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Anime Oh teh drama!!1!


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Anyone who's watched enough anime pretty much knows what I'm talkin' about here. It also easily applies to video games and other forms of entertainment.

The drama. Any serious series needs some of it, at least, but sometimes a person's just gotta roll their eyes at the attempts these shows make. Whether it be because of an unbelievable setting, poor developemnt or because there's just been TOO DAMN MUCH OF IT (Evangelion, anyone?), the drama comes off as contrived and tired. In positive cases, however, where this sort of thing is well developed and not over the top, we usually end up with something that could top our favorites list.

So what are examples that you guys have of both good and bad drama in anime? Any particular cliches and tropes you've noticed?

As I've already referenced in this post, an example of too much drama (not to mention angst) is Evangelion. Yes, I know, [i]everyone[/i] always says Eva is way too angsty. Well, frankly, I think it's true. Shinji was always angsting, and towards the end of the series Asuka hopped on the drama train as well. It doesn't help that the direction of the plot was effin' confusing at times.

But, a show that I'd say has good drama is Planetes. The show, in case you don't know, is set in 2075 and centers around space exploration. Not only does it have possibly the most realistic take on how far technology will have come by then, but the characters themselves feel very realistic. Most pertinent to this thread is the fact that the drama that is later sparked is overall done well and does not feel uncalled for at all. I mean, come on; when [spoiler]Ai ends up stranded on the moon with Claire, the moment where her "never harm another human being" and "always love" mantra seemingly cracks and she almost takes Claire's oxygen[/spoiler] is an entirely understandable reaction to the extreme situation and pressure she was under. Plus, [spoiler]she could have, you know, DIED[/spoiler].
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What's interesting about drama is that it is sometimes very difficult to discern what is "good" drama and what is "bad" drama. What creators can get away with in one series is different from what they can get away with in another series. For me, it all comes down to how well developed the characters are, and thus, how much I care about the situations they are in. If I like the characters enough, I am willing to stretch the limits of what is logically acceptable in a plot, at least to a certain extent. Romance is a biggie in that area. Some shows are great at it because they actually make you care about the characters instead of letting the romance make up for flat characters ([b]Honey and Clover[/b], [b]Toradora![/b]) and others just flat out suck at it (like 90 percent of anything, I guess).

Anyway, off that random train, haha.

Bad drama: Pretty much anything romantic in [b]Escaflowne[/b] from what I have seen (through ep12). Van x Hitomi is terrible. I like 'em well enough on their own, but any hint of romantic interaction is just ... really bad lol. Hitomi x Allen is a thousand times worse than that, somehow. At least Hitomi doesn't turn into a friggin' dope around Van (most of the time). Allen x Millerna is probably the worst of all, because Millerna is a million times better when she isn't pining for Allen. With Allen, she is kind of a *****; without Allen, she kicks ***. Drop him, you. Also, Allen, just stay away from women. You turn them all into morons.

Good drama: I'll probably rewatch [b]Eureka Seven[/b] soon, so let's go with that. It's long enough that it has plenty of time to build nearly all the characters properly, slowly letting the plot take shape until ep26, which is when the series becomes super epic and the plot just explodes with awesome. There is so much drama (the Ray and Charles arc, [spoiler]Eureka's sickness/Renton running away, the journey to save the Coralians,[/spoiler] etc.), but it doesn't feel forced because of the way the characters grow and interact with each other. The Ray and Charles arc, in particular, is just amazing storytelling all around. Everything from the beginning, where [spoiler]Renton finally believes he has found true parental figures in his life[/spoiler] to [spoiler]Ray's last stand against Gekkostate[/spoiler] ... damn, I can barely think about it without getting a little twist in my heart. That is the point in [b]Eureka Seven[/b] where it makes the leap from very good to something truly special.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Yeah, gotta agree with you, Shin, about romance in anime.
For one, Allen really should stay away from any and all women.

Second, and more importantly, romantic drama is probably one of the harder elements to pull off well without going off the deep end into poorly done and cheesy. True, the quality of the product varies from person to person based on their own opinions. But... that still doesn't change the fact that you view certain cliches and patterns in anime that just don't go away. lol You look at it and groan.

I guess to be fair, at times people kind of [i]want[/i] to see cliched dramatic romance like that. I know that happens to me sometimes when I get on shoujo kicks. >>
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