Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fried Chicken and Rice Balls

So. When is the last time you saw such a line, which was not emphasized to oblivion how caring, loving, erotic it is? Completely normal acts, the meaning of which gets exaggerated by the stiff japanese society... Hell, I myself am so touchy-feely, that if Yuuta's behaviour this ... second half of an episode counted as "confession of true love", I would be a proud follower of Key-kun. Not that I am not, but... even I cannot love dozens of girls. So yeah. While I was watching this scene, my thoughts were along the lines of "now I will be laughing really much if people start using this as an example that Yuuta likes her"... and, several seconds later, the realization hit me.
The director is by no way trying to imply with this scene that Yuuta loves her. Care, yeah, romantic feelings, heck no. less expected from Ishihara. That's one of the guys who got me into anime in the first place.

But that's not all. Noooo, Ishihara is far from all that matters here.
See, this season brought us Shin Sekai Yori. If nothing else, SSY anime emphasizes the importance of good directing and good money saving techniques in the animation. Because, let's be honest: SSY the anime sucks monkey balls. And even this mishmash of an adaptation does not manage to hide the pearl that is the original novel. The converse is also true: even good directing and amasing animation cannot straight out the lackluster source, as seen in Hyouka for example.
And, now for the best case scenario: even Ishihara and KyoAni with a huge budget cannot overshadow the original novel.
This is romance done right. Now, this is not the only method to do romance right, and we are still in the early stages of them falling for each other; but for 8 episodes in, it isn't bad at all. Considering that we'll get probably some more timeskips, and the very last episode will show them getting together, for example after the school festival, I think the pacing's a-ok. Leaving this issue aside, let me elaborate a little, trying to topologically sort the mess of a tree that constitutes my thoughts at the moment.
So, the general guidelines that almost any fictional work fails:
1) The characters must be characters by themselves too; we do not need somebody defined by his significant-other-to-be. Nor do we need plot devices, or machines that shout VICTORIKAAAAA KUJOOOOOOOOO at each other, which shouting for some reason being taken as an ultimate sign of love. I think there is no doubt Yuuta fulfills this condition; even though he is the PoV, he strikes as a reasonable guy, somebody you would drink a beer with and have a laugh about youthful indiscretions. Which, y'know, is enough; if you feel a character as a human indeed, the character is well written. And what about Rikka? Yes, on the surface she seems like a one-trick bunny. But, deep down it seems, no, if we accept Yuuta's words, it is certain that she puts her little head to good use, and that she is more than just the outer shell.
2) The characters must be equals. Must feel each other on an equal standing. That's why I have been arguing against Haqua for so many years already... she felt inferior to the genius Keima; but, well, with the endgame of the Goddesses arc I think she finally mustered some confidence --which is good. As for Yuuta and Rikka... no, Yuuta may think what Rikka does is embarrassing as hell, and he may take care of her, but he certainly does not feel superior to her. If you ask him, you may get "But of course I am better than her", but he wouldn't really feel that way. Rikka, on the other hand, has plenty self-confidence. Seems like that entire act of hers is based on her self-confidence. And confidence in her father, but that's the same thing nowadays.
3) We generally don't need too much drama. Yeah, it worked beautifully in ef. But the setting there was such; actually... the best pair was indeed the one with least normal setting: Renji and Chihiro. That was beautiful. But that's not the only way to be beautiful. That normal, common relationship between Yuuta and Rikka, watching it develop normally, not being forced by drama on every corner... it's good too. I like it.

Now, humanity loves the number three, and, as we are optimizing and linearizing the tree only locally at a time, that's all you get as guidelines. What am I going to use them as a proof of?
These characteristics of this series... they all come directly from the source. They are further developed by the adaptation, but they, as key themes in the anime, you can feel how they are the underground... I mean, underbook ley lines in the intersection of which the animation was built on. Hooray, I have not even read the book, yet here am I, claiming it's worth spending time on it.
But... when was the last time we saw a well-made adaptation of a well-written book? The first example that comes to my head... is Haruhi. Certainly Haruhi, if we limit ourselves to KyoAni's production. Sweet. For first time in years, I am not lamenting the fact that KyoAni's doing everything else but working on my second season! Now, you'll excuse me, I have to drink to that.

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