How to create a shitty death battle (illustrated through Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku)

Death battles are one of those genres that are good because of how simple they are, since all you need to create a decent death battle is a proper place to fight, a reason for the death battle, the means of fighting, and the characters that are to be killed, beyond that, everything is up to the execution and the skill of the creators. Despite its simplicity, death battles rarely ever go right in the medium of anime, mainly because of how incompetent the creators are. While in the medium of manga, you got plenty of good death battles such as the manga adaptation of the famous japanese novel, Battle Royale, in anime, the studios time and time again have demonstrated that they are unable to create anything decent out of the formula with such titles as Btooom!, Mirai Nikki, Mai-Hime, and Fate/Stay Night.

But I shall not illustrate the non existent quality of death battles in the four anime I mentioned above, instead I will be using a fairly recent example, namely Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku or Magical Girl Raising Project in English, which is a 2016 winter season anime. It is an excellent example of incompetence, because everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.

Let us start with the basics I mentioned in the first paragraph. The setting for the anime is a modern japanese urban city, the justification for the death battle are the sick desires of two sadists, the means of the fighting is magic, and we have sixteen characters with totally different powers and personalities (more or less as you will see below). Now let us examine the problems with each of these.

1. The setting

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku pretty much has the same problems that arise from an urban environment that was present in the more famous Fate/Stay Night. Given the flashy, destructive and explosive battles that result from the usage of powerful magic, and considering how much surveillance and population a modern city has, it is essentially a miracle (read: shitty writing) that the existence of magic does not get discovered. Fate/Stay Night justified it via hypnosis, off screen manipulation and bribery, and conveniently never having any people around to witness the death battles, despite the fact that Fuyuki City is by no means a small town.

Magical Girl Raising Project does an even worse job than Fate/Stay Night, one of the rules of the anime was that if the identity of the magical girls were discovered, they would die and that humans cannot be allowed to know the existence of magic. How does the show accomplish that humans do not become aware? It does not, from the very first minutes of the initial episode humans are discussing magical girls in their daily life like it was the most ordinary thing ever. It is also further explained to us that there are entire sites on the internet dedicated to collecting pictures and videos of the magical girls in the city. So much for keeping the existence of magic hidden.

mahou 1.png

The only effort that the administrators of the death battle make to contain information is automatically blurring out any pictures and videos (via some super convenient magic) that are taken of the magical girls, as well as memory wiping the characters who came into contact with the girls, which does not seem to work, considering the fact that the humans are clearly talking about the magical girls and how they were helped by them, therefore they were obviously not memory wiped. As for blurring out the pictures, why not just delete them entirely? If you can blur every picture and video automatically via magic, then there is nothing keeping you from outright deletion. Not to mention that the administrators are too stupid to realize that even pictures of bad quality can create endless discussions and theories, if they did not, then people would not be talking about the Big Foot or Loch Ness monster pictures even to this day. And despite the pictures being blurred, it is still very obvious that they have humanoid shapes and are flying through the sky. Good job! The creators of this anime have managed to create an even lazier excuse than Fate/Stay Night.

But allow me to be fair for a second, let us assume that the human population of this particular city are just dumb enough to fall for this trick and that nobody bothered to investigate all the rumors of magical girls helping people, due to some supreme disinterest and being busy with Japanese work life. Even if we accept that particular hypothesis, it all comes crumbling down around episode 8, when one of the magical girls, Calamity Mary, begins killing innocent civilians, blowing up cars on the motorway, and then a few more magical girls appear on the scene to try and help the civilians all the while some others try to kill the ones busy with the helping. There are obvious onlookers and witnesses to all of this. Are there any consequences to this turn of events? Do the humans find out about the existence of magic and magical girls? No they do not, the very next episode after the incident, the whole event is brushed off as ‘terrorism’ and everybody goes back to their life as if nothing happened, there are no repercussions at all.

mahou-2

You can only suspend the disbelief of the viewer so far, before he calls you out on your bullshit. The truth of the matter is, there was really no reason for this anime to be set in an urban city in the first place, it could have been set in a more rural area or a secluded place far away from human population, but no the setting was made to be an urban city just so the author could torture schoolgirls, which is a subject that I will touch more later on.

In conclusion of this section, I can confidently make the declaration that the anime did not even try to follow its own established rules and laws from the very first episode, and it lacked consistency because of this.

2. The justification for the death battle

Everything in the anime happens because of the machinations of two unambiguously evil characters. Musician of the Forest, Cranberry and the familiar responsible for magical girl examinations called Fav are united, because the former wants to fight strong opponents and the latter wants to have interesting (read: edgy and violent) magical girl exams. That is all fine and dandy, but the way they go about accomplishing those goals is extremely convoluted, illogical and badly written.

First they develop an android game called Magical Girl Raising Project and start advertising it with the slogan that a select few players will be able to become real magical girls (which will totally not become suspicious when magical girls start appearing all over the city). Then they proceed to select 16 humans over the course of some months, which is a process that I cannot fathom why it was not instantaneous, considering the fact that there was no apparent qualification whatsoever to be drafted, as evidenced by the 16 characters who were selected by them. The selected range from alcoholic housewives, poor girls, psychopaths, university students, an office worker, bullied girls, a girl who just wants to help people, and even a boy. Clearly anyone could become a magical girl in this anime, so there was really no excuse as to why it took weeks for all the victims to be gathered.

mahou8

Anyway, after their unfortunate victims were selected, they were lead on a wild goose chase that made them believe they were proper magical girls who were meant to help people and not just victims of a death tournament, for what I can presume to be weeks or probably a month. The time of events is not exactly specified within the show, but it has to fall within that time frame considering the activities of the magical girls went on for long enough to develop rumors and urban legends within the city.

There was really no logic behind this wild goose chase and it also conflicts with the motives of the villains, due to the fact I said above, Cranberry wanted strong opponents while Fav wanted interesting exams, but despite these desires, Cranberry lets worthless characters become magical girls, who couldn’t have possibly served as a strong opponent against her, namely the main character, Koyuki and Nemurin, both of whom have meek and weak personalities, and weren’t given any combat oriented powers (again why?), unlike the other magical girls who are mostly combat oriented. And Fav lets this boring game of pretend go on for months without any objection, despite him seeking amusement, which was the motive established for him. The actions and the motives of the villains are clearly in contradiction.

Furthermore, the only reason that the magical girls even realized they were in a death battle is because they figured it out own their own rather than being told that they were participants, which gives us plenty of problems. The only reason they could put two and two together was because they checked the backlog of their chat room where Fav pretends to reveal to Cranberry that magical girls who lose the candy collecting contest end up dying for real rather than just cease being magical girls. This information was obviously purposely left there by the culprits so that our characters could find it, which is clearly retarded, because if the characters did not think of checking the backlog, they would not have realized their situation, which is again counterproductive to Cranberry’s and Fav’s goals, as magical girls would have kept dying without any battles. This retarded plan further depended on the fact that the first magical girl to die, Nemurin’s real name was Nemu, so they were able to confirm her death when the news announced it. If the first death was not Nemurin, but a character who did not morph her nickname from her real name, someone like Magicaloid, then our characters would have been left in the dark.

In the first place the antagonists had no need for any of this, neither the lying nor the pretending, because as it was shown in the anime, they had the power to make characters turn into magical girls without the consent of those characters, and they also had the power to just kill them in an omnipotent manner like they did with Nemurin in episode 2, so there really was no reason for all of this. They could have just forced a couple of girls to become the participants and then forced them to fight against each other to the death by demonstrating their ability to kill them instantly if they do not comply. They did not do it, because the antagonists of this anime are fucking stupid. And this is important because 2 episodes were essentially wasted on nothing happening, which is a lot in a 12 episode anime, especially one that has 16 characters.

It is clear to me that there was no deeper thought put into the setup and construction of this death battle whatsoever, otherwise the author would have been able to detect the same flaws and problems that I did in this section.

3. The means of fighting

The means of fighting in this anime are magic, which brings the typical power levels into play and a whole lot of inconsistencies. The problem with magic in general is that it rarely ever adheres to an objective standard, as opposed to firearms, explosives, melee weapons etc., which all adhere to the standards of our reality. And if something does not adhere to an objective standard, it must then logically follow that it rests solely upon the author’s arbitrary whims. Indeed we can say that whether magic kills somebody or does not, depends entirely on the author’s decision, after all magic is his imaginary invention, unlike with firearms, where members of the audience with basic anatomical knowledge can easily tell when the author made a mistake or is bullshitting us.

In this anime this arbitrariness is best exemplified by the character La Pucelle, who had the power to change the length and size of her sword to ridiculous extents, and due to the super strength that all magical girls within the show possess, she had no problem whatsoever using the sword. In episode 4 her competence and skill with magic fighting was shown when she managed to achieve victory despite being pitted against 3 other magical girls at the same time. Then in episode 6 when she is fighting Cranberry, the author decides to forget all her skill and competence, and makes her act like a total retard by having her move close in on Cranberry who was suffering from a reach disadvantage (her only melee weapons were her fists), and because the author made La Pucelle forfeit her superior reach, Cranberry easily grabbed La Pucelle by the throat and pummeled hear to near-death.

Again, had La Pucelle not forfeited her superior range, she could have easily won, or at the very least, she could have lasted longer, but in spite of being horribly wounded, the injured La Pucelle still manages to inflict a mortal wound on Cranberry by slashing her front open with her sword.

mahou 3.png

Except Cranberry does not die to the injury, she shrugs it off like it is nothing, keeps on fighting without any hindrance to her movement, and finishes La Pucelle off. Why? Because the author did not want one of the main antagonist to die so early, so he simply had La Pucelle die instead out of convenience to the story. Also while magical girls have all been specified to possess superhuman strength, they do not all possess regenerative abilities (as evidenced by the fact that regeneration was actually the special power of Hardgore Alice, one of the magical girls), so by not having Cranberry die despite such a mortal wound, the author is bullshitting his audience and treating them as if they were stupid, especially because in later episodes magical girls are killed by similar slash attacks, showing that such a wound is more than enough to kill a magical girl. Therefore Cranberry only managed to gain the upper hand because the author on some kind of whim decided to dumb La Pucelle down into an idiot, and also on another whim decided to ignore Cranberry’s mortal wound and treat it as if it was nothing.

mahou 4.png

The conclusion that can be easily drawn from this, is that all the battles are essentially meaningless to watch since they do not obey the laws of consistency and logic, it comes down entirely to the author’s whims at that particular moment, which lets be honest, is just shit writing, and shit writing does not make for good battle scenes.

4. The Characters

Easily the worst category in this anime, it is its final nail in the coffin, as decent characters could have been the only thing to make this shit show bearable. There are 16 magical girls in total, and all of them are shit. None of them are complex or even relatable, and all of them can be essentially described with a few words. Don’t believe me? Here let me do it:

mahou-5

  1. La Pucelle – Genderbent Knight Magical Girl
  2. Nemurin – NEET Magical Girl
  3. Cranberry – Typical Bloodknight
  4. Calamity Mary – Psychopath Outlaw Magical Girl
  5. Minael – Psycho Twin Angel
  6. Yunael – Psycho Twin Angel 2
  7. Swim Swim – Emotionless 7-Year Old Psychopath
  8. Tama – Weak willed girl who tags along with the Psychopaths
  9. Magicalroid – Robot Magical Girl who scams people
  10. Ripple – Tsundere Ninja
  11. Top Speed – Overly Cheerful Witch, Kirisame Marisa edition
  12. Snow White, the main character – Madoka Clone
  13. Sister Nana – Lesbian Nun Magical Girl
  14. Weiss Winterprison – Lesbian Boyish Magical Girl
  15. Ruler – Smart, but arrogant leader
  16. Hardgore Alice – Insane X-Year Old Gothic Lolita

This is really all there is to their ‘character’, they are all extremely one dimensional and their personality can be summed up in their quirks and degree of sanity.

I  have to comment on the fact that there are obviously too many characters for a 12 episode show, if 5 magical girls were too many in Madoka for the same length, then imagine how shitty the situation is in this anime with 16 magical girls in play. The more characters there are in any given story the more screen time they steal away from every other character, as a result they receive less development than if there had been fewer characters, which is why books with numerous characters typically have larger lengths in order to compensate for this effect, but in anime, where typically an one cour seasonal anime has 12 episodes, each compromising 24 minutes, the studios are vastly limited as to what they can do with the materials given to them.

Still common sense would dictate to restrict the focus onto 1-3 characters only, but this anime did not do that unfortunately. There is no focal point to begin with, the anime literally always tries to show what each of the sixteen magical girls are doing in an episode. Pretty much no one dies off screen, the anime always makes sure to show their downfall just so it can shock the watcher. It is also extremely formulaic in the manner it does things, because whenever a character is about to die at the end of an episode, they will play her backstory in the form of a flashbacks in the earlier scenes pretty much always. After 2-3 deaths, the watcher can easily predict who will die in an episode and who will not based on the flashbacks that are shown to us, which is obviously a bad thing since it leads to predictability, which is one of the worst things that can happen to a death battle, because it will result in the elimination of suspense. (Also, flashbacks are one of the laziest ways to flesh out characters, especially if it is overused like in this anime.)

Overall it is impossible to care about anyone in the anime, because of how little time is given to any character, and how lazily and cheaply the anime tries to make the audience shed some pity for them in their last seconds with its emotion-filled flashbacks that constitute as little more than worthless melodrama. This is not what you want in a Death Battle, if the audience cannot find anyone to root for, then it loses its point, because whether a character lives or dies, will make absolutely no difference to the watcher if he/she cannot connect with them.

Another reason why it is so hard to connect with the characters is because of how psychopathic and abnormal they are. Bear with me please dear reader, because the following will be some really cringe-worthy material that really illustrates just how awful this garbage anime is.

mahou6

Pictured above is the magical girl called Swim Swim, who in the anime was the magical girl with the highest kill count and served as a villain for most of the anime, she was also the youngest member of the cast with just 7 years to her age. So how come that a child was able to effortlessly kill magical girls older and more experienced than her? The show justifies it by saying “she is not right the head”, meaning that she is a sociopath. Indeed, the 7 year old Swim Swim commits heinous atrocities without any hesitation, murders characters without a shred of emotion, and does not feel guilt nor remorse afterwards.

Everything about Swim Swim is pure cancer, and clearly the worst character within the entire anime. To begin with, why is she even sociopath? It is never explained nor justified. Whenever her human life was show, there was nothing out of the ordinary, all the while many other characters had actual troubling backgrounds yet were far more sane than Swim Swim was. And it cannot even be said that the death battle broke her psyche and made her this way, because Swim Swim was the very first magical girl to consciously kill another magical girl, she was one to start the whole bloodshed by claiming first blood ( Nemurin’s death does not count because it was done by the administrators rather than the participants).

So what is the deal with this character? Why did a seven year old little girl start a killing spree? What is her motivation? Surely there is a reason for all of this? Unfortunately there is no valid reason other than shit writing.

The whole deal with Swim Swim was that she admired her superior Magical Girl, Ruler, who she viewed as a princess and felt a deep admiration for her. Then one day Swim Swim has a dream, and in that dream Nemurin (who had the power to enter dreams) tells her that she can be a princess too. So what is the logical thing that Swim Swim does after this dream? Try to be like Ruler? No. At the very first opportunity she backstabs and murders Ruler in cold blood and usurps her “throne”. That’s right, a 7 year old little girl starts committing vicious murders because of a vague dream she had, that is her sole motivation. (Talk about cancerous writing)

mahou7

I might be able to look the other way regarding the existence of a single psychopathic character, but the truth of the matter is, about half the cast have psychopathic tendencies for no reason whatsoever. They were not broken by the death battle or traumatized by it, no these characters are often the initiators, meaning they were like this from the very beginning, and do not react like normal people would do in their situation, which is just shit writing and bad characterization.

As I pointed out above when I was listing the characters, Swim Swim, Minael, Yunael, Calamity Mary and Hardgore Alice are all equally wrong in the head for no reason whatsoever. I am under the impression that the author was simply too incompetent to progress the death battle without making half the cast psychopathic murderers.

5. Overuse of Shock Factor

I am a man of principles, so I always try to make a distinction between genuine drama and what is nothing more than cheap shock factor. Unfortunately this anime has only the latter, as it constantly tries to shock the viewer (quite weakly I might add) every episode to substitute for its non existent drama and generate some tension. And like many other shock factor anime (read: edgy) before it, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku falls into the typical pitfalls of shock factor. I shall elaborate below what I mean by this:

The typical problem with any show that relies on shock factor is that it needs to keep escalating the shock factor in order to retain the effect in the long term, because the more you shock the viewer the more desensitized he becomes to the shock, what shocked or surprised him previously will be far less likely to shock for the second or the third time due to the fact that it has lost its effect. Once this point arrives, stories that want to keep relying on shock factor typically have only one option, and that is the escalation of the shock factor, meaning to show the viewer even more shocking material than previously. For example compare simple murder to something like torture or rape, it is obvious that the latter are usually more shocking than the former, and many edgy stories, such as Mirai Nikki typically tap into this in order to sustain their view/readership.

As murders are a very common thing in Magical Girl Raising Project, it quickly falls into the aforementioned trap and escalates itself to ridiculous proportions. This is how we go from murders to betrayals to torture to increasingly violent ways of murder (such as burning somebody alive or burying them in concrete and throwing them into the ocean) to suicides to the murder of a pregnant woman to the murder of children. Yes you read that right, this anime kills a pregnant mother (done by the 7 year old Swim Swim no less) just to shock its viewer, if that is not cheap then I do not know what is.

Now do not misunderstand me here, Alma Elma is not arguing from the position of a moralist, I am not saying that it is evil or anything similar. In fiction anything can go as long as it is done right, but this is cheap and disgusting, because it was done for the sole reason of eliciting an emotional response from the audience for views, it is emotional manipulation, pure and simple, and therefore I must condemn it harshly, just as I condemned every other shitty aspect of this garbage of an anime.

In the first place there was absolutely no reason for this particular character to be a pregnant mother, it added nothing to the story, meaning that she was a pregnant woman just solely that her eventual death could shock the viewer harder than any previous death. This is yet another story that was written by a butcher who created characters solely that they could suffer and shock the viewer with their deaths.

The anime ends with Swim Swim’s karma catching up to her, as Ripple (Ninja Girl) does not intend to forgive her and goes to take revenge. There is no talk of redemption or anything meaningful, it is yet another edgy fight that there was so many of in the anime, and it ends with the death of the 7 year old Swim Swim, which is only more shock factor on the pile. By the way, our supposed “main character”, Koyuki also survives the whole current of events, by doing nothing at all throughout the entire anime. She managed to be even more useless than Kaname Madoka, the character who she was a clone of. To add salt to injury, this anime ends with an ending that is clearly baiting for a sequel, which it obviously does not deserve.

mahouiku-ep12-scr5

Conclusion

Let us sum up what we have learned here today.

If you want to create a shitty death battle, then follow the steps below:

A, Have a setting that actually works against the concept of the death battle (in this case urban environment vs magic)

B,  Have shitty motivations for your villains.

C, Have your villains’ motivations conflict with their actual actions.

D, Establish rules for your story, only to break them later.

E, Do not obey the laws of consistency. Have every battle be decided based on your own arbitrary whim.

F, Have too many characters for the length and scope of your story. Bonus: Make all of them generic archetypes.

G, Have no focal point, and give screen time to each and every character equally.

H, Make your characters sociopaths and psychopaths, instead of real people that can be related to and have genuine motivation for their actions.

I, Overdose your story on shock factor.

J, Escalate your shock factor the point that you need to kill pregnant women and children to shock your viewer.

K, And on top of all of this, have a shitty ending that is nothing more than a sequel bait.

And if you want to create an actually good death battle, then just do the opposite of these guidelines.

 

 

Advertisements

Trading your fingers for material gains

I have come forward to ask you a question today.

Would you give away one of your fingers for 10 million dollars? ( Or any other large sum of money, the actual amount doesn’t have much relevance to this article).

kaiji-25

Why am I asking such a question out of the blue?

Because this is actually a question that gives quite the insight into someone’s character and personality based on what they answer. And by writing this article and explaining what the choices mean, I might cause you to reflect upon yourself and your possible choices in this hypothetical scenario. Self reflection is something that people rarely do nowadays so I have no problem sowing the seeds for it.

Let’s get the shorter one out of the way.

Choice 1. Not accepting

Even despite the fact that huge amounts of money, more money than what perhaps you could earn in your entire lifetime, money that could buy you everything that you ever wanted or needed was offered to you, yet you still had the self-restrain to reject this offer. What does this tell about you?

Well first off it means that you value your finger, a part of your body more than you value money, by extension it could also mean that you have no interest in material gains in general or that your desires and needs cannot be granted by money. You are a person of integrity who cannot be moved by greed nor envy (of the rich), and nothing will probably change that. It also means you are as rare as an unicorn in our modern consumerist and extremely materialistic society, where everything revolves around money and the products you can buy with the said money.

Or it could also just mean that you are afraid of pain or that you are scared of losing your fingers, no need for me to overthink everything, sometimes the simplest answer is the most probable.

Either way I believe not accepting is the most virtuous choice in this scenario.

I’m not going to utter some kind of cliché about how money doesn’t make you happy. Because I do not actually believe that’s true, money can buy you happiness by giving you the ability to attain objects and desires that you previously could not fulfill or get. So yes it is the things that become available through money that could theoretically make a rich person happy.

But there is but one problem with this kind of happiness, it does not last. We get our desires fulfilled and the objects of our wishes granted and we are filled with a short term satisfaction and a few days later if not sooner newer desires spring up within us. And here is where the difference between someone with lots of money and someone who is relatively poorer comes into play.

The poor person needs to work towards his desires, while the rich can grant himself anything he wants by simply flicking his fingers, his limitations has been eliminated, there is nothing blocking the way to his desires other than his self restraint which may get erased once you get filthy rich. Because of the fact that the poor person is blocked and has obstacles, when he actually attains his goals and fulfills his desires, they feel more satisfaction.

While the rich only feel a void as it wasn’t a challenge or a struggle to get what they want. Please note that this isn’t a problem with people who are inherently born into a wealthy family because they are used to it, but it is a much larger problem for those who attain a large amount of wealth suddenly even though they were living in poorer conditions previously, a.k.a. most lottery winners and those who receive a wealthy inheritance.

Their sudden change in lifestyle immediately goes into conflict with their past experiences as they were brought out of their usual habit and behavior by the force of money, they will start feeling increasingly less satisfied, due to this they frequently start seeking new thrills and even greater stimulus, and if this process continues their life becomes nothing more than a pursuit of debauchery. Such an easy way of how sudden wealth can destroy a person.

Now let’s move onto the lengthier second part, which is what I think most people would choose.

Choice 2. Accepting it

Congratulations, you lost a finger and got lots of money as a result.

How long do you think that money will last? You might be already deluding yourself of how you would save it or perhaps even invest it. But in reality it will be gone as quickly as the the money of your average lottery winner. Because people who weren’t born into wealth aren’t used to handling and managing large sums of money. Of course I’m not saying this in absolute, there are money-wise incompetent rich people just as well are those few lottery winners who did not actually waste away their money, but they are in the minority and I’m obviously speaking in general terms.

I know that its a cliché that quickly gained money easily goes away, but its also entirely true as you do not the know the value of the money, you didn’t build it up steadily from nothing, you just received it out of the blue for your finger. Not to mention you already proved that you are a materialistic person by accepting the money, which will also mean that you will proceed to buy the materialistic items and needs that you could previously not afford in your poorer state.

You will buy things that you do not need, you will upgrade your house, your car, your lifestyle, you will switch from plain clothes to the most expensive designer clothes etc. Your money will be spent on unnecessary and costly luxuries, and thus the money that could have lasted you a lifetime had you maintained your previous lifestyle, will be gone in a few years if not months and you will be forced to fall back to poverty. This is exactly the reason why 95% of lottery winners can’t keep their wealth, they spend it on useless things without restraint.

You might say that the things they, most people would buy are not useless objects. So let me ask of you:

Why would they need bigger houses? If they could live in their old one just fine until now, they have no need of a new one, especially not one that is unnecessarily big or extravagant.

Why would they need brand new cars? It’s not like the horse power of your new vehicle matters much in the every day traffic jam. Your old and less costly car served its purpose just fine.

Why would they need designer clothes? It is only a symbol of vanity, having a brand on your jacket or not makes little difference, both serve their function as clothes just as good.

Why should they give money to their family members and friends? Just so they can spend the money uselessly like they do? They didn’t make or earn that money, so they will obviously not value it any higher than you do.

Frankly speaking most of the things that the average human being desires are nothing more but useless items of vanity and pride, that everyone was deluded by the consumerist society and media into thinking that it has actual worth. Rejecting the value of material objects is one of the first steps to enlightenment. The pursuit of luxury and wealth is no different from walking the path of hedonism.

Vomitorium

You might say that you can actually restrain yourself and won’t spend the money uselessly, but where was that restraint when you uselessly gave away your finger for a temporary gain of wealth? You sacrificed an integral part of your body for something uncertain. Your body is your first kingdom, the very thing that you have the maximum amount of control over in the course of your life, and you traded part of something that you had control over to something which you have substantially less control over, money is a volatile mistress.

It is only natural that you would lose it, after all you couldn’t keep yourself from losing your finger, so why would you be able to keep yourself from losing something which you have less control over?

You are no different than a King of medieval times who gave out his lands to the nobles expecting loyalty, only to lose more lands and power due to the greed and envy of increasingly powerful nobles. You will waste your money, then you will return to trade another finger, you waste your money again and sacrifice more of yourself, eventually you lose all of your fingers and only then will you realize how much a little finger mattered to you.

Those who would give up a part of themselves for money do not truly deserve it, nor can they keep it.

There is an ancient Chinese saying that an Emperor who would give a finger for wealth, does not deserve to rule nor can he rule. By giving away a part of his first Kingdom he will also obviously be more willing to give away a part of his second Kingdom, which he has objectively much less control over than the first and thus his Empire will be ruined by greed.

Ancient Chinese philosophers were heavily against materialism and attachment to objects, their focus was more on the people and society rather than anything else. They believed like Plato, that the lands should be ruled by Philosopher or Sage Emperors who would not bend to greed or any other human desire, they would instead remain firm like a rock in face of a river.

pendulumswingbw

Taoists believe in a “pendulum effect”, which states that if one tries to achieve an extreme in something, then the pendulum swings back and he gets the opposite of the desired result. For example if one seeks wealth then he might end up in poverty, if one tries to make laws, then one might end up making only more criminals. This is an important concept in Taoism, also known as “Overshooting the Mark”.

The Pendulum Effect can be easily applied to this scenario as you have seen in practice.

If you draw your bow for too long you will not only miss your target but you might also hit something else entirely. The point is to hit your target, to be moderate, to walk the middle road.

With all this said.

Would you still give away one of your fingers for material gains?

Gate….Or how Anime ruin their own premise just so they can have a harem and pander to otakus.

Gate was one of those anime of recent season that many people followed whether they liked it or not, simply because they wanted to see how it would turn out. And the reason for that is that Gate has a premise that makes it very easy for the viewer to get hooked onto. I mean really, which one of us didn’t imagine a fantasy vs modern weapons scenario, at least once? It’s just something that by its nature would be interesting to see being played out, because the scenario itself has a lot of potential. The scenario of Gate is essentially that of Native Americans vs Conquering Europeans, expect instead of Native Americans we have a fantasy empire and the Europeans are replaced by the Japanese Self “Defense” Forces or JSDF. Either way, the cultural exchange alone would have made this series worth watching.

Clash1

But sadly Gate trashed its completely worthwhile premise just so it could pander to its viewers and have harem fanservice.

Let’s start off with the core of the problem, the main character.

Youji Itami is our main character, he is a 33 year old guy who likes anime and doujinshi and everything otaku related, except on top of that he is also a military officer, former member of the Delta Force and also a Ranger. Just from this short description alone it should be obvious that he is nothing more than a wish-fulfillment character for the otaku audience to self insert into. Not only it is highly unrealistic for a member of the armed forces to be such an oddball, but it is also bad from a writing standpoint as Itami is defined solely by the fact that he is an Otaku Soldier, that is his entire “character”. He is just like Kirito from Sword Art Online a typical self insert character who just flows with events of the story and responds to whatever he sees according to his arbitrary morality. In fact I would say that Itami is actually worse than Kirito, because at least Kirito had the goal of escaping his death game, while Itami has no goals at all, he is just riding with the wave that is the JSDF, but he doesn’t even like that ride as it distracts him from his hobby and free time activities, as a soldier’s life is obviously 24/7.  So why doesn’t he just quit? It’s not like there are no other jobs that he could take with his successful resume (jobs that would actually restrict his time far less than the current one). But yeah he remains because he is the self insert character of the story.

And this is where we arrive at the biggest blow to this anime, Gate sucks because it is centered and focuses on the shitty and uninteresting character that is Itami. In actuality the best parts of the show have to do with the moments where Itami is nowhere to be seen or is in the sidelines (Battle of Arnus, Ride of Valkyries, the Trial), because whenever Itami is on screen, the show is nothing more than a harem, a wishfullfilment story about an otaku with successful military career that everyone likes( despite the fact that he openly disobeys the orders of his superior, [And somehow never gets demoted or condemned]). Pretty much the entire “story” is about this character wandering around the fantasy world with his squad, saving everyone and building up his harem. And yes he indeed builds a fucking harem, he gets a Magician, an Elf and a powerful Demigod, all of them who want his dick someway or another. The fact that they are all so different (instead of just humans) is typical of harems, because it is basically doing a checklist of unique and exotic character archetypes, because who the fuck wants normal human girls? This point is further emphasized that Itami has a boring ex-wife at his home, who is portrayed in a much worse light than his new and exotic waifus. Gate is little different from typical harems like Rosario to Vampire in this regard.

rv13_end

Pretty much all of the problems of Gate can be traced back to the fact that our main character is Youji Itami, and that the story is told mostly from his perspective, and pretty much everything we see from his perspective is fucking boring, wish-fullfilment nonsense and fanserivce. Just think about it, if Itami wasn’t our main character then we wouldn’t have all these harem elements, we wouldn’t have to listen to boring black and white morality speeches where Itami and his group are always right, and we wouldn’t have our time wasted by watching the irrelevant and insignificant “plots” that Itami and his group deal with, because yes they are insignificant in the grand scale of things that are going behind the scene. In the first place Itami is a nobody, he is just a low ranking officer, not some interesting General or perhaps a Politican, no he is just a goddamn Otaku Ranger, why the fuck is he in the focus? Seriously? We have this huge war scenario and instead of focusing on some important character or having no character focus at all, it focuses on someone completely irrelevant and boring! Imagine if Legend of the Galactic Heroes had nobody else but Oliver Poplan as the center of focus, who would care about it? Who who would watch it? That’s right nobody. It would have been forgotten to the generations of the future, just like Gate will be.

HDmuY52

Okay I been actually bashing Gate quite hard, so I shall take this moment to be fair. It’s not like you cannot do interesting themes or stories from the perspective of a single soldier, they have been done before in anime after all, namely with Area 88 and Gundam MS Team, both of which are considered to be good anime. So why is it that Gate is a failure? Because those two shows I mentioned, actually did something with their themes and premises, something that actually benefited from having the perspective of a common soldier. Area 88 was about war’s effects on the minds of a pilot, while Gundam MS Team was about the horrors and cruelty of war and wishing to escape that situation, both of which are quite solid themes that can be explored meaningfully. Now look at how Gate has absolutely nothing like this, it would never have anything like this because Gate is a self insert story, and nothing bad can ever happen to the self insert character in a self insert story.Self Insert Stories are entirely about fulfilling the wishes and dreams of its audience, not their nightmares, so it is unthinkable that anything bad would happen to Itami and his co, instead the opposite happens in the form of consecutive successes.

Now that we discussed the primary evil, lets move onto the lesser ones.

1. That the JSDF have already won.

In case you didn’t notice, it happened in the first episodes, in episode one the Emperor’s personal forces were annihilated, then in the following battle of Arnus hill the forces of the empire were collectively destroyed and scattered. It wasn’t just some random scouting party or a small division, no in that battle of Arnus hill the entire might of an Empire was present, which is why people with ranks of a King were there, commanding the troops. The Empire put up all of its collective might and they were absolutely and brutally annihilated.

You might be thinking “Surely that can’t be it, right?”

But that was pretty much it, in the Medieval Era if your main force was annihilated you effectively lost the war, there is no more men to rally and put into armour, because that’s all you had, you levied the armies of your vassals and told them to go to war, the vassals then raised the levies of their own vassals and told them to go to war and the vassals of the vassals did so as well, this is how you built an army in the Feudal army, and that army was now pretty much gone, meaning that the Empire already lost. You can either surrender, hire mercenaries or futilely struggle. But the Emperor isn’t doing any of that in Gate, he sits calmly on his throne as if he wasn’t in a major crisis, which is nonsensical. Either the Emperor is crazy or the creator doesn’t know how to write a ruler. And it’s not just the fucking Emperor, nobody seems to be panicking about the fact that entire army was pretty much wiped out in a single battle, while the remainder of the armies had gone rogue. Many of them are still pretending that they can somehow deal with the JSDF like the idiots they are.

Even if the JSDF doesn’t attack them, they are still in a major crisis. A. Because of the fact that the remainder of the armies have turned to a life of banditry and are now plundering their own cities (As even the anime has shown this obvious result) B. Pretty much all the major political figures other than the Emperor and his family are dead, the Kings that ruled the Kingdoms that made up the Emprie died in the Battle of Arnus. Instead of panicking once more The Emperor goes into “all according to plan mode” as if that was his goal all along. To that ,I say that bullshit, because you still just lost the majority of your army. Surely there would have been a more efficient way of doing this, no? Is assassination out of style?. And secondly, what do you think is going to happen after a ruler dies? That’s right, chaos and succession wars that can pretty much affect your own Empire, and now these crisis’s are bound to turn up in pretty much all of your vassal states due to your lack of Rulers and lack of order that comes from the lack of rulers. Good job Emperor.

The Empire is obviously on the verge of a collapse and they can’t do anything about it with the JSDF around the neck, yet the show still tries to pretend that there is still some kind of “validity” for the conflict. There is not much point to watching the events of the show when they are either pointless or when we know how they will end or turn out, and those are the only kind of events Gate does. If this was a more meaningful anime they would skip 90% of the events of GATE and switch to future where the fantasy realm is dominated by the JSDF , because anyone with a brain can see that is going to happen. Instead the show just wastes our time with pointless events and what is essentially filler (Dragons, Return to Human World arc etc)

2. That the Empire is laughably evil and one dimensional.

Any ruler with some brains would have surrendered under the aforementioned conditions in order to minimize his losses and keep the remainder of his power, but the Emperor in Gate doesn’t do it because he is depicted as the typical one dimensional evil villain as if he just popped straight out of Akame Ga Kill. He constantly fucks everyone over, refuses to heed reason or logic, pretends that he can still recover from this and is generally arrogant, one must really wonder how this Empire survived for so long with such a ruler.

And it’s not just the Emperor who is needlessly evil, pretty much everyone other than those who are willing to submit to the JSDF in some or another are portrayed as evil. Just look at the former soldiers who started raiding the villages, literally all of them were portrayed as psychopathic evil bastards for no reason other than that they were soldiers. They were presented as these battle hungry blood knights who were disappointed with the results of the Arnus battle so they went to raid innocent villages and cities in order to find their “true warfare”. Riiiiiiight~ You  couldn’t get any more stereotypical than this. It’s not like you couldn’t have had a logical reason for the behavior of the former soldiers, for example they could have just raided the villages in order to sustain their own existence with food and money, the life of a soldier was all they knew after all. But noooo, we cant have that because that would paint the JSDF in bad light for ruining their livelihood!

Currently at the writing of this article I am not up to date with Gate, meaning I have not watched the Second Season, but from what I heard they introduced the son of the Emperor who is a rapist, sadist, slave owner. I’m just glad to see that they keep sticking to this one dimensional evil empire cliché that that they have established for themselves. What’s next, an Empress who is also a dominatrix and tortures little boys?

Pretty much all of them just exist to play the part of the “Villain you love to hate” trope and feel good when the main characters beat them.

gate069e14

But of course this is nothing more than cheap appeal to the emotions in order to create drama and excitement, and barely works on those who refuse to self insert as Itami. Needless to say, you can’t make a conflict interesting by painting one side to be obviously evil, its as boring as Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. For any conflict to be interesting and deep, both sides need to be Grey, as that is how human conflicts are in reality.

3. That the JSDF is painted as morally superior and right.

Naturally if one side is demonized by the course of things that also implies that the other side is morally superior. And yes the show does its best to the depict the Japanese Army as the “good guys”, to the point that even in the opening sequence that plays each episode all you are shown is how the JSDF are helping the poor fantasy people.

ef8N3vw

The primary method they reinforce this image is by not showing us anything actually important that the JSDF does, this comes from the fact that I said before, meaning we see 90% of the story from Itami’s and co’s perspective, who are usually acting the role of the stereotypical good guys due to self insert reasons. There is undoubtedly some serious shit going on in the background, but nope, can’t let the viewer see that. The show also paints pretty much every other country other than Japan in a negative light due to their constant manipulations that we are shown (Despite the fact that the show barely even shows the Japanese leaders) and tries to tell us that other countries trying to take a piece of the specially designated area beyond the Gate is bad when Japan doesn’t have much legitimacy in meddling there either. At one point I was wondering if I was watching some kind of propaganda instead of a regular anime because it got so ridiculous with its Pro-Japanese bias.

And the show does nothing but help me reinforce that they were going for this bias since anyone who opposes the JSDF and by extension Japan is painted one-dimensionally evil as I have mentioned above, while those who think that they can’t fight the JSDF, meaning those who are willing to submit and cooperate them are the only fantasy characters portrayed in a positive light. In fact I think the show clearly tells us what the fantasy people are supposed to do before the mighty Japanese with the case of the Dark Elf and Itami.

aNO85IM

They exist for no other purpose than to be added to their harem and be exploited. Because lets face it, Exploitation is occurring everywhere behind screen, sure we see all these diplomats walking around trying to sugarcoat it, but in the end the same fate will befall on the Emprie that happened to China and most of the Far East.

Either way it is really hard to care for the characters when the show tries so hard to make them into the good guys and everyone else a hateable douchebag. What happened to ambiguous morality? Is that too complex for the modern anime fan?

4. Other Characters

I already touched upon Itami so I shall won’t bother with him in this section nor with anyone else who are so insignificant that they aren’t even worth a mention (meaning most soldiers).

A. The Emperor

He is evil, stupid and starts of the entire events of the anime. Those are the only things you can say about him.

B. Tuka Luna

Literally the generic blonde elf that is found in every fantasy. Has some ptsd/mental trauma due to her dad dying, but since this show is obviously a shitty harem, it is never explored or delved into.

C. Rori Mercury

Your stereotypical Kamidere and blood knight combined into one.

D. Lelei the Mage

She is the token Dandere/Ayanami Rei clone, or should I say Tabitha clone instead, since she is like a carbon copy of Tabitha, another Ayanami Rei clone who is also a mage. You could pretty much replace Lelei with Tabitha and you wouldn’t notice a single difference.

WFA52f4

E. Aoi Risa

Itami’s shitty and unappealing Ex-Wife, whose sole purpose is to highlight how much better the fantasy girls are compared to modern women. Also she has this disgusting Yaoi fetish that they like to shoehorn into anime so much, so I naturally hate her.

F. Duran

A king and the commander of the Empire’s forces during the battle of Arnus. Typical hotblooded general who refuses to retreat, his idiocy cost pretty much the entire army of the Empire. Compared to the other Empire characters at least he is not portrayed as evil, but he is still massively idiotic, which I do not like. It’s not as if everyone in the medieval ages were idiots, especially not nobles and those of high upbringing who have been taught in the art of warfare from their childhood. Sure they are not accustomed to modern warfare but at least they should have the sensibility to run away when the situation becomes hopeless. I can’t forgive the shitty creator for automatically assuming that medieval=idiot.

G. Shino Kuribyashi

Typical annoying girl character that was only included because feminism. Also an actual female soldier is highly unusual even in modern times, if the author were to look at any statistics where they accept female recruits, then he would know that they fail 99% of the time. The fact that in this show she effortlessly switches to melee( via her bayonet) and defeats males 2-3 times her size is nothing more but feminist wish-fulfillment that will never become reality. Especially when you notice that fact that she is very short and slender looking, you cannot see muscles on her arms (which would naturally form in an army life).

H. Pina Co Lada

From the name alone you should be able to tell how seriously this story and the author takes this character. She is the annoying female soldier/princess/knight character on the side of the Fantasy. (Whats with all these female soldiers?) At least this one makes more sense due to her being royalty and thus more free power, but I don’t see why the evil Emperor would let her play around as she pleases instead of just marrying her off. Either way, she has been a submissive character towards the JSDF from the moment she appeared, realizing that they cannot win against them quite early, after that she decided to prevent a possible war by all means available, even if she has to marry Itami (Because yes Wish-Fulfillment, gotta add the princess to that checklist). Even if what she is doing sensible I cannot tolerate nor like her for she is simply pathetic as a person. She is also into Yaoi after she went into our world and met Itami’s ex-wife, so yes more hate points from me. I will never understand why they force this girls love yaoi cliché, it is neither funny nor appealing, it is disgusting and will never be normal no matter how much you push it.

Gate - Jieitai Kanochi nite Kaku Tatakaeri - Episode 12 - Pina loves her BL

I. Yao Ha Ducy

Token Dark Elf.

That was all the character that were worth mentioning in Gate. I think it speaks for itself.

5. Magic exists in the fantasy world, yet nobody bothers researching it.

Seriously, even Lelei the wizard does more research on our tech than we on their magic despite the fact that we are supposed to be the scientific and technologically advanced civilization.

They really have no excuse for this as the Gate is connected to motherfucking Tokyo, which is one of the largest, busiest and most important cities in the world, you are telling me that they can’t just send a few scientist (from the universities) over for analyzation? Or send back samples of the fantasy creatures? Even if they did do it in the background, they never showed or mentioned it in the anime while bunch of harem and fanservice moments were shown instead, so naturally I won’t accept this. And speaking of gates….

6. The Gate

Why does it exist? We don’t know.

Will it ever be explained? Of course not

Why is it connected to Tokyo, Japan of all places? Plot Convenience

Why only Japan? Why only one gate? Plot Convenience

How did it materialize from thin air? Seriously it just appeared out of nowhere in Tokyo, that’s now how Gates are supposed to work, if one part exist on the other side then the exit should naturally be solid on Japan, otherwise it would lead to a vast nothingness. Whatever. Magic. Not gonna question it.

7. Maturity

lTz1Bao

In the above review, a pretty usual MAL reviewer says that it is courageous for an anime to have a 33 year old as a main character. Well if that counts as “courageous” these days then it proves how shitty the state of the modern anime industry is. Also I viewed this as a good opportunity to get to my 7th point, that none of the characters are mature in Gate. Like really, you cannot find a single character who acts mature. Itami may be 33 years old, but mentally he is like an infantile teenager who only cares about his hobby, he is no better than any of his squad mates, his yaoi loving ex-wife and the helicopter pilots who think its cool to play Wagner while murdering people, because yeah lets glorify murder in this anime while we are at it (I know it was a reference, but still). The Emperor and his son are little different, they are just cruel kids instead of the good kids. Pina Co Lada, the princess is likewise blinded by idealism and naivety, though in her case excused as she is an actual teenager. Tuka is over 100 years old, yet she failed to attain any spark of wisdom in that 100 years. The only character who ever expressed some levels of maturity in one way or another was Rori Mercury, but that is expected of a Kamidere.

Not only are the characters not mature, the show does not present itself in a mature manner either, it is written and narrated from the viewpoint of someone who just discovered Fanfiction.net

I cannot even say that the show takes itself seriously, there are only attempts at it, but they are miserably bad attempts. And if the show cannot take itself seriously and respect its premise, then why should I?

8. That Battles are no more than mere fanservice

Because lets say the truth, I already mentioned that the JDSF basically won a long time ago, yet even after the said decisive battle of Arnus, the show spends a lot of time playing out battles before our eyes. This is obviously done to entertain us, but in the end it is little more than fanservice. It already established that the JSDF is superior in every possible way due to modern technology and tactics, they defeated the might of the civilized world in the form of the Empire’s army and the might of the fantasy in the form of a dragon. Dragons, which are usually the pinnacle of fantasy settings as far as powers go. So it makes little difference if they fight another dragon or two, we already know the results, the same with the Empire’s army if they will magically pull a new army out of their ass then they will get defeated the same way as last time. Battles end up being nothing more than a tool to make our main characters and by extension the JSDF look awesome and powerful, thus appealing to the self inserts who imagine themselves as Itami.

They tried to spice this up in the second half by having Rori Mercury, the Demigod fight a bunch of assassins, but in the end that only made the situation worse. Because it was also a pointless fight, which would have been finished and dealt with even if she did not interfere with it. So even that fight was nothing more than fanservice, if our character actually came relatively close to being killed or endangered, then it would have been a much better and more intense fight, but due to that lack of danger the tension was missing.

9. Maids and Cosplay

Just no, another reason why I cannot take it seriously

gatemaids

Even before the JSDF got there, it seems that there is already a maid and cosplay tradition in this fantasy Empire. This comes in the form of Rori Mercury’s attire, which is obviously nothing more than fanservice once more (fuck your “priest outfit” excuse.) And in the form of various maids that seem to serve the noble houses, who actually have proper late era maid costumes. Need I remind you that from everything presented in the show so far implies that this is a medieval world? So why the hell are there relatively modern maid outfits in a medieval world? I know its a fantasy world, but its just immersion breaking. There must be some kind of logic to things, it would be just as out of place if someone in a black trench coat suddenly appeared in Attack on Titan or if full plate armoured knight showed up in Naruto.

10. That Gate is not the only anime that does this

No, in truth pretty much all Light Novel adaptations are entirely about this. They hook you with interesting premises then go down the way of fanserivce, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about Toaru Majutsu, Sword Art Online, Accel World or Zero no Tsukaima, for they all go down this path.

Light Novel adaptations are one of the prime reasons why Modern anime suck. And no you can’t call them a minor influence for 1/5 of every season is made up of light novel adaptations, so they make up a huge chunk of the market and are always sadly popular with the masses. Just like how many at this very moment praise Gate as a modern masterpiece of anime in the community for its “realistic” depiction of old vs new.

Overrated and Overhyped Garbage: Madoka Magica

This post is not intended to be a review or an overview, what it is intended to be is a collection of negative points and elements that are found within the show called Madoka Magica, which in my opinion are enough to consider the anime to be bad or at the very least, mediocre.

Let’s start off from the very beginning.

The Hype

Even when Madoka was still just airing it was already praised and hyped by many across the anime community as a “deep and mature” take on the magical girl genre, which is complete bullshit.

But lets examine the underlying causes that led us here, why is Madoka considered to be something special or something unique? Western anime fans have always had the misconception that the magical girl genre is something that is meant for little girls, thus they did not have high opinions of it, leading to low expectations. Even though if one were to actually look at the statistics and the released magical girl anime, one would find out that most magical girls, like moe anime,  are actually primarily made for the male audience. While magical girl anime for little girls also exist, they are in a much smaller number, usually concentrated in long running series such as the Precure series.

Smile_Pretty_Cure_Cosmic

In fact, anime fans couldn’t be farther from the truth, as Magical Girls were one of the first genres in anime to explore such themes as bullying, parental abandonment, domestic violence, social exclusion, loneliness, drug abuse and etcetera as early as 1974! With Majokko Meg Chan, it was also one of the first anime of its time to let the main girl character lose and feature a really evil character. The subgenre known as the Dark Mahou Shoujo was one of the first subgenres to develop in the Mahou Shoujo genre, Dark Mahou Shoujo anime are usually just as dark if not darker than Madoka Magica. So why is it that western fans still have the misconception that magical girls are shows for little girls?

The answer to that couldn’t be any simpler. Because they don’t fucking watch magical girl anime!

Indeed most of the people who praised Madoka as the “brilliant new take on the magical girl genre” have never watched a single Mahou Shoujo aside from maybe Sailor Moon in their life, they were entirely working on the assumption that magical girl shows are for little girls, which is a delusion that the community shared and thus inflated. So yes, Madoka was hyped up as the best magical girl anime by the people who aren’t even experienced in the genre. Oh boy if we aren’t off to a good start already…..

3f30a8001ffa912aa799b5cf3b34160056b2c738_hq

Still the claim remains that Madoka is something unique within the genre, so I shall debunk that piece by piece.

A. The Art
Easily one of the first thing one notices about the show and also one of the usually praised categories, when they forget that it’s just typical SHAFT hijinks, literally every one of their anime past 2007 has these exact same damn art and animation techniques that they just keep reusing into everyone of their shows. SHAFT are just milking their own artstyle for the sake of profit and because of the fact that the same art-style is spread across multiple works, it is no longer unique to Madoka, thus their claim is bullshit.

adh1bLy

Funnily I always thought that these op’s from Zetsubou looked straight out like a scene from the witches world in Madoka.

B. The Philosophy
Literally nothing unique about it, as it has already been proven numerous times that Urobutchi just copied Goethe’s Faust for Madoka and didn’t add anything new to the already existing thoughts and viewpoints. The connection is all the more obvious from the number of references to Faust the creators have jammed into Madoka, I won’t bother listing them so you can go read them at: https://wiki.puella-magi.net/Speculah:Madoka_Magica_and_Faust

C. Characters
The characters of Madoka are often praised even though they deserve none, they don’t even feel like people much less regular little girls, which has to do with Urobutchers inability to write anything but male characters. Even if we put Urobutchi’s incompetence to the side, one still cannot excuse that none of the characters have any concrete character, they change however and whenever the creator feels like it. (I’m primarily referring to Kyouko suddenly deciding to consider Sayaka a friend, then barely after, abandoning her initially shown and established ideals just so she could die with Sayaka.) The biggest sin though is that none of them have any free will, they seemingly influence the story, but they actually only move according to the authors puppet strings.

D. The maturity of the series.
Blood and mindless shock factor don’t make a series mature, otherwise everyone would be right about Elfen Lied.
Even the “darkness” of madoka is nothing new as dark mahou shoujo as a subgenre is almost as old as the genre itself and Madoka is hardly the first dark mahou shoujo anime that is basically about torturing little girls.
Everyone just forgot or never watched those older shows.

E. Story
Once more nothing new, it takes from Faust as I have already said as well as from other preexisting mahou shoujo shows such as Sailor Moon, Nanoha, Mai Hime and Princess Tutu. Additionally Gen Urobutchi has admitted to taking several elements and high inspiration from the Japanese Sentai Show called Kamen Rider Ryuki.
So I went ahead and watched a few dozen episodes of Kamen Rider Ryuki and the similarities were striking.
In both show the witches/monsters function exactly the same way, the main characters also usually eliminate then by going into their world and destroying them. In Kamen Rider the Riders are also competing against each other for a wish that the winner will gain.

“All over the city, innocent people are being mysteriously abducted, never to be seen again. During his investigations of these incidents, Shinji Kido – an intern at the online news service ORE Journal – discovers one of the Advent Card decks at an apartment where every reflective surface has been covered by newspaper. He is soon sucked into the Mirror World, discovering the terrifying truth behind the disappearances: people are literally being pulled through mirrors by the monsters of the Mirror World so that they may feed. He is about to be killed by a powerful dragon named Dragredder when he is saved by Kamen Rider Knight: Ren Akiyama. Ren seeks to win the Rider War at all costs. He works with a young woman named Yui Kanzaki, who seeks her missing brother: the master of the Rider War, Shiro Kanzaki. Seeing Ren’s strength, Shinji enters the Rider War not for the prize, but so that he may protect innocent people from the threat of the Mirror World, and stop the senseless fighting between the Kamen Riders. With Dragredder as his Contract Monster, he becomes Kamen Rider Ryuki”

Just replace Rider with Magical Girl and its almost the same show.
(Also from what I watched of Kamen Rider, it was better than Madoka in every aspect with the exception of graphics [if we count the Movie quality for Madoka of course])

See? There is literally nothing original or new that came with Madoka, it is a work that is praised for its originality when in fact it just copied from all over the place! The only thing unique about Madoka is how overrated and overhyped it is for such a mediocrity.

Next Major Problem: The Characters
I already touched upon them in the first section, but now I’m going to obliterate them.

The biggest and most general problem with the characters in Madoka is that they are all plot devices that literally only exist to fulfill a certain role in the story whenever the writer demands, which is why they usually die or get beaten after fulfilling their roles. Their role as a plot device is far more defining to them than their characteristics, for most Madoka characters receive little to no development and feel highly 1 dimensional. Let’s examine just how the characters of Madoka Magica are plot devices.

1. Mami Tomoe – Plot Device of Exposition

Mami is only there to serve as the role of the mentor figure for our heroines, be their senior magical girl if you will. Most of the initial information about Magical Girls came from her and thus she was used for the purpose of world building as well as enticing our characters to be Magical girls like some kind of devil. Devil isn’t really that far off as a metaphor, because let’s be honest, Mami is a fucking bitch who wants Madoka and Sayaka to become Magical Girls just so she won’t have to be alone anymore. Talk about selfishness. Needless to say after Mami has fulfilled her purpose of exposition, Urobutcher decided that it was time for her to die, and she indeed dies by being turned into an idiot for the show’s convenience. Instead of just shooting the damn thing she stares dumbly at the newly emerged witch and lets it devour her, because its convenient for the plot to just forget that Mami was initially shown to be a competent and experienced fighter. I still don’t get why some people actually cried for her death, she was a terrible person who deserved it anyway.Her 3 episode death is meant to serve as cheap shock factor and the hook for the rest of the show, Urobutcher wanted you to continue watching just because she died! And Urobutcher succeeded as usual.

Untitled14

2. Homura Akemi – The Walking Plot Convenience

Homura Akemi has the power of Time ( and by extension Space) Manipulation as well as knowledge of the future due to her repeated time resets. Just think about this for a second, Homura knows everything that can happen and what will happen in the entire time span of Madoka Magica, so by extension everything that happens in the show only happens because Homura allows it to happen, this puts her in a rather strange position the moment one becomes aware of both her powers and her goals. It is hard to ignore it, like really after thinking about it one will wonder, wait why didn’t she appear then? Why didn’t she save X? Why didn’t she stop time at moment Y? And those questions are justified as Homura makes completely arbitrary decisions despite knowledge and powers.

Let’s start off with the very beginning of Madoka Magica, we see QB limping around while bleeding, it was revealed not so later that it was Homura who attacked him. The fact that Madoka and Sayaka came across QB while he was injured essentially sparks the whole show, yet it doesn’t make sense due to the fact that Homura Akemi can control time, something which was not revealed at this point, but because of our viewing we know this truth. Why the fuck was QB able to survive with just a wound if he was chased by the time stopping Homura? If a time stopper wants you dead, you don’t fucking escape, you fucking die, which is why this is either a plot hole or it means that Homura wanted QB to survive and limp away to Madoka and Sayaka for unknown reasons, which again doesn’t make any sense because Homura is trying to prevent Madoka from becoming a magical girl, yet this the very moment that eventually led to Sayaka and Madoka becoming Magical Girls in the later episodes.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - 01 - Large 33

Also note that Homura wants to protect Madoka, which she conveniently does by randomly appearing from nowhere. While at other times, whenever the plot demands it, she doesn’t appear even when Madoka is in clear danger such as the case with the episode where Madoka had to be saved by the newly Magical Girl turned Sayaka.

Homura is a walking plot convenience that the writer can summon whenever he pleases and needs, he can summon her whenever another character is in danger, he can summon her whenever QB needs to be shot, he can summon whenever he needs someone to play the role of an antagonist (other than QB), he can summon her whenever he wants to intensify the mystery and the tension etc. Homura going by her repeated loops should be about the age of 25-30 mentally speaking, yet even with her multitude of experience and retries she doesn’t realizes the most obvious solutions to many of the problems found within the show. Literally all the characters in the show can only die because Homura lets them die. She is supposedly portrayed as an intelligent character, while in reality she has no free will and none of her actions matter in the course of the story because  she is merely a puppet of the writer.

3. Kyuubey – Plot Device of Infodumping

You want to feed info to the audience? No problem just grab this cute white looking fox creature and have him feed the audience whatever you want them to know. Whenever QB talks it is usually another form of exposition and cheap, lazily done world building. He is supposed to be an emotionless alien, yet they failed in making him truly emotionless, just like the characters of another anime called Death Parade, which likewise was supposed to have emotionless characters. A character that openly demonstrated the ability to feel annoyance and curiosity cannot by any means be called an emotionless creature. The truth behind QB is worse than one might expect, as Kyuubey is literally the self insert character of the Author, Gen Urobutchi, he speaks whatever he wants and cannot be removed from the story, his only goal is to lead the characters astray and into corruption, he thus serves little more than the mouthpiece of the writer.

He is supposed to be honest and not-manipulative due to lack of emotions, but that’s clearly a false statement as he purposely didn’t mention effects that would come with the Magical Girl contract as if he was some bad terms of service notification on your computer, while at other times he states 1 thing (YOU CAN WISH FOR ANYTHING) then states the complete opposite in a later episode ( NUH UH YOU CANT WISH FOR ANYTHING, YOU DONT HAVE ENOUGH MAHOU POWER).

Fans of the show excuse this bullshit by saying “the girls didn’t ask him that X very specific detail that they couldn’t have known, so its not QB’s fault”.

And my answer to that is: fuck you! Kyuubey regularly appeared out of nowhere throughout the entire series just to infodump about totally irrelevant crap that no one asked about, so he could have easily told all the things that come with being a Magical Girl to our main characters. But he didn’t do it, because he is Urobutchi personified and thus he wants the girls to suffer.

4r6ehFF

4. Sayaka – Plot Device of Shock Factor and Drama

After Mami died Urobutcher needed another girl to torture and let the shock factor continue, so his hands fell onto poor, little Sayaka.

It is of little surprise that Urobutcher choose Sayaka, for one of his famous quotes is “Good and nice characters don’t deserve happy endings.” And as Sayaka is arguably the nicest and most helpful in the cast from the beginning, it was inevitable that she would suffer in this show, which immediately begins after she becomes a magical girl (how unexpected). It would not be inaccurate to say that Sayaka’s role in the show is to literally suffer, that’s why she exists after all, she is someone with a strong sense of justice and ideals, that will get broken down as the show progresses.

And I would argue that this is actually the best part of Madoka, due to the fact that Sayaka is the only decent(quality-wise) character in the entire show. Within the cast of Madoka Magica, only 2 characters have regular lives(reality) and interactions outside of being a magical girl(fantasy), these two characters are Sayaka and Madoka. But since Madoka is a passive observer who doesn’t do anything until the ending, nobody cares about her. Unlike Sayaka who is the opposite of Madoka in that she is very proactive and is constantly doing something. We see her interactions with characters (Hitomi, Kyousuke) who are not part of this whole magical girl nonsense, therefore she gives off a completely different air than Homura who is surrounded by mystery and doesn’t feel like a human anymore or Kyouko/Mami who are loner magical girls defined solely by their interactions in the realm of fantasy and magic. Sayaka actually feels like a real character more than just her assigned role and its what makes her more sympathetic and relatable than any other member of the cast. Still it isn’t a big accomplishment considering she is the only character in the show who received 3 episodes of development.

But is all ruined by shitty pacing and poor execution. The change in Sayaka seems to happen almost instantly the moment she realizes the truth of the grief seed, instead of the change being gradual. Her being distraught over it is never truly explained or delved into. You are not human? So fucking what? Life is not over just because you lost your humanity (besides its not like her soul was taken, it was still in the grief seed after all and thus within her possession). This stupid reason was what pushed her into “despair mode” but even at this stage Homura could have literally saved her ANY time she wanted to by stopping time and just refilling her goddamned soul gem. But NOPE, instead Homura decides to kill Sayaka in order to prevent Madoka see her fall and be saddened, which totally not makes sense, because it’s not like Madoka wouldn’t be saddened just from the fact that Homura killed her best friend. Flawless logic and flawless writing.

quote-i-have-nothing-but-contempt-for-the-deceitful-thing-men-call-happiness-and-find-myself-gen-urobuchi-80-53-26

5. Kyouko – Foil to Sayaka

First off I would like to say that I will completely ignore and not comment on the fact that Kyouko is the carbon copy of a magical girl from another mahou shoujo anime.

Kyouko was introduced right after Sayaka became a magical girl and died when Sayaka became a witch. This is not a coincidence, for Kyouko’s character literally existed only for Sayaka, as they are two sides of the same coin that complimented and built each other. While Sayaka was outwardly friendly and selfless, inwardly she wished for a selfish happiness ( love with Kyosuke), while Kyouko was externally selfish and inwardly she wished for companionship. Kyouko exists solely for the sake of torturing Sayaka as the moment they met each other they were fated to clash due to their opposing ideals, Sayaka did not understand how Kyouko could be so selfish and thus it gnawed on her from episode 5.

Kyouko herself doesn’t have any character, as she is sorely defined by the contrast between herself and Sayaka. And her supposed “development” was way too rushed to count for anything, one episodes she wants to kill our characters, the next episode she wants to be friends. And for what reason? Because she felt sorry for Sayaka? Complete bullshit writing. Her choosing to die with Sayaka instead of just safely defeating the newly born witch also doesn’t make any sense as she was presented as a selfish character from the beginning, and no change or event occurred that would have been sufficient to change this selfish trait of hers. Thus I conclude that she was just killed off because now that Sayaka was gone, Urobutcher no longer needed her.

aa57ceb54e65d1e32dcb5d3fdd7ef1bd

6. Madoka – Final Ex Machina

The sole purpose Madoka exist for is to solve the conflict at the end of the show with her wish, that is her entire purpose. She can essentially wish for anything due to her “magic potential” giving her the possibility to be God, which she actually does become (even though that’s not what she wished for). Throughout the rest of the series she is just a passive observer who doesn’t do anything relevant besides crying and getting in the way of other characters, which happens due to the fact that seeing she is the namesake of the show, they had to carry Madoka around into dangerous Witch Lair’s even though she could never help the other characters. Her presented “personality” makes absolutely zero sense, she feels as if she was several years younger than Sayaka, Mami, Hitomi and the other characters. She is naive and unrealistically innocent, there is literally nothing about her that would make her interesting as a character, yet everything revolves around her. You can’t make a decent anime like this.

A good portion of the show is spent trying to convince Madoka to become a Mahou Shoujo (Mami, QB) while others try to stop this process (Homura and Later Sayaka). Yet at the end of the show she makes the resolution of choosing to make a wish anyway. What led her to make a wish? We don’t fucking know, because Madoka never has any deep monologues or introspection that would have led us know her thought process or made the character interesting in some way.

She is easily the worst character in the entire series, yet it still baffles me that the whole thing is named after her.

7. Madoka’s Mom

Madoka’s Mom was presented as strong female, businesswomen who often offered her daughter various advice whenever she was feeling uncertain. She was shown to be a caring mother, yet at the end of the show she chooses to willingly let her daughter go outside a dangerous hurricane for no clear reason, despite the possibility that her daughter might endanger herself with this. Yeah. BestMomoftheYear2012

Picture25

8. Hitomi and Kyosuke

They exist for the sole purpose of making Sayaka suffer and thus lose all their relevance when she dies.

9. Walpurgishnacht

The supposed main bad is just a completely mindless monster as all previous witches, how boring~ Considering she is the whole reason Homura is having a hard time one would think that they would have at least attempted to make it more interesting, but no.

Section C: That Wish/Magic Reset Endings are the worst type of ending a show can have

The ending to a good show is supposed to be like cream to the cake, it is the finalizer and resolver of everything that has happened so far in the show, it is supposed to give us a lasting impression that will etch the show into our hearts and memories. Yet in Madoka all it does is make things worse than they already were. What’s the point of a suffering train if the ending resets everything, magically resurrects all the characters and basically negates everything that happened in the whole show?

What did the characters suffer for?

What did Homura loop a decade for?

What was the point of it all if it ends with a meaningless bullshit reset ending?

It is just another form of deus ex machina, a way for characters to continue on with their leaves as if nothing happened for the sole sake of pleasing the audience who were saddened with their deaths.

Though the reason why this type of ending happened in Madoka is even worse, Madoka was made to have such an ending so that more Madoka could be made in the format of movies and thus it could bring even more money to the table. It is nothing but shameless milking! Fuck you Urobutcher.

Section D: That Symbolism for the Sake of Symbolism is meaningless

People often praise how good the symbolism in Madoka is. I say bullshit. Because the symbolism in Madoka is completely independent and sometimes even out of place from with what is going at the show. Symbolism is only good when it serves a specific purpose or if it is in a direct connection with the themes and messages of the anime, thus contributing to the greater whole (See Evangelion). Symbolism in Madoka is only there so pretentious anime fags can pretend that this is a deep and mature anime, thus validating their own taste.

Section E: That the Art was originally crap

The TV series version of Madoka, which was the version I watched was atrocious and unfinished, to the point that an entire parody series called Meguca Magica was produced based on how bad everything looked. This was however fixed in later versions and movie releases, where everything looked pretty and crystal clear. But the release of the newer versions is clearly not enough to erase the pain of having watched the original.

Section F: That Madoka would have needed 24 episodes

Seriously, most of the problems that deal with the characters being horrible and 1 dimensional could have been solved easily if the series had 24 episodes for its leisure. The deaths and the drama would also spread out with the increased number of episodes, making them less shock-factor material. If the show spent like 3-5 episodes on every girl (like it did on Sayaka), then this could actually be a decent anime.

Section G: That losing when you have the power to stop Time never makes sense

It just doesn’t, it is such an almighty power, especially Homura’s version with rewind and seemingly minute long time stops, that in a logical scenario she should have won after the first few tries. Dio Brando losing in Jojo was bullshit and so is Homura Akemi losing, espcially when Homura is far more powerful than Dio Brando ever was.

No matter what you do, a time manipulator losing always looks stupid.

But to be fair, if they had actually let Homura win, Madoka would have remained useless the whole show, but it would have at least saved us of the whole magic bullshit reset ending.

Section H: On the fights in Madoka Magica

Up until Episode 5 of Madoka Magica, I was utterly bored watching this show. Why is that you might ask? That is because while even the episodes prior to that had action segments, it was meaningless and uninteresting to me for the opponents of the girls were witches, witches are basically mindless and unthinking monsters. If something is an unthinking monster it is not interesting to watch that fight, the same way many mecha anime become boring when they choose to make opponents full of bug-like alien monsters instead of other humans or humanoid aliens (I’m looking at you Macross). The only way to compensate for this is to make the monsters really scary or striking, something which Attack on Titan succeeded in the first few episodes by making the Titans both creepy (Smiling Titan) and terrifying (Armoured Titan). Madoka does not succeeds in this, nor do I think it ever attempted to make witches scary. They are just creepy weird creatures that generally do their own thing instead of actually caring about battles. Even when they are shot and being fought by the Magical Girls they don’t seem to react or care, it is an absolutely one sided fight where only the Magical Girl has something to win. And if the witches don’t care that they are getting killed, why should I? It’s impossible for me to get pumped up by such boring opponents.

This all changed with episode 5, when Kyouko was introduced and she started fighting Sayaka. Finally, instead of mindless monsters we were having human vs human conflict, which was actually interesting due to the conflicting ideals that were between Sayaka and Kyouko. But after this good period, we are once more returned to Witches vs Magical Girls with Walpugrishnacht that I couldn’t give a fuck about, as all Walpurgishnacht was doing, was floating in the air and laughing like a maniac, it’s hard to take an opponent like that even seriously or care for, which is a damn shame as the fight was really well animated and had overall good quality.

Section I: On the Pacing

The first half of Madoka Magica was okay in terms of pacing, so I shall not comment on that. But about the 8th episode the show realizes that it just spent the last 5 episodes on Kyouko and Sayaka alone, all the while not giving any attention or development to other characters (much less to the main character, Madoka). The show goes “oh shit” mode and immediately starts rushing things, which is why the 9th episode has QB do some obligatory infodumping after Kyouko and Sayaka collectively removed themselves from the story. The following episode is the backstory of Homura, which is obviously a lazy attempt to make us care about her as she will be the center of focus in episode 11 and 12, but it does nothing due to the fact that Kyouko’s and Sayaka’s collecitve segment was 5 episodes, Homura’s just feels incredibly rushed in comparison, and honestly just telling us about her backstory is such a lazy way of doing it. But it is still better than what happened to Madoka, who never received any real development, fleshening or detailing until the end of the show.

The pacing then goes complete shit as the next episodes feel completely worn and unnecessarily dragged out.

Once more I must mention that Madoka Magica should have had 24 episodes for its completion, in order to tell a story of this scope in an effective manner.

Section J: That Pseudo-Science does not make for a good plot

Hoohoo big revelations in episode 9, QB is actually an alien, and they are trying to save the world from entropy!…..by sacrificing the emotions of magical girls…… You just got tricked into thinking this is a fantasy show! Tt is actually a sci-fi lololol. Pretty much a big fuck you to the entire audience, although hardly the first time a Magical Girl show had done this, it is mostly just Urobutchi’s attempts at trying to deepen the story, not realizing he only made it worse. First off, the whole disappearing energy problem is completely unrealistic as energy never ceases to be, it only changes, therefore the universe should not be able to run out of energy, making the goal of the incubators completely redundant. Secondly, why the fuck would you even bring this to an universal scale? When all the events and story up until now centered around the events of a town/city. It doesn’t make sense nor does it fit the theme at all, it is hard to give a fuck about the universe when the whole anime is set in a city/mirror worlds with girls trying to solve their local supernatural problems.

This was simply a lazy way that Urobutcher attempted to connect all the pieces together, but at this point it would honestly have been better if everything was just left unexplained, I mean seriously this is pretty much the laziest and the worst explanation you can come up with in a fantasy story. If you would have chosen not to explain it, nobody would have really cared, because it would have boiled down to the classic”lol magic who cares”, but you just had to make things worse, didn’t you?

Gg9h8Vh

You talentless butcher

Section K: Plethora of plot holes.

Because Madoka is full of them, I already mentioned some earlier, but its time to list them together.

  1. QB escaping and surviving Homura attack ep 1
  2. The entire death of Mami, how did a newborn witch kill an expert Mahou Shoujo?
  3. Sayaka, how did a complete rookie easily dispatch a witch, right after her first transformation?
  4. Episode four, Madoka is captured by a witch after she foolishly went out, strangely no Homura rescue in sight. It is Sayaka who comes and helps her, question is, how did Sayaka know where she was?
  5. Why did Kyouko want to become friends with the girls she just tried to kill the episode earlier? It is never explained.
  6. Magical girls eventually turn into witches, we know that familiars also turn into witches, Sayaka immediately turns into a witch upon despair, so how does the familiars come into the picture of evolution?
  7. Sayaka transforms into a witch, despite being experienced and powerful, Kyouko decides to suicide for virtually no reason. Also Homura once more refused to help even though it would have been easy for her.
  8. That QB revealed his entire plan despite the fact that nobody asked him to.
  9. Why doesn’t Homura just take Madoka away to another city? She could easily do it, she could even drag some of the others if she really wanted to, as her time powers make her into the most powerful character in the series, yet she doesn’t abuse this power for some inexplicable reason. Walpurgishnacht as they state it in the show, is not trying to destroy the entire earth or the universe, just THAT one city that they live in. So why not fucking leave if you can’t kill it? Jesus Christ
  10. Why does Madoka’s power increases every time Homura loops? It is something that is never explained, yet it is what causes Madoka to become god.
  11. The 10,000 year work of the incubators was about to be destroyed, so why couldn’t just QB say no to Madoka’s wish? He is proclaimed to be logical, if I realized this fact, then so should he have. He is emotionless but clearly not without free will, yet chooses to take the illogical action of granting Madoka’s wish. Shows you just how much wills the characters actually have in this story.
  12. QB not just coercing a girl into wishing the universe to have unlimited energy. The entire claim of limited wishes is clearly bullshit seeing Madoka was turned into a god anyway.

So why did people hype up this mediocrity in the first place? Well it was a magical girl anime, animated by SHAFT of all things and written by the already infamous Gen Urobuchi, had these 2 names not come together, nobody would have cared about Madoka at all. Episode 3 only cemented the hype.

Still the most hilarious thing about Madoka, is probably how Urobutcher trolled his entire crew and staff.

1509

Review Breakapart 1: Fate/Zero

I’m tired and I have a fever. With nothing else to do, I decided to break down Fate/Zero negative reviews, since they usually have trash reasons for hating it. Unfortunately it seems that most of the reviews that I remember have been deleted ( as expected from MAL as usual). Leaving literally only one negative review that is long enough to be broken apart. And this is that review:

kkAfoFz.png

“For the love of Holy Grail, if you have never watched anything from Fate/Stay Night franchise under any circumstances DO NOT watch Fate/Zero first! I’ll hold an even stronger statement – don’t watch it at all. I’ve just made this grievous mistake, because I had listened to advice given on youtube by several self-proclaimed anime gurus. And now how pissed I am! Sheesh!”

Just from this first paragraph, it is already obvious enough that the writer of this review is the typical idiot who lets himself be hyped up by the anime community, youtubers in this case. He went into Fate/Zero with unnecessary expectations and got disappointed as a result. My words on expectation and disappointment strike true as always.

“I am aware this warning and review will probably fall on deaf ears, because of the way unfavorable reviews are treated by MAL users.”

At least he is right about the shitty treatment of Mal and their crappy moderation system, so I can sympathize with him on some level, but I cannot forgive him the fact that his entire review lacks critical thinking and is done from an entirely subjective and biased perspective of someone who was hyped up for this show.

“Let me elaborate on my background – when I started to watch this series I knew only that Fate/Zero is prequel, supposedly much superior to its successor. And that it was written by the same guy who wrote Madoka Magica. I knew nothing about characters, basic premises and how this story ends. So it will be easier for creators to impress me, immerse me in their fantastical world and make me care for what happens. Or so I thought. Oh boy, how I was wrong.”

1/3rd of the review gone, and you only talked about your own expectation and disappointment so far, good job. The fact that it was written by the same person who wrote Madoka Magica only hyped him up more, due to the fact that the said anime is one of his favorites, so it would be highly unusual for him to not raise some expectations towards a work that was made by the same person. (I also seriously have to question his taste and his credibility on whats a good anime if he rated the convoluted mess that is Madoka with a score of 10). Either way he says that “it will be easier for the creators to impress me”, which is bullshit since he already made that harder for himself by having expectations!

“This anime has massive flaws in its narrative. And it is not even the main story itself – it’s of course ridiculous but it would eventually do. However the pacing of it is atrocious.”

The guy makes Claim A: “There are Massive Flaws in the narrative.” A good reviewer would proceed to immediately back up his claim by presenting facts and evidence that support his claims, like pointing out how the narrative has massive flaws in this case, but not him, he immediately moves onto another claim instead of developing his earlier one, which is how we arrive at Claim B: “The Pacing of Fate/Zero is atrocious.”

“The anime disguises itself as interesting in its first 5 episodes

How would an anime disguise itself as interesting? Interest doesn’t come directly from the anime, it comes from within you, interest is one of your possible reactions to a show, if you felt interested in the first 5 episodes, it wasn’t because the show “cheated” somehow and pretended to be interesting, no it was because you actually found it to be interesting, even if it was only for the first 5 episodes. Boredom, Entertainment, Interest, Excitement, Arousal etc. Are just emotions that a show can try to invoke within its audience, but it won’t necessarily succeed as it entirely depends on the viewers tastes, mood and experiences, which are factors that can greatly vary.

“There is some introduction, then almost right off the bat we hop into a duel between characters.”

What some introduction? Was 5 episodes, perhaps not enough for you? It was already 1/5 of the show, especially since the first episode was 40 minutes long! This is way more introduction than what most anime have. Also you can’t claim “right off the bat” if the said duel only happens at episode 5, you would say that at episode 1 or maybe at episode 2, but it is no longer valid starting episode 3, because its not right off the bat, 136 minutes have already passed! That is 2 hours, which is more than sufficient for a series to start off a conflict.

“And then… then almost nothing happens for the next 8 episodes.”

You first complain about the action being too fast, then you complain about the action being too slow. Make up your mind, please. Also “nothing” is a gross exaggeration, the premise for the drama that was used in the second part of the series was built up here, characters were fleshed out, characters were allowed to form relationships with each other and express their ideals and views, you can’t call it useless or nothing. Or what did you expect this to be some mindless action series, or did you expect it to have some episodely battles like Madoka had?

“Ok, maybe I’m somewhat unfair, there were some skirmishes, though utterly insignificant. “

I guess he finds any battle where the characters don’t die to be utterly insignificant, as expected of a fan of Madoka Magica. It was exactly these early skirmishes that built up the relationship between Rider and Waver, Rider and Saber, Lancer and Saber (Hell their entire relationship is about wanting to settle their fight honorably, which turned into friendship in the second part) It was also here when we were shown the fragments of personality from various characters, as it has been said before, “A Person’s true nature can be deduced based on how he approaches the battlefield and how he acts in combat.” It was here where we learned that Lancer’s and Saber’s master were both willing to discard honour in order to win, it was here where the arrogance of Gilgamesh shined, it was here where it was first hinted that Berserker was Sir Lancelot, due to his fixation on Arthuria. It was also here that Gilgameshes’ “interest” in Berserker began.

“Then around second half something indeed started to happen – but it was still interrupted by All Talk episodes.”

The characters have lengthy dialogues in a fucking drama!!?? Jesus Christ, how horrifying.

“(I still get shivers remembering an episode containing conversation between certain priest and Gilgamesh)”

Another evidence that he was only watching this show for the action and the pretty colours, seeing he gets PTSD episodes from the parts containing dialogue.

“And, don’t you have wrong impression – I’m not some action junkie.”

That’s pretty much what you made yourself to be so far, and I’m 2/4 finished of your review.

“I was annoyed simply because discussion and character development episodes were just criminally uninteresting. It’s beyond describable how one doesn’t care for virtually any of the characters in this story. Given how much time the anime spends on exposing their back-stories and motivations it is fail of epic proportions.”

He cannot describe it because he is just talking from his own subjective perspective. The reason he doesn’t say anything is because he most likely knows that whatever he would say would be completely subjective and wouldn’t have any merit outside of his own personal viewpoint, so he avoids making this mistake by simply calling it “beyond describable”.  He isn’t even arguing that the characters are bad, he is just arguing that they are uninteresting, which is something that is completely subjective to the person watching the show, like a critic, a reviewer should try to approach any material from the most possible objective viewpoint, yet this guy doesn’t even try that. Also notice how he takes this tone, as if he was speaking for everyone or for a large group of people when he is saying his sentences instead of just his own opinions, which makes him seem arrogant and conceited.

“It is partially because this whole exposition is handled very poorly.”

Just because you didn’t like it, doesn’t mean it is handled poorly. If you want to bash the exposition then find objective reasons to do so. Here let me illustrate: One of the major flaws of Fate/Zero’s exposition is that it focuses too much on certain characters (Emiya and Kotomine) while it focuses too little on others (Kayneth, Kariya), making it predictable who will stay until the end of the show and leading to uneven character development. Was that so hard? No it wasn’t, you are just incompetent.

“After the whole show I still don’t understand e. g. what is the actual cause of intense rivalry between main protagonist and main antagonist.”

Either you were fully asleep at this point or you just didn’t care to pay attention as it was quite evident and simple that Kiritsugu Emiya and Kotomine Kirei are two sides of the same coin. Both are pragmatic killers who do anything to achieve their goals, the only difference in the beginning is that Kiritsugu has ideals while Kotomine lacks them, Kotomine immediately notices the similarity between him and Kiritsugu but also can’t understand him due to his lack of ideals, which is why he is frustrated. It is not until Kirei is corrupted by Gilgamesh (You know the part you said that was fucking boring to the point of sending you shivers) that Kirei becomes the polar opposite of Kiritsugu. Emiya is the killer who fights for “good”, someone who is willing to sacrifice others in order to save the world, while Kotomine wishes to bring death and suffering upon the world as he learned to enjoy it thanks to Gilgamesh. But these feelings weren’t just suddenly pulled out of nowhere by Gilgamesh, no they were always inside Kirei, he just tried to suppress and deny them to his religious beliefs. Naturally these two cannot coexist so it was inevitable that they would face off with each other.

Kirei is the villain or “monster” to Kiritsugu’s “superhero”.

k05kqX8

“Additionally narrative is prone to raise some significantly-looking issue (or character) and then to drop it for long or even forever. “

Once more the reviewer makes a claim yet doesn’t gives any explanation or example as to what it is. What issue or character was raised? We will never know because the reviewer doesn’t know how to review.

“And there is this most important issue, which even one character in the story (Gilgamesh I suppose) noticed – how abysmally dull are most of these characters’ motivations. It makes you automatically yawn at the mere sight of them.”

Gilgamesh is literally a demigod who has seen everything that the world has to offer, of course he wouldn’t be amused by our boring modern times and people that came after him. What I find strange here though is that you have the same boredom as the said demigod. In Fate/Zero we have almost a dozen “player characters” that take an important role in the story and each have their own motivations and reasons for fighting, so I find it odd that you cannot find at least one character that you can identify with, relate to or otherwise sympathize with. We have save the world (Kiritsugu), redeeming the mistakes of the past (Saber), saving someone dear to you (Kariya), chivalry and honour (Lancer), personal redemption (Berserker), Conquest (Iskandar), Self Growth and proving oneself to be worthy in the society they belong to (Waver Velvet) etc. I especially find it weird that you couldn’t find Kariya to be interesting seeing he is essentially the same as Homura Akemi from Madoka Magica, a character that you have on your goddamned favourite list( even though she is literally just a plot device character). Both Kariya and Homura sacrifice their own well being in order to save the one that they care about Madoka/Sakura and that is what defines them as characters, but I guess the fact that Kariya wasn’t a loli made him unappealing to you.

” There are some events which simulate plot twists, but there are all so boring and the reasons for them so contrived they are not something to speak of. “

Once more the writer refuses to elaborate and delve into what these events are, so there is nothing to break down for me.

“In other words – it’s impossible for a viewer to care if character X treacherously kills character Y, when you couldn’t care less neither for X nor for Y.”

Sounds like a personal problem rather than anything else. Sure you can say that it is the show’s fault for failing to make you care, but then I can just grab any of the thousand fate fanboys who will say the opposite of your words. They watched the same series as you did, and unlike with you, the show has managed to make them care about its characters. And due to your subjectivistic viewpoint you won’t be able to deny them since their opinion will worth the same as yours. Another example of why subjectivist reviewers are cancer, they can’t even defend or validate their opinions.

“Ok, so maybe at least fight scenes redeem the show? No! Most of them are astonishingly anti-climactic, including two of the three final ones.”

I actually agree with this one as many fights are actually anti climactic, especially Kiritsugu vs Kotomine and Gilgamesh for simply being overpowered. But the show redeems itself by resolving other conflicts through scheming, stealth and assassinations rather than mandatory direct conflicts that many anime tend to favour.

“BTW not only fights are anti-climactic. So is the ending, concluded thanks to idiotic Diabolus ex Machina. “

It’s not a true Machina if its existence was previously hinted to or otherwise foreshadowed to. But I agree that the ending is anti-climactic and that comes from the fact and the necessity that this was a prequel to Stay/Night. But I can appreciate it due to the fact that it focused on Kiritsugu losing pretty much everything he fought for and believed in, thus a great tragedy occurred. Kiritsugu couldn’t have been deconstructed as he had been if the show was not bound by the laws of a prequel.

“And after having watched this I saw juvenile shounen-like Fate/Stay Night anime series from 2006.”

Fate/Stay Night is a seinen not a shounen, not only you lack critical thinking but you can’t even do basic research. I expected this much from a MALtard as they don’t even know what is shounen/seinen etc. And I doubt that this guy is any different.

26tiaIk

“Yes, 2006 anime is cliched. “

Not only it is clichéd, and it has terrible execution, production values but it also butchered the original source material. Though even with that, it still isn’t as bad as 2015 Ufotable version.

“Its stereotypical high-school protagonist whines too much.”

The fact that he gave you such an impression proves that Studio DEEN completely failed at adapting his character.

“Hell, the whole coming-of-mage plot is ultra generic.”

Not even the plot or anything important in Stay/Night.

“And yes, it’s more light-hearted. But still I liked it more, even though I was spoiled by prequel. The creators of F/Zero failed to notice that it’s not enough to be “darker and edgier” to have a good plot and interesting characters.

It’s called consistency, something which Stay/Night lacked as it mixed romantic and harem elements with all that was going on. (While completely leaving out the fact that originally it was also supposed to be under the mystery genre oops, nobody cares about that, harem elements and light hearted comedy are clearly more important.) Fate/Zero unlike Stay Night stayed true to its mood, atmosphere and story throughout the whole show.

“The art part of the anime is only thing in which creators didn’t fail. “

Wrong. Ufotable noticeably ran out of budget in the first half of the show as they spent it all on animating the more costly effects (ionian hetarioi for example), the animation and art became worse after even to the average viewer’s eye, especially when it came to the characters. Ufotable repeated this mistake in the Fate Stay Night 2015 as well.

“Although the story deserves clear zero points, animation, sound and the fact that Saber is always fully-clothed wind up the total score to 4/10 (or 3/10 for first season alone). “

And this is where it is shown that our reviewer has no idea about how scoring works or how he is supposed to score as a critic. Scores are meant to be comparative. Comparative to what? You might ask. To other fucking anime. You look at every anime and decide what the average anime is like before beginning any scoring. Naruto is an average battle-shounen, Slayers is an average shlock adventure, To Aru no Majutsu is an average light novel shit, all 5. Now that you got the average, you look at whether the show is below or above average. After you are done with that you look at how much farther it is from the average anime, and thus push it closer towards either 10 or 0 based upon your judgement. It is quite obvious that Fate/Zero cannot be below a score of 6/10 as a minimum due to the fact that its nothing like the average fucking anime. And no characters, story and plot also have to be done comparatively as well, look at the average anime once more, then look at the cast of the average anime. Surely even you must see that Fate/Zero has a better cast and story than let’s say Naruto. Thus it should naturally be higher on the list, somewhere on 7/10 or so.

My personal addition to this scoring system is that the average is always shit , it is my firm and unshakable belief that 95% of everything is shit, 95% of books, movies, cartoons, anime, manga, visual novels, music, drawings are simply shit. Therefore if I score something below 5 it means that its below shit, which is exactly how we arrive at scoring the review of this guy.

Presentation: As it should be clear from the picture below our writer here wasted 1/3 of the review (marked with a blue) by telling us about his expectation and disappointment and what mindset he went into watching Fate/Zero with, it doesn’t have much to do with actual reviewing, but it helps us understand his viewpoint on why he hates this show so much. The section encircled by red marks how much sentences are actually spent on reviewing Fate/Zero, as you can see only 1/3 of review is actually about reviewing, Jesus Christ. The last third is one half comparison to Fate Stay Night (yellow) and one half Conclusion (pink). 3/10

coloured

Writing: Not really exciting or humorous to read, nor is it informative, the reviewer is below average in terms of writing skills but average as far as the reviewers on MAL are concerned as most of them are equally bad, he also had a few grammatical mistakes, so this makes a score of 5/10

Reasoning: His entire reasoning can be summed up as “I did not enjoy it=its shit.” It’s not like he says anything actually worthwhile as all of his reasoning are based on something subjective rather than something factual or concrete that can be properly analyzed. 0/10

Tone: He has a slightly noticeable arrogant and condescending tone, probably meant towards those who like the series. He also likes to emphasize multiple times that you should stay away and not watch the show most likely due to his personal disappointments, but that is once more not objective, so that makes a score of 3/10.

Review: Doesn’t even go into detail enough to be called an actual review. 0/10

And with this I give this shitty review a generous score of 3/10. What a complete waste of time.