, and where peace inevitably leads to more war. Monkey's, Boar's, and Tiger's backstory's really hits that point home in different yet interesting and/or fun ways, as does everything about the final episode. Rat gets his the ability to get any wish, but he realizes that what he does will inevitably be useless later on. He chooses instead to forget about the trauma of 100 different war realities and the burden of the wish, making the whole thing literally have no purpose anymore except some dead people. That's really interesting to me and very applicable to real life, and another reason why I love Nisio Isin and his ambitious subversive ideas. It helps that I found 8 of the 12 warriors to be hilariously trashy and entertaining (9 after seeing Dog in the finale), and with solidly compelling backstories, though I do agree that the pacing and production need some work and Horse, Snake, and Dragon were rather uninteresting.

  15. the zodiac war felt so empty…
    btw, you made me realize that "The Long Walk" may be the only book that I've enjoyed from Stephen King, until now ._.

  16. I love the novel and found the anime to be a lackluster adaptation. The fight between Ox/Tiger vs Dragon/Snake in the novel was amazing and in the anime was a very quick, badly directed mess.

  17. If you want a death game that can surprise you the Btooom manga gets pretty out there. Takes turns you don't expect, thats for sure

  18. I heard the novel isn't all good either, but I have heard it is getting a sequel to the Juuni Taisen Novel, which involves the Greek/Roman zodiacs.

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