I’m on the Metanorn Podcast! Listen as I talk about how I got into anime blogging, reminisce over Hetalia, bitch about the Evangelion ending and (pretend to) suck my finger.
My general approach to episodic reviewing is to take screencaps, then do the actual writing. However sometimes I get distracted between the screencapping and the writing and have to go do Cool Stuff, like drink beer and have sex, only to come back to writing and totally forgetting what happened in the episode. Normally I could go back through the screencaps and that would re-jig my memory, but not so for Steins;Gate. This is because every episode looks the exact same (aha, this wasn’t a generic opening paragraph that merely serves as the metaphorical obese polar bear to break the ice. It was some actual critique of the show). That is, apart from the one Naked Floating Through Space scene towards the end of my screencap list. I wonder how it is I’ve managed to not have Naked Floating Through Space as a tag yet.
Since I spent the entire last Steins;Gate post praising the series, time to get out of bed with it and point out its flaws, for I am a balanced and diverse reviewer. There’s only so many times I can go on about SteinsunnecessarypunctuationGate’s evenly paced plot and wonderfully strange lead character without getting repetitive and dull. What does get repetitive and dull though, is the presentation and directing (wow, what a wonderful and skilful lead in there Scamp). The visual novel routes are again pretty obvious here, and this time I don’t mean that in the ‘cycling through the various girls you can get naked’ approach. This time I mean in the ‘characters face on the screen accompanied by a line of dialogue’ approach. Every now and then they do something mildly interesting with how they present Huououououououououin’s mad scientist side, but even some of those approaches are getting repetitive. Dutch angle from below as he stands up, swishes his lab coat and spreads his arms out like a man holding an extremely fat cat has been done several times already. Although at least that’s a Dutch Angle for a purpose.
For those who don’t know, a Dutch Angel is an extremely tall girl with wings and clogs who lives below sea level when I hit the ‘e’ button before the ‘l’. A Dutch Angle, on the other hand, is when the camera is tilted to present the shot in a slightly uneasy way. I get why they do this for Kyouma’s mad scientist rants. It’s because the guy sees himself as being more grandiose than he actually is, hence the use of the needlessly dramatic presentation. But in many other cases, as in the one above, it serves no purpose beyond to show maybe the camera man is extremely drunk. I’m rather sick of Dutch Angles for the sake of Dutch Angles, but this is what happens when you decide not to use anime’s unique characteristics in how it can present a scene. Part of the reason why I’m rather fond of the overly dramatic in anime is because studios are much more willing to use animations’ capabilities there. Oh sure, Wandering Son gave the more grounded setting an attempt at using animation imaginatively by having the artwork so light they couldn’t even finish drawing the characters’ heads, but that rather pales in comparison to rushing dramatically through monochrome vision backed up by Latin chanting that Death Note had to offer.
The one time the episode had the chance to do something slightly different with the animation was the dream sequence, yet what do they do? A naked floating through space scene. Sure, it had to do with being forced through a black hole, and therefore had slightly more to do with space than your average reason to visit the great nudist beach in the sky, but it’s so cliche that even a legitimate reason for it comes off as naff. Why couldn’t he float through his dream naked on a giant gel-banana being held by Kurisu as she directed it towards a black hole inside the microwave? Not only would it have conveyed the exact same meaning as the above scene, but it would have also represented repressed sexual urges for his assistant who he might have thought deep down was only using him for her own scientific gain. All very Freudian and ridiculous, but being ridiculous is a hell of a lot better than being naff.
Plot? Characters? Pah, according to the massive stinkin’ elitists on twitter, anime blogs should talk about animation more and not the writing. Not that any of those whiners will read this post, because Episodic Blogs Suck Despite The Fact The Most I’ve Ever Read From An Episodic Post Is Glanced At Random Curiosity Once. For those who will actually read this post, act as though this is filler material. Filler in which I complain about a fairly static characteristic such as the animation while I give the aspects I care more about, such as the aforementioned characters and plot, time to develop further so I have more to talk about in the next episode.