Unreachable Expectations. The Problem With Hype

We have all seen it before, the one show or movie always mentioned when one brings up the topic of excellent anime. We all have our favourites but a few names are universally thrown around. Classics they are called, the shows that defined genres, decades or “deconstructed” genres and tropes. Being the open minded and adventourous fan that I am I placed a few shows on my “to watch list”  after hearing nothing but praise about them. My good friend came over one weekend and we decided to watch some “classic anime” First on the list was..

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena 

Anthy and Utena.

Heres a Synopsis of the show courtesy of Anime-Planet.com;

“When Utena Tenjou was very little her parents died, and a prince comforted her in her time of loss, giving her a ring with a rose seal. He so impressed her that she decided to become a prince herself one day. Now, Utena is a teenager at Ohtori Academy who’s athletic and notorious for dressing in a boy’s uniform. When a member of the Student Council humiliates a friend of hers Utena challenges him to a duel, and he accepts only when he sees she possesses a rose seal ring. She soon discovers that this is no normal duel – it’s a bizarre and ritualistic battle that the Student Council regularly conducts. In fact when she wins, Utena finds to her considerable chagrin that she gets to have Anthy Himemiya, a rather docile student, as her ‘Rose Bride’. If she wants to keep Anthy she’ll have to win more duels against members of the Student Council and others. What is the ultimate purpose of these duels and Anthy’s role as the Rose Bride?”

What I Liked

The first two episodes do a great job of explaining all these details, The show is very well paced so it doesnt leave you confused or asking questions… well not questions about the basic plot anyway.

The visuals are fantastic, J.C Staff pulled thier A game on this one. The character designs are attractive and the screen is usually filled with roses or cherry blossoms or anything fabulous you can think of putting on a screen. The director really had a vision for the show and he made sure to implement them.

Lesbians. Im heterosexual and if you are “a healthy young male” like me you certainly find the idea of watching georgous lesbians together enticing. hey Im just being honest.

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

 

 

Yes that castle is upside down. Aparently its a trick of the light…..im not joking.

What Dissapointed Me

This is what this post is all about anyway but i felt the need to highlight the positive aspects first so I wouldnt be crucified, these are regarded a some of the best shows in anime afterall and I am not here to make enemies.

The Characters were just unrelatable and uninteresting to me, I couldnt find anything to like about anyone on the cast. Ive found that having relatable characters is very important to me, especially when it comes to anime. Even if the feeling is negative like say Lelouch from Code Geass or Kirino from Oreimo the fact that those characters produce a reaction from you is enough for you to “care” to see what happens to them. The Utena characters were just so “out there” I guess. I really didnt care for any of the characters at all. Theres a scene where Anthy is repeteadly slapped by Touga and I didnt feel a thing! I was just happy to see the little pet mascot guy being cute about it (oh yeah I liked the mascot did I mention that?) For a show that many people seem to be so fond of I was so surprised at how uninteresting the characters were. Got me thinking if people just liked them because of thier hairstyles or just coz they were lesbian.

The story does not captivate me either, You guys watching Usagi Drop this season? how long did that take to grab you  by the neck and get you to your knees begging for more? By the second episode I relaised this was going to be one of those battle of the week episodic types. Now I know episodic anime has its charm but very rarely does that format suceed. Cowboy Bebop did not blow me away for that exact reason, episodic anime just feels like a bunch of filler thrown at you every week. Chog through this unnecesary stuff and you might get to the actual plot is what it feels like to me. I knew from the second episode that Utena had to fight a new challenger each episode and save Anthy from the impending doom of eternal physical abuse. Naa doesnt work for me, its totally not what I expecetd from a so called “greatest show of all time”

I had preconcieved ideas of what this show was supposed to be like and very few of my expectations were met, it didnt tick the right boxes for me, in fact it crossed all the wrong ones which is why my dissapointment was so severe. I reckon had this show not been hyped to me I probably would have worked my way through it, but now all I see when I watch it is could have beens.’

Macross Franchise

 

Fire Bomber Band Members
 
 
Now just to make thing clear from the get go I have only seen Macross 7 and I am more than willing to give the other Macross series a chance, I have not given up on this one yet. The Macross series is one franchise I have always wanted to see especially after my “truimphant return to mecha anime.” It has good looking characters, It has Drama, it has Music, It has Giant Robots is all I heard and that sounded good to me. Ask any old school anime fan what series they would like to see licenced in the west, A Macross will be  on the top 5 of any of those lists. This is a show every Otaku has to experience atleast once.
 
Here is the Synopsis of Macross 7 couretsy of Anime-Planet.com;
 

Nekki Basara, a guitarist in the band Fire Bomber, is living in City 7, a part of the Macross fleet. An unknown enemy force is attacking the fleet, absorbing the energy force – the “Spiritia” – from the pilots it destroys. Basara does not believe in using force to handle the enemy, and thus he flies out on his red valkyrie to sing to them, hoping that the songs will help calm the battle. Though it is unknown what the effects of the song have upon the enemy, Macross 7 decides to go with this plan and send members of Fire Bomber to the battlefield to sing. Can Nekki Basara save Macross 7 from this unknown enemy force with the power of his songs?”

 

 

What I Liked

The Character designs. I really loved them they looked so good for an early 90’s anime, We all know how hideous some 90’s anime character designs were Thank God Macross 7 survived that plague.

The Characters were actually Interesting. Yes they were, all the band members of Fire Bomber have distinct and unique characters. You get to find out Basara is an arrogant d-bag right off the bat and the drummer (I didnt get her name) is one of those cool quiet types I like. Right from the first episode im emotionally vested in the characters this is a good thing.

The Animation was really really good. Alot of money was spent on these must have been riding on the success of the previous series and/or movies. 

Told you the character designs were attractive

 
What Dissapointed Me
 
Is that really the Plot!? seriously!? “Save the Macross 7 with the power of his songs? seriously? wow. I knew Macross had music but had no idea it was being used that way. Oh its original allright but come on. Atleast intergret the music some other way any way but that. Oh mecha why must you be so silly all the time.
 
Waaaay too much singing and thats just the first episode. If I wanted to listen to an OST I would buy a frikkin OST. Get to the drama already, get to the main plotline, give us some intersting character development. This is really an offshoot of having a ridiculous plot like that. Macross 7 has a lot going for it and I really didnt find it all that bad, it could really join the ranks of my all time favourite anime as well if only it didnt have such a stupid plot!
 
What I realy expecetd from this was an intence drama with the occasional obligatory mecha action scenes and some band moments in between. I thought I was being ridiculous when expecting that but i found out I sure was not thinking ridiculously enough, “Save the world with the power of his songs” oh man.
 
 

 

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

 

Legend of The Galactic Heroes
 
 
If you have been following my anime rants recently you know I have an anime boner for Gundam, the good Gundams that is. What is it that attracts me to Gundam? heh well that would be a whole blog post on its own but the basic reason is politics. Yes politics. Im one of those wierd young men that actually enjoys and is intersted in that kind of stuff, it makes for good arguments you should try it some it some time. Legend of the Galactic Heroes was sold to me on that premise alone. “Its the best potrayal of Political and Warring tactics anime out there” I was repeatedly told and would repeatedly see. In everyones defence thats is exactly all that the show is about. But is that a good thing?
 
What I Liked
 
It sure was about Politics and War, pretty complex and detailed stuff I might add. It is obvious a lot of thought and research went into this. You cant create 100+ episode OVA series without a well thought out vision and script.
 
It looks pretty. A lot of anime from this era were all about Space but this one stood out somehow. It seemed more realistic in some way and the character designs didnt look so retro. Being an OVA series means it had a considerable budget behind it so I guess quality animation was to be expected.
 
 
 
 
 
What Dissapointed Me
 
Notice How I didnt have a synopsis up there? Yeah thats because I couldnt make out a single thing of what happened in this thing! Now Im not claiming to be a genius or anything but im not dumb either, so that argument goes right out the window. That first episode was horrendous, it throws characters at you like its trying to beat the “new characters per minute world record.” Its not as well done as say the way Baccano! or Durarara! did it. This is just downright confusing and occasionally annoying. Want to know what the plot is? just try and get through the next episode I guess.
 
So much Technobable. What on Earth are you talking about this is the first episode for crying out loud. Just Imagine watching Harry Potter for the first time without the characters ever explaining what Muggle, Horcrux, Lumos, Stupefy or any of the spells and whatnot mean. Sure you will get to figure them out as you go on but that first movie would be so soo confusing. Thats exactly what this felt like, Technobable is cool when you understand it just dont throw so much of it at us in the first episode.
 
Too much Politics and Strategy, little room for drama and character development. Now if I wanted to read a paper on strategy I would go to a library and find the appropraite material. This is an anime show I want to be entertained, try to balance out the factors that make your show unique and awesome.
 
 
I know I can and most likely will like LotGH if I give it more time, but fans dont have much of that. You are competeing with very good curently airing shows and movies if  you are so good grab my attention and be my number one priority. Surpass all these new shows on the playlist and show me why you are considered a Classic.
 
 
Just to clarify Hype does work in some occasions as well, Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Neon Genesis Evangelion, K-on!, Madoka Magica etc Hype sets the bar really high for fans and if a show is really good and ticks all the right boxes, it sure does succeed.
 
 

 

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~ by kiddtic on July 20, 2011.

5 Responses to “Unreachable Expectations. The Problem With Hype”

  1. Macross 7 is like the G Gundam of the Macross franchise. Basically it’s the “odd one out “of the franchise. It’s better to start with SDF Macross, Macross Plus or Macross Frontier depending on which era you’d prefer (80’s, 90’s or 2000’s). But it’s good you’re trying to experiment with older series which are talked about still and seeing what you like.

    I tried to get into Macross 7 after seeing all other Macross anime and I’ve only made it through the first few episodes. The pacing is a drag. I do like the character designs as well. Mylene is very kawaii! ^^

    Also… let’s see… I don’t believe Macross 7 gets much hype. It is mostly Do You Remember Love? and Macross Plus OVA which get the most hype from old school fans and Macross FrontierTV+movie that gets hype from newer fans. Macross 7 has only been getting slowly more popular recently since (international) mecha fans are having to go back and find older shows since not much mecha gets made each new anime season. I believe Macross 7 hasn’t even been available digitally fansubbed for too long either.

    Interesting post. You could do a part 2 with the same concept down the road after watching more anime! ^^

  2. Thanks for clarifying that I have Do You Remember Love on my playlist and i hope i will enjoy that one. Yes Mylene is pretty kawai indeed ^^ if Macross7 had something going for it it sure was nice character designs.

    Thanks for the positive feedback, hopefully down my path through classic anime Ill find stuff I really enjoy and have an “Expectations met” blog post instead 🙂

  3. I have to admit that I really like Revolutionary Girl Utena. I didn’t care for Anthy or Saionji either but I did like most of the characters.(Touga was one of the characters I like the most). I thought it was Saionji the one who slapped Anthy around but I can’t recall correctly. Oh well.

    What I like about it was the aesthetic of it, the fighting song, and the process of Utena’s transformation. She was the girl who wanted to be a prince but still keep her femininity and slowly realizes that she can’t be both. Sure, the fighting process was a distraction from her quest but the fighting was interesting so I didn’t mind it. And you’re right, the mascot is super adorable. I’m still disappointed that the flying horses from the intro didn’t played a part in the series.

    As for the other two, I really can’t speak for them since I haven’t seen them.

    • The aesthetics were really nice, if that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then it really is a masterpiece. Its just I kinda prefer story to looks.

  4. […] season of Sailor Moon and most recently Mawaru Penguindrum.  Its no secret at this point that I really did not enjoy the latter half of Mawaru Penguindrum (most of it actually) and Utena didn’t really capture […]

Well said but my Opinion Is...

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