Archive for February 13th, 2008

I said it. Oops.

That’s what I call an episode of anime.

I think it’s safe to say that at this point, Shin’ichiro, Hiromi, and Ai are all fairly complex characters. Noe’s pretty much been left aside, sort of–she’s certainly the least-developed of the main cast. It’s slightly surprising to me, even though I know this is the same Nishimura Junji who directed Simoun–I didn’t think this series would get this way. By “this way” I mean “this is getting better than ef.” Maybe it’s just freshness, and the fact that ef’s ending is a couple months behind me, but true tears has got something that even the mighty ef lacked: strong characters. Now, ef had strong characters of a kind, and I’m not downgrading my opinion of the series at all, it’s just that true tears is doing something you didn’t see in ef. In exchange for the removal of fancypants SHAFT showing off their mad directing skills (which was the real meat of ef), you have much more subtle directing, but stronger characters (which is the real meat of true tears). And both these series air in successive seasons to each other. I’m thinking it’s a little unfair to compare them, but it’s the easiest way to illustrate the true strength of true tears.

The other way to illustrate the strength of true tears is to, of course, actually talk about the characters. Even a relatively minor character like Shin’ichiro’s mother is more complex than most mother characters are in series of this type, and for good reason, given Hiromi’s origin. Hiromi herself wants to love Shin’ichiro (and may even suspect that he likes her, we’re not exactly sure on this point) but yet she gets angry at him all the time, most likely due to her nebulous origin. Ai, of course, really loves Shin’ichiro, yet somehow agreed to date his best friend. Oh, what a complex and tangled web we weave.

The music too, I’ve finally decided, is wonderful, and skillfully used. Basically, every element of true tears, although none of them are ostentatious in and of themselves, combine, through the power of narrative, to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. With this and ef, it seems like galge are getting somewhat more complex than even Kanon. It’s a wonderful trend, and I’m glad people are responding with positive reception. It’s interesting, too, to see such things develop out of the moe phenomenon: instead of hastily slapped together “moe blobs”, we get actual characters in a show that could theoretically be described as a bishoujo show, although, depending on how you interpret bishoujo, not wholly. They’re certainly about strong female characters, though. And they’re most decidedly not another incarnation of Da Capo. Bonus: they’re cute.

Quick, Numerologists! Look up 4423!

Way, way, way, way, way, way, way behind on Dennou Coil, I know, but I’m trying to see if I can’t finally find the time to finish this series this week. It’s looking good so far!

I’ve just seen episode 16, the last of four episodes I’ve seen today, and I’m reminded once again why I like it, especially now that the plot seems to have kicked into full gear. Not that the series was bad before now, of course–there’s a lot of filler in the first half, but it’s highly enjoyable filler, and it serves the important function of introducing the characters and developing their personalities. In that way, it’s similar to the early episode of Eureka Seven, which were also mostly filler, but always threw the viewers a characterization bone or two every episode. This, of course, leads to “this show consists entirely of filler, it sucks” syndrome, although, I think this problem is abated by the cleverness of the series’s setting.

What I really like about the setting is the blurred line between reality and cyberspace. It extends much, much further beyond the simple fact that Dennosuke ceases to exist if Yuko lifts her glasses. There’s this general sense that, somehow, through some arcane technology, the real and the virtual have become interconnected. Now, this is a common theme in cyberpunk stories, I think; however, Dennou Coil appeals to me whereas the hard-boiled, gritty worlds of Snow Crash and Neuromancer do not. I chalk this up to the fact that it’s a much kinder, gentler kind of cyberpunk–cybersoftrock, if you will. It’s just nifty to see people clip through what I presume is an actual, physical wall to escape pursuers, in a show that isn’t set in an online setting. It’s just…cool.

The actual, central mystery, revolving around the mysterious entity only known as 4423, is quite good. I love good mysteries, when the mystery is actually a mystery and not an extended excuse for bad puns relating to food, cats, or quilts, so Dennou Coil appeals to two of my genre interests. The actual story has been paced slowly up until now, but it looks like they’re going to focus more on the plot, which can only improve the series from good to great.

I think I’ll post my thoughts on the whole series when I’m done with it, which will probably be this weekend. Now that I’ve said that, of course, all three of you will be waiting with bated breath for the Alpha and Omega* of blog posts, and it will not be forthcoming, and there will be Roaring and Gnashing of Teeth. Too bad, Grendel.

*this is possibly an exaggeration, but I am unsure


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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February 2008