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Old 09-19-2017, 03:24 PM   #1
Talon87
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The Most Influential & Timeless Anime/Manga/VNs of the '00s

Many of us here started watching anime regularly following 4Kids' localization of the Pokémon anime in 1998. That means that while we mostly missed out on the '90s, hearing tales of such classics as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sailor Moon, or Dragon Ball Z, we were perfectly poised to absorb everything the '00s had to throw at us in real time.

As we head into the final years of the 2010s, I think it's time we take a look back at what the 2000s had to offer. Which anime proved to be truly timeless and which were merely passing fads? Which light novels left an indelible mark on the future of all otaku media and which were just blips on the radar? These are questions we could only speculate as to the answers for in the midst of the 2000s; but now, seven years removed from that decade, I feel like we can answer with greater certainty.

This is intended as an open discussion.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:52 PM   #2
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Fruits Basket: What sparked the genesis of this thread was none other than what some have called the most popular shoujo manga of the 21st century, Fruits Basket. This long-running manga (1998-2006, spanning 23 volumes) gave rise to a 26-episode television series that ran from July to December 2001. Even by the time I got around to watching Furuba (2004/5) when it was three years old, it was still quite popular. And that popularity only seemed to increase over the next few years. But by the time the 2010s hit, it seemed like no one was talking about Fruits Basket anymore.

What is Fruits Basket's legacy, I ask you? I know that in the 2000s this manga was held as the shoujo equivalent (in popularity and must-read factor) to the shounen manga of Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. So let me ask: are people still reading it today? How about the anime? Is there any likelihood of a Fruits Basket anime do-over ŕ la Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? Or is Fruits Basket a done deal? "It had its moment of fame and now it's gone to rest."

I only ever saw the anime. And I'll be honest: my memories of it are mostly informed by nostalgia. The premise is cute. The characters are cute. But I remember really disliking the final third(!) or so, including developments surrounding one of the main characters, Kyou. And looking back at footage of the anime on YouTube, I see animation that doesn't really hold up well to today's standards. Even the harem, school days, or slice of life shows in the second-to-last budget quartile look so much better than this.

I rarely hear about people watching the anime. I have one co-worker who has done both (seen the anime and read the manga), and she did so probably within the last five years or so. So like, she's at least one person who has bothered to touch Furuba this decade. But is there anyone else?

Over on MyAnimeList, Fruits Baskets' anime is ranked #875 by rating score, and places #191 by popularity i.e. by how many people have seen it. Neither number is particularly high; for comparison, Cowboy Bebop is ranked #24 and places at #33 in the popularity listing. Death Parade is ranked #234 and places at #51 in popularity. HxH 2011 ranks in at #7 and places at #36 in popularity. The second half of Fate/Zero ranks in at #45 and places #81 in popularity. And as for fellow shoujo giants ...? Kimi ni Todoke ranks #367 and places #102 in popularity; Ouran Koukou Host Club is #182 and #57; Full Moon wo Sagashite is #579 and #213; and Natsume Yuujinchou is the very impressive #32 despite #271, with an overall ranking of 8.75 out of 10.

Given the MAL scores, it seems like people are generally dissatisfied with and/or disinterested in the 2001 Furuba anime. What about the manga?

The manga is doing modestly better. It ranks #133 in terms of rating and #30 in terms of popularity. This tells us that tons of people are still checking it out (the #30) and that most of them, while perhaps not as impressed by it as word of mouth would have led them to believe they should have been, still thought it was an okay/good story (the #133). Looking at the top-rated manga on the site, we see a lot of heavyweights like Berserk, JJBA, and Fullmetal Alchemist; we also see a lot of new-age classics like Nana, and even brand-spanking new stuff like Koe no Katachi.

What do you guys think? Was Fruits Basket the high school prom queen who's now a washed-up nobody? Or is it an enduring classic that people are still reading/watching and enjoying? What is its legacy? Did it leave any big marks on the manga and anime that followed its release (1998-2006)?
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:54 PM   #3
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Akagi and Kaiji definitely strike me as timeless. Akagi because it was set in the 1940's-1960's, so whether you watch it in 2007 or 2017, it still has the same degree of antiquity about it. Perhaps Japan's mythos regarding mahjong is more historical now than in years past, but it's not like people watch old westerns and get flabbergasted over five card stud.

Kaiji speaks more to universal, unchanging themes involving the class struggle. How the poor without education suffocate, and how even those who are "elite" are still puppets dancing on the hands of the rich and powerful.

On the VN side, Muv-Luv and its associated sequels is/are timeless AND influential. Like Akagi, they're set in a historical period, although only relative to us. The early aughts that served as ML's backdrop was intended to be contemporary, although the style and humour was of 1980's romcom. And MLA is, of course, the original isekai, a world far more exotic less for its illegal aliens but for its worlds apart culture.

Death Note, Shingeki no Kyojin, and Mahou Sensei Negima! fit quite firmly into the influential zone on the manga side. More for their originality and immense popularity rather than pioneering of anything new.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
What do you guys think? Was Fruits Basket the high school prom queen who's now a washed-up nobody? Or is it an enduring classic that people are still reading/watching and enjoying? What is its legacy? Did it leave any big marks on the manga and anime that followed its release (1998-2006)?
It was a flavour of the week, I'm sorry to say.

The first problem is it was basically a rehash of a Rumiko Takashi work - in this case, Ranma 1/2. Stealing a famous writer's successful idea is easymode to success, although it's no guarantee of that. The two big copycats of Urusei Yatsura, Seto no Hanayome and To-Love Ru, were pretty darn successful.

Once you look beyond the borrowed plot and character dynamics, Fruits Basket only offered soft stereotypes for characters with a whole lot of shy development. You know, the kind of stuff you see in every innocent shoujo.

Vanilla shoujo hasn't had a champion for a while - usually it's the derivatives, like mahjou shoujo or josei manga, that tend to make an impact these days. Or yuri. Yeah. I guess vanilla is too boring, and it didn't help that Fruits Basket's art style makes it look a decade older than it actually is.

You know where I still see that kind of art style on a semi-regular basis? EXHentai.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:24 PM   #5
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The first problem is it was basically a rehash of a Rumiko Takashi work - in this case, Ranma 1/2.
I hadn't considered this. I agree that the premise is definitely a clone of Ranma ˝'s. I'm not sure I agree that this is inherently a problem though -- sometimes the copy can be greater than the original. Sometimes men can reach the heavens by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Not saying that Furuba does this. Just saying that I don't think it being a clone of Ranma automatically disqualifies it from enduring popularity.

(Side note: this same premise is also very similar to Disney's Beauty & the Beast what with Belle and the cursed castle residents. Ranma came first, but I imagine we can find older works with this similar theme if we look. )

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Fruits Basket only offered soft stereotypes for characters with a whole lot of shy development. You know, the kind of stuff you see in every innocent shoujo.
This, I think, is the main problem. I can't judge the manga having not read it, but based on the TV series alone, I think Furuba brings very little to the table outside of its initial premise of "a girl and thirteen people suffering from a Chinese Zodiac-related curse." The premise is cute. (Meet the Zodiac family members one by one. Watch as Tohru befriends them.) You watch with bated breath to see if, how, and when Tohru manages to break the curse, similar to the emotional payoff in Disney's Beauty & the Beast. It's a good enough premise.

The problem is in the execution. Making it a harem story automatically damns it as far as a legacy discussion or a "timelessness" discussion goes. Harem stories are ancient and are a dime a dozen. They also waste a lot of time, ideal for serialized works (such as Furuba) but not so hot for an enduring work of art. It's a similar problem with Love Hina, which I still remember fondly as one of the very best in its genre. Even though I have fond memories of Love Hina, no one else is talking about it or giving a shit about it -- because whether it impacted the harem landscape or not, it's been almost two decades since Love Hina started and we've had hundreds of harem manga and anime since then.

Then you have the characters who -- outside their premise-roles as Zodiac curse victims -- don't really bring much to the table that is super enduring. Momiji is adorable ... but we've got a lot of adorable children in anime. The two main dudes might be cute/hot to many teenage girls ... but anime has no shortage of hot men.

I suppose the most damning thing for Furuba is just how little of it I can actually remember. It should be more memorable, in a literal sense, were it more "memorable" i.e. worth remembering. I haven't seen Kanon 2006 in about six or seven years now, but I still remember numerous parts of it very well. People, places, events, themes ... I haven't seen Code Geass since the year I watched S2 when it wrapped up airing on television (almost a decade ago!), but I still remember numerous plot events, characters, and even running gags like C.C.'s love of Pizza Hut pizza. The last time I watched X/1999 to completion was over ten years ago, but I still remember how the story goes, how the story ends, who lives or who dies, what the various individual characters are fighting for ... With Furuba, all I really recall is "Tohru x Mouse x Cat" love triangle, "Cat turns into a freaky monster " at the end of the anime, "Momiji is cute", and "OMG THE LITTLE GIRL WHO'S THE TIGER IS SUPER CUTE! X3". Don't remember who I preferred Tohru to even wind up with -- that's bad when your entire platform is "We're a love triangle story, guys!"

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Vanilla shoujo hasn't had a champion for a while - usually it's the derivatives, like mahjou shoujo or josei manga, that tend to make an impact these days. Or yuri. Yeah. I guess vanilla is too boring, and it didn't help that Fruits Basket's art style makes it look a decade older than it actually is.
I think you're quite right about shoujo's recent victories largely coming from either the fringes of the genre (e.g. is Natsume Yuujinchou really a "shoujo" series? Or if we label Madoka a "shoujo" series ) or else coming from josei territory (e.g. Orange, Sumika Sumire). But I dunno. I haven't really paid too close attention to the shoujo landscape these past five or so years.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:05 PM   #6
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Muv-Luv: I can't really speak to this one, having still not played any of the games for myself. My rough understanding, though, is that this being one of the most popular VNs of the decade it more than likely found its way into the hands of many a content creator.

You credit Muv-Luv with essentially giving rise to the parallel universe, or isekai, genre of storytelling that has become so popular over the past decade. However, some questions:
  1. What specific isekai story elements can you point to that Muv-Luv pioneered?
  2. What specific isekai story elements can you point to that, while Muv-Luv may not have pioneered them, Muv-Luv at the very least made popular?
  3. Which content creators have publicly stated that Muv-Luv inspired them?
Because as someone who isn't really invested in Muv-Luv and doesn't know what impacts it did or didn't make, I feel like this claim (i.e. that Muv-Luv is responsible for the popularity of the isekai genre) has a 50/50 shot of being accurate. I feel like the other 50% goes to, "One of the earlier shows in this decade" (the 2010s) "that did isekai is what led the charge." For example, No Game, No Life? (Still haven't seen it, but you all spoke super highly of it.) For another example, Sword Art Online or any of the other myriad "trapped inside of an MMORPG" stories that could be taken as a subgenre of the greater "stuck in a parallel world" genre that is isekai?

Death Note: Can you elaborate on this one? I enjoy Death Note (up until a certain point in the story), but I question if it's still going to be read by people in 2027 the same way that people today still seek out Evangelion or Bebop.

-- And then I take a look at MyAnimeList and holy shit:
  • the anime is the #1 most popular anime on the site and is ranked #47 in the ratings, with an average score of 8.68
  • the manga is the #5 most popular and is ranked #27 in the ratings, averaging 8.77
So clearly, people today still have an interest in Death Note and they hold it in high regard.

Still, I'd like to hear your own thoughts on why Death Note gets to join Bebop, Eva, and the other timeless classics. Particularly because I don't necessarily see it myself. Is it just because "it's a fucking good thriller" and that's all there is to it? Or is it because of the premise with the shinigami and the titular Death Note(book)? Is it just the manga that's a classic or is the anime right there with it?

Steins;Gate: While I'm asking you for your thoughts, I'd like to ask you about Steins. Memorably, you really hated this anime and felt it was overhyped. Then the rest of us watched it and we mostly all agreed it was good. (Maybe not great like the hype train said but certainly enjoyable.) Have you since changed your mind about Steins;Gate? And whether you have or have not, do you objectively think that Steins is going to continue to be popular going on into the 2020s? I have multiple coworkers, all of them younger than 30, who have watched Steins for the first time some time in the last five years. And they all enjoyed it to varying degrees. (I think the highest was a 9/10. Lowest might have been a 6 or a 7.) None of them I told to watch it. They watched it on their own, discovering it however it is that they did.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I hadn't considered this. I agree that the premise is definitely a clone of Ranma ˝'s. I'm not sure I agree that this is inherently a problem though -- sometimes the copy can be greater than the original. Sometimes men can reach the heavens by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Not saying that Furuba does this. Just saying that I don't think it being a clone of Ranma automatically disqualifies it from enduring popularity.

(Side note: this same premise is also very similar to Disney's Beauty & the Beast what with Belle and the cursed castle residents. Ranma came first, but I imagine we can find older works with this similar theme if we look. )
It's a problem of "trope saturation".

For example, remember when Fate/stay night's Saber being a female was a huge plot point and one of the defining original ideas of that franchise?

Now, it doesn't matter if you're looking at Grand Order, Unlimited Codes, Apocrypha, or /strange fake, every title is filled with gender-swapped characters, more often than not of the male → female variety. You might as well call the franchise "My little founding father can't be this cute!"

Humans turning into zodiac animals is a more limited premise than what Takahashi took on, and it's been seen in titles across multiple genres. PreCure has 'em. Soul Eater had 'em. The central story mechanic has been done to death.

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The problem is in the execution. Making it a harem story automatically damns it as far as a legacy discussion or a "timelessness" discussion goes. Harem stories are ancient and are a dime a dozen. They also waste a lot of time, ideal for serialized works (such as Furuba) but not so hot for an enduring work of art. It's a similar problem with Love Hina, which I still remember fondly as one of the very best in its genre. Even though I have fond memories of Love Hina, no one else is talking about it or giving a shit about it -- because whether it impacted the harem landscape or not, it's been almost two decades since Love Hina started and we've had hundreds of harem manga and anime since then.
Love Hina still gets discussion from time to time, usually in reminiscence. But I feel like it still holds itself well because it's hyperactive and the premise of uncertainty for a guy after high school speaks to a lot of students in similar situations across generations. I know a certain person who took Tonegawa's speechs in Kaiji very seriously and was motivated to change his life, such was the impact of taking a story that was easily relatable to people in the real world.


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I think you're quite right about shoujo's recent victories largely coming from either the fringes of the genre (e.g. is Natsume Yuujinchou really a "shoujo" series? Or if we label Madoka a "shoujo" series ) or else coming from josei territory (e.g. Orange, Sumika Sumire). But I dunno. I haven't really paid too close attention to the shoujo landscape these past five or so years.
Traditional shoujo was on its way out the door by 2006, when Ouran High Host Club came out. Ouran was in fact notable because it was something of a parody of more traditional shoujo like Hana Yori Dango, but with a massive reverse harem. Since then, the cupboard has been bare and you have to look to history to see anything resembling Hanadan or Fushigi Yuugi.

And a big reason for that was

1. Sailor Moon in 1994
2. Futari wa Pretty Cure in 2004
3. Idol culture (Idolmaster, Aikatsu! etc.)

#3 is the big one. Traditional shoujo could exist with mahou shoujo and in fact those earlier mahou shoujou still had romance elements to them. But idol culture changed the question asked to little girls - instead of, "Would you like to watch a series with an older you, being pursued by prince charming?" to "Would you like to be a superstar with legions of adoring fans"?

I'm not sure when josei started to take over or could point out a particular series. But I'll say that josei's ability to go adult has allowed it to appeal to women who feel they've outgrown the idol/mahou shoujo demographic.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Remember when Fate/stay night's Saber being a female was a huge plot point and one of the defining original ideas of that franchise? Now, it doesn't matter if you're looking at Grand Order, Unlimited Codes, Apocrypha, or /strange fake, every title is filled with gender-swapped characters, more often than not of the male → female variety.
This is one of many reasons I just can't get into / enjoy F/GO and its ilk. I feel like the entire lot of them undermine the story and the universe established by Fate/stay night. F/HA didn't do that. Neither did Fate/Zero. F/HA is a decent epilogue-sequel hybrid, while Fate/Zero remains the single best prequel I've seen in anime. Both play by FSN's rules. Both respect FSN. But F/GO? It doesn't respect FSN at all. Just a bunch of narrative crap. I have a long list of grievances, but I'll choose just one to illustrate my point. The Holy Grail spotted in Fuyuki City? According to FSN, a) it's unremarkable enough that the Church wasn't even all that interested in it, b) the Church knows from the outset that it's a fake, i.e. that it's not the true Cup of Christ, c) we're led to believe that even as impostors go it's not the most world-shattering magical item ever, and finally d) we're asked to believe that it really only affected this tiny sleepy corner of this tiny sleepy island nation in the far east. But F/GO? Suddenly OMFFG ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX the Fuyuki Grail is the be all and end all to all Holy Grails; there's an entire lineage of Fuyuki-style Grails now; the Fuyuki-style Grails have been at the center of numerous moments in Mankind's history, spanning the globe from 13th Century England to 1st Century Rome to 27th Century BCE Babylon ... Come on now. Justica and Zouken go from being skilled, perhaps underrated magi to being supra-Merlins. The Fuyuki Grail goes from being "meh " to the Catholic Church to being the single greatest magical item of all time. It's like ... in essence, it's like F/GO is full of itself, or rather, F/GO admires FSN too fucking much. And that's the problem. F/GO is like a shitty fanfic written by a rabid fanboy who thinks FSN is the greatest masterpiece of a generation. It doesn't respect FSN -- not in a literary or a critical sense. It ... it's blinded too fucking much by hero worship. It dials everything up to 11. It's just absurd.

But yes ... I agree. I agree with you that F/GO (and its brethren) has taken what was once special and has run it through the mud and rendered it meaningless. "The Grail summons people as they were remembered by history," cites FSN, which sets the stage for the lovely little plot twist that

Spoiler: show
the reason King Arthur has arrived to us as a woman is because Arturia hasn't been summoned from the Throne of Heroes but rather has been brought to us directly from the Battle of Camlann in life.

But then F/GO takes a shit on FSN's head, giving us FEMALE FRANCIS DRAKE (wait what), FEMALE MINAMOTO NO YORIMITSU (wait, that's another guy ...), FEMALE NERO (okay, what the fuck is going on here), FEMALE MINAMOTO NO YOSHITSUNE (YOU DUN FUCKED UP NOW, SON! ) ...! And it's like ... either you don't understand the rules that FSN laid down for why Saber showed up as a girl, or else you do understand them but you don't give a shit about Saber being a unique case and now you want to bring aboard ALL these "special cases" that by virtue of their ubiquity are no longer special.

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the premise of uncertainty for a guy after high school speaks to a lot of students in similar situations across generations.
I think that when Love Hina first came out, the demographic Keitarou represents -- people who didn't test well enough to get into the university of their choice and who are now rōnin for a year -- were pretty much the only ones who were going to resonate with his struggles. But it's funny -- now, in the job market wasteland of the post-2008 world, I feel like people can relate a lot more to Keitarou. Not in the direct sense of "I'm studying to get into a good university", but in the indirect sense of "I'm trying to secure a happy future." Swap out practice tests for job applications, swap out Toudai for a specific job he's trying to get, and you suddenly have half of American college graduates. Morph the childhood promise from "Let's go to Toudai together!" to "I'll marry you if you can provide for me" and you suddenly get the very real struggle that many American bachelors must contend with. "Naru won't date me if I can't get into Toudai" becomes "Naru won't marry me if I can't get a job that pays more than $40,000/yr." Not sure how much this applies to Japan right now, but it sure does apply to America. Could explain why you may have observed some, even if only a little, lingering interest in and affection towards Love Hina (from people besides myself ).

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I know a certain person who took Tonegawa's speechs in Kaiji very seriously and was motivated to change his life, such was the impact of taking a story that was easily relatable to people in the real world.
Hmm ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Since [2006], the cupboard has been bare and you have to look to history to see anything resembling Hanadan or Fushigi Yuugi.

And a big reason for that was

Spoiler: show
1. Sailor Moon in 1994
2. Futari wa Pretty Cure in 2004
3. Idol culture (Idolmaster, Aikatsu! etc.)

#3 is the big one. Traditional shoujo could exist with mahou shoujo and in fact those earlier mahou shoujou still had romance elements to them. But idol culture changed the question asked to little girls - instead of, "Would you like to watch a series with an older you, being pursued by prince charming?" to "Would you like to be a superstar with legions of adoring fans"?
You point to works of fiction when you mention idol culture and its role in shifting young girl readers' interest away from Sailor Moon-style manga, but given your proposed timeline of "the shift started happening in the mid-'00s", I have to wonder how much of a role AKB48 played in all of this. The group rose to prominence circa 2006 with their hit single "Aitakatta", surpassing every other idol group past or (at the time) present, and pretty much becoming the idol group of a generation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
I'm not sure when josei started to take over or could point out a particular series. But I'll say that josei's ability to go adult has allowed it to appeal to women who feel they've outgrown the idol/mahou shoujo demographic.
Unsure if you are aware, but josei quite literally means "women" as in "females age 20 and above". Josei and shoujo are the female versions of seinen and shounen. The same way "seinen" in manga refers to literature intended for an adult male audience (vs. "shounen" which is implicitly meant for male kids and adolescents), josei refers to literature targeted towards adult women. So ... saying something like "josei's ability to go adult" is rather weird.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
You credit Muv-Luv with essentially giving rise to the parallel universe, or isekai, genre of storytelling that has become so popular over the past decade. However, some questions:
  1. What specific isekai story elements can you point to that Muv-Luv pioneered?
  2. What specific isekai story elements can you point to that, while Muv-Luv may not have pioneered them, Muv-Luv at the very least made popular?
  3. Which content creators have publicly stated that Muv-Luv inspired them?
Because as someone who isn't really invested in Muv-Luv and doesn't know what impacts it did or didn't make, I feel like this claim (i.e. that Muv-Luv is responsible for the popularity of the isekai genre) has a 50/50 shot of being accurate. I feel like the other 50% goes to, "One of the earlier shows in this decade" (the 2010s) "that did isekai is what led the charge." For example, No Game, No Life? (Still haven't seen it, but you all spoke super highly of it.) For another example, Sword Art Online or any of the other myriad "trapped inside of an MMORPG" stories that could be taken as a subgenre of the greater "stuck in a parallel world" genre that is isekai?
The common formula for isekai these days is:

1. Male loser protagonist dies
2. He's reincarnated by god as the human Hero in a Dragon Quest clone
3. He can use his ideas from the real world to game the game, and his game knowledge lets him get the girls and gain wealth/status.

Most of the more popular isekai twist these three commandments in some way to distinguish themselves from the pack:

1. Re:Monster has the protagonist reincarnated as a rapist goblin
2. Konosuba has the protagonist take god with him into the game, and he stays in the beginner town
3. Re:Zero's universe is scary, violent and cutthroat
4. Kumo desu ga has a female protagonist who is reincarnated as a giant spider in the final dungeon
5. Overlord's protagonist doesn't die, but he becomes an evil lich and brings an entire kingdom with him

Visual novels, being "games" themselves, have problems running into the "transported into a game!" paradigm. Most isekais are mangas or LNs by default because they're basically game logs, so having the medium be a game kills one of the the appeal. Because why would I read about another guy's LP, when I could do it myself? So having an isekai as a visual novel is already a fairly unique situation.

Muv-Luv's biggest impact is on Shingeki no Kyojin but among the popular isekais I'd say it's like a reverse Re:Zero. Subaru slides from the real world into the 'game' world, and it's a much scarier place than where he started out. Takeru by contrast starts in the 'game' world and slides out into the 'real' one, although both Extra and Unlimited have clear game qualities to them (more accurately settings that were appropriated by otomege's).

I can't name the inspirations for Extra. It's so generic, I've seen elements from it all over the place but haven't played anything that could be pointed out as a direct influence.

Unlimited/Alternative are easier. Both first draw from Extra. Then, the other influences come from Gunparade March, Gunbuster, Starship Troopers, Mobile Suite Gundam and of course Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Death Note: Can you elaborate on this one? I enjoy Death Note (up until a certain point in the story), but I question if it's still going to be read by people in 2027 the same way that people today still seek out Evangelion or Bebop.

-- And then I take a look at MyAnimeList and holy shit:
  • the anime is the #1 most popular anime on the site and is ranked #47 in the ratings, with an average score of 8.68
  • the manga is the #5 most popular and is ranked #27 in the ratings, averaging 8.77
So clearly, people today still have an interest in Death Note and they hold it in high regard.

Still, I'd like to hear your own thoughts on why Death Note gets to join Bebop, Eva, and the other timeless classics. Particularly because I don't necessarily see it myself. Is it just because "it's a fucking good thriller" and that's all there is to it? Or is it because of the premise with the shinigami and the titular Death Note(book)? Is it just the manga that's a classic or is the anime right there with it?
It's the convoluted logic games and far-reaching plans. Death Note's premise was original but not groundbreaking, and Light came across as intelligent but still not a genius for someone of his age. But once he practically started living with L did the series go into crazy mode.

The only reason we don't see writing like that more often is it's difficult to write like that. If writing mysteries were easy, we'd see way more Detective Conan style Sherlock Holmes ripoffs. But some of the twists could be borrowed fairly easily, and have been.

Geass is the biggest example of a Death Note inspired title. Lelouch started off as basically a Light expy, a smart guy given a super power than nobody knows about and have no way to combat. He was ruthless and sadistic, and the early episodes had parallels with DN: Lelouch gauges the Geass' limitations, he uses it on whoever he wants, and then he leverages it to satisfy his desire for vengeance. The oft-forgotten episode with Mao where Lelouch uses the Geass on himself happened in Death Note...Light getting his memory back was what led to the anime's most famous scene:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Talon87 View Post
Steins;Gate: While I'm asking you for your thoughts, I'd like to ask you about Steins. Memorably, you really hated this anime and felt it was overhyped. Then the rest of us watched it and we mostly all agreed it was good. (Maybe not great like the hype train said but certainly enjoyable.) Have you since changed your mind about Steins;Gate? And whether you have or have not, do you objectively think that Steins is going to continue to be popular going on into the 2020s? I have multiple coworkers, all of them younger than 30, who have watched Steins for the first time some time in the last five years. And they all enjoyed it to varying degrees. (I think the highest was a 9/10. Lowest might have been a 6 or a 7.) None of them I told to watch it. They watched it on their own, discovering it however it is that they did.
No way.

If anything I'm gaining ground in this tug-of-war since Steins;Gate has aged. More and more people online are calling it out for being stupid and relying on shallow stereotypes for humour.

These days, I generally have to defer to the opinions of veteran anime reviewers or personal friends to determine if an anime is worth my time, because there's big money tied up in positive feedback and potentially disastrous consequences for anything less than a good rating.

For casual anime viewers, they don't have a lot of experience to base their opinions on. For pro's, they are on the payroll of the powers that be and are so inclined to be biased. But someone in between is sharing their opinion with a vested interest in the title itself - they like it, and want to share their enjoyment with others; they hate it and want to vent about it with others, or they don't feel much and don't care much about it. That's the most honest take possible.

For example, take the new Sherlock TV series:
Spoiler: show



Wow, this series must be awesome. Why do people hate it online?
Spoiler: show



Scathing. I've seen something similar in Demonbane, where the writer attempt to emulate Lovecraft but more or less end up quoting him because he only understands the writing on a superficial level. I can easily imagine a team of writers, lacking the intelligence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, struggling with the nuts and bolts on how to construct a Sherlock style mystery.
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:08 PM   #10
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Death Note will be immortalized so long as there are always angsty teens who think they're better than everyone else and want to watch the world burn.

FMA will similarly go down as a classic Shounen I'm sure. For all my gripes with the story now, it's a good beginner's series to the genre.

...Also are we all purposefully avoiding the colossal elephant in the room that is the mad powerhouse Miss Haruhi Suzumiya?
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
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...Also are we all purposefully avoiding the colossal elephant in the room that is the mad powerhouse Miss Haruhi Suzumiya?
I was actually purposefully holding off on discussing it! I feel like I'm biased. I also felt like it would be wrong to lead with it out of the gate. But sure, since you insist ...

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu: Where do I even begin? Let's break this down between influence and timeless appeal.

How timeless is Haruhi? : I feel like Haruhi is one of the very best works of fiction to come out of the '00s. Period. I'd say it's very timeless in the sense that ...
  • I still love it today.
  • I still love it when revisiting it today. (As recently as September 2016 when I put down Book 5 to resume my Japanese studies and for no other reason than that.)
  • People who discover Haruhi for the first time in the '10s, they're still lovin' it, they still think it's a great show
  • Even within the hentaisphere, it continues to persist! albeit at almost background radiation levels of signal ...
So without getting into nitty gritty detail or super scholastic discussion, I think it's fairly obvious that Haruhi is "a timeless classic."

How influential was Haruhi? : I could say just one thing, leave it at that, and I think this would be an open and shut case. But I won't do that. I'll only lead with it.

The Jōyō kanji list. These are the characters that the Ministry of Education says that every literate adult in Japan needs to know how to read. Here is the timeline of this list:

Spoiler: show
1923: The Ministry of Education specified 1,962 kanji and 154 simplified characters.

1931: The former jōyō kanji was revised and 1,858 characters were specified.

1942: 1,134 characters as standard jōyō kanji and 1,320 characters as sub-jōyō kanji were specified.

1946: The 1,850 characters of tōyō kanji were adopted by law "as those most essential for common use and everyday communication". This list included 881 'basic requirement' kanji for elementary school.

1981: The 1,945 characters of jōyō kanji were adopted, replacing the list of tōyō kanji.

2010: The list was revised on 30 November to include an additional 196 characters and remove 5 characters (勺, 銑, 脹, 錘, and 匁), for a total of 2,136. The amendment also made changes to the readings of kanji present in the previous jōyō kanji list. Twenty-eight kanji gained new readings, three kanji lost obscure readings and the kun'yomi of 側 was changed from kawa (かわ) to gawa (がわ).

You may ask yourself, what does any of this have to do with Suzumiya Haruhi? I'll ask you then to please look at this list of dates again. From 1923 to 1946, the Ministry instituted rules or changes four times. The '46 rules then lasted all the way until 1981. In 1981, the Ministry decided, "We're long overdue for an overhaul." They added 95 characters to the list, and they dropped one classical spelling in favor of a shorthand spelling. This list ... stayed put untouched all the way until 2010. From before I was born ... until after I graduated from college ... the Joyo list from 1981 was pretty much the standard, and the only revision since the American occupation of Japan.

So what happened in 2010, then? The Ministry adds to the list 196 characters that in 1981 it believed "ehhhhhhhhhhhhh technically you don't need to know how to read this" but by 2010 it believed "nooooooooo, you really should know how to read this now ". These were characters that, for whatever reason, were considered beyond your average 18-year old high school graduate in 1981 but that by 2010 were considered baseline.

A lot of these characters, I am shocked weren't already on the list since the '40s. Characters like 誰 dare "who", characters like 叱る shikaru "scold", characters like 溺 obo(reru) "drown; indulge in", like 瞳 hitomi "pupil (of eye)", like 俺 ore "I (masc.)" ...

So whatever characters the government added, they must've figured the case for including them was no less weak than the case for including 誰 "who" or 俺 "I", right?

鬱. (utsu)

What's 鬱 doing there? :o

I don't know this for a fact, but it's my belief that the reason the government placed 鬱 on the list ... 鬱, a character that is hilariously difficult to write ... 鬱, a character that hardly appears in any common Japanese words ... 鬱, a character that is by no means 誰's or 俺's equal ...

... is because of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. The light novel that took otakudom by storm. The anime that created the Summer of Haruhi. (Summer 2006.) It is my hypothesis ... that Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu was so popular ... that it reintroduced the term "yuuutsu" to the common vernacular in modern Japan. That people were actually using the word "yuuutsu" again with regularity. That they were using it so much so that the Japanese government had to step in and say, "Okay: let's put 鬱 on the list of characters that everyone's supposed to know by the time they turn 18. The list of characters that the newspapers are supposed to draw from when they write their articles."

Such is Haruhi's influence, that it got the Japanese Ministry of Education to place 鬱 alongside far commoner characters for far commoner words on a list of characters that all high school graduates in Japan are expected to know how to read.

You think I'm joking about the company 鬱 keeps on this list? Frickin' 藤 fuji got put on the list in 2010. Fuji. You know, the character that's in only 10% of all family names [/exaggeration]. The character that is the 291st most common kanji to see in newspapers, commoner than 町 machi "town" (292nd), commoner than 建 tate (first half of the word) "building" (300th), commoner than 語 go "language" (301st), commoner than 様 sama (493rd) or 達 tachi (500th) ... 鬱 is keeping company with the likes of 藤! And I can guarantee you, 鬱 is not that common. (It doesn't make the list, meaning it's not in the top 2,501 ...)

This alone speaks to the influence that Haruhi has had. An influence that extends beyond otakudom, that extends even beyond works of fiction, reaching all the way into every Japanese Language classroom in Japan, reaching into every JLPT N1 examination for the past seven years ...

But perhaps you are not convinced. And so ... next time, I shall lay out more clear-cut cases for why I think Haruhi should be considered an influential series.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:20 AM   #12
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How influential was Haruhi? : Part II

I promise to be quicker and more concise this time.

1. The Hare Hare Yukai dance
The ending credits of Haruhi S1 were influential in at least two different ways. First of all, it spawned a number of copycats who tried to reproduce or otherwise cash in on what had become so popular when Haruhi did it. For example, Kiss x Sis's ED. Second of all, tons and tons of people in real life sought to learn how to perform the dance. The most famous execution of the dance by real people is, of course, that one prison where the warden taught them the Hare Hare Yukai. But it wasn't just prisoners doing the dance. Tons upon tons of people in Akiba were doing it. Tons and tons of fans at North American anime conventions.

2. Light novel adaptations into anime
I would credit two works more than any other for leading this charge -- Shakugan no Shana and Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. There had already been anime adaptations of novels, both light and regular, prior to these two. But I think Shana and Haruhi really made it mainstream. They really sold the animation studios on the notion of going after LNs rather than going after manga. Think about the anime landscape pre-2006. Weren't most things either original or else based off of a manga? There weren't many things based off of light novels, right? Now look at the last ten years. Sword Art Online, No Game No Life, Overlord, Fate/Zero, the list goes on: light novels are a hugely popular source of entertainment these days and the best ones are frequently adapted into television animations.

3. Hirano Aya
Haruhi launched her career. Everything this woman has touched since, it all began with Haruhi.

4. The name "Haruhi"
People commonly refer to the series as "Haruhi" for short. Ouran High School Host Club's protagonist is famously "the other Haruhi". And pretty much no anime since Haruhi has named any of its characters "Haruhi". It's almost like Michael Jordan's jersey number 23: "Haruhi" has been retired from usage. That's how much influence Haruhi has had.

5. Light novels in America
Light novels didn't really come to America until the mid-to-late '00s. The first few that trickled over, we only got one or two volumes before they fizzled out. Haruhi was the first one to come out and keep coming out. I thank Chris Pai a.k.a. Strato for a lot of that. Were it not for his efforts, and already having the first four or five books translated, I doubt the Haruhi books would have been released in English as quickly as they were. Nonetheless, Haruhi remains one of the only light novel series in history to have all of its volumes available in English where that number is as many as Haruhi's is, a whopping 10. (Eleven in Japan, but 10a and 10b were released in omnibus in America.)

I could list a lot more, but this is good enough for now. I think it's clear to see: Haruhi has definitely been influential, leaving its mark on history.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:15 AM   #13
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I was going to go contrarian and say I couldn't think of any direct anime influences of Haruhi, but most of your points are on target. There have been dancing endings before "Hare Hare Yukai" but none had the choreography of it, and to my recollection dancing OPs/EDs really took off after the "Dancing Anime" premiered.

That said though, it's been ten years and I struggle to count the number of Haruhi-like anime on one hand. There isn't much hope from the LN scene itself - most titles have degraded into isekai smut. Anime itself is hit or miss with unique premises, and more often than not recycles old ideas or outright remakes old IP. Kyoani sort of immediately went off a cliff after Kanon with Lucky Star and it hasn't really gone back - everything since has gone for that same moe/otaku bait appeal first.

...

Oh, definitely influential title: Giant Robo: The Animation. Robo more or less is to 1960's super robot what Muv-Luv Alternative is to real robot: it ruins the genre permanently by thoroughly outperforming everything else in sophistication and detail. Watching it sort of feels like you're watching Disney's Fantasia, a title that feels it was released half a century ago, because the art style and animation quality seem so out of step with modern OVA and anime. It's also "timeless" in how, like Batman: The Animated Series it incorporates visual and cultural elements from across different eras - 1920's futurism, 1930's comic book superheroes, 1960's internationalism, 1970's wuxia - yet doesn't depart from that fundamental human element that anyone from any era can relate to.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:22 AM   #14
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I would agree that The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi was the "greatest" and most impactful anime of the 21st century. Epic in scope and backed up with the appropriate soundtrack and cutting edge animation, it will be remembered and referenced for decades to come. The 2005-2007 era was a golden age for anime. Everywhere you looked a big or critically acclaimed new show was being released: Haruhi, Higurashi, Death Note, Gintama, Mushishi, Akagi, Kaiji, Kanon 2006, Clannad, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Baccano!, Nodame Cantabile, Minami-ke. It really felt like anime was an unstoppable medium that no one else could compete with. Haruhi was the centrepiece of that golden age, so you know you had something special. Lucky ☆ Star was basically a desperate attempt by Kyoto Animation to make another Haruhi, but they only succeeded in making an OP intro that blew everyone's balls off, complete with choreographed dancing to emulate Haruhi.

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Death Note will be immortalized so long as there are always angsty teens who think they're better than everyone else and want to watch the world burn.
?
LOL, this is so true. If I had seen Death Note when I was 14 years old it would have blown me away.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:22 PM   #15
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Kanon: Arguably the most famous visual novel of its generation. Released in 1999, the visual novel gave rise to two television adaptations. First was Toei's attempt in 2002. Then there was Kyoto Animation's take in 2006. With the visual novel coming out in 1999, it's disqualified from discussion here, you might say. But come now. We can't possibly discuss the '00s without mentioning Kanon, can we?

So where does Kanon stand today?


Kanon tells the story of Aizawa Yuuichi, age 17, and his return to Japan's snowy north after seven years' absence. Struggling to remember the time he spent here as a child, he soon encounters a most peculiar girl in the town market: Tsukimiya Ayu. Yuuichi may not remember her too well, but Ayu remembers Yuuichi very well.

Kanon is hugely memorable. There are a lot of different little things that account for this. Plot twists, catchphrases, character designs, and musical score are but some of them.

I feel like Kanon is pretty timeless, in the dually requisite senses of: 1, its physical and temporal setting is very "this could be 1970s Japan, it could be contemporary Japan, it could be 2030s Japan"; and 2, the story it wants to tell isn't dated or subject to becoming dated either. Kanon tells of love lost and found ... of puppy love ... of amnesia ... of psychological trauma ... The things it discusses, are things pretty fundamental to the human experience. Amnesia didn't become relevant in literature only starting 200 years ago, and it's certainly not going to stop being relevant in literature 200 years from now either.

I'm ill-equipped (or iller-equipped) to argue for how influential Kanon was. I know from the memories I have of the 2000s that it was one of the single most popular VNs of all time at the time. Kyoto Animation were such big fans of Key's that they not only bid to re-do the anime (sorry, Toei!) but asked to do Clannad as well and had done Air, their first Key adaptation, years prior. In fact, after Clannad wrapped up, it looked like Kyoto Animation was as much "the Key anime studio" as ufotable looks like "the Type-Moon anime studio"! But as far as influences go, true influences, I'm a little hard-pressed to identify what Kanon impacted and how.

It's possible, for example, that Kanon popularized the idea of the female protagonist having an endearing catchphrase. Tsukimiya Ayu's "Uguu~" is the stuff of legend! But it's not as though Kanon invented catchphrases.

It's possible that Kanon popularized the idea of "the red herring plot twist" where:

Spoiler: show
you lay before your audience all the signs which point to one, more predictable plot twist; you deliver said plot twist; but then you surprise your audience by revealing that the protagonist misunderstood, that that plot twist was not in fact what's really happening; and then you reveal the REAL plot twist, the one that few or no one saw coming

but again, even if Kanon did do this, unless someone has admitted to the influence in some article or interview I'd be hard pressed to conclusively connect any dots.

While again not treading any new water, I feel like another of Kanon's possible influences was that it confirmed for visual novelists the importance of a solid OP or ED theme. It's not like Key came up with the idea. But "Kaze no Tadoritsuku Basho" is, I think for everyone who's seen or played Kanon, one of the most memorable and iconic songs of 21st century otakudom. It is everything you want an ending, "You beat the game! " theme song to be. It works equally well as an anime ending theme, a "Man, isn't this story sweet and emotional " song as you're watching, and a "Man, the feels ;~;" song as you're waxing nostalgic on the re-watch. If nothing else, Kanon and games like Kanon had to have influenced other studios' decision-making process when recording the music for their games.


Ayu would make for a good character study on what makes an adorable character so adorable. I mean, just look at her! Those adorable mittens. That adorable backpack. Those adorable enormous snow boots. Her parka. "Uguu~". Taiyaki. Her voice. Her mannerisms. The list goes on.

Let's consider Kanon's popularity today and wrap this up. MyAnimeList indicates that Kanon is floating around the 400 mark both in overall rating and in popularity. That's not terribly encouraging, and neither are the sub-6/10 reviews. A lot of teenagers trying to sound intelligent, incorrectly using big words, confusing the names of the principal players ("Animation wise, it's what we know of from Key," writes one reviewer ), etc. The thing is, you can't just dismiss these people as unintelligent or tasteless or whatever. We ARE the community, ALL OF US. All of us, together. The good and the bad, the smart and the dumb, the young and the old: all of us together, we constitute the community. So if people are disliking Kanon, well then shit, people are disliking Kanon.

One interesting thing of note, though, seems to be that the show's average MAL score of 8.xx out of 10 seems to be the product of a high number of 9's and 10's balancing out a high number of sub-6's. Few 7's and 8's. It's mostly either you loved it or you hated it. (For what it's worth, I scored it an 8 out of 10 originally. That still sounds about right to me; though a revisit, long overdue, might change that.)

So what do you think? How influential was Kanon? How timeless is it?
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:39 PM   #16
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I don't agree. Air had far more impact than Kanon did, and I'm actually racking my brains to try and figure out a series that was directly influenced by Kanon. There are titles that make direct reference to it specifically, like The World God Only Knows, where there is a VN girl named Yokkyun (drawn like Ayu) and one of the main heroines is named "Kanon", but that's it.

Air pioneered the idea that visual novel routes would heavily develop heroines with the sole intent to emotionally devastate the player. Visual novels prior to this fell into two schools: adventure games, and dating sims, both a subset of eroge. The dating sim style was not really intended to train the player on how to talk to girls but only provide enough exposition on the girls' personalities to give another dimension to the sex scenes. Adventure game style involved more puzzles and mysteries, but character development was still pretty shallow. YU-NO fits the latter - the characters are not nearly as developed as something like Kana ~Little Sister~, but the mystery and puzzles are top notch. However, it was still an eroge.

Air is also unique in that, perhaps due to accident or incompetence, the story offered no satisfying ending for the readers to draw upon for closure. Whether the ending is good or bad, readers rely on the author providing some kind of conclusion at the end of a narrative, as it gives the reader something they can take away from the story about the experience.

That isn't the case for Air where in the true Misuzu route the events snowball out of control, and the relationship between the characters just sort of lapses. The reader is more a witness to events, able to understand why things lead to that end, but has guidance from where to go from there. Later Key titles sort-of maintain this, but rather than leave the ending like that, it uses circumstance as a vehicle for driving the plot and instead provides a proper ending.

Major Kanon spoiler:

Spoiler: show
Consider the Ayu review. The twist is that Ayu visited the giant tree, fell off and seemingly died. The climax of the anime and the climax of this arc is where Yuuichi realizes Ayu died that day. There's a sense of responsibility there (think Bridge to Terabithia) because Yuuichi was the reason Ayu was there, in this isolated place, and he was helpless to save her life considering the cold and distance he was from any first responders.

If we apply Air's approach to ending the story, Yuuichi would flashback to Ayu's death scene and the story would end there, with Yuuichi maybe being shown moving away. This would abandon the viewer/reader to sort through this emotional assault on their own without any railway for how to navigate to catharsis. This is no different from the ending of Night of the Living Dead where everyone died, meaninglessly, at the end.

Instead, the story shows Yuuichi dealing with the impact of the flashback, going to the tree and wanting to confess to Ayu's ghost (I forget if she appeared again). While not a positive conclusion, it at least gives the readers something.


It isn't quite an open ending, sort of halfway between a conclusive ending and an open one. But it left a big impression on contemporary visual novel writers.

Air came out in 2000. Age's Kimi ga Ita Kietsu came out in 2001, with 5 girls and 30 possible endings. It was similar in style to the dating sims of the previous decade. 2002 saw an immediate change with the blockbuster Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which focused on realistic adult relationships in an anime setting with a dating-sim look. It's clear that Kouki played Air and immediately given creative license to go nuts for Kietsu's sequel.

Air's impact is clear on Key's later titles, like Kanon, Clannad and Little Busters!, all of which make Air look crude and amateurish by comparison. For one, the latter three remove the mustache-twirling villains central to the flashback in Air and make the characters victims of circumstances or the forces of nature. Kanon rolls back the overt supernatural influence, and what is left ends up a lot more mysterious and puissant. Clannad until After Story had no supernatural bits at all!

Kanon, as a visual novel, I see as an evolutionary step to the ultimate finished product of Clannad, a Charmeleon on its way to Charizard. The anime has brilliant direction and production values, cleans up and rearranges the narrative for an optimal visual presentation. I think Kanon's anime, a definitely classic, outshines its sister anime in no small part due to Kanon gaining the most benefit on the second transition to the small screen. But I can't call it more influential than Air.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:16 PM   #17
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Umm ... Kanon is older than Air. Second line of my post, man. 1999. More important, Kanon is Key's very first game period.

The stuff you said about Air that stands on its own, cool. The stuff you said about Air that's "Kanon may have done this but AIR DID IT FIRST!", entirely wrong.

Also, I don't think you remember Kanon's true twist. (You've focused in on the red herring but written about it as though it were the true twist.) Perhaps this calls for a reviewing!

Why you might see what you personally observe -- Kanon is written well, Air is written like Babby's first VN, and then Clannad afterward are written well -- is because the person who wrote most of Kanon (including Ayu's path) left the group immediately after. Kanon is the only time he was a part of the group. Air onward is new writing staff and/or the other co-writer of Kanon. So Air was the group's first game that they wrote without Ayu Path's writer. And that could be what you're seeing: he was already good at writing when he co-wrote Kanon; the others had to grow into their roles as writers, with Air being their sandbox and Clannad being their first work they can be proud of.

This, of course, takes a rather mean view towards Air. Which I do take, but ... apologies to Mcsweeney and the other Air fans. ^^;
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:27 PM   #18
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I saw that but I thought it was a mistake. Seriously?

*looks up*

Well, cross-apply what I said about Air to Kanon instead.

It's so weird though. Air is a much cruder product than Kanon, but it's not like I've played both VNs for comparison. I've only got the animes to compare.

Then again, Maeda Jun has demonstrated a surprising ability to be hit-or-miss. Little Busters was a step back from Kanon when you got to the "secret of the world" and Angel Beats twisted logic into a pretzel.

And, I remember the true twist:

Spoiler: show
Ayu being alive in a coma the whole time.


But I didn't mention that because it's better off going unwritten. It totally pulls the rug from under the reader and cheapens the emotional journey.

If only the real world worked like that.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:45 PM   #19
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I would argue that Air the anime is better written than Kanon 2006 and has greater lasting impact. I concede that it's highly flawed, and all the side characters and side plots were poorly done (including the flashback to medieval Japan), but the central plot concerning the drama between Yukito, Misuzu and her aunt (especially these last two) really touched my heart. This is why I had high hopes for Air The Movie, because it dropped all the side characters and focused on the central plot only. Unfortunately I was left disappointed after they screwed it up by making several unwelcome changes, like making the relationship between Yukito and Misuzu romantic. Still, you often see Air cited by people to this day when the question is posed: "What are the greatest tear-jerker moments in anime?" I'll repeat this adage that I invented: "Any hack can make a cheap tear-jerker scene involving somebody dying. It takes real talent to make one where no one dies." The beach scene fits this bill, just like the wheat field scene in Clannad After. You could argue that both shows cheapened these powerful moments somewhat with unnecessary death scenes afterwards, just for the sake of laying on the melodrama real thick.

In contrast, I didn't get much out of Kanon 2006 other than:

-Ayu is adorable

-Sayuri is adorable

-Nayuki is adorable

-Yuuichi is witty

-The ED song is god-like
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:00 PM   #20
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The more that I think about it, the more apparent it is to me that Haruhi's biggest influence isn't on light novels or anime production, but rather on the voice acting side of things - it launched Daisuke Ono and Tomokazu Sugita into superstardom.

Male CVs tend to have a lot more staying power than female CVs, who are unfortunately tied to non-performance related things like looks and youth. Male CVs will have a peak where they get a lot of starring roles (as mains) and a good career is where one can maintain presence as a supporting character.

Let's take a well-known but less bright star. Nobuyuki Hiyama I would characterize as having a "great" career. He still gets a title role from time to time, but he's found consistent work as a background character with several support roles each year. At his peak, I'd say he was a B ranked CV. He averaged maybe .6 lead roles per year, over a 25 year career. A resounding success. I would place Takehito Koyasu and Akira Ishida in this category as well.

Sugita is a legit superstar, is a solid A ranked CV. He's gotten multiple lead roles every year since his big break in Haruhi, while getting a metric fudgeton of support roles and video game gigs as well. Moreover, his roles are increasing instead of plateauing, so his career might not have hit a climax yet. He's a class above greats like Hiroshi Kamiya, Mamoru Miyano, and Jun Fukuyama.

Yet, Daisuke Ono might be greater still. Like Sugita, his roles are increasing as the years go by, but Ono has been able to one-up his fellow Haruhi alum by securing multiple starring roles every friggin season. Take a look at his ANN page where the number of starring roles (bolded) outnumber his bit parts. He is the most bankable male CV in Japan right now, A+ or S rank.

I think in the future, we'll see Sugita and Ono perhaps become a binary star system where entire seasons basically revolve around what roles they take. Given Sugita's career trajectory, I don't think he's that far away from Ono's tier. It's like comparing the sizes of Jupiter and Saturn.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:43 PM   #21
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Sugita Tomokazu: To be fair, Sugita's "big break" wasn't Haruhi. Haruhi was, I agree, what took an already rising star and launched him into superstardom. To make a quick comparison, Titanic was not Leonardo DiCaprio's "big break", but it was the movie that made him a superstar.

Looking over his history, I'd argue his big break as being only his third voice acting role ever -- as Sumeragi Subaru in 2001's television adaptation of CLAMP's manga X. Subaru is a fan favorite character and a major player in that plot. No, he's not the star character (Kamui), but he's the only one of the X characters to have another manga starring him, Tokyo Babylon. In fact, Tokyo Babylon came first! So Subaru was already something of a star when he appeared in X, and who gets to voice him on television but none other than Sugita.

If you deny me X, then you have to give me the next one: Motosuwa Hideki, literally the main character of the romance sci-fi Chobits.

From there, though, I will certainly agree with you. Sugita's listings don't really jump out at me -- either the anime was small time or else his role in it was -- until we reach 2006 with his two biggest castings of all time: Sakata Gintoki in Gintama and Kyon in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. Haruhi, I will agree, is what made Sugita a legend. His quick, energized delivery of the sardonic Kyon's dialogue was a match made in heaven. It took a good character from a book and made him magnificent. Sugita's performance was so good that KyoAni, doubtless wanting to have him back on again, cast him as Aizawa Yuuichi in their re-do of Key's classic, Kanon, just a few short months later. I doubt Sugita was the top pick when they were imagining who would voice Yuuichi back in April. But by the crescendo of the Summer of Haruhi, there could be no other candidate.

Ono Daisuke: Now this one I think you're a million percent correct. Haruhi absolutely launched Ono's star. He had had work in the years prior to Haruhi, but all of the roles were small time. And I mean small time! Just look at this!
Tsukihime, Announcer, Classmate A, Clerk, Corpse
If that doesn't about sum it up! Nowadays, it would be unimaginable to have Ono Daisuke cast in a high-profile series like a Type-Moon adaptation and to have him only voicing a nameless character. But back before Haruhi, it wasn't just imaginable: it was Ono's reality.

In hindsight, Ono's real break was 2005's Air, where he was miraculously cast to voice lead character Kunisaki Yukito. In 2003, he had worked with Kyoto Animation before on their comedy Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu, but it wasn't until 2005 that the studio banked on his ability to voice a lead role. They obviously liked him, as they brought him back one year later to breathe life into the character Koizumi Itsuki ...

2007. Minami-ke. Hosaka.
2012. Magi. Sinbad.
2012. Shirokuma Cafe. Llama.
2013. Attack on Titan. Erwin Smith.
2014. Barakamon. Handa Seishuu.
2014. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. Kujō Jōtarō.

I can't speak for a lot of the other titles in between 2006 and 2012, but I'm sure there are star roles among them that I'm overlooking. Still, side characters like Hosaka and Llama are super prominent while main characters like Jōtarō and Handa abound in the later years.

I think 2012 was "the Year of Ono" if I recall correctly. That was the year it felt like he was everywhere and was really well loved.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:06 AM   #22
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Here's one that I want to open to the floor:


Azumanga Daioh. Discuss.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:16 AM   #23
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Huh. I kinda figured this one would provoke a lot more eager discussion. Well alright then ...

The reason I want to discuss AzuDai is,
  1. It was all the talk in 2004.
  2. No one talks about it much today.
It seems like a prime candidate for this discussion. I want to explore the extent to which Azumanga Daioh influenced otaku media. And I want to hear what people have to say about AzuDai's timelessness, how it has managed to hold up (or not hold up!) in a world with so many other strong comedies that have since come into being.

Question for the floor: to what extent did Azumanga Daioh pave the way for other 4-koma comics to become animated television series? I feel like AzuDai is usually placed at the beginning of that tale. That it's the first 4-koma of note to get a TV series adaptation. But was it actually the first? And even if it was, was it really directly, measurably responsible for other, later 4-komas getting to become TV animes?

Something I know for certain: in the West at least, Azumanga Daioh is directly tied to the translator debate about how to best localize Osakan dialect. (ADV opted to translate Osaka's dialect as a Texan accent.) I believe the currently favored approach is to just ... leave the dialect out of it and to just translate for meaning, even if that means (on the recipient end) you're losing the dialect. I personally prefer that myself. I personally thought that Texan Osaka sounded stupid, and that the stereotypes we have for Texans don't apply in most cases to the stereotypes Japanese have about Osakans.

Since we've been mentioning VAs in the past few series discussions: Azumanga Daioh is where Kaneda Tomoko, voicing Chiyo-chan, got her start.

Azumanga Daioh is one of the earliest anime I can think of that was memed / that had scenes from its show get turned into memes. Just a few examples that come to mind:
  • the scene where Osaka kicks her shoe into the air to forecast the weather, but it lands on a passing-by cargo truck and is carried away

  • the scene where a groggy Yukari is awoken by Osaka holding a huge knife

  • the scene where Osaka talks with the orange cat-thing and remarks at one point, "OH MY GAH!"

  • a brief moment of Osaka rocking her head on a table while the girls study at Chiyo-chan's

You didn't much get this with other animes of the time. And Azumanga Daioh's gifs and meme scenes are still posted and referenced to this day.

... But at the same time ...

... No one really talks about Azumanga Daioh that much anymore. It's doing okay on MyAnimeList -- #328 most popular, #472 highest rated -- but a comment I saw on YouTube earlier today seems to be a common attitude towards the show:

"This is the legendary show I was told so much about? What the fuck? This shit's boring!"

Even back in the day, Azumanga Daioh wasn't without its detractors. Hell! You might count me among them, sort of! While I rated the show a 6 out of 10 personally, the nuance in that score is that there are scenes I think are flat out 8/10 or better spread throughout the show ... but the bulk of the scenes are 5/10 "meh? " or worse. I've rewatched the first five episodes so far and I would have to agree: it's a very boring show compared with later comedies. I mean, it's boring without comparison to them too! But do compare it with them, do compare it with a Minami-ke or a Carnival Phantasm, and it's just insane how boring Azumanga Daioh looks.

Yet the scenes that were great in 2002, they still hold up today ...

BORKED

Still one of the best scenes ever.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:59 AM   #24
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I'm moving tomorrow so I haven't had time to muse. But a quick bullet commentary:

-Azumanga style SOL persists to this day but it's usually had to add sexual tension to remain interesting. An example is the NTR classic Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san.
-Some of the jokes are still funny, but it's aged quite badly. Not all shows from that era do so poorly today (I'm looking at you, Cromartie).
-By far the Azumanga's greatest contribution to the modern day is the vocab word "waifu", which is an omni-meme at this point. Yeah, it's just the Japanese pronunciation of "waifu" but something else aside from the Engrish could have taken its place, you know? Like "koibito". It was explicitly the "MAI WAIFU" scene from Azumanga that got waifu into everyday otaku speak.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:50 PM   #25
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It's not that I'm not eager, it's more that making a decent post takes time, and I don't have much of that.

Onto Azumanga Daioh. I've actually forgotten most of it. I only really remember some of the Osaka gags. I should rewatch that sometime.....same with Haruhi. I think the reason it's legendary is because it started a trend. I'd like to think all of the SoL comedies nowadays are children of Azumanga Daioh. Hell, Nichijou and Ika Musume have a very similar art style to Azumanga Daioh. It probably hasn't aged well, since other SoL comedies have more things going for them, so this is boring in comparison.

Azumanga Daioh being a trend setter made me think of a title. I'd like to think Love Hina started so many harem trends. Some that are admittedly the bane of my existence. Love Hina should have aged better than Azumanga Daioh, since alot more to it.
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