September 22, 2013

Gainax strikes again -- color me surprised

Pete says that the ending of Stella Jogakuin C3-bu was a complete disappointment.

When you finish watching a show, it should be possible to explain, in simple terms, what story is being told and why. That may not be apparent while the show is running but when it's over, if you still don't know then it means the story telling was incompetent.

Anyone who watched Girls und Panzer all the way through (and I'd venture to say that hardly anyone drops that part way through) there's not really any doubt about what the story was about. Same for Mouretsu Pirates. On the other hand, Infinite Stratos failed badly. I still don't know why (besides the profit motive) they felt the need to tell that story, or what it's really about, besides Yet Another Mecha And Harem story.

And it sounds like Gainax failed this test on this show. But it's hard to say; everyone I read who originally was blogging this show dropped it except Brickmuppet, who watches it on one-week-tape-delay. So until his next post, we have no details on WTF happened in the last episode.

And I am not willing to watch it to find out, myself.

UPDATE: There are exceptions to every rule and there are exceptions to this one, too. I can't give you a brief explanation of what Puella Magi Madoka Magica was about; I know what it's about but I can't summarize it briefly. And that show is not a failure. It's also difficult to do that for shows that become continuing franchises, since they never end.

But for a limited length series, you really should know, when it's all over, what was going on, and you really should agree that it was a story worth telling.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 10:55 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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1 It's too bad about C3-bu, but I kind of had a feeling it was going that way.

As for Puella Magi Madoka Magica, um... no, that will start a derail.

Posted by: ubu at September 22, 2013 01:24 PM (GfCSm)

2 I don't think Stella is technically over since they showed a preview for a 13th episode. However I can't imagine what they could do at this point that would salvage it.

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan at September 22, 2013 01:44 PM (IgcpA)

3 Now, now, hatin' on IS this way is just uncoth. If you're jaded by harems, it does not mean everyone else is. So, it was a fine story, just the winning girl was a sacred cow instead of the one who deserved it. Just the real life.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 22, 2013 03:10 PM (RqRa5)

4 Eh? Who said anything about IS?

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan at September 22, 2013 03:33 PM (IgcpA)

5 Oh, sorry, I missed Steven's original comment about IS.

Incidentally I'm skeptical about the "quick summary of what it is about" test. The more sophisticated the writing, the harder it will be to summarize quickly. But of course if the writers just have no idea what they are doing...

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan at September 22, 2013 03:40 PM (IgcpA)


Pete, there wasn't any "winning girl", unless you mean the strange one that showed up at the end. In which case the story is really creepy.

Infinite Stratos spent 12 episodes introducing us to characters. That's it. It feels like the first 12 episodes of a far longer series -- and maybe that's how it will turn out to be, since there's another installment coming in a couple of weeks. But with that series standing alone, just those 12 episodes, it was completely pointless.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 22, 2013 03:56 PM (+rSRq)

7 IS should have had a 2nd season sooner, but the writer & the publisher got into a pretty big fight.  I don't know the details, but a lot of stuff shifted and a new artist was assigned. 

So, after all that, we finally get a second season.  The problem I have is that we're probably going to get some attempt at plot.  I'd rather just the random harem hijinks.  That was the only interesting part of the series.   The fighting was cool, but let's not try to apply any world logic, haha.

Posted by: sqa at September 22, 2013 04:19 PM (rdcLU)

8  Yes, having read through the latest available translations, I can definitely say that the plot starts with Volume 4.  And mostly stays there, until volume 8.  Until then, things happen, but it's all related to the harem.   And a few new pieces get revealed in that volume, but add more questions than answers.

I'm too much the optimist; I keep hoping that it means there's going to be this great reveal. As I said at Bridgebunnies: "In short, IS really is a harem series, with a thin mecha coating, but I feel the author doesn’t have a real story to tell. He just wants to write about cute girls chasing a clueless guy."  I suspect he'll continue milking the harem hijinks until he's forced to deal with the plot.

Unless the reason for the publisher change was that the old one wanted him to write nothing but harem, and he did want to do plot and mecha -- the 8th book seems to have a slight tonal shift, if I'm not engaging in wishful thinking.

Oh well, it could be worse.  We could be waiting for a mysterious plaque to be explained in the inevitable sequel of a much better series.  Oh, wait...

Posted by: ubu at September 23, 2013 11:59 AM (SlLGE)

9 I did something very rare for me during C3-bu: I gave up on it. I can sit through a lot of dreck; in fact, I consider it a superpower of mine. I made it through Uta no Prince-sama, Amnesia, and Brother's Conflict, for goodness sake.

But C3-bu hit upon one of my two triggers: annoyance and/or boredom.  Boredom generally applies to those unfunny Yonkoma comedies that are inadvisably turned into an anime.  Annoyance almost always boils down to a reaction to what I refer to as "The Crap Protagonist."

It's more than just a dull protagonist; it's a supposed hero who actively works against and resists the most obvious path of development or redemption. Take Shu of Guilty Crown, for example.  Protagonists can be failures, but they shouldn't actively promote their own failures.

Yura's a crap protagonist. She starts out pretty good as the introverted girl who finds something she loves, and then finds she has a unique talent. And then it all goes away in the course of one episode because she's an ass.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at September 23, 2013 12:10 PM (r4uXE)

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