Upon returning from my self-imposed hiatus, the first anime I caught up on was Space Bros. The intent was to do a quick post summing up my thoughts on the latest batch of episodes so I could get back into the groove of episodic blogging. I figured this might be difficult though. Trying to cram in 3 episodes worth of content into one post? Impossible! Well, not really, as it turns out, because Space Bros beats the same gong over and over again.
Let’s talk about episodic blogging for a second, because I feel many people get the wrong impression of what it is. It’s not a summary of what happened in the episode. Nor is it a review of episode. At least, that’s not the approach I take. It’s using the events of the episode as a springboard for further discussion, whether it is relating to this specific anime, the world of anime in general, or larger societal issues. A good story should do this naturally, although often it requires a bit more brainpower on your part to get the most out of it. This is where discussion and episodic blogging helps. It challenges you to think about the episode, and reading someone else’s posts can increase your enjoyment of the anime as well.
The issue comes in trying to come up with something new to say about every episode. A naturally episodic anime means there is always something new with each episode to talk about, but continuous stories often tread the same points over and over again. There’s a reason why my Steins;Gate posts were half the length of my Durarara posts. Steins;Gate was the building up of the same general ideas gradually. It made for absorbing viewing, but difficult to come up with new things to say each week. Meanwhile Durarara’s naturally episodic nature, notably more in the first half than the second, meant there was always a new perspective to see the series through.
And then there’s series like Space Bros. Space Bros has one message it has been beating ours heads with over and over again with. Follow your dreams. Believe in yourself. Try your hardest and you will make it. The American Dream! Except we’re in Japan, but whatever. That’s a lovely story and all, but it’s repetitive and gets dull quickly. It’s also not evolving as it goes on. Now a lot of stories often have one core message going through them that drives the show. Let’s take Infinite Ryvius and say it’s about how teenagers buckle under responsibility (a rather reductionist way of looking at the series, but bear with me). In Ryvius, the characters evolve to reflect this message. In Space Bros, it hasn’t felt like the message has evolved, nor have the characters, to reflect the passing of time. It’s like listening to song that repeats the same few bars over and over again with the same lyrics repeated each time.
…huh, I think I just described the majority of dance music.