「宮前透 最終章 モフモフ」 (Miyamae Tooru sai Shuushou – Mofumofu)
“Miyamae Tooru Final Chapter – Fluffy”
This was better, but it was still a second draft, tops. Refinement was needed, which it never got.
I’ve put forth this argument before, but here it is again. In fact, this is one of my chief criticisms of anime in general. It’s a flaw that’s in some ways baked into the medium, but it needn’t be. Here’s what I think the chief problem of Seiren has been so far: what we’re seeing isn’t a final draft. It’s a first, maybe a second draft at most. It’s not a final draft, though. It lacks the necessary refinement to be truly effective. A good editor would have plenty to say.
You can see it when events happen because the writers feel they need to happen, rather than them flowing naturally from the events before; think of Shouichi and Tooru showing up at the kissing spot at the end, and having a sudden date, because it was time for the ending. You can see it when characters act certain ways because the writers know they should, without adequate groundwork ahead of time; this is the entire story of each girl falling for Shouichi so far, though Hikari was worse than Tooru.
It’s really in the small stuff, which is what makes it so hard to pin down. It’s in Tooru’s purported brocon nature always being spoken of, but never shown. It’s in the romantic tension being weak in the first two episodes, when it needed to be stronger. It’s in the flash-forward epilogue, which made a certain kind of sense and I actually didn’t hate, but also felt tacked on. It’s in this arc working about 80% of the time, which is much better than the first arc, but it’s no classic.
Anime are big committee projects, and like big budget movies or video games, they can fall prey to too many fingers in the pot. Great stories often need an auteur, or a small group that together creates an amalgamated auteur, and many anime do not have that. That’s one of the better reasons why adaptations are desirable; they have the singular vision of the auteur in the source material, a vision that in some way fought its way to the top of the idea jungle, and therefore might just have something interesting about it. (Or it might be another generic magical-fantasy-action-harem anime; the theory isn’t foolproof.) Originals don’t have that, and if too many people have too much of a say in the story, the whole house of cards can crumble.
Which is only half of the problem. With Seiren, I suspect it might be time. Anime, like big budget Marvel or Star Wars movies, get a release date, and that needs to be met; there’s no chance to say, “No, we need another month to get this right.” You get it out then, or else. Which I think hurts Seiren, because if the script for the Tooru arc was refined a few times, it actually could have been amazing. Cut away the extraneous bullshit, amp up the romantic tension early on, improve the animation a bit, and you could have a classic.
But it was not to be. Instead, we got an arc that was pretty good. I enjoyed the Tooru arc more often than not. It just doesn’t arouse passion. It isn’t good enough for me to argue about who’s the best girl, or pine after a girl like Tooru. Part of that might be personal preference, I’ll grant you that; when I meet a woman, whether she games isn’t high on my priority list. (Though then again, I’m also 30 years old, so, ya know. Priorities change.) But I think it’s more a symptom of the total misfire of the Hikari arc + the lack of polish in the Tooru arc. 80% effectiveness is fine, it’s pleasant enough, but it ain’t memorable. That may be Seiren’s greatest sin of all.
BUT, the allure of the omnibus format is that Seiren has one more shot to right the boat before this season comes to a close. If the quality keeps on the trajectory it’s been on, the final arc could be the best. Crazier things have happened, right? See: 2016, 2017 so far. I rest my case.
- Hikari was still in this arc way too much. It’s distracting for a former heroine to play such a big supporting role in another heroine’s story. Make new characters, ya gits.
- On the adam’s apple: you’re doing fetish body part play wrong! Anticipation is the key. In the moments leading up to Haruka’s back-of-the-knee or Kaoru’s belly button, there’s all this hilarious romantic tension. Having it just happen denies us that fun.
- Minor quibble, but not every arc needs a flash-forward epilogue. Letting us wonder is sometimes the best move. Just sayin’.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: The Carcer Principle; Fire, further; Fire; and Starting a story with a bang—and when not to.