I was on another forum recently and people were discussing a show that I wasn't able to get into. Feeling the need to jump into the conversation, I prepared to type away but I found myself struggling how to define my major gripe. Up to that point that I watched the series, the story was a bit loose, but decent enough and I actually liked some of the situations it presented but what I truly feared, and the reason I dropped it, was that at some point I felt it would do the anime thing of going to a place I didn't want to see it go.
Alice invites anime to follow her down the rabbit hole.
Now, it wasn't that I feared that the content might shake my values or show me something that I just couldn't handle. It was a fear that, being a sci-fi anime, it would eventually take what I call the mandated sci-fi descent into madness
. Some are more successful at it then others, but at some point nearly all of the sci-fi anime that I've seen have this point where they go from being somewhat grounded to just bat **** insane with no real benefit other than coming up with something that would make your show "unique" if someone just read a list of the things in it. The clearest example would be Evangelion
You had me at drama and monster mechs, but I guess that wasn't good enough.
Initially, Evangelion seems like a show about numerous strained relationships set in a world where aliens are attacking the Earth and humans fight them by having teens piloting robot monsters. Now, in my eyes this premise is already a bit out there. However, anime doesn't share my views. I suppose that someone in the creative process thought that this premise was dull, cliche and utterly uninteresting. In response, it was decided that the "real" story should be that the aliens are actually failed evolutionary paths of mankind that have come back to Earth to reshape man's evolutionary path to their own. As if that didn't jump the shark enough, they came up with another doozy: the robot monsters piloted by the teen are actually clones of another failed evolution of mankind. But honestly, that's all pretty tame compared to the real kicker: the resurrected souls of the pilot's mother have been cybernetically implanted into the robot monsters that the teens fight with.
I had the same expression when this show jumped the shark too.
Evangelion manages to make the most of it, but a lot of shows don't. Many shows seem like they feel obligated to ruin a decent premise with extreme absurdity for no real purpose... and it's not just sci-fi anime. Chance Pop Session
immediately pops into my mind. Initially, the story is of three young women struggling to make it into the music industry in different ways. That isn't the most unique story ever, but the ups and downs of breaking into the music industry made for an interesting series. However, at some point someone decided that wasn't enough and the mandated descent into melodramatic madness
that romance and dramas fall victim to kicked in. It turns out that the owner of the record label is actually a former pop diva whose life was turned upside down when her three daughters were "killed" in a mysterious shipwreck. I'll let you guess as to whether the three singers she just signed, who all were adopted and have a skill level that's almost like singing is in their blood, share any connection to her. The real shame is that the show then starts to focus more on this insanely hokey plot than what initially made the show appealing to me.
It almost seems like there is an unspoken industry rule that says anything simple or grounded must
be bad by default and I believe this rule manifests itself in a variety of ways that negatively impact series more often than not. It's almost like, in a desire to not be considered cliche or unoriginal, creators go out of their way to come up with the most insane premise or hidden layer possible. A side effect of this is that they've created a new cliche: that at some point any show must jump the shark and reveal a nonsensically original layer that's beneath the surface... but what do you all think? Am I making too broad a generalization or do you notice this as well?