W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Two Js and opening videos

This is like the best time to post this, since I am in the midst of  talking about Anime opening videos.

I tend to watch the bad Anime first, then move on to watching the good ones. Two reasons - I want to save the best for last, or I'm afraid that I might not enjoy the good ones.

(Bad/mindless Anime have a reason to exist - to waste time in situations that aren't good enough for watching the good Anime e.g. when commuting or taking a break while doing stuff i.e. waste time when you're bored in general. At least this is what I think.)

But "I'm afraid that I might not enjoy the good ones"? Let me explain - my radar is able to detect which Anime will be well-liked by certain groups of people, be it mainstream or maniac. However it is not so good at predicting if I will like it or not. Some series, I can agree that it is good, but I do not like them. On the opposite side of things, there are Anime that are just trash yet I enjoy. To quote Anonymous, "I watch Maken-ki... For the plot..."

(Although, if you look at it another way, such Anime are well-liked by a big group of people, often enough to get multiple seasons. Well, my radar DOES detect this too. But I usually don't like those Anime.)

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
So, I predicted that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita will be good in general, and I was scared of watching it. Because the last post-apocalyptic-and-return-to-lifestyle-of-older-days-while-having-bits-of-sci-fi-tech-here-and-there I remember watching was Fractale. This is how much that series has scarred me for life. And the artwork style of Jinrui isn't instilling confidence either.

But still, I had to watch it. And so the start of the first episode... Things were not looking good... at all... I totally feared that it would degrade into a emo-morons piece of s***.

And then... the opening video

...which did not make me any happier either at first. Gimmick cute creatures are seldom a good sign. That and multiplied by low-budget dancing. Music is nice, but anything can happen with that kind of music. Moving on to the verse (when the singer starts singing), the first three scenes are not making me happier, and my heart sank at the emo night scene.

And then the chorus.

Ok, the first part got me happier a bit, because there is less probability that something with this chorus video would be serious. Less, because there is still a possibility.

And then, the second part. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I concluded that this Anime is going to be fun, at the scene where, erm, "watashi" (ok the female protagonist, who has no name) is in the sky and shooting confectionery. There is, no way, that this is going to be serious. Unless the main character has "shooting sweets" as a weapon, in which case it wouldn't be a serious story either (just to clarify, she doesn't).

And so I rewatched the opening and watched the rest of the episode happily. As well as the rest of the season which is a godsend in a time of crap. I love the setting, I love the artwork, I love the cute creatures (this almost never happens), I love the stories, I love the directing, and most importantly, I love the female protagonist character.

I could have simply watched and discover, after few episodes, what the show is truly like. But that way I would've suffered unnecessarily and wasted a few episodes of an otherwise good Anime. Or I could watch the opening video and adjust my expectations accordingly right from the start.

This opening video saved this Anime and my life. And all it took was one scene.

Ok, now that we know what the show truly is, let's analyze the opening video.

It is far from being excellent compared to all the big-hitters out there. But most importantly it does its job.

Ok, starting, cute stuff, dancing. Nothing to say here.

Title screen. Ok, you know, one problem with post-apocalyptic-and-return-to-lifestyle-of-older-days-while-having-bits-of-sci-fi-tech-here-and-there stories is we don't really know what type of post-apocalyptic it is and how much of humanity/science is left. It could be example 1) science is still living big but people are (mind-)controlled and living in some sort of dystopia, example 2) science is almost gone and people fight with swords and arrows but there are still satellites that cast what is understood as magic spells. Combinations are numerous.

And what the title screen did was to clear that doubt. Just show what looks like a present-day city, then fairies roll by, and it all transformed into a village. This is enough of the information that we need. From this we can already know that 1) humanity did not advance till giant lasers, virtual reality, warp gates and giant robots with redundant limbs in space, so you can rule out all the crap related to those, and 2) civilization is still surviving. A shadow of what it used to be, but people are not killing each other, as is often the case. It only takes 2 pictures and a transition effect.

As for the rest of the video, I'll leave it to you to appreciate on your own. Overall, it's far from being the best. But it is very effective and enjoyable, and it is very well-thought-out. Definitely on the "good" list.

Joshiraku was another one that I was afraid of. Although my radar says that it won't be like uberly successful, I never turn away from comedy, especially since they seem to be getting rarer and rarer. (Though Jinrui could actually be considered comedy. A serious comedy if you know what I mean.)

However, the issue - it feels like yet another of those slow and lame comedies. I'm not going to mention names here, oh heck it, I am going to mention names. Azumanga Daioh and School Rumble. Kill Me Baby is also halfway on this list, but I enjoyed it and at least it doesn't have the hype so it's okay.

Anyway when the the show is about five rakugo comedians... you wouldn't be expecting a lot of speed.

And the first 1:25 of the entire show isn't helping either. (Yes I know it's some sort of intro.)

 Even the theater is sad

But... cue the opening video.

How can any Anime with such an opening video be bad? Spoiler: It is not bad.

The ability of opening video to 1) reflect the quality of the show or 2) at least trick you into believing so.

Since I mentioned two other Anime, I want you to recall how their opening videos look like. Yea... also accurate reflections of the shows aren't they?

Let's analyze. Ok, rakugo girls. There is nothing that automatically needs to be included in the opening video.

Plan: Keep changing scenes (...or background). Throw in sudden bursts of visual information. Heck keep the eyes entertained for as much as possible. Coordinate with the music. The contents don't have to make sense and that'd be totally normal because it is comedy.

I don't like the reused parts at the end, but overall this video is still very good.

Oh and the ending video (+ song) is very good too. I don't usually watch ending videos, but this one's is pretty addicting.

So there you have it. Two opening videos that saved both the show and the viewer from the wrong first impression by providing the correct one. The importance of opening videos.

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