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There are many ways a fiction works. There are  no strict prerequisite on what constitute a great fiction. I think I said before that I love creating stories in my mind and I like it when these stories gains an emotional response from myself. This helped me gain an entirely new perspective on how people make stories for anime, novel, movie and even games. It made me realise that the only guideline you need for a good story is whether is it interesting.

There are many ways to make a story interesting. You don’t even need to have an interesting plot to make things interesting. If a book is written in an interesting way, it’s a interesting story. It can be a stupid story about a boy running away from home and die in the drain but if it’s written with a very unique approach, the story is interesting.

For example, Finnegans Wake is pretty interesting. I have no idea what the hell it is or does it even mean anything but I like reading excerpts from it because they are kinda insane. Sayonara Gangster is very interesting. The plot is something about a poetry teacher who met this gangster girl and don’t know she’s a gangster girl but she realized finally that she’s a gangster girl while subplots of indescribable thing with no shape became a chair and poetry master Virgil turned into a fridge happened. Maybe there are some message in there? I don’t know but it’s interesting because it gives me interesting images.

Another great example in film is Gravity. Gravity plot is about this female doctor escaping from space. You have seen this story before, you know how it would end but it doesn’t really matter because the effects and experience are interesting. The way it cuts its music to portray vacuum and the pov shots to illustrate the physic are interesting. It’s more of show that you experience than trying to tell an interesting story.

Georges Méliès shorts are great examples too. One of its famous short shows a rocket launching to the moon and it got stuck in the moon’s eye. What’s the message of that short? What kind of story is that? Ignoring that, what I actually like to ask is, is it interesting? Yes, it is because the imageries are interesting. It’s a good fiction because it has imaginary visuals.

Messages, implications, plot,  these are ways to make things interesting and I understand why people used them as the only barometer to gauge a work. Pointing out the flaws in these categories are great ways to showcase why you might not fancy a piece of fiction. I do that too. I personally hate Slumdog Millionaire because I think the way on how they portray every Indian as an asshole is very narrow minded. It’s also a caricature of India trying to act as if they are portraying  the true India. It’s implying that India is a terrible place to live in and everyone is an asshole and the only good people are the American tourists who show sympathy to the slum kids. As a foreigner trying to make a film about other’s culture and act as if it’s a true representation, I felt that they should be  more responsible in making things more neutral and shouldn’t exaggerate the mean spirited side of things.

However, I think it’s very narrow minded to only use these categories to gauge a work and question people’s opinion on how can they like a piece of work when something failed in one of that 3 components. I don’t think less of those who liked Slumdog Millionaire or challenge them with my opinions and demand an answer from them when they might be focusing on different aspect of the film. Maybe they love the sledgehammer approach of the movie? Maybe they don’t felt like it is over antagonized and love the raw power of the message? Or maybe they just like the cinematography and the bright coloured shots or how the film relays its intensity.

If they have any semblance of justifications on why they find a certain fiction interesting,  I don’t really see the issue.

I know the message/plot/implication flaws( Five being a throwaway, Lisa and 12 are very useless in the end, no serious commentary about terrorism and so on and so fore) of Zankyou no Terror. I just don’t think I need to defend them because I don’t really care and there are other great reasons to find the show interesting.

In terms of message, despite its questionable approach, I can sympathise with the characters. Wanting to make a mark in the world knowing they will die sooner or later, needing to rely and be relied on and trying to find a place to be in a world that seems to isolate you are things I can get by. I personally felt that these are the core themes the anime is trying to show instead of saying something about terrorism. The act of terrorism is just a tool to keep these themes going. 12 wanting to forfeit the plan because he found being depended from Lisa. Lisa found a place to live with 12 and 9 taking part in terrorism act so he can find a reliance in Shibazaki(who is a cool character on his own term). How much more plot can you even jam in to illustrate these core themes? If you don’t fancy these themes then that’s that I guess.

I am very impress by how well it can relays its abstract and complicated themes. By abstract and complicated, I don’t mean its depth, but rather the difficulty on how to translate it into visual. Feeling of solitary and unwanted are basic thematic stuff that we have seen before. It’s nothing new but translating it to visuals like how ZnT had done is fucking difficult. I got what they tried to say instantly and what they tried to relay is very difficult to translate to visuals but I got it thanks to its great direction. Great direction examples? The shot of running in the grass field, the lone figure of 9 watching the aurora in the last episode, 12 and 9 scenes in the ferry wheel, people responding to Spinx by idolizing them, Shibazaki showing that he is a figure worthy to be relied on by solving the mysteries and believing in their promise in episode 4 and way too many other examples I could list.

I guess I am way too impressed by the technical aspects of Zankyou no Terror than I really should. I think the reason why is because I have my fair share of failures in trying to translate way simpler concepts into visual and understand how difficult they are so I am utterly dumbfounded by how they did it so masterfully.

I am also very impress in how they make Lisa character design likable just by looking at it. That’s very difficult and it cannot be accomplished by just drawing cute pictures. There’s a reason why Stallone and Arnold are more well liked than some other action stars like Van Dam. Van Dam looks ok compared to Stallone but the screen presence of a character is not only about look. Ok, maybe it’s about look because if a thing looks likable they are likable but what I want to say is that looking likable is not that easy and not everyone can do it. Just imagine this, people drew a character and you have a response even without knowing the story behind the character, how impressive is that?

 

 

Mediocrity is worse than just being plain bad. People remember bad stuff but they forgot those in the middle. There’s a wide range of mediocre anime during 2000 to 2007 that became more obscure than something like say, Del Power Miracle or something. That’s because there are people like me and others who seek out obscure shit for the joy of it but not many people look back at these mediocre stuff.

Those who have seen these mediocre stuff such as Petopetosan and Mamoru-kun ni Megami no Shukufuku wo! are the privileged few who seen them while they air. Not many people outside of those who watch it during that era will seek these mediocre anime out after finding them in a database. I am looking through some list and found myself thinking what the hell petopetosan is when I have known fairly obscure series like Osamu Tezuka Monogataru:I am Son Goku by Rintaro.

The only reason why they were being watched is because they were on. The sad thing is those who watched them most likely have since forgotten that they even exist. Sure, people might heard of them but the image in their mind is just mushy piece of shit that couldn’t link up to anything. For example, what excatly is Avenger(that Beetrain anime) about? What the fuck it is? At least I know Call Me Tonight is this exploitative 80s ova but what the hell Avenger is? Why can’t I even remember anything about it?

You see, they have a sad fate of having no fan or being remembered in spite of all the effort they put in. It’s just miserable and I can’t help but  sympathize with their plight. Getting zero to no recognition, ceasing to exist and couldn’t escape the inevitable fate of being forgotten forever without making any mark in any person life. That’s the worst thing that can happen to anything that wanted to be an art… …

Anyway, among these mediocrities like Goshujin sama Ninomiya kun, Grenadier is the only one that I remember the most after 7 or so years. That’s because in spite of its mediocrity,  the boob reloading is something so outrageous memorable that you couldn’t forget about it after your first viewing. I guess what I am trying to say is that you really need something special so that people will remember you. It’s so entrenched into my mind that I can tell you more on what happened in Grenadier (something about cutting bullet in half, missing panties, balloon, boob reloading, hot spa, empress queen double) now than I can remember about something decent like err, House of Five Leaves( yea, what happened in this show again? Something about kidnapping and revenge against kidnapper? Did he succeed? I forgot.) I think having a non complicated plot helps a lot as well.

So next time if you intend to make something mediocre, have a memorable gimmick and make your plot so simple that it will be committed into your memory least you cease to exist in the public mind. Be Grenadier, don’t be Petopetosan.

By the way, I just finish reading the Grenadier manga and it’s awesomely trainwreck-ly rush and very different from the anime. It’s hard to believe that the anime is more competently written than the manga. Very clear that the manga is getting canceled so the author creates like 100 over plot points out of nowhere and solve them within 5 pages. Suddenly, the manga asked you to care about the origin of its main character and used solar powered MECHA Godzilla to explain it then went on wrapping it up by destroying MECHA Godzilla with boob reloading bullets.

Very ridiculous but fast paced fun. It’s like watching someone desperately salvaging a sunken ship by pumping it with steroids as if it would help and made something so crazily stupid. It’s way more memorable than the anime ending which I still remember but not too clearly( I just remember something about fake empress and bullets dropping out from cleavage which is the metaphor of how you should opening up your heart).

I have consumed so much media now that I appreciate it when I got any response or memories out of anything even if it’s not technically competent. Also, it’s not enough just by being plain bad, you need something really out there and I genuinely like Grenadier for being able to do it for me.

P.S: Some other mediocre series I have fond memories of are Myself;Yourself and 11Eyes. They have withstood the test of time and I still remember most of their plot .

A central plot is the core of the story, a reveal waiting in line to show itself after all the build up.

I am interested in writing about this because I was watching Kill la Kill and Zankyou no Terror recently. Kill la Kill is visually interesting and outrageously ridiculous without forgetting some tender moment. An episode of Kill la Kill is like the moment of the newest southpark episode where the unsympathetic coach of Washington Redskin earned his redemption by getting mowed down repeatedly times ten. Hilarious, outrageous but very tender and sympathetic for the whole 24 mins. I like it but I can’t seem to bother watching the next episode because it lacks a intriguing central plot.

I have seen 5 episodes and all I got are abstract promises that maybe something with high payoff will happen. However they are weak promises based on the track record of the creator and not from the show itself. Its central plot is quite vague with all the things about uniform and whatever. Kill la Kill is shown to be outrageous so their payoff might just be happen to be ridiculous.

There isn’t any intriguing question for the show to keep the viewers engaged. Who are they? A schoolgirl with a talking uniform. What are they doing? Show you cool moves. What will happen? Maybe a dinosaur will appear in the next episode. You see, if the finale is an alien appears and shoot dragonballs into everyone’s ass, I wouldn’t even be surprised. If that’s the case, the plot direction is definitely unexpected but they are not something I look forward to.

I guess what I want to say is that, It doesn’t seem to bring you to places where great thing will happen and keep you interested in what will happen next. There’s nothing to lure you into expecting some great reveal because everything is all whacked up anyway. This makes individual episode interesting but it doesn’t give you enough reason to click on the next one.

It reminds me a lot of the first few episodes of Guerren Laggan, 7 interesting episodes but no central plot to speak off. It just seems like it will be this hyper active robot show with underground people that goes no where. However, it ended up with a great central plot that kept you interested and that transcend it from good to great. In fact, the track record of TTGL is the only promise I had for Kill La Kill to bring me to great places.
Now Zankyou no Terror on the other hand has one hell of an intriguing central plot. It’s the same as Kill la Kill in the sense that it has a vague central plot. However, this time it works because it’s a mystery that seems to promise a great reveal. It’s easier to believe in it than Kill la Kill because it’s not whacked up and the characters are all very serious so you know the conclusion won’t be outrageous. Who are these fuckers? What will happen to that girl? Why are they doing what they are doing? Is it revenge? How would they fare?I don’t know but I am interested to find out. You see compare to all the outrageous answers I have for the same questions in Kill la Kill, I will not expect anything beside a great payoff because chances of stupid things happening is lower. Instead of alien coming down and shooting people ass, I expect a great reveal because that’s what the central plot demands. If the reveal fails, everything will fall apart! It has a larger responsibility than Kill La Kill to promise you that it’s worth it so I am more interested to know. This is why it’s easier to click on episode 3 of Zankyou no Terror than episode 6 of Kill La Kill and how an intriguing central plot makes a show addicting.

And I played around enough to understand aperture, focal length, shutter speed, ISO and shit like that. I also understood the limitation of a lousy lens and how it requires great master skill to compensate it. I also know how to take picture with bokeh effect, badly. 

I don’t even like photography, I don’t think it’s that fun but I guess it’s a good skill to learn. I also found out that  similar effect from photography can translate to video very well and learning photography is way easier than videography, at least that’s what I think after playing around with both of them.

I also did a stupid short to learn editing. It’s difficult.

IWICSYI

  • Especially when I am just riding the coat tail of being in a group which I don't think was that great anyway. 14 hours ago
  • I sometimes feel underappreciated for works I have done but I have a stronger disdain for being over appreciate for shit I don't care for. 14 hours ago
  • Like paying 800 bucks per month with 60 hrs work week kind of blood and soul. It's fucking ridiculous. 14 hours ago
  • I believe that the reason why anime and manga are so good is because they feed on the blood and soul of their creators literally. 14 hours ago
  • ffbe story is better than I thought. The last few updates are pretty good, it has more focus and omph than a lot of FF for one. 15 hours ago

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