Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dropped: The Pilot's Love Song--How to Make Your Steampunk Anime Boring

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Feel like the premise for your steampunk romance anime is too interesting and original? Follow these steps to guarantee that the presentation will make it boring and uninspired instead!

(A/N: Some spoilers are discussed in this post. It is also intended to be read with heavy amounts of sarcasm.)

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1. Establish a really cool setting and then do nothing with it. Your characters are living on a giant floating island in search of the end of the world? Focus on their anime school life instead! They'll be passing through parts of the world and may encounter tribes that are only discussed in myth? Do not discuss or establish those myths! The whole expedition is actually a way to send people into political exile? That's far too interesting a topic, have a beach episode instead!

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2. Set up your romance plot by having the characters fall into water and be half-naked around each other. Bonus points will be awarded if they fall on each other while half-naked. Have them act really awkward and say cliche things to each other instead of establishing actual chemistry. Who would want to have nuanced romance in their anime, especially when it's the main plotline?

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3. Have everyone freak out over foreign food, like curry. Nevermind wondering how this food could exist in this universe. Nothing is better than foreign food. Nothing.

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(눈_눈) Are you kidding me
4. Never clarify anything. Dodge relevant plot questions for the sake of building unnecessary suspense. Use the extra time to talk about food instead. 

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5. Have one character that just stands around looking angry, contributing nothing. Is his perceived angst relevant to the plot? Who knows!

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6. Give your main characters tragic backstories that fuel interesting motivations, but don't have them act on those in the present. A character might be a prince who wants to exact revenge from a religious leader, but he doesn't have time for that! There's food to moon over! Also, be sure to not clarify what exactly caused this tragic backstory event. There was a revolution against the old monarchy? Over what? Who cares!

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7. Did we mention how great ramen is yet?

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If this isn't a death flag, then I need to get my anime cliche meter re-adjusted
8. The main characters don't get any development, so the minor characters shouldn't either. Unless you're going for a easy emotional pull to milk in the next episode.

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The face of a man enamored with ramen
9. Spend all your budget on plane CG that is barely used so that when the show gets to the midpoint it looks like everyone is melting.

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10. Should your show address cliffhangers? I think you meant TIME TO MAKE MORE RAMEN

TL;DR: There are some cool ideas in here, but there's so much bland anime school stuff that's been done hundreds of times before that I can't bring myself to care anymore. And if I have to listen to another character talk about how mind-blowingly awesome ramen is, I will flip tables. If you're still watching this for the brief moments of steampunk, please watch the first Last Exile instead, it's a much better use of your time.

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  1. U-huh, yup. Last Exile is way better and it looks like they somewhat copied it. I pretty much dropped that show since the first episode...

  2. So true. This show has been absolutely infuriating. WTF, nobody gives a shit about ramen or about school or about ERU-ERUFU looking emo.

  3. I wonder - do they really think that crossing all the I's and T's of Anime cliche would actually make this show sell? Do they seriously think that their audience would snap up the BDs just because an entire pastiche of cliches was shoved into their faces, given that there are always no shortage of competing animes who revel in these cliches every season also vying for BD sales? Let's hope it bombs spectacularly, if only to reduce the chances of such stinkers in subsequent seasons being contemplated.

  4. I had a bad feeling, but I wanted to give it a chance. Nope, it got worse from there.

  5. Its priorities are all screwed up for some reason. Why would you choose to focus on the uninteresting and the mundane when there's such a cool world to explore? It's just lazy writing. Even the animation doesn't care anymore.

  6. If I didn't know that this was from a completed light novel series, my guess would've been that the show was padding for time. However, since it is a completed light novel series, the only thing I can do is assume that this was all in the books. There are genuinely good light novel series out there--heck, look at 12 Kingdoms and Guin Saga--but currently they all seem obsessed with just cycling through overused tropes and focusing on the least interesting aspects of their stories. If I had a dollar for every time a light novel adaptation with a cool-sounding premise turned into formulaic stupidity, I'd be very rich.

    If it does bomb, I hope that the studio and production committee (as well as the author) take it as a sign that they need to take a big step back from forcing these cliches into everything, and not think that it's because there isn't an audience for steampunk. I would love more steampunk anime. *Actual* steampunk anime, not a bunch of light novel BS pretending that it's steampunk.

  7. It's frustrating to see something that actually has a fairly interesting world and premise just bend over backwards to hit all these standard anime beats. Yeah, it's trying to establish a bond with these characters before getting to the drama - so do that in ways that actually USE THE PREMISE, not in ways grafted on from every high school anime ever. Such a silly waste.

  8. This could've very easily been one of the best shows of the season if it wasn't completely misguided on how to get viewers to care about the characters.

  9. Happy Valentine's/Singles Awareness Day!
    Sorry to hear you're dropping this series. I'm still interested to see how their plot will go, although I do agree with you on the cliched writing parts. Even Hataraku, which was LN based, still did a much better job at presenting its story in the anime (and they only used 2 out of 10 volumes!)
    How do you like Hozuki no Reitotsu BTW? I hear it's being warmly received in Japan. The humour's rather Japan-centric, although I like their use of dry, witty British-style humour. It's like watching 'the Office' in Japanese hell, with King Yama in the Michael Scott role. Wonder which role Hoozuki is...
    My favourite ep was when the Western Devil paid a visit. :D

  10. Happy Valentine's Day to you too!
    I do admit that I am still interested in where the plot will go, but the show's insistence on focusing on the cliche parts got too frustrating for me. And with the way my schedule's been recently, I don't have the time to wait it out. And like you pointed out, LN adaptations don't have to be this way!
    I'm really enjoying Hozuki! It's making me realize how little I know about Japanese folklore, but "the Office in Japanese Hell" is an accurate description. I liked the one with the Western Devil too! XD

  11. To commit the sin of quoting myself from elsewhere, my one-sentence summary is: Society solves its social problems by putting all of its emotionally crippled aristocrats on a flying rock named the Isla and telling them to look for the end of the sky. Twenty minutes of bad acting interspersed with four minutes of bad flying.

  12. also: be sure you forget about important clues throughout the anime so, when out of the blue it reaches the end, the viewers will be dismayed

  13. every now and then, change the names or at least their pronunciation