Is The Series I Am Watching Really Poorly Written? A Step By Step Guide To Making Sure

Do you feel the need to call something poorly written after just sitting down to the latest episode of your favourite anime.  Is the inner critic in you boiling to the surface and ready to lash out with a vengeance at the hapless writers who have made series x unintentionally hilarious.  Whoaaaaa Stop!  Yeah come back here for a second and think it over before clicking the post button on your latest rant about series x and follow these fews simple and easy steps to make sure you aren’t jumping the gun.

Step 1.  Ask yourself what you really think the true intentions of the writers were when penning the storyline for an episode

Step 2. Take a look at the execution of the episode itself and then try and connect it to the intention you came up with.  Hopefully your impression of the intentions are based on what the events of an episode that preceeded it or a summary of what the show was supposed to be about in an announcement regarding it’s production dictated.  If not skip to step 7.

Step 3. Now ask yourself what your expectations for the episode were.

Step 4.  If what you truly feel (based on hard evidence) was the intention of the writers when penning an episode does not match it’s execution that you witnessed then go ahead and post that comment.  However if it does and your expecations instead do not match the execution, then head to step 5.

Step 5. Now ask yourself whether you are confusing the intention of the writer with your own expectations (as defined in Step 4) when looking at the execution of the episode. 

Step 6. Do you now feel that perhaps what you are about to call poorly written is not and in fact the reality is that your own conjured up expectations were not met and this is why you think you were upset with the writing?  If the answer is yes then head to Step 7.  If the answer is no then head to Step 8. 

Step 7.  Make a note of that in your critique and spare the writers the undeserved scorn for what was actually your own indescretion.

Step 8. Make a note or hint that you considered the possibility in publishing your article.

By following these simple steps, misjudgement and self-confusion can be avoided.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


5 Responses to “Is The Series I Am Watching Really Poorly Written? A Step By Step Guide To Making Sure”

  1. 1 Orange July 23, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Yep, while the latest episode of Code Geass seemed to recieve a lot of praise it was a major let down for me since I was probably expecting a lot more, important scenes were too convolute, some revelations were kinda plain, and the worse was the very bad animation quality (a shame giving the meaning of the episode itself). Then I proceed to watch the first episode of Xam’d – Lost Memories wich let me to wonder, why the hell am I watching Code Geass ? Xam’s managed to gave me the nice vibes of those good old anime with huge artistic research (Cowboy Bepop, Escaflowne).

  2. 2 Kaioshin Sama July 23, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Code Geass as the example again eh? Hmmmm, for a revelation/fragmented memories style episode I wasn’t really expecting any heavy duty animation. Then again the R2 does seem to be suffering it’s own bit of midseason animation quality drop syndrome that plagues pretty much every anime production. Anyway maybe Xam’d is something more along the lines of what you are looking for though. If Code Geass isn’t meeting your expectations, I’d say just dump it for something that does. You might not be the target audience.

    They definitely do the convoluted thing in Code Geass on purpose though. It’s meant to make the viewer wrack their brain over the pieces of a puzzle. One could argue reasonably that they place a little to much responsibility on the viewer in this way, but as I say in general, that doesn’t mean it’s poorly written so much as pretentious in a justifiable way.

  3. 3 Orange July 23, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Still there’s definitively a problem when the animation quality of a popular 26eps mecha show drops below the worst moments of a 200eps+ Shonen Jump’s anime adaptation, this is even worse when it comes to a key episode (still R2 have its own share of problem, R1’s repetitions are the most evident, R2 15’s ending is higly reminiscent of a particular event in R1). On the other hand there’s Xam’d, I had absolutely no idea what it was when I gave it a try, thus I had not particular expectation for this. And then what happened ? quality wins.

  4. 4 Gsus July 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Step Zero: Ask yourself: Did you enjoy the episode despite of its faults?

    Besides being an opportunity to make a horrible pun, I think most people forget that most anime aren’t a deep treatise on the human condition or an epic chronicle of overcoming the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and piercing the heavens into deep space where the sun doesn’t shine.
    Getting from point A to point B without too much casualties (or sometimes, with as many as possible), spin a nice yarn, some explosions and keep the audience entertained and coming back for more is enough for most.
    Of course, if they do manage to fit in an original story that’s internally consistent and gripping…

    Oh well, at least it keeps me entertained.

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama July 23, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    @Orange: If you try hard enough you can claim anything is a replication of an R1 events. I see this criticism so often that it’s ceased being one and just comes across as a stock response. Some events are reminscent of those in R1, but the series is NOT I repeat NOT repeating the prior season. If anyone thinks so then they are just deluding themselves.

    And if you are talking about Shirley then no, it really isn’t. And look, it seriously wasn’t a very action heavy episode. We spent most of our time inside a characters memories with straight up dialogue. Of course episode 15 is not going to have heavy duty animation like say episode 14. The still water colour pictures of fragmented memories more then sufficed for some of the key moments. It might be a key episode but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go crazy on the animation front when there’s absolutely no need given the script.

    Also when was the last time you watched one of the worst moments of a 200 episodes shonen anime series. Last time I checked Lelouch wasn’t missing his head in this episode or Knightmare Frames sliding across the screen as still images with lines being drawn to simulate movement. You are really blowing things well out of proportion with this, both here and with the same comments on DarkMirage.

    Geez, people complain and complain and complain some more about not getting any answers on Geass and finally they decide to start revealing the key mysteries behind the entire series up to now and people complain that the animations not good enough because now they have to stop the action to finally give some explanations via important dialogue. They really can’t win with Code Geass can they? That’s why I say you seriously ought to watch Xam’d instead.

    Anyway, I’m not really here to discuss classic stock blanket criticisms of one series though, but these steps I mentioned. Maybe you ought to read them again…..

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