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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.
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.
 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.
 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?
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   trope  |trōp| noun 
  • a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression   
  •  a conventional idea or phrase
  
So I just finished watching Gantz and I have to say it has one of big tropes that piss me off about anime. (Or films in general sometimes) Besides the usual schtick of having everyone blab on and on and have messed up lives, it has a major problem with guns.  Which is funny considering the violence inherent in the series.  
 
Now I'll start off by saying I KNOW the Japanese, and several other countries around the globe have an inherent issue with guns.  These cultures just have a different view of guns in general than those of us from rural America.  I completely forgive some of the oddities I've noticed in gun use in anime; but one of the tropes that just bug the heck out of me, and it's not always guns but in Gantz it surely was, is the idea that folks won't pull the trigger even to save themselves, let alone those who are close to them. 
 
Again, I know the Japanese as a culture tend not to be very comfortable with guns, but every human being has a desire to save themselves in some way.  Most of us also would do quite a bit to save those close them.  That being said it is crazy to see groups of people, who are all armed, standing around watching one another get torn to pieces and do NOTHING.  In fact worse than that they point at each other to "do something."  Sure there's a bit of the whole "more people there are the less likely you are to get help" (see killings in crowded areas and those who just stand there watching.  Which Gantz DOES a great job of showing in the opening train station sequence.  Totally true!) but as personal attachments are formed and people obviously care for one another you STILL stand still?   
 
Finally I know that it is a "tension builder" and a good use of internal conflict to have people have issues with shooting people/things.  There are plenty of ways of showing this and doing it that doesn't require 15-20 minutes of screen time and sometimes story time! When I'm yelling at the screen to just "SHOOT THE BASTARD!" you've wasted way too much time.  Especially after you've already blown up a couple of guys or seen others blown up.  
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