April 3rd, 2014.
Ripping the Scrub Off.
I’m going to give the first episode of each new show I plan to watch this season a mini-notes treatment: What I thought of the OP, ED, some themes that caught my eye, and general thoughts on how it’d be (guesses, hopes, and trepidations :P) – I’m going to avoid in-depth write-ups for the first episode, and pick based on it going onward.
So, what we do we have here? Card-game magical girls with an infusion of Mari Okada drama and “grimdark” – Will it be great, or will it be bland and pretentious? I hope for the best, as always. Also, the notion of fights in another world, a mixture of Digimon (card collection!) with Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya (also card collection!). Hm.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) “I will make your wish come true.” – Some might say this is so very Magical Girl, from Daybreak Illusion, to Madoka Magica, to Mai-HiME, but in many narratives based on “The Hero’s Journey,” the hero goes forth to obtain power to make a wish come true. Making it so explicit is a very Magical Girl thing recently, but implicitly? It’s an age-old convention.
2) “Are you playing this game? Yeah! I even got a starter deck!” – I’ve been playing Magic: the Gathering since 1996, and introduced multiple friends to it. Also played other games such as Shadowrun TCG, L5R, etc. I can so get that, and the impulse to buy starter decks of any new game that appeared.
3) Using cards to join the crowd – Silly brother, ice-breaking doesn’t work if you don’t actually begin it, and follow through. Desire must precede other things, or it falls flat.
4) Not caring for herself, but getting friends because her grandmother would worry](http://i.imgur.com/wQfW2dV.jpg. That is so very fitting to how girls are portrayed, including by psychologists. This isn’t a dig at the show or anything, especially as magical girls being girls is part of the point.
5) “Eternal Girl”? Is this a case of “There can be only one”? And with the other world and winning at the expense of others, thinking of Accel World as well. I wonder why the cards choose to fight. I suspect they’ll cover it at some point, but it’d be ye olde, “I believe in you and want your happiness!” without further coverage. Would love to find out it’d be more than that.
6) Oh my, this is how commercials work, “Just buy/use this product, and you’ll get to be your ideal self! Use this lawnmower machine and you’ll have a perfect family, perfect house, and a dog with perfect teeth!” – This is almost gross, but we’re going to put that aside and imagine this isn’t a real-world CCG :P
7) Card-girl is a bit contradictory, first she said, “Having your wishes fulfilled is just fantasy” to which I nodded my head, and she even said, “Winning fights will have you become someone who can fulfill wishes!” which made me nod my head vigorously. I mean, if you learn to overcome adversity and persevere, you can make your desires come true (or that’s the message we teach people, after all. Also, since it’s a card-based battle, the fact we also need luck is also present) – But then she said if you keep winning, then yes, the cards will transform you/grant your wishes. Pffft. No. You transform yourself. The battles are just the method. Don’t back down now.
8) “3 strikes and you’re out.” – The rule of three. Three wishes. But again, your wishes won’t come true? If you truly have the ability to bring forth change within yourself and then fulfill your own wishes, you can do so even without the cards. Just look at grandma. Please don’t have an external force be the only way to achieve your desires, show. We’re still in episode 1, so you can subvert this message, rather than celebrate it. Please do.
9) “It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any wishes so long we can fighjt. See, she wants to fight too. Come on, just one battle!” – Man, she gives off a strong “Scrub-ripping asshole” vibe. You’re not friends. I mean, you just met her and want to fight her. In fact, you wouldn’t have if you’d been friends – one of you mustlose, and after three losses, one’s out. You want to win, at her expense. This isn’t a game you play for fun, where you can “win” by having fun even if you lose. This is a zero-sum game, and you’re angling for the newbie. You come off as energetic, but you insist, you peddle. A peddler of misery looking out for number one, for herself. Is that what it means to become someone who can fulfill wishes? Someone who will trample all over others, or not even consider them? Probably. That’s at least something that will surely be a theme in this show.
And then she even admits, “No mercy, I plan to win before she knows the rules!” >.>
10) How nice, so they can play endless games, and have someone disrupt them just before someone loses so it won’t count. That’s too easy :P Come on show, make them deal with the repercussions of someone making use of the other. But I guess you want to do it later, when both know what’s going on? Still, a good opportunity, lost.
“Poisonous Meeting” for next episode? Then what was this?
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- “Nyaa! Nyaa!” – It’s like this is Elfen Lied all over again ;-)
- The red and blue, the purple-pink of terror.. A giant sacrificing itself for her wish, stopping a building with its body. Dark, and with the colours and atmosphere forces me to think of Evangelion. Not to mention that eye.
- Light and dark, innocence and abusing the innocent. The show is showing us who’s not just an opponent, but an antagonist, right now.
- This is the cost of wishes. Someone else must lose theirs. You must get dirty, you must fight. So may as well enjoy it, eh?
- So, they’re twins, and she wants to make him hers? Can we have a show without the sister having romantic/sexual thoughts for her brother this year?
- Dinner? She just stuffed herself silly with cake :P
OP – Not going to comment on the lyrics, because they aren’t available yet. The slightly worbly, slightly chiptune music fits. It was interesting, and gave the impression of things being slightly off, slightly tragic. It had good energies, though nothing spectacular, which would feel out of place. Seeing two girls sit and play cards with one another worries me. Please, CCG Gods, don’t ruin this. It was interesting, which might be better than being good, but it wasn’t above average in terms of execution.
ED – The sort of ED we’re used to. Sort of classic, sort of quiet, but also “loud” in a bad way. Eh.
Animation/Art: Is this a case of something being very stylistic, a case of cutting costs and corners, or a case of both, where they have to cut costs so are trying to make the most out of it (such as in Kill la Kill)? The backgrounds are really neat, giving off a slightly watercolour feel, making me think of the style used in Sekai Seifuku ~Bouryaku no Zvezda~ or even Mawaru Penguindrum. There is very little animation going on here – Ruko and her friends move, but even when Ruko is sharing the street or hall with other people, while she moves they are frozen in place.
One could look at it as if she is alone in the world, only she gets to move while they remain stiff (also makes me think of Aku no Hana), but on the other hand, while somewhat stylistic, and I like the art-style of the backdrops, it certainly feels as if they’re cutting costs here. The waking world is pastel-coloured, leaning to lighter hues, easier on the eyes. The dream and game-world are stark, full of contrast, harsh and neony. But they too don’t have all that much actual animation going within them.
Expectations/Thoughts: It was interesting. I can already feel the commercialism, which isn’t necessarily due to influence by the CCG company/game, but just a commonplace and all-pervasive message, where we need something else, something external to come and make our wishes to come true. That the fight between her and Yuzuki was cut in the middle isn’t too surprising, but I’d have liked an even more ominous and sinister atmosphere here – she wanted to win, so let her win and then blame herself/be blamed by Ruko in the future.
Wishes, the message was split between being able to grow into a situation of making your wishes come true and relying on someone else to make your wishes come true. They might change it in the future, but defaulting so quickly to the “Someone Else” answer made me pensive of where this is going.
We’re one episode in, and it’s definitely interesting where they’ll go with this, and I can’t yet tell how it’ll turn out, but I wasn’t floored.
Also, yes, I’ve failed and wrote full notes >.>