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Old 2007-09-27, 20:25   Link #11
Join Date: Mar 2006
Well, that was great. After the comparative hilarity of episode 11, we all knew this anime was going in strange and novel directions. The destination it ended up in defines this anime as a whole. Suddenly every trivial and seemingly nonsensical decision seems to take on a new significance. It was the old switcheroo! The first three quaters of this anime are designed to throw you into the familiar state of acceptance of some of the more ridiculous tenets of this genre (when converted from game to anime) - every woman habouring a crush for the lead, one woman with extremes of emotional instability, the typical duality of the nurturing/introspective versus the sporty/outgoing... You know, the usuals. People were scratching their heads somewhat (and I'll admit to giving my scalp a good rake) at around the mid point of this anime, wondering what the hell the writers were playing at. Yet it now seems to simple and quite logical - they were pushing us around, wrongfooting, trying to generate a complete lack of understanding, trying to place us in the box of 'unsuspecting'. Some of us saw through the tricks and traps and yet still wondered quite innocently where this was going. Most of us saw something big and controversial on the horizon.

Spoiler for the conclusion, nothing concrete:

Makoto's behaviour essentially sealed his fate. He was never going to get away with his rampant lifestyle. That's the point - for some, some deeds are never overcome with a desire for redemption when you're playing with hearts like a contrived eroge or a saccarine sweet romance. Makoto payed in blood because there was no other conclusion for the anime to make unless it wanted to double back on itself and return to the realms of realism from whence it started, and it was far beyond that stage. No, we were somewhere else entirely - the ending of this anime bears absolutely no resemblence to the beginning and as if to make that point as EXPLICIT as possible, they layered over an innocent-as-you-like idle wondering from a once-romantic Makoto at the very end. The writers are showing you what you fell for, showing you where you've been so you can make sense of the journey. Makoto died for a reason - and that reason was purely to create as great a contrast between the beginning and the end as possible. Throw together a group of largely unlikeable losers willing to do the dirty on their closest friends, a loathsome lovehound whose only consideration for 90% of the show is where his next lay is coming from, and all the staples of the harem genre, allow the protagonist to take full advantage of the situation in typical eroge style, and let the whole recipe simmer until boiling point.

Sekai was bested by Kotonoha whose return to idealism was best typified in the final few shots of the anime by taking the severed head of her beloved and sailing off into the sunset. It's a hilarious send-up of her detachment and exemplifies what she wanted from Makoto in the first instance - the type of hopelessly fantastical companionship that a relentlessly bullied incommunicado lunatic craves. She's GOT what she wanted. She's satisfied! She gets the happy ending, she gets the sunset. I had a joke here about Makoto giving her head but I'll leave it. Her punishment is her reward - a descent into the bottomless abyss, completely detached - completely at sea. Nice boat, Kotonoha.

So really, what does this anime mean? Not much. It's a thumbing of the nose to expectation and realism. It's a thumbing of the nose to logical plot development and character exposition. It's a triumph of style over substance - but knowingly so. It is perhaps the first 'harem' piece that is so conscious of its most recognisable traits that it deliberately distorts them and overplays them. It is self-aware, and yet self-depreciating. It mocks itself as a typical bit-player in an overcrowded genre that specialises in dirty exercises of wish fulflilment - almost a method of distancing itself from the source material. It treats the fans of the games with a certain degree of contempt, almost as though it is saying 'this is what you'd spend your time on? These hopeless fantasies? Well get real!'. It has no appreciation for taste or decency because they are meaningless in pursuit of the goal - that nothing is more distasteful than the eager participation of the viewer in their digestion of it. Rape? Group sex? Voyeurism? Corpse mutilation? The possibility of necrophilia? Chalk them up, and hang your heads in shame. The players, and viewers, are Makoto. Those who pursue for the sex scenes, those who want to see the endings that result in bloodshed. Feeling suitably dirty?

Last edited by Perishthethought; 2007-09-27 at 20:54. Reason: Cleaned it up a bit, like a nice boat.
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