Status Report; Preferably Through Existentialism, Capitan!

Technically a post in The Epic Journey, I suppose.

DigitalBoy’s Holiday Escapades? Of course, not without some over-thinking on anime!

So, on the 26th or so I finished Eureka Seven. In the excitement, I held off a couple days on any watching. Funeral finally moved in on the 28th. We already had plans to marathon Gurren Lagann the next day, so that night we watched the first 7 episodes of Haruhi. It was supposed to be a marathon, but Funeral couldn’t stay awake. I’ve been marathoning Haruhi yearly around that time, but we didn’t end up finishing the marathon. We might tomorrow, but I feel like I should have been doing an epic journey post on it. Which brings me to quandary A.

The next day, we decided to marathon Gurren Lagann. We could only watch the first 15 eps since after that the file type changed and FWR none of the computers in my damn house could run it (DVDs need to hurry up and finish coming out!) However, it ended up being a possible turn for the better. Now, I saw about 14 eps of GL with my bro when it aired, then we marathoned the whole show in Nov 07. We also watched the first 9 eps earlier this year. This was my fourth time seeing those episodes.

Perhaps because it was too recently, or because of the sheer number of times, but these episodes just didn’t have the same impact as before. I already came expecting all the manliness and epic, but my eyes had become tuned to the show’s many flaws. There were a number of episodes that I felt I would rather skip next time I rewatched it. The character development was a lot slower than I remembered. Any fights that weren’t over the top were just forgettable and felt like places that something better like character development could have been. And while I’m sure it was partly stylistic, the animation in the first 8 episodes seriously sucked.

Now, none of that is going to yank the show off of my favorites list or something, but it does dramatically reduce my impression. I always liked Gurren Lagann for the style, epic, and message. These things were able to blind me to the errors the first time, so I was almost blindsided when they all came flooding out. I figure it wouldn’t have been half as bad either had I not watched Eureka Seven right before which was nearly flawless. I felt strange that these two shows were once tied for my favorite (having had seen E7 2nd originally) and now with the order reversed, E7 was obviously way more of a favorite.

However, the nature of this whole confounding started to become clear to me with our next attempted marathon. This time it was Nadesico. My little brother was hating it because it moved too fast, but both Funeral and I were at a notable quandry. Seven episodes in, I called off the marathon because the issue was very apparent – this show was NOT, NOT, NOT meant to be marathoned! Every episode contains a lot – plot moving, important events, and all happening very fast. Every episode has an undertone of it’s own – it’s own theme and meaning that should be fully taken in before moving on to the next stage. The show is written specifically for weekly enjoyment – for rewatching the episodes and mulling over what you’ve seen.

I’ve had this realization long before – that the way you watch a show greatly effects how you receive it. Some shows like Eureka Seven are much better in marathons because the plot moves directly from on episode to the next. Others want you to single each episode out and think about it individually. It’s very important to figure out the best viewing method for an anime.

It is my opinion that shows should be watched in multiple ways to fully grasp their enjoyment. Now some like E7 I would never watch in a way other than a marathon. Others, I would rather watch each episode and analyze thoroughly and then marathon afterward. Toradora is a good example of a show that is written for weekly intake and would be better enjoyed by giving deep thoughts on every episode, then at the end marathoning to get the effects all strung together. I suspect Nadesico would be much the same (and I think Omo might agree.)

In cases like Gurren Lagann, this might mean you spot some really horrible episodes, and the show could be worse off for it. However, you can also accentuate the really great episodes. I’ve always loved episode 3. Looking at the episodes individually, I would say 3 is awesome and 4 and 5 suck, but when watched all at once, they might all three get swept together and I might find that whole part of the show to suck. Once you’ve picked out the good episodes, it might not even be a bad thing to skip the lame ones on the rewatch since you can get a better sense of why you like the show from the good ones.

Anyway, I crawled out of my momentary despair of failed favorites with some awesome Shugo Chara that I intend to post about soon, and now I’m all ready to embrace my new approach to watching some of the shows in my epic journey. I’ll be keeping in mind that a show doens’t have to be talked about immediately – it might be best to rewatch some several times to make sure I really have a concise grip on it. Part of the allure of having E7 as a first pick is tha tI had liked it for it’s own merits and less because of extending reasons. I definitely got lucky to have it as my starting place.

8 thoughts on “Status Report; Preferably Through Existentialism, Capitan!

  1. Pingback: An Epic Journey: Introduction « Euphoric Field

  2. 4 and 5 of Gurren Lagann sucked. I’ve seen those too many times having introduced this title to a lot of people.

    I’m struggling to come up with a show that had every episode be nothing short of awesome. Right now, I got nuthin’

    Thanks for the heads-up re Nadesico.

  3. Alright, now I’ve read the post. Hot damn, was I right. digiboy, you rock. You rock for looking at something seriously and accepting flaws in something you like a lot. Not many people are able to do that, and it’s something I’ve been asking you to do for a while, so it’s really good to see it.

    I’m especially pleased that one of the subjects is TTGL—which I try to decry as “too epic” insofar as it hides its flaws from people under the guise of epic and makes people like it too much, when those flaws DO exist and are almost everywhere. But I digress. I don’t want to turn this into a TTGL-bash ;)

  4. @ lolikit

    I love all the episodes I’ve seen in ARIA, and it’s getting progressively better – but the show is not awesome (causes awe). It serves from a different menu of good feelings. Having said that, I haven’t seen an episode that has ‘flaws’ to my recollection, but it doesn’t awe me, save in certain places, like Athena’s song in Animation.

    Awwww, more than awe, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s quite good IMO.

    Also for consideration: Monster, Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I seldom see episodes that are truly awe-inspiring (I’ve seen over 40 from Monster, and over 60 from LOGH), the episodes are very, very hard to fault and the writing can be sublime. However, I never felt the kind of awe that I get a lot from TTGL.

    Like Coburn said of End of Evangelion, it was designed to astound.

    Shit, this got me thinking:

    Is it even desirable to make every episode awe-inspiring? Would it not end up trivializing the majority of the experiences throughout the show. I got some of this in TTGL, where certain battles I sense “should have been awesome” came off as meh instead because it couldn’t top a moment from the previous episode. I sometimes feel that the series was headed downhill, until the next episodes blows me away all over again.

    Ultimately, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts in these great works. In the case of my personal favorite, the fail parts of Macross are far less significant in relation to its win parts, which inspires me to forgive such faults, and to be the kind of fanboy that I am.

  5. Pingback: Fuzakenna! » Blog Archive » An Epic Journey: Introduction

  6. Pingback: Canaan 9 – A Bump in the Speedway « Fuzakenna!

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