become a magical entrepreneur, he said
Complain loud enough, and sooner or later your wishes might be granted. Well, I wasn’t exactly complaining loudly, but it seems there’s someone out there in the anime world who heard my, and I’m sure a lot of people’s, gripes about [C], that they put out a better product for last week. I’m also getting used to the conventional stylistic approach they chose for the show, and am also slowly swallowing the idea that they did shift their focus in terms of presentation for this TV series. It’s still only 3 episodes in, but I sense that it’s safe to say that episode 3 has the combination that they’re aiming for all the while, save for the increase in action. That would have to wait until the next episode, at the very least.
Working like an episode of those hard-boiled police dramas, the third of episode of [C] related more details of the nature of the game, the Financial District, and other such terminology of the series through the viewpoint of one of the new characters introduced in ep 2. She assumes the role of pushing the show forward in this ep, together with our protagonist, who himself has uncovered some things about his past. I can’t say anything much about the actual episode without giving away vital information about the show, so I’ll stop there. I don’t think any of its viewers hasn’t watched it by now, but it never hurts to be safe. What I’m going to say, though, is that this episode had a nice flow of events constructed in a tight and concise way. They’re telling you important stuff about the story and the characters, but it doesn’t fall into the trap of being too expository, and doesn’t feel muddled by torrents of terminology. It’s just a right combination of both the script and the storyboarding, I guess.
The script had been the main force behind the show’s formula, and it’s the same case here. The difference here is that there’s just a lot more stuff happening in this episode, as it alternated between two perspectives. While the first point of view dealt with the technical details about the story, the other viewpoint talked about the past and the backstory behind our protagonist who predictably has father issues. Father issues seem to be a convenient device in anime. Anyway, the script retains that consistently smooth flow of dropping tidbits of information here, and leaving intriguing blanks there. I don’t really think it’s that slow or anything, but I wonder if they’re able to put in all the specifics that they plan to put in. The show doesn’t look like it’s going to run any longer than a single cour, too, so there’s room for guessing about that. The cour lengths seem to be too limiting a constraint for anime stories as well, and as such I hope they’re not going to cram the rest of the script in the final eps because of lousy planning or whatever.
That’s not a real problem so far for this show, though, if the first three episodes are to be believed. If the rest of the show continues this same structure of exposition, then I feel that there’s no cause for concern. The third episode was a well-constructed and tightly structured piece of work. Hopefully the remainder of the series stays that way. It’s the main saving grace of the show, after all, and I don’t want it to be squandered. I still feel plenty weird, though, not calling the visuals and the overall presentation style the main saving graces of a Nakamura show. Well, it can’t be helped.
While Kenji Nakamura himself has remained absent from the show since ep #1 part A, this episode showed that they could hold their own without him. They managed to integrate quite the considerable amount of things in this ep and managed to make them flow smoothly and seamlessly, ending at a nice little cliffhanger. The story in this ep is helped by the use of flashbacks, either from the perspective of our new lady character, Ms. Satou, and the eyes of our protagonist, Kimimaro. What I liked about it was that the flashbacks weren’t just thrown in there randomly, at least that’s how I felt, and that they were inserted at good moments. They served both the functions of driving the overall narrative forward and fleshing out the characters by explaining their motivations and sharing their personality (Ms. Satou) or sharing a new aspect of a character (Kimimaro). All of which were tied together tightly and smoothly, without any obvious kinks. Even if they only shared the fewest information, the ep would still feel hobbled if the distribution is too uneven. So, I have to hand it to the ep staff, which planned the whole affair well. I’ve heard of Shin Matsuo before, but I haven’t really seen his work to give opinions on it. He has worked on [C] on ep 1, I think, and he returns here as storyboarder of part B.
Visually, there’s nothing much to say except that I’m glad they decided to cut down on the use of CGI. I’m really not too big on CGI in the first place, and the way they obnoxiously utilized it in the prior episodes turned me off from it even more. Here, they completely cut out the CGI rendering of Masakaki, and minimized its use for the realization of Msyu‘s physical form. And it wasn’t as hideously jarring as before. I wondered if the use of CGI for the characters was another part of their stylistic approach for this series. It seemed like they obviously wanted to do it, not so much as a result of limited resources. As such, I was satisfied at how they used the technology for the third episode–if you really want to use CGI, then you better use it properly. Which they did, at least for episode 3. They had achieved the right balance of traditional rendering and CGI, so I hope they don’t try to break that formula. Action-wise, there’s not much I could say. It looked crisp with the diminished cuts of CGI, so I guess it stands well on its own.
The third episode of [C] was a good step up from the showing of the prior two episodes, which could prove to be a sign of better things to come for the show. At least, the ratings of noitaminA got boosted for last week, reaching 3.9%, which is a significant improvement from its past seasons (though I’m suspecting the ratings boost was more because of Ano Hana rather than [C]). If it looked like they were getting their feet wet with the earlier weeks, then I feel that they had achieved a better feeling and pace with their third week, and I hope they built on this and maintain it (or do even better) for the remaining episodes of this show. Not to mention that I’m still expecting for Kenji Nakamura himself to step in and handle an episode in the future. Which would also bring with it an inevitable animator bash. I’m looking forward to that.
Another instance of good English in this episode. The voice-acting in English was flat as usual, but at least the guy said the words right, in the back-and-forth with Ms. Satou’s Engrish. For that matter, I’ve always thought of Engrish as an added quirk to an anime, and I’ve never found them to be really horrible. Whatever the case may be, I’m still stoked for more Open Deals to come.