I'd like to bring up an old argument just for fun. I have a friend who doesn't like a lot of Batman stuff except for one, because in his opinion, the others aren't what Batman actually is. Personally, I like most Batman material in all of its various interpretations, except for the campy 70's version (and other things based on that). I think the 90's animated series was fine, if a little childish. I love the Dark Knight series. All of its animated movies are at least good, if not great. I even like the first live-action movies, especially Batman Forever. Even though BF is campy as hell, I feel it still manages to be a fun superhero romp that I can disassociate from whatever else I think of as Batman (and therefore, I'd probably enjoy Lego Batman).
I think that disassociation is what allows me to enjoy so many things. The core of my friend's argument, I think, comes down to what Batman is to him. Having just finished Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, which was a rework of the previous anime series, I tried thinking about which one was better, but I ultimately concluded both are great in their own ways. A lot of fans like to lean on Brotherhood for sticking closer to the original manga, but I feel this argument for some kind of "purity" to the story is what allows people to miss many great stories. People like to think that a story is best done by a single person, or at least an original group of authors. To address that argument, let's talk about Star Wars for a moment.
When Star Wars came out, it was holy hell. The original trilogy was insanely successful to the point that it's now a staple element in American culture. Putting aside for the moment that some people just haven't seen Star Wars (because there's so much media to consume that it's unrealistic to expect one person to see all of the great ones at this point), if you've seen the original Star Wars trilogy and don't like it, people will be genuinely confused as to how that is possible. I'm kind of right there with you. I personally enjoy Star Trek better, that's my side, but I won't deny how great the original trilogy of Star Wars was. People were worshipping George Lucas so hard that everyone lost their minds when they heard we were finally going to get episodes 1-3 instead of just the weird middle ground of 4-6. Then, episode 1 came out initially to a lot of praise, but eventually people started hating it passionately. (As an aside, my mom actually loved it because of all the CGI; she really likes all kinds of special effects and the process that goes into making them.) It's panned so hard, fans basically suggest not seeing it at all and completely removing it from the canon. What happened? Basically, the original creator of Star Wars, father to one of the most beloved licenses in the world, was given much more freedom to create the story he envisioned in his way.
When Star Wars was first made, sci-fi was actually a very disrespected genre. It was considered fiction for "intellectuals & liberals," and nobody really wanted to run it. Because of this, George Lucas's ideas were very often refined by others. When Star Wars became a huge success associated to his name, people generally got a bit of "hero worship," and thus he was allowed much more creative freedom. We saw some of the creative freedom with the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition with the many changes that got made there, most notoriously spawning the argument as to whether Han shot first. Now, pretty much universally everyone hates episode 1, the other two episodes are at least recognized to have some value. I'll even put myself on record as saying episode 3 is my absolute favorite of all the Star Wars movies. Episode 2 helped spawn the (I think) well-received Clone Wars television series. They still don't get to be above the original trilogy though, and I basically put all of that on how much creative freedom one man had.
Now, I'll go one step further with the unpopular opinions and say if you think the original artist's vision must be respected 100%, then you need to throw away every Disney movie you ever had. Disney has made an entire business out of primarily rebranding old stories to fit the new generation. That famous first film of Snow White had some significant differences to the original version by the Brothers Grimm (here's a link showing summarizing how the stories are different for those interested). The Lion King 1 & 2 are well-known by now as simply Shakespearian plays put into an African setting. The Great Mouse Detective is one of many, MANY versions of Sherlock Holmes. The Little Mermaid is notoriously well-known for being far darker in its original form than what Disney gave us. Even Disney itself made an albeit biased movie showing the struggle behind adapting Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks. Despite all that, whenever we think of Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, Peter Pan, and others, our minds immediately turn to Disney. That's the version we first got as kids, and that's the version that's marketed so heavily all over. It's actually pretty interesting to me that there was so much controversy when the live-action Beauty & the Beast movie was coming out. We were so attached to the "original" award-winning movie that we didn't want it touched at all.

What initially brought on this thought process was having just finished watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This was a reboot of the previous anime that was based on a manga before it, only the new anime Brotherhood was supposed to be closer to the original manga. Now that I phrased it like that, I actually kind of see the argument that might've gotten this thing passed in the first place, that things are coming full circle (the series has more symbolism than I've seen in a lot of media). Typically, when a serial manga gets popular, it's not long before an anime gets adapted to spread it even further. Unfortunately (and perhaps paradoxically), anime production is often much faster than the original manga production. This results in a lot of filler stories original to the anime to keep fans engaged while the manga continues its story. For example, Dragon Ball Z had an entire season of filler story of Garlic Jr. so the manga could continue to develop. Having finished watching both FMA series (I don't read much manga, sorry), there are definitely a lot of story differences. Key plot points take a lot longer to reach, and it eventually got to the point that the anime just left the manga behind. It ended up reaching an entirely different conclusion with different rules to the world. Despite that, I can actually say both series are equally valuable. In fact, it's because they are so different, yet similar, that I can appreciate both of them equally. I've been trying to figure out which one I would recommend to someone who insists on watching just one. I ultimately concluded I'd recommend the '03 version simply out of sheer arrogance that once you watch it, you'll be engaged enough to watch Brotherhood and still love it. In a way, this argument is kind of Disney-esque. I'm recommending someone's first exposure be the adaptation that departed from its original source material, because both are still good. By recommending the adaptation, that becomes your first impression, so the argument of "purity" ends up holding less merit once you start to love the first anime. I believe someone's first exposure being Brotherhood would taint one's impression of the first, but both can be appreciated in a vacuum.
Ultimately, that's really the whole argument I'm trying to get across. Unless you plan on doing a lot of historical research yourself to make sure you get "the first," many well-beloved stories you're going to get will be rebrands. I love Dragon Ball, but that story is largely (albeit loosely) based on a millennia-old Chinese story called Journey to the West. Everything I've heard about Journey to the West leaves me to believe that story is awesome (in fact, here's a link to some great videos summarizing it). In contrast, and I know I'm going to get a lot of hate for this, I really liked the movie for Avatar: the Last Airbender, but don't enjoy the original series precisely because of the pacing the movie requires vs. the pacing the TV series/a.n.i.m.e. affords. The current generation of My Little Pony is considered to be leagues better than its original incarnation. I'm even willing to give the Green Lantern movie a try, but the live-action Dragon Ball movie does seem like total garbage. Then in a totally different direction, I can appreciate Batman Forever as long as I disassociate it from whatever else I think of as Batman. I really like the first 2 TMNT movies, but don't like much else TMNT related. You can have diamonds and coal in both the old and the new. Movie formats require a different kind of pacing to tell a story than a longer-running television or book series requires. We're also a creative people that want to keep stories alive in new ways. In fact, before literacy, stories were all told by people, who all inevitably played their own role in shaping what it is. Just look at many famous Greek, Native American, and African folktales. Fiction, by its very nature, isn't real, so it's not important to be 100% accurate to each story. If you allow yourself to see each story in a vacuum, it really opens you up to appreciating far more things. It also allows stories to die a good death, like (spoiler alert) Batman actually dying at the end of the Dark Knight trilogy! Open yourself up to new storytellers, judge them each on their own merit. Otherwise, too much hero worship gives you midichlorians. Take that how you will.


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