Freezing in Bali: How the Anime Falls short of the Manga

Hisashiburi desu ne, my dear readers?  After too long of a rest from writing, some commentary on Freezing: Vibration offers good warm up before I tackle more difficult articles.  I especially wish to write my article on Kouichi Mashimo’s Girls with Guns Trilogy (Noir, Madlax, and El Cazador de la Bruja).  (To tell you the truth, I did not know that this trilogy bore that nickname until this morning.)  Anyway, the present article will express how the anime handled Satellizer and Kazuya’s adventure in Bali, which spans episodes 5-7.

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These episodes number among the most painful and dark one can watch; though, as is often the case with such tales, the story is quite powerful.  After the Chevalier organization succeeds in disgracing the Mably family in revenge for Elizabeth Mably whistleblowing on the reckless way this organization handled the E-Pandora project, Satellizer sets a course for Bali in order to enlist the aid of the El Bridget family against the Chavalier Organization.  Her half-sister, Violet, runs a resort in this area.  Unfortunately, Satellizer also meets her half-brother, Louis, at this resort.  The meeting is unfortunate because Louis sees Satellizer more as a lover than as a sister, and acts on this desire in a most churlish manner.

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Okay, the preceding remark stands as a gross understatement.  As children, Louis had taken to molesting her and resumes his evil ways at the hotel.  From these experiences in her childhood and early adolescence, Satellizer developed a fear of being touched, from which she earned her nickname at West Genetics of “the Untouchable Queen.”  These three episodes show Satellizer’s struggle to break free of his hold and perform an admirably good job of demonstrating the psychology of both the victim and the fiend.  I especially like the anime’s use of chains to show the hold that Louis has on her.

Oh, I might just mention here that Holly actual has character in the manga, which is completely absent in the anime.

Oh, I might just mention here that Holly actual has character in the manga, which is completely absent in the anime.

As much as these episodes covered that aspect of the story, they portrayed the events quite well.  However, this came at the price of Kazuya and Violet’s character development, and the final victory over Louis seems rushed and less believable than in the manga.  The manga makes Violet a much more developed character.  In particular, she was the person who initially discovered Louis’s harassment of Satellizer and caused her to be sent away from the family house.  At the present time, since Louis, ostensibly at least, has a girlfriend and plenty of time has passed, Violet hoped that Satellizer might reconcile with Louis.

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And the characterization of Kazuya was miserable, as it rather has been for most of the second season.  Two scenes where Kazuya stands up to Louis made me practically cheer when I read them, but appeared trite when watched.  I doubt that this is entirely because I knew what would happen.  Kazuya has been relegated to the role of an air headed harem hero–a Tenchi, if you will.  His character has greater value than that!  The first season of the anime did a much better job in characterizing him.  After all, Kazuya drives most of Satellizer’s changes for the better.  If not for Kazuya, she would still remain the fearful, cold, and diffident character of season one.

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So, I still enjoyed the episodes, but the brevity which which the anime dealt with the story–perhaps that this kind of story could not be narrated as well through the medium of anime–diminished its excellence.  As I said, the interior struggle of Satellizer and the psychology of the victim and the perpetrator were portrayed rather well.  But, they achieved this at the price of not developing the other characters and excising most of the back story, which lent more pathos to the manga’s version.  So, this arc in the anime was okay, but chapters 39-50 were superb.

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5 comments on “Freezing in Bali: How the Anime Falls short of the Manga

  1. zeonista says:

    I didn’t mind the anime low-balling the Bali arc so much. A friend of mine who had gotten me interested in the story abruptly dropped it after that arc. It was too much for him, and even I, who as a historian am no strange to measured human cruelty, briefly stalled over it. (In my college days earlier I would have relentlessly read through it, but I have become somewhat mellower these days.) Satellizer’s phobia on being touched did at first seem like shy-reluctant anime heroine. However, as it went on without ameliorating, I began to suspect something bad, since an aversion to personal touch is a tell-tale sign of rape or similar physical abuse. Alas! my suspicion was confirmed, with a degree of polite malice that only the Orient can assign to their villains.

    The arc did lack bite, but I do think it was necessitated by the shortness of the anime schedule overall, plus probably the studo concern over the subject matter, which might draw comment and put off the anime-only fans if the story dwelt over-much on it. (Not to mention the anime’s tendency to wander into fuzzy-wuzzy fanservice land, which the Bali arc was 180-degree opposed to. Talk about a jarring contrast!) Satellizer got through it in both versions, and hopefully the closure involved will let her be a true champion in the future, and let Kazuya into her life some more.

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    • This arc did make me rather squeamish, but I had fallen in love with the characters at this point. So, you might say that I was quite prepared to follow their story even through all nine circles of hell. But, dark stories can be quite redemptive if done right. For example, my favorite Kara no Kyoukai movie was the third one, to which the darkness of Freezing can’t compare!

      Yeah, the anime does seem to want to concentrate too much on fanservice, which makes one fan of the Freezing manga I know refuse to watch the anime. But, they really are giving Kazuya’s character short shrift, which is the most disappointing thing about the Freezing: Vibration season. They need to focus more on character and less on bosoms in the coming episodes!

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  2. […] short time ago, I finished off Freezing Vibration.  My other article noted that the anime’s Bali Arc was rather inferior to the manga’s presentation.  The […]

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  3. How would you say the manga is compared to the anime?

    I enjoyed the setting and characters. I found it stylish, full of verve and with a hint of strong drama. It always felt so undeveloped, though. Stuff kept happening and I didn’t have time to enjoy all these personalities.

    Is the manga worth checking out if I like the ideas but wasn’t a fan of the execution?

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    • The manga is much better in terms of delineating the characters and talking about the background of the conflict between humanity and the Nova. Though, it still takes a long time for the reader of the manga to get a handle on that conflict. Overall, the action of the first installment and it’s faithfulness to the manga was superb. The second season is supposedly less ecchi but far less faithful to the manga. The second season is still enjoyable to me, but it doesn’t absorb the viewer in the same way as the first one or even as the manga.

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