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Old 2012-10-20, 06:35   Link #1
ahelo
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The "Execution" Effect

People always complain that "Hey this anime sucks because it's so cliched" or "This harem animu sucks because it's stupid ecchi" or something along those lines. While I don't really get excited when a lot of anime keep on repeating the same tried and true formulas with all the cliches and everything, it's always nice to see an anime that has all this cliches yet is such a joy to watch.

I think this is where the execution effect comes in. An anime that has a premise that is as beat up as an old fart yet somehow it makes you feel that it's the freshest thing anime has been able to offer in a long time. It's executed differently or rather it's executed exceptionally well for an anime with that premise.

Examples this season (imo):

Sakurasou Pet no Kanojo has an absolutely generic premise with normal Boy meets mysterious sexy Nagato/Tachibana/Inori clone yet when I watched the first two episodes. . . BAM it was pretty darn good. It adds on these little details within the characters and it's slightly witty at times. Maybe it's the case of good direction or writing but nonetheless, this series has the "execution" effect written on it. Cliched, but used perfectly.

Sukitte Ii na Yo is another one. Normal girl who has no money/friends becomes abnormally close with the hottest guy in the school. It has this recipe of generic shoujo written all over it and the manga, which I read, is really fairly generic. Color me surprised because the first two episodes are really REALLY good. It's definitely the case of "execution" effect.

So my point is: What do you think is an anime that exemplifies the "execution"effect?

Note: The "execution" effect sounds like a domino of death rows but I mean it as how something is executed or shown.
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Old 2012-10-20, 07:59   Link #2
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Regardless of the premise, anime needs good execution to work, though I would argue that the more cliched the premise, the more it depends on it. I sat through the entire series of Fractale because of the ideas behind it, even if it ended up being horribly flawed... And yes, I'd take an interesting failure like Fractale over a show with a cliched premise and above-average execution.

As for a recent show that I'm watching because of its execution, I have to say Kokoro Connect. By this point, I generally avoid "school life" shows and things like body switching tends to be an eye-rolling cliche, but the show continually impresses me with the amount of thought that went into the writing of its characters. It gives insight into why they do what they do, and even if we end up with characters that seem stereotypical on the surface (such as the all-too-nice everylead Taichi) the writing doesn't stop there. It's not a perfect show by any means, but I do have to applaud what the writers have done with it.
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Old 2012-10-20, 11:43   Link #3
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I agree with gsilver's argument. One of the shows I watched that comes up with the "clichéd but well-done execution" effect was The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. When I looked up the premise, it looked clichéd and cringe-inducing, but when it started airing, it handles the history very nicely. Not really perfect, but portrays the accuraties in a elegant manner. The same goes for Sengoku Collection and the ongoing Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
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Old 2012-10-20, 13:30   Link #4
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Alert the presses! Shocker of shockers: Series that are Done Well happen to be Good.

.

Seriously though, in a post-modern world where all stories have been done before it is always about the "execution". Even bland can be great is you add the right emphasis (or enough boobs, depending on the audience).

As for series that do this well: Princess Nine, Madoka, Kokoro Connect, Ano Hana, and I'm sure quite a few others...
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Old 2012-10-20, 15:21   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
Alert the presses! Shocker of shockers: Series that are Done Well happen to be Good.

.

Seriously though, in a post-modern world where all stories have been done before it is always about the "execution". Even bland can be great is you add the right emphasis (or enough boobs, depending on the audience).

As for series that do this well: Princess Nine, Madoka, Kokoro Connect, Ano Hana, and I'm sure quite a few others...
I disagree. Some stories have more original (or at least distinctive) premises than others. Madoka Magica, for example, is much more distinctive than your generic harem show, which is why I strongly object to you listing it as you have.

Execution is important, but it's not the only thing that matters.
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Old 2012-10-20, 15:54   Link #6
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I disagree. Some stories have more original (or at least distinctive) premises than others.
You are correct, I misspoke (miswrote?) earlier. "Originality" should always be applauded, even if it is often (almost always) simply a reimagining of existing tropes or a reshuffling of known storylines (both of which are part of the post modern tradition).

That being said, "Generic" (sometimes simply known as genre films) is not bad, nor should it be treated as such. Princess Nine, for instance, is a fairly simplistic sports drama, but the general execution of the series should be applauded, and with decent characters and generally fun "battles" (amongst a slew of other good qualities) it is tough to dislike the show even if there is nothing really original about it (note, I do not know why I thought of Princess Nine, but the more I remember the series, the more I think it fits this thread)

(I stand by what I wrote about Madoka through . (Please do not continue this discussion, it is irrelevant to the thread topic.))
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Old 2012-10-20, 16:58   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Execution is important, but it's not the only thing that matters.
It is the only thing that matters. When you have a story to tell, you have to tell it well and make it interesting to have people listen and pay attention to you. Storytelling in the broadest sense is what makes or breaks any fiction, be it audiovisual or not.

A show that exemplifies the importance of this would be TTGL for me. The core idea has been done thousands of times before, the show is dripping with super robot cliches and tropes, and it's really no more than a homage/parody of the genre. But it is done with such an energy and freshness that it becomes something really worth watching.
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Old 2012-10-20, 17:06   Link #8
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Honestly from what I've seen any anime with originality for some reason get buried by the other popular generic show. The worst thing was that said anime were almost perfect but probably screw up at the end. Now, they are rather remembered as one of the great anime but it's gettting the credits nowhere about they are supposed to get. While I do know and understand the flaws and complaints well, they were so little flaws to barely hurt the content of the anime. I guess this is where I felt the disappointment from otaku fandom.

I feel Tari Tari is the best example that really shows what good execution is all about. I do think it deserves the popularity it's getting for once. When I watched the first episode, I reminded me of animated Glee, now I'm convinced, this could be one of the good anime about music but pretty looking like K-on and actually at some point talk about music after all the characters overcome their problems.

Another cliche anime executed well would be Youjo Han Shinwa Taikei mostly known as Tatami Galaxy. The basic premise is about a guy entering the uni with a hope of getting a dream girl. I'm sure it's not original and I need someone to correct me because I remember watching Honey & Clover, the setting is a bit similar. What could've turned out as the run-of-the-mill, generic slice of life anime looked and felt original. The art was drastically unique but the top-tier execution really pushed the anime to one of the best.
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Old 2012-10-20, 17:09   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warm Mist View Post
It is the only thing that matters.
No, it's not. The premise behind a show does matter.

Let's say you have a choice between a well-executed high school romance comedy and an equally well-executed show with a rarer premise like what we have in Psycho-Pass right now.

I don't know about you, but I would pick the Psycho-Pass option every time if forced to choose between the two.

Fresher ideas are naturally conducive to fresher shows. Sure, good execution can also provide some of that fresh feeling, but there's no question that some narrative ideas are simply fresher (or at least less commonly used) than others. That does make a difference.


And your TTGL example is a weird one given your position. The core idea of TTGL was not done thousands of times before. TTGL was a genre reconstruction, the antithesis to NGE.

Part of what made TTGL so great was that metalevel strength to it, which is not that commonplace.


Edit: As for shows were execution made a huge difference, I definitely agree with Tari Tari. I felt that Mashiro-iro Symphony did the absolutely most it could with its core narrative concept.
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Old 2012-10-20, 17:28   Link #10
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I think Fate/Zero is a good example of this. Seven mages battle to the death in some kind of magical tournament?

How original (not).

I avoided it for a long time because of the boring premise but it was actually really good.

Also, the first season of Zero no Tsukaima is pretty entertaining despite having one of the most derivative, boring premises ever. Not great anime by any means, but far better than it looked on paper.

My favorite example of this in manga is Buyuden. Guy meets a pretty girl who is a talented martial artist and tries to become a boxing champ to win her heart.

Sounds like a boring premise similar to about a million other sports mangas out there. But this one is full of shockingly human characters and tragically mundane twists that are as unexpected as they are heartwrenching.
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Old 2012-10-20, 17:47   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Let's say you have a choice between a well-executed high school romance comedy and an equally well-executed show with a rarer premise like what we have in Psycho-Pass right now.

I don't know about you, but I would pick the Psycho-Pass option every time if forced to choose between the two.
Going to have to disagree with you here: Let's look at this season we have Psycho Pass & we have a "romantic comedy" My Little Monster.

I wouldn't choose between them because they both offer me something. They both do a good job (so far) with the story they are presenting. But I fail to see how Psycho Pass is the better story.

Sure you might prefer a certain genre over another, but the premise is not going to tell you what is the better series.
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Old 2012-10-20, 18:13   Link #12
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Interesting, I thought Pet no Kanojo had absolutely horrid execution, but at least some ideas in it had some interest.

Cliches aren't bad because they're cliches though. In fact they're cliches because they work for whatever reason, thus the way in which it is presented matters a lot.

For execution effect, look no further than Mai-Hime. On the surface the plot is awful and cliches are filled to the brim, but a mixture of action, atmosphere via music and visuals, and generally interesting character development. When I look at it as a whole, I'm just like "gee that was kinda dumb" but it was great anyways.

There's also Kaiji, which at face value is also rather stupid. But Madhouse did a really good drop at dramatisizing events and leaving the viewer waiting. Everything felt epic, even though it's about guys crying. You just begin to realize the ridiculousness is what it's all about.

Another strong example is YuruYuri. Oh my fucking god, how many anime do we have that's about cute girls doing cute things in school life? But Yuruyuri manages to distinguish itself by displaying very strong medium awareness and avoids taking things so far that it'll get boring. It usually never tries to overplay its hands, and gives the viewers what they want to see. It's extremely consistent despite it residing in a not so interesting genre.

True Tears is also another anime I would name. When I look at it is a whole, I don't think the premise or storyline is groundbreaking at all. As a whole, I think the premise is much more interesting than what actually happened. It's really just a romantic drama series though it does put a spin on it in a bunch of subtle ways. However, the visuals, music, and general settings make like I'm watching some kind of play, so I feel more involved. The experience feels good to watch. Overall, I get the feeling they just knew how to structure a story.

I'd also say this about its more recent relative Tari Tari. The story is simple to a fault, but it knows its place and does what it was meant to do right.

So yes, I try to avoid premise discrimination because you miss out on a lot. Though even extremely good execution puts an upper limit without strong enough concepts. I often call these shows good, but they almost never will be favorites material with me.

Great music helps a series a lot, btw.
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Old 2012-10-20, 19:00   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
Going to have to disagree with you here:
So do you think that series concept/premise is entirely insignificant?

You really think that all narrative ideas are completely equal, and that none have more inherent potential than others?


Archon_Wing summed it up very nicely - "... even extremely good execution puts an upper limit without strong enough concepts. I often call these shows good, but they almost never will be favorites material with me."

Bingo. I completely agree with that.

The concept behind a show does matter some.


Also, you're going to judge Psycho-Pass's story execution on the basis of two episodes? Give it some time, please. A strong concept like Psycho-Pass' needs some time to play itself out.
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Old 2012-10-20, 19:20   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post


Archon_Wing summed it up very nicely - "... even extremely good execution puts an upper limit without strong enough concepts. I often call these shows good, but they almost never will be favorites material with me."
I will say you are generally more likely to find a "good" show with above average execution and simple premise than a "good" show with an above average premise but simple execution. To be more specific, a good premise does not equal a good show, but good execution almost always equals an above average show.

As I said earlier, if something is done well, then it is generally good. Not great, but at least good.

(It goes without saying, at least for me, that a "great" show has a good premise and good execution.)
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Old 2012-10-20, 19:28   Link #15
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Originally Posted by Kirarakim View Post
Sure you might prefer a certain genre over another, but the premise is not going to tell you what is the better series
No, obviously just premises can't tell you which shows are better than the others. Premises can lead you to expect certain things, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
You really think that all narrative ideas are completely equal, and that none have more inherent potential than others?
In the vein of the above quote, I do think that some premises do have more potential than others simply because they are more original.

Execution does still matter, though. Shigurui is a samurai anime about the Edo period. Can't think of anything more generic than that, right? But of course, Hiroshi Hamasaki's direction makes this show unique.

Good execution can make cliched shows work, but unique premises do have more inherent potential and when executed well, they will surpass any "generic, but well executed" show. It goes without saying that executing a show with an unique premise well is very hard work and the success rate (success rate as in the profit gained) does seem to be quite low.

Anyways, this question reminds me of which came first: the chicken or the egg?

Actually, screw it. The premise matters more when it comes to profit. Well executed shows might be doomed to obscurity, but when they break, they will break big time. The risk is there, but the potential is very high, too.

Last edited by zarqu; 2012-10-20 at 19:59.
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Old 2012-10-20, 19:51   Link #16
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
So do you think that series concept/premise is entirely insignificant?
No but I also know I have judged shows incorrectly based on a premise that sounded cliche or not my cup of tea and I was very wrong.



Quote:
Also, you're going to judge Psycho-Pass's story execution on the basis of two episodes? Give it some time, please. A strong concept like Psycho-Pass' needs some time to play itself out.
I am not sure what you mean? I said both My Little Monster & Psycho Pass are equally good based on their first two episodes (I don't know how either series will turn out) but according to you if there was a choice Psycho Pass would win over My Little Monster because of its premise.

I am saying that is an unfair way to judge a series.

Now if a premise sounded outright stupid and bad I can see why someone would avoid it, but just because it sounds "less original"....

Now I understand we all have are personal preferences and maybe Psycho Pass's premise appeals to you more than My Little Monster and that's fine but it isn't necessarily better to someone else (and I would also argue Psycho Pass' premise is not all that original either so it does depend on execution).
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Old 2012-10-20, 20:03   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Also, you're going to judge Psycho-Pass's story execution on the basis of two episodes? Give it some time, please. A strong concept like Psycho-Pass' needs some time to play itself out.
I don't think that was the point. I can't speak for Kirarakim, but let me take a look at the passage in question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R
Let's say you have a choice between a well-executed high school romance comedy and an equally well-executed show with a rarer premise like what we have in Psycho-Pass right now.
You compare "a well-executed high school romance comedy" with "an equally well-exectued show with a rarer premise" and cite Psycho Pass as an example.

But, as a premise, is Psycho Pass really that special? I read lots of SF, and my first reaction on hearing what it's about was "standard trope, let's wait for the execution".

So when Kirarakim replies:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirarakim
Going to have to disagree with you here: Let's look at this season we have Psycho Pass & we have a "romantic comedy" My Little Monster.

I wouldn't choose between them because they both offer me something. They both do a good job (so far) with the story they are presenting. But I fail to see how Psycho Pass is the better story.
I think the disagreement is more on the level of individual shows; you're using an entire genre ("high school romance comedy") and compare it to a show you claim is more unique ("Psycho Pass"). But "Psycho Pass", so far, is actually a pretty straight-forward cyberpunk-dystopia. (And Gen's style is actually very compatible with the genre, considering that it has a noir-feel to begin with, so it's unlikely to break the mold much.)

So to have a fair comparison, Kirarakim chooses two shows that do interesting things within their respective genres and sets them side by side. And what remains, then, looks a lot like genre bias.

Personally, I have a hard time, too, telling which of the shows, Psycho Pass or Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun has the more interesting premise. That's mostly due to me having a hard time to differentiate between premise and execution, since it's often the exuction that lets me guess at the premise.

Genre-expectation-wise, I could actually talk more about Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, though I'd be talking a lot about the execution in search for a concept I sense but can't be sure is there.

Good shows generally fit the execution to the material and find a good balance - sometimes to the point that it is hard for me to tell concept from execution.

I do know, though, that it's easier for me to enjoy a show with a run-of-the-mill concept but great execution, than a great concept executed in a run-of-the-mill manner (that's an exercise in frustration). All being equal, having an interesting concept is definitely a plus, but then that's sort of redundant to say (since "interesting" implies a positive judgement already).

So what is it about execution that draws me in? That's an interesting question to me. Maybe I'll make my "ice-puddle-cracking is fun" post, after all (which analyses the opening of episode 10 of A-Channel, according to an epiphany I head while watching the opening of episode 12 (?) of Mashiriro Symphony). But not now. I don't have the time.
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Old 2012-10-20, 20:10   Link #18
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I felt that Mashiro-iro Symphony did the absolutely most it could with its core narrative concept.
Huh? I actually felt Mashiroiro Symphony was good more due to the fact that it didn't fall into the usual storm of bombasticness that's usually in the harem genre.

Anyway, a premise can certainly help me with "bar to entry" but almost everything after that is up to the directors. Hello thar [C]. Alternatively, I can name two similar "loud" harem shows in Shuffle! (which I hated) and Da Capo (which I liked) so it's execution working there.
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Old 2012-10-20, 20:16   Link #19
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But, as a premise, is Psycho Pass really that special? I read lots of SF, and my first reaction on hearing what it's about was "standard trope, let's wait for the execution".
C'mon. Surely the context in this case must be actual anime. Something like Psycho-Pass isn't really unique when you consider the whole of Western SF literature, but it is quite unique when you consider Japanese animation, at least at the moment. Or well, if not unique at least it's rare.

Any cyberpunk/dystopia show is more original and rare than any romance/school/harem VN adaptation. I can't say it's simply genre bias at this point in time.
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Old 2012-10-20, 20:20   Link #20
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It's hard to find unique anime nowadays especially for TV purposes... Many authors tend to read, adapt, twists and edit previously famous mangas, LV and VN plots... It's also because of the demand of the audience....
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