I usually prefer watching or reading a show in the original form it was released, book, manga, anime, whatever. The new creation can be valid and good on its own, but for the definitive take on the story, one should look at the original.
In anime and manga, this is quite important. We all know how some shows begin serialization before the original story is finished, and thus have to not only change things, but make up a lot of it as they go along (Fullmetal Alchemist), or that they descend into more and more “Filler episodes” of original and usually subpar material (such as Naruto and Bleach). But sometimes they go beyond.
Sometimes, such as in the early Naruto episodes, it was done more pervasively and yet more annoyingly, in how much time each episode was taken by synopsis of the last episode, and prolonged flashbacks. Well, that’s something you as the viewer can identify and take into account, and even major plot changes could be known if you check up on the series’ plot. But what about subtle and yet pervasive changes?
My brother and I began reading the Naruto manga, and then when we caught up to the translation (book 7 at the time?), we’ve moved to the anime, which was quite ahead of where the officially translated manga had reached, so I noticed something. You know how we keep getting told Naruto is stupid? Well, he’s much more stupid and stubborn in the anime, and not in an entirely good way.
In the anime, Naruto approaches each fight the following: “Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!” or “(Mass)Shadow Clone Technique”, which is quickly repelled, he does so again, and again, and after 3-5 rounds of failed clones, he decides to change his approach. This makes him stubborn, shows how much chakra he has, and shows him to be quite stupid, requiring the same technique used in the exact same manner defeated several times before he realized it just might be a good idea to try something else.
In the manga, as well as my memory serves me, Naruto was much quicker on the uptake, and after a single failed Kage Bunshin attempt, switched to something else. Of course he still failed, but he’s a Determinator, and failing is most of Naruto’s charm. But at least he’s not knucklebone stupid while doing it, and is trying new things at every turn.
That’s another reason to keep to the original venue, or try to stick to limited-run series, where they won’t try to change things just to fit the time constraints, though they might go the other way and cut stuff out, obviously.
So, which subtle changes to characters have you seen made when a medium transition was made, and not for the sake of the story?