Something old - something new - something borrowed - something blue
Did you know that there is an animated version of Supernatural? Several people showed interest in learning more about Supernatural: The Animation so I was thinking that during this hellatus I could pull back the curtain a little bit on the series as I have watched all the episodes.
This is the first part of five articles about the animation. In this article I will briefly introduce the characters and their backgrounds. First, though, I will start by defining animation.
Animation is the process of creating motion and shape change illusion by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in general—is thought to rely on the phi phenomenon. Animators are artists who specialize in the creation of animation.
Anime, also informally romanized as animé, is a term used to refer to Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. The word is the abbreviated pronunciation of "animation" in Japanese, where this term references all animation. The meaning of the word anime can vary slightly, definitions include animation from Japan or, alternatively, a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastic themes. Arguably, the stylization approach to the meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan. For simplicity, many Westerners strictly view anime as an animation product from Japan. Some scholars suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese may be related to a new form of orientalism.
Supernatural: The Animation combines western and Japanese animation characteristics in one special package. You can see the influence from both. The anime's first season consists of 22 episodes, which last about 20 minutes each. If you are used to the normal 40+ minutes it will feel quite fast but the episodes are structured for the accelerated pace. While the story line covers seasons 1-2 of the live-action series, it also includes original stories exploring the Winchesters, expands stories with secondary characters and introduces new characters. Most of the characters have gotten a makeover in the anime. Here are the short introductions of the main players.
The anime version of Dean hasn’t changed much. As the story portrays Dean in seasons 1-2, he is slightly more carefree and gives more a feeling of how Dean used to be. Also the brothers are the focus of the series - they are front and center. With Dean we also get new Weechester stories to what his, Sam’s and John’s lives were on the road. They have tried to closely copy Jensen’s outlook on his character.
Like Dean, the anime version of Sam has not changed from the show version and just like Dean we get some background stories from his younger years. Otherwise the story closely follows seasons 1-2. Jared’s outlook was also copied on Sam the best they could. Since Jared does the voice for Sam, the animation character truly reflects the heart of Sam.
The first character that is not directly the same as in the show is John. We do see him more, once even with his own case. He is a true professional, revenge driven and pretty bad ass in the anime too. He also shows his compassion and fear of losing the boys. His outlook on the other hand is very different and this is where the anime roots kick in. He wears a different type of clothes, has a clean beard and the top of his head has a bald spot. His also really towers over the boys.
We don’t see Bobby a lot in the episodes but he is there. The character looks very different from the show version - he looks like an Italian old school Mafioso from the movies! He doesn’t have a beard, is more round and his cap is gone so he is not very recognizable. Without the name the character could be anyone. Only the characteristics have stayed. He still cares a lot about the boys.
Luckily we get to see more of Missouri in the anime but she also looks different. She looks like an nice old lady with a bit of a shamanistic outlook. She reminds me of Whoopi Goldberg actually. Missouri is even more mysterious in the anime than she was in the series. She works with Bobby and the brothers.
Yellow Eyed Demon, Azazel
The yellow eyed demon is also shown more in the anime. "He" possesses different bodies, but mainly he uses a man that slightly resembles the show version in his looks. He has a definite creep factor when he appears! His scheming is shown in many hunts.
In one episode of the anime Jessica was shown as a past story. Sam actually met her while protecting her from a monster. John and Dean were on the same case. Her outlook is fairly different than it was in the show. I watched anime a lot when I was young and Jessica is cut from a clear "cute schoolgirl mold" that is usually seen in anime. The episode was a flashback and it was nice to see Sam and Jess before all the trouble.
The anime doesn't start the same as the show so we don't see Mary flashbacks until later in the series. She appears in an episode named "Home" that is mirrored from the show. She doesn't look like Mary from the show but her characteristics and personality are still there as well as her love for her boys.
There is also a story behind Meg so the anime deepens our knowledge about her backround. It is really different from the show. Her past and present day don't go at all the same way. She does look like first Meg but her character is mostly in the sidelines. The story of how she became a demon is really sad.
In the anime we do get more background about Jake and what kind of a man he is. He looks like the character in the show. We also see more of his motivations and the influence of the YED on him.
Jared did the voice over for Sam for the whole 22 episodes but Jensen only did the last two episodes due to scheduling reasons (Not the Japanese version). The characters of Sam and Dean were also drawn to resemble Jared and Jensen.
Other voice overs were:
Andrew Farrar, Annakin Slayd as Dean Winchester
Harry Standjofski as Bobby Singer
Alain Goulem as John Winchester
Angela Galuppo as Jessica Moore
Lucinda Davis as Missouri Mosely
Erin Agostino as Meg Masters
Even though for me it wasn’t a necessity to have Jared and Jensen voice acting Sam and Dean, the fact that Jared did the whole season and especially when Jensen joined for the last two episodes really did make a difference. Both give their voice acting the same emotions that they give on screen.
1. The Alter Ego
4. Ghost on the Highway
5. Savage Blood
6. Till Death Do Us Part
7. Temptation of the Demon
8. Everlasting Love
9. The Spirit of Vegas
12. Darkness Calling
13. What Lives in the Lake
15. Devils Trap
16. In My Time of Dying
17. Rising Son
20. What Is and What Should Never Be
21. All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1
22. All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2
Supernatural: The Animation is not a children's animation/cartoon because of the atmosphere that fits Supernatural. They tried to give a western feel to the story and the monsters clearly have Japanese influence. They are really freaky sometimes and some of them do go way over the top. Even though they were quite strict to keep it "in canon", they also introduced twists like a demon possessing a vampire or a vampire child that grows up. These stories were not shown in the real show. I am not even sure if it's possible (canon-wise). It made me think about the Darkness, though, and what if it can possess monsters and make them stronger or something?
I bought the Blu-ray version but I think the DVD has the same specials inside. Jensen and Jared introduced every episode if you wanted that option. The story and every episode ended to "Carry On Wayward Son" with credits which belongs to Supernatural as its unofficial theme song. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Supernatural 'The Animation' - First Exclusive Engl. Trailer [by TV - Guide]
Have you seen the animated series? What do you think of its portrayal of the characters? Strengths? Weaknesses?
Upcoming next: Part 2, the story so far... and PART 3
Upcoming next: Part 2, the story so far... and PART 3