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Old 2012-06-29, 12:23   Link #961
KleenexGhost
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I think Kagura was supposed to end up being fused with Amata. That would have made more sense with his character. The whole 180 attitude change with his character comes off as last minute writing.

With Zessica, I agree with Triple_R in that it seemed like she was supposed to be killed off. Their actions during the whole final episode seem like they were just there to get Amata and Mikono over with fans in a sense.
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Old 2012-06-29, 12:39   Link #962
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I find it hilarious that Mykage got a happy end but the one who really loved Touma never did.

Otoha as a villain for the next 12,000 years?
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Old 2012-06-29, 13:12   Link #963
bastek66
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I read that they are doing some changes in ending pictures for theatrical display of two most popular episodes. http://twitter.com/AQevol/status/218.../photo/1/large
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Old 2012-06-29, 14:52   Link #964
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Originally Posted by bastek66 View Post
I read that they are doing some changes in ending pictures for theatrical display of two most popular episodes. http://twitter.com/AQevol/status/218.../photo/1/large
Hopefully that's not what they mean by director's cut. lol
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Old 2012-06-29, 15:21   Link #965
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Originally Posted by miketyson View Post
but, yeah, my editor comes out and I see how it could very easily get re-edited into a different romantic outcome with not that much effort. But, then again, this seems to be a "deceptively little effort actually went into anything you see" show, so even that is, well, par for the course, .
I think it's just perhaps accidentally. I mean, it's the finale, by then it's a bit too late to change the romantic outcome...

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Originally Posted by miketyson View Post
After thinking it through more I've come back around to my earlier take: this wasn't so much "steering the ship based on fan responses" but more just that the overall creative guidance wasn't there, and so the various episodes tend to reflect their respective author's and storyboarder's personal take on the characters and events more than is the norm in stuff executed well. Mix in what I think are plenty of ill-advised story elements, character dynamics, etc., and that's that.
Well, steering a 26 episode show based on fan responses is pretty much something that doesn't work, so... (I think we've talked about this once, a long while ago?) The lack of overall creative guidance might be true but in that case it just falls back on Okada (the head writer) and Kawamori & Yamamoto (directors), I mean overall creative guidance was supposed to be their job, after all. Maybe they just found Kawamori's old stash of good stuff a bit too early...

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As an aside:
Spoiler for Zessica speculation:
I don't know, I never got this from her, not before her angst and not after... eh, this is again something I just don't get, the way Zessica is the one who has received the most writer attention from the AMZK group, and yet after 26 episodes we still know nothing about who she is and what makes her tick. We know this about AM&K, we know this about Mix, Yunoha, Shrade, even Jin, of all people, but not Zessica. Which is kind of ridiculous, but I suppose making her angst was more important than actually coming up with some background for her and working it into the show.
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Old 2012-06-29, 15:55   Link #966
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If they want to flesh out her background: Drama CDs or OVAs to milk the fanbase.

They can sell stuff about Zessica (and YunohaxJin). While other characters (uh, Mikono and Amata are pretty unpopular ) can't get the same.
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Old 2012-06-29, 16:06   Link #967
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kuromitsu: oh I'm quite certain it's accidental, just a byproduct of not letting Mikono do much of anything. If the flexibility *is* intentional it's probably forward-looking, so they can reuse as much of it as possible in some future OVA (and there perhaps more to re-use most the CGI and re-do the rest than to actually change things up materially).

In re: changing plot, we've been over the changing the plot stuff as it airs and I think we're on the same page, was just putting it in there to respond to Triple R's suggestion of a quick hack to keep Amata and Zessica alive.

In re: Zessica, the one commonality from a lot of our discussions is I've been quicker to jump on things that support downer/negative interpretations than you, guess we see some things differently .

Seeing the end though I think I know why she gets no backstory, now: think how much more sympathetic and painful her story would be for viewers if she had some kind of standard backstory that *did* explain why she did the things she did...
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Old 2012-06-29, 16:19   Link #968
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In re: Zessica, the one commonality from a lot of our discussions is I've been quicker to jump on things that support downer/negative interpretations than you, guess we see some things differently .
True. But this is one more reason why I'm curious of post-airing interviews, maybe they'll say something about just what the hell they were thinking they were doing with the characters...

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Seeing the end though I think I know why she gets no backstory, now: think how much more sympathetic and painful her story would be for viewers if she had some kind of standard backstory that *did* explain why she did the things she did...
I dunno, by this logic just think of how much more sympathetic say, Mikono would've been for viewers if she received half of the attention Zessica did, what with her quasi-abusive childhood and struggle to get over her issues and all. Or how uncomfortable and near-creepy Zessica's wangst would've been if viewed from the POV of say, Amata. Zessica could've had a decent backstory and it still wouldn't have changed anything, except apparently her backstory was never important. I mean with all the effort they'd put into making the audience pity her a nice tragic backstory would've made an even bigger impact. (They could've done it like Kagura's last minute "Sylphie is the only good thing that ever happened to me!! waah!!" pity fest - never mind that if Kagura hated Mykage so much then why on earth was he skulking around Mykage's ice crystal bed thing telling him he should wake up already? You'd think Mykage waking up was the last thing Kagura ever wanted. Oh well.)
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Old 2012-06-29, 17:44   Link #969
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kuromitsu: agreed on interviews.

On Mikono, I actually agree with their decision not to give her much background and definitely not much tragic background. Feels like it'd cheapen her character too much if too much of it is presented as the end result of clearly-identifiable external causes, rather than just who she is. The mistakes are elsewhere with her for me.

Whereas with Zessica, the more characters know about a bad background the more sympathetic they have to be (recurring thing with the side characters...), and her having an explicit background might in particular obligate Amata and Mikono to be even more considerate of her feelings than the story would really allow them to be...then throw in the even-more sympathetic angle, and the way the story doesn't really need her to have a backstory, and I can see why it might've been left out.
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Old 2012-06-29, 18:13   Link #970
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Originally Posted by bastek66 View Post
I read that they are doing some changes in ending pictures for theatrical display of two most popular episodes. http://twitter.com/AQevol/status/218.../photo/1/large
Not surprised that episode 13 is popular, but episode 15? I guess after JinxYunoha KaguraxMikono is the second most popular pairing in EVOL.
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Old 2012-06-29, 18:18   Link #971
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They could've done it like Kagura's last minute "Sylphie is the only good thing that ever happened to me!! waah!!" pity fest - never mind that if Kagura hated Mykage so much then why on earth was he skulking around Mykage's ice crystal bed thing telling him he should wake up already? You'd think Mykage waking up was the last thing Kagura ever wanted. Oh well.
The second half of the show really just doesn't flow with the second. They pulled out a lot of stops in the second half that leave events in the first half as utterly baffling developments. Just look at the atrocious resolution to Altair's problems, to Amata's parents, to Kagura's.... everything. Indeed, his hatred of Mykage makes no sense in retrospect, he did it to himself.

I think they more or less had the show planned out well until Ep. 13 or so, ironically the peak of the show more or less, and then were thrown into a downward spiral that plagues so many anime original stories. I'm reminded of Xam'd to a degree but that ended up coming out fairly coherent even with its rocky second cour.
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Old 2012-06-29, 18:20   Link #972
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Not surprised that episode 13 is popular, but episode 15? I guess after JinxYunoha KaguraxMikono is the second most popular pairing in EVOL.
Yup. Episode 13 was very good too. The highlight of the series.
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Old 2012-06-29, 18:40   Link #973
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Yup. Episode 13 was very good too. The highlight of the series.
Agreed. As for episode 15 I appreciate it for the fact that it did develop Amata properly with him standing up for himself.
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Old 2012-07-01, 09:38   Link #974
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Quote:
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Killing Zessica off would've made no sense whatsoever, though. Sure, it was a possibility, but then we would've had a character whose entire existence was basically "was a normal character, then she got hit by the Plot 2x4 and turned into an angstmachine, and then she died." Uh, okay, so the point is?
There might not have been a point, per se.

Zessica may simply have been a "plot device character". And there's no question that Kagura was a plot device character.

What I mean by a "plot device character" is a character that's needed purely to fill a certain role (or roles) in order for the plot to work. In other words, a character that's not important in and of him/herself - the only thing that gives him/her importance is the role s/he has to play.

Once such a character has served his or her role(s), what happens to them afterwards may well be immaterial (from a writer's perspective).

I think that Zessica was meant to add more romance conflict drama to the show (for its own sake), and give the show a solid action heroine to round out the cast. It was probably also planned beforehand for Zessica to be Mykage's convenient tool in the final act.

There being a lot of focus on Zessica's romantic angst was not, I think, primarily intended to make the viewer really like Zessica, but I think it was primarily intended to amp up the romance drama in general. This is where the writers goofed, in my view - They drastically underestimated how much this Zessica focus would cause viewers to feel sympathy for Zessica and hurt Mikono by sheer contrast.

Kawamori was genuinely startled at how poorly Mikono was received by a lot of viewers - frankly, he wouldn't have been startled if he had thought more deeply about how Zessica's handling would likely impact the audience. It strongly suggests to me that Zessica was largely an after-thought to Kawamori - a character that conveniently filled certain roles for him.


Look at where Zessica was at going into the last episode of Aquarion EVOL: Under Mykage's control, finding it impossible to get over Amata, and having played a key role in the deaths of the parents of the man she loves (notice how this last one was conveniently ignored?)

Is there any reason to believe that Zessica could totally bounce back from all of that in one episode, like she seems to have miraculously done in the last episode of EVOL?

I don't see any reason to.


Quote:
And as for authors deciding last-minute stuff based on audience reactions... As I said earlier, Zessica has been obviously designed to be a fan favorite.
I think she was meant to be decently popular, but not as popular as the main pairing.


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Kagura had a more steady death flag but by the penultimate episode it was quite obvious he would survive, the only question was how, since there seemed to be no way to do it smoothly. And well, they didn't do it smoothly. But.

You can't say that there was no logic to their actions in the last ep.
Characters as passionate about love as Kagura and Zessica clearly are don't get over a failed love like flipping a light switch, to the point that they're actually cheerleading somebody else getting with the person they love. That's not a logical characterization shift.

Sure, you can come up with a decent rationale for their final episode actions, but it doesn't mean it fits their characters any. Okada is not so bad of a writer that she wouldn't be able to realize this. No, I think that Kagura and Zessica becoming Amata/Mikono shippers was a clear attempt at last minute damage control - writing consistency be damned, we have to ensure this show actually sells!


Quote:

(Also, in case of Zessica, what is "well-established characterziation"? The Zessica we got to know in the first cour, or the angstmachine she devolved into? Because the two are not exactly compatible in the first place.)
What I mean by "well-established characterization" is her extreme difficulty in getting over somebody that she has become interested in and/or has fallen in love with. This is a consistent element of her character. You can't show a character being like that for a long stretch of episodes, and then for her to totally get over it in the last episode.


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Sorry Triple R, I can't see the "they were going to die" theory either, if they die beforehand it seems like it requires a huge revision of the finale sequence (who's going to be in the gattai with Amata then...Sazanka and Malloy, )?
I wouldn't be surprised if the original plan was to have Zessica kamikaze herself against Mykage while Amata rescues Mikono at the same time. Kagura would either be dead, fused with Amata, or be the guy that Amata has to overcome in order to save Mikono (so it essentially boils down to Zessica vs. Mykage and Amata vs. Kagura: The Final Round! for the last episode).


Quote:

After thinking it through more I've come back around to my earlier take: this wasn't so much "steering the ship based on fan responses"
I don't think they steered anything based on fan responses... except the final episode.

Kawamori going out of his way to say to fans "the final episode won't leave a bad aftertaste in anybody's mouth" sounds like classic PR damage control to me. It also hints at the possibility that the ending has been changed to ensure that it won't leave a bad aftertaste in anybody's mouth.


Quote:

As an aside:
Spoiler for Zessica speculation:
This is an interesting take on Zessica. I can see her as the genki girl that's actually very lonely on the inside and wants somebody to love (who will love her back). So this mysterious male outsider who just happens to be great in combat (but with none of the rigidity that can come with being a military-man) comes along, and Zessica feels like he's the perfect guy for her.
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Old 2012-07-01, 12:40   Link #975
kuromitsu
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Zessica may simply have been a "plot device character". And there's no question that Kagura was a plot device character.
She had way too much focus for that, though, and her resolution in the last episode, rushed as it was, has a nice thematic ring to it that doesn't imply that it was a last-minute decision.

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There being a lot of focus on Zessica's romantic angst was not, I think, primarily intended to make the viewer really like Zessica, but I think it was primarily intended to amp up the romance drama in general. This is where the writers goofed, in my view - They drastically underestimated how much this Zessica focus would cause viewers to feel sympathy for Zessica and hurt Mikono by sheer contrast.
Again - obviously we can't know what they wanted to do until one of them comes out and tells it in an interview or something, but I flat out refuse to believe that a creative staff headed by Kawamori Shouji (who is not exactly a rookie) and Okada Mari (ditto) couldn't predict that a) Zessica would get popular (this type of girl is always popular, there's a reason why her chara type is so ubiquitous), and b) that 10+ episodes focusing on Zessica going through hell wouldn't make people sympathize with her, especially with Mikono being either on ignore or doing controversial stuff. I suppose this is subjective but I found Zessica's handling very emotionally manipulative, and there's no way something like that happens an accident. That said, there's no question that the writers goofed, but I think it was simply about overestimating the amount of focus Mikono needed to work as a main character. Going by that quote by Okada someone posted earlier it may have been a case of writer bias as well (that is, the writer giving too much attention to the characters she finds the most interesting, at the expense of everyone else, which has happened in many other series, written by people who are far better writers than Okada).

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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Kawamori was genuinely startled at how poorly Mikono was received by a lot of viewers - frankly, he wouldn't have been startled if he had thought more deeply about how Zessica's handling would likely impact the audience. It strongly suggests to me that Zessica was largely an after-thought to Kawamori - a character that conveniently filled certain roles for him.
Actually, if we're thinking of the same interview then Kawamori wasn't talking about Mikono being poorly received, he said he objected to Mikono being called a bitch. And for what it's worth, I agree, but what can you do about this sort of mindset.

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Look at where Zessica was at going into the last episode of Aquarion EVOL: Under Mykage's control, finding it impossible to get over Amata, and having played a key role in the deaths of the parents of the man she loves (notice how this last one was conveniently ignored?)

Is there any reason to believe that Zessica could totally bounce back from all of that in one episode, like she seems to have miraculously done in the last episode of EVOL?
Lots and lots of stuff was ignored in this show purely for convenience... And Zesscia didn't actually bounce back, if you see the epilogue she's still not 100% her old self. What happened is that she had a realization, much like Kagura. Again, I'm not saying it couldn't have been handled better, it sure could've been, but it wasn't an asspull.

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I think she was meant to be decently popular, but not as popular as the main pairing.
Well, as I said we don't know what the creators meant, but again, I simply can't believe that putting the main pairing on an almost complete ignore and putting another, popular chara in the spotlight for how many episodes would make anyone believe that the main pairing would be more popular than the chara in the spotlight. Not even complete amateurs make such a mistake.

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Sure, you can come up with a decent rationale for their final episode actions, but it doesn't mean it fits their characters any. Okada is not so bad of a writer that she wouldn't be able to realize this. No, I think that Kagura and Zessica becoming Amata/Mikono shippers was a clear attempt at last minute damage control - writing consistency be damned, we have to ensure this show actually sells!
But it fit their characters, it was just criminally underdeveloped. And frankly, I only found Kagura's attitude OOC, I had no problem with Zessica whatsoever, specially because she didn't just "get over" everything. She finally came to be at peace with herself and the situation, she can finally laugh and smile again, but she very obviously didn't bounce back yet. Kagura's sudden support of Amata was more problematic, but him "giving up" on Mikono was pretty clearly explained (though as Vena mentioned sometime earlier, it may not have come across due to bad translation).

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I don't think they steered anything based on fan responses... except the final episode.
I don't really think that's the case, unless they decided on a happy end in the very last minute (that I don't believe).
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Old 2012-07-01, 13:55   Link #976
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Another change in opening
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Old 2012-07-01, 14:56   Link #977
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Another change in opening
For real? No shopped?

Maybe they'll add them kissing in that episode Cayenne tucked him on bed. Because man they are so obvious.
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Old 2012-07-02, 10:02   Link #978
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This is an interesting take on Zessica. I can see her as the genki girl that's actually very lonely on the inside and wants somebody to love (who will love her back). So this mysterious male outsider who just happens to be great in combat (but with none of the rigidity that can come with being a military-man) comes along, and Zessica feels like he's the perfect guy for her.
If you search my comments it's not a new opinion from me on her, I just stopped pushing it after a bit because no one else was buying it, . But, sure: from the beginning a lot of her early scenes came across as meant to cast her into the "respected by her peers but has no actual friends (though, perhaps Mix as basically her sempai?)" archetype, however even if that's actually part of her character nothing was really done with it.

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I wouldn't be surprised if the original plan was to have Zessica kamikaze herself against Mykage while Amata rescues Mikono at the same time. Kagura would either be dead, fused with Amata, or be the guy that Amata has to overcome in order to save Mikono (so it essentially boils down to Zessica vs. Mykage and Amata vs. Kagura: The Final Round! for the last episode).
I see what you mean now, but can't really see it this way, just doesn't seem to fit well with the action or story by that point. I'm basically with kuromitsu in terms of what I think about story changes, although as I think the script shows lots of signs of being written "as they went along" I am more sympathetic to discussing the idea, since "written as it went along" and "story change" tends to look about the same to viewers.

I'm hoping we get some interviews trickling in over the next couple months to shed some light into what was going on with this show.
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Old 2012-07-04, 17:41   Link #979
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Some people think that Kawamori and Okada were simply focusing more on AKB so that might explain the sharp decline in quality. Just a thought.
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Old 2012-07-04, 18:08   Link #980
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That would be a pretty shocking level of unprofessionalism, and to be honest I don't think it's very likely. And it's not like there was a sharp decline in quality, the problems have been there since the first half of the show, they just got out of hand as the plot thickened.

Btw, this month's Spoon (I think it's this month's - anyway it has Tsuritama on its cover) apparently has a long interview with the director, Yamamoto Yuusuke. Maybe we'll get some insight from him...
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