Gen Urobuchi’s popularity is weird considering years ago before Stein;Gate and Fate/Zero(a novel derived from visual novel that make people who diss Fate/Stay Night re-look at it), people don’t really take visual novel seriously. They are seen as porn games and nothing good will ever come out from it. Then Gen Urobuchi took what were great in visual novel(the line crossing melodrama and brutality) to anime and people start to love these visual novel tropes.
It’s weird because the things he brought in are always present in Visual Novel and the same people who look down on it before are now embracing and loving the shit out of this guy. Before Fate/Zero and Madoka, Nitro+ has already been doing brutal shit like Kikokugai and Saya no Uta. Hell, besides Nitro+, the whole visual novel scene is full of crazy brutality you have never seen in anime like Muv Luv Alternative. If you thought Madoka was brutal, Muv Luv Alternative is at least 10x darker and edgier. Pretty sure the Mami head biting stuff is inspired by Muv Luv Alternative as well.
People’s fascination with visual novel like brutality continues on with Attack of Titan and people again love how brutal it was without realizing that Muv Luv Alternative is the inspiration of the manga and was way more bleak and brutal than the manga will ever be.
So am I implying that people who once look down on visual novel are ignorant? Yes, definitely, they wrote off everything about it(like how people wrote off anime as pedophilia bullshit and DBZ) and ended up loving tropes and element that were introduced to anime by it. It’s the same as light novel because people don’t realize that Twelve Kingdom is a light novel and there are too many great light novels to write the whole medium off. Light novel is a marketing label anyway and they can turn everything that you once identify as real literary work into a light novel. For eg, if Murakami’s novels were adapted into anime or publisher think his work suits the light novel crowd and it’s a great idea to publish it as a light novel, they will fucking do it. Happened to Hyouka and Another by the way.
However, that’s not what I want to discuss today. What I want to say is that, as someone who’s renowned for his edginess and brutality, Gen Urobuchi is pretty weak in terms of human suffering and edginess. I can easily list down tons of things that are way more brutal than works that he had done.
This might stem from the fact that Gen Urobuchi writes concept better than he writes characters. How brutal a work is is directly related to how attached you are with the characters. So when I see people head got bitten off, I will feel more desperation when the character is someone that I like instead of someone that I barely even care.
I don’t like any of Gen Urobuchi’s character in Fate/Zero and Madoka except for Waiver and Rider. They are all generic anime characters with generic anime motivation that isn’t even cool like Onizuka. I need something relevant to real life or over the top anime-ish awesomeness to care about a character. Waiver and Rider with their larger than life personality is what I am looking for.
The others? I can’t even remember much about them. Kyoko’s plight and motivation is because of something that has to do with her father, who I might add is someone that was only introduced through exposition so I don’t really know or care. Madoka’s plight is what? I have no idea. Akemi’s whole motivation is that she wants hot lesbian sex with Madoka but disguise it as friendship and all of these were build up with 1 episode. Weak characters that I can’t attach to because they aren’t realistic or awesome.
I did say Urobuchi is better with concept than character but then again, not saying that they are bad but the concepts of Urobuchi aren’t that bleak anyway. His world destruction and human sufferings are pretty tame. Take Sayaka from Madoka for example, her plight is all anime-ish melodramatic girly relationship issue and the whole end result of being magical girl is just turning to a witch for balance of energy.
There are too much hope and positivity with that scenario of entropy(shitty wrong science by the way) being unbalance. It can be easily solved with a lot less sacrifice that won’t affect the world population. In my eyes, that’s not edgy at all because I am too savvy with Bokurano’s manga with the character’s plight being getting raped, being bullied for having a prostitute mother and family crumbling down. The end result of Bokurano’s characters? Annihilation of a whole parallel universe and imminent death. What the character needs to go through? Commit fucking genocide of the whole population while vomiting to keep their own universe safe.
All these just make the plight and suffering of Madoka look like kiddy stuff because Bokurano deal with realistic issues with true bleakness that has no hope or anyway out. Maybe people like Madoka for other reason but I am looking for real brutality and hopeless situation but it failed to deliver consider all the rage and hype from it.
People also bring up all the talk of deconstruction of magical girl show as if they have seen more than one magical girl show in their life. This is why I don’t buy the deconstruction allure to it because I know of the fact that people who brought it up have not seen enough magical girl show to even be qualified to make that fucking statement.
I actually don’t even know what deconstruction means because I have never seen a good, easy to understand example of it. I read the wikipedia and its all complicated literary jargon that seems difficult to understand without taking real literary lesson. Hell, the wikipedia page of it list “This article may be too technical for most readers to understand.” as an issue so I doubt people who use the word deconstruction even know what it means. They just take it as taking apart common elements of a genre and give an idea of what will really happen in real life if they attempt that. For example, when a harem main try to peek in the woman bath room, he will most likely be caught and send to court trial instead of getting away with a punch. But I don’t think that’s even true because I don’t want to assume what’s right or wrong when I have no idea what it really means.
Then again. if you want to assume that deconstruction means that, I think Magical Punie Chan did the whole deconstruction of magical girl stuff better with more satirical edge and it’s actually funny and mean spirited in a good with pretty realistic character’s personality. Like if you have real magical power, you will be Punie Chan and abuse it to make people as your slaves to power your train. At least that’s what I will do.