Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anime pet peeves - The nonsensical explanation

Earlier today, I talked about how much I really love Death Note.  One of my reasons for really liking the anime had to do with how much it respects its audience.  We aren't treated as kids or ignorant adults.  Death Note lets us figure things out for ourselves, and doesn't give us the answers to all of our questions right away.  We actually have to think, and I think that's important for building a great show.

Not all anime takes this approach, and sometimes it can be a little disappointing.  I like to figure out things on my own.  When a series just spoon feeds me information and answers to questions, I lose a little respect for it.  Still, this approach doesn't make me truly lose interest in a story.  There's one pet peeve that takes this idea a bit further, and it ruins the experience for me.  I like to call this the 'Star Trek' approach.

If you've ever seen Star Trek, you know that it has some pretty off-the-wall situations in it.  The crew always manages to get themselves into a lot of trouble, and it seems like they have no way to solve their problem.  Then out of nowhere, all of a sudden, a crew member will solve the problem with a completely made-up solution.  The answer to all their problems is a bunch of made-up words and ideas that fix the issue.  Then the whole crew goes home happy!

There are a few anime series' that do this same sort of thing.  When a character gets in a bit of trouble, they remember a rule that they forgot to mention, or they bring up some tool that solves their problem specifically.  It's almost like a throwaway response, and it's quite lazy writing in my opinion.  How do you feel about this kind of approach with anime?


  1. Yeah I'm not a huge fan of Deus ex machina, but pretty much every good vs. bad show has it to make it last however long the show is.

  2. It's lazy like you mentioned. In a way, it's much like fan service. Pandering to someone who doesn't want to figure out the answers for themselves and just wants to sit and watch the anime. I think that writers would find that, particularly in the States, most anime lovers are older now, hoping to enlighten a new generation to the wonders of anime. But if it is being "dumbed down", there is no way to reach out intellectually when it comes to talking to someone new to anime about anime.