Urge to Kill, Rising…

Argh. Ok just finished GSNK #6. Forget it. No plot, just more of the same idiocy. One possible explanation had occurred to me, but I wanted to believe anything else. Sadly, I should have run with it.

Spoiler: Yes, it was all Ryoko behind the scenes, working with some of Reika’s family retainers. The part I don’t get is that just about everyone in the show seems to be unusual.

I feel like an idiot for ever letting myself believe that this show might redeem itself. I should be forced to stand on a mound of discarded Ikkitousen DVD’s, so small children can point at me and laugh. “Hey, he thought that show had a plot! Doody-head!”

Yes, I’m a little peeved at being taken in, but this is just piss-poor craftsmanship. Spoilers below the fold to say why, and I can’t put all of them in tags.

First a bit about two elements in the episode. Of course we just had a combat meido introduced in this episode. Yes, the Yuki, although she talks more and is anything but emotionless. Great, another Angry Bodyguard.

And I don’t get Reika at ALL now. She seems permanently in her red-eyed version, but not as sexually aggressive, and without the MPD. Succubus or not? Unusual abilities or not? Was that all just a temporary plot device to explain why she’d suddenly vamp Shungo? The flashbacks confirmed solidly that it has been Reika we were seeing all along, and there is some kind of story there that’s being rolled out bit by bit…. or made up as they go along. Probably the latter. Let’s face it, the writers are just pulling things out of their asses now. I hate to say it, but you know what show this is reminding me of? Those Who Hunt Elves. I’m seeing similarities in the writing, the way plot elements appear and disappear per their momentary convenience, no matter how contrived.

Spoiler: At one point, Shungo is captured, tied up, and has the tar beaten out of him by two guys. Later, Reika finds him, gets all emo, and then is knocked out by a strange woman in a mask. Shungo leaps up and attacks the woman, but she easily bests him — until he finally gets one hit in that breaks the mask. Of course it’s Ryoko, and the whole thing was a big, er, prank.

At that point, there should have been a murder, IMHO. And you know what? There was. Any chance that this show could be taken seriously was just killed. I don’t mean any chance that it could have a serious plot, although that got killed too. Obviously the writers had no intent of creating any serious plot; this was just a big “Gotcha!” moment.

That’s a huge problem for the show now. The audience has to trust the writers in order to be immersed, to believe in the characters and the story. As a writer, you cannot jump out and yell, “Just Kidding!” and expect the viewer to believe anything you write afterwards. Not one single time. If there is an attempt to build dramatic tension, it has to be played straight, because if the viewer finds out you were lying, the trust is destroyed. From then on, any further attempts are going to be doomed, because the viewer is not going to trust what they are seeing. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” So the viewer isn’t going to be immersed in the story any longer; he or she is going to hold themselves apart from it, waiting for the “gotcha!” moment.

And that is death to a story.

R.I.P. Goyshusho-sama.

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17 Responses to Urge to Kill, Rising…

  1. Are you going to give up on watching it?

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    If there were better alternatives, yes. But with Zero II and Shana II both cratering, there’s not a lot out there. Moyishimon is kind of interesting, Minami-ke is out; I can’t stand the middle sister. It may be a case of “watch this or write the season off.”

    Or I could try Ghost Hound, after all.

    Prisim Ark, which I watched the first episode of last night, makes no bones about having a plot to go with the fanservice. The problem is, it’s hard to get a rhythm going, because it keeps interrupting itself to jump from the past to the present to the future. There was an amusing map I want to get a screencap of and post later today if I have time.

  3. Of course, you could always buy and watch something that really is good, like “Petite Princess Yucie”.

  4. Will says:

    Now it’s almost guaranteed at some point down the line there’s going to be a “boy who cried wolf” moment. Ninomiya-tachi will keep waiting for Ryoko to jump out screaming “boo”, only this time it’s real.

  5. That makes sense.

    …which doesn’t mean you’re right, of course.

  6. Ubu Roi says:

    You know, that would almost redeem this story.


    I think I’ll see if I can tolerate Souské Sagara’s antics any better this time. Where’s Fumoffu….

  7. Ubu Roi says:

    Sigh. So much for that. I couldn’t get through a single episode.

    What else is on the unwatched pile…

  8. Will says:

    Well, Shana II Ep6 gives some hope that that characters are coming out of their funk. But we’re gonna have to wait through an Ike episode to see if it really takes.

  9. Ubu Roi says:

    Personally, I felt only the mildest urge to download it. Something akin to the feeling I get when I see one of those huge chocolate bars at the checkout.

    I reloaded Dawn of War on my PC. Fewer calories, more entertainment.

  10. It became evident to me from the first Shakugan no Shana series that the mangaka really wanted to do a high school romangst series. The supernatural and horror aspects of the series are just there to make this particular romangst series different from all the others.

    Sounds like in the second season they pretty much tossed everything except the romangst aspect of it.

  11. Hey, you ought to see if you can download Dai Mahou Touge. You won’t regret it. “Lyrical Tokarev, Kill Them All!”

  12. Gyuck. I don’t see how that movie can be decent. DEFINITELY not looking forward to it.

  13. baseball68 says:

    Shana Ep. 6 was okay IMO. Should have been Ep. 5, but oh well. But yeah, you might want to wait until after ep. 7, although an ep. focused on Ike could be interesting. Hopefully we’ll get a good fight arc after 8.

    I think someone in an earlier thread recommended Sketchbook–it’s a bit slow, but I found it charming, although I haven’t had time to view more than most of the first ep.

  14. Ubu Roi says:

    Ah well, Dai Mahou Touge has apparently been pulled by its fansub group or they’ve got issues; the torrent tracker file is giving me error 404’s. Maybe I can find a straight download… without running into Russian porn & hacker sites.

  15. Check your email.

    And watch the omakes last, after you’ve watched all the rest of the series. The four of them together make up a single story.

  16. Pingback: Mahou Meido Meganekko » Blog Archive » Tameservice

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