Gokukoku no Brynhildr has been a trip. I’ve been unsure if it’s been a good trip or a bad trip since episode 1; though, I think I’m slowly deciding it’s been a good trip even with the anime trying to sabotage itself.
For those that aren’t watching Gokukoku no Brynhildr, this anime is about a group of high school girls who happen to be alien hybrids with superpowers and the efforts of the main character, a normal human high school boy, to protect them once they escaped from the secret lab that created them. The lab, being very smart people, created a fail-safe to deal with any girl that would become a danger to the lab. If these super-powered female alien hybrids can find a way to circumvent the fail-safe – which, when it activates, turns the girl into a pile of goo – it is possible to run away from the lab. (At least until the other fail-safe kicks in.)
At the end of episode 9, our band of scrappy heroes have just about turned an agent of the lab sent to retrieve them but the episode ends before showing if our heroes can disconnect this agent’s fail-safe. I’m pretty sure they were expecting this to be a cliffhanger ending to ensure we all would tune back in next week for episode 10; where, they’d tease us for as long as possible to ramp the tension up over will she get turned into a pile of goo or not.
Anime News Network (ANN) is an invaluable resource for anime fans and a website I love and visit daily; there are, however, elements to it that could really stand improvement. Sometimes these parts make me want to pull my hair out in frustration and sometimes they make me laugh.
Today was a laughing day.
Amidst the hustle’n’bustle of getting ready for Christmas and the happiness, joy, and good cheer that infuse the season, I am often reminded of the true, root reason for this season. It’s not good enough to stop at Jesus is the reason or that He was born. Why was He born? Because He was going to sacrifice Himself to save our souls. Why would He do that? Because He loves us. So, the reason for the season is that He loves us to the point that He was willing to die for us so that we could be saved.
In the spirit of this, I wanted to pick a moment from anime for today that echoed this depth of love. Love enough to sacrifice one’s life for another. The problem with picking one is that I’ll pass over many others from this year. Instead, I’m picking three.
Shinsekai Yori was many things but one thing it wasn’t was a lightweight, fluff piece. Rarely do I see science fiction in a visual format, anime or otherwise, that can match the best of it’s print brethren. Shinsekai Yori was just such a work. After feeding the viewers a constant stream of secrets, reveals, and reversals-of-fortune, I was ready for a simple, straight forward final episode where the bad guys would get theirs and the good guys would heal their wounds and look forward to a better tomorrow. That was not to be; silly me, I’d forgotten I was watching Shinsekai Yori.
Just like last year, as we get nearer to Christmas, I’m surprised that I’ve gone from worrying about finding 12 moments worthy of being written about to worrying about how to cut things down to only 12 moments with the minimum of anguish about what had to be cut.
I’m tempted to pass this moment over. I don’t have the type of ego that needs or wants the attention (from all 30-50 people who will read this); however, I am proud of how well I was able to intuit the results based on everything I knew about the songs and the voters. So, since I feel being authentic about my personal experiences with anime this year is important, I’m mentioning it today.
Today’s moment is the moment I realized that I had, in fact, won Omo’s Animusic Tournament Bracket Contest. I never actually win contests or competitions. I sometimes place close like when I finished 12th out of more than 12000 high school juniors and seniors who competed in a yearly statewide test on American History. (Which helps explain why I’m a sucker for a good historical anime.) So, I’d be lying if I said winning didn’t feel good.
I won’t gloat though, therefore, I’ll end today’s moment here.
It’s often said that an anime (or any show/book) needs to have a character that is a stand-in for the audience – someone that’s familiar and they can relate to. Hence all the loser high school male characters.
I’ve never understood this.
One of the reasons to create a work of entertainment is to create a sense of escapism and what better way to escape then to inhabit another point of view. This is what I try to do with each anime I watch; I try to walk a mile in the character’s shoes and see the story from their standpoint. (A side effect of this is my tolerance for bad writing forcing a character to act contrary to character is very, very low.)
This probably helps explain some of my preferences in anime and why I believe creating a cast of interesting characters is a fundamental first step to building good anime.
No maxim is applicable 100% of the time, however. It is possible to create a good anime without creating an appealing cast of characters and sometimes I like to see someone who understands me.