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While watching episode one of creators, the thought occurred to me that while there have been lots of anime in which ordinary Japanese teenagers wind up in alternate videogame-like realities, what would be really unique and intriguing would be if the tables were turned and some of the characters from these fantastical worlds wound up in ours. And, lo and behold, that's just what happens. We wind up with the awkward situation of two fearsome warrior girls with fantastic fighting powers lodging with Souta simply because they have no more idea what's going on than he does, and have nowhere else to go. I like it. In many anime characters find themselves in impossible, mind blowing situations--and just shrug them off. Here, the characters are confused, disoriented and anxious, as they should be. At the end of the episode about all we know is that the line between truth and fiction has been blurred, but since this show is taking the matter seriously, surely some sort of explanation must be forthcoming. I like the way a couple of nerdy mangakas rank among the significant characters in this story, rather than just tough fighters. The premise seemed to be bursting with potential. It makes you think--if human imagination creates alternate realities, who's to say that our world isn't likewise a creation of the imagination of someone in yet another level of existence? Creators itself doesn't go this far, however.
But there was a problem with this story which I first noticed when Meteora somehow deduced that the weird stuff that had been happening threatened to somehow rip this world apart. Fictional characters becoming real is so bizarre that it would be a miracle to explain just that, much less figure out what longterm consequences the situation will have for reality itself. Surely this was a theory at best. Yet it seems that we are being expected to assume that she is right, accept it as established fact, and run with it. I didn't know if that was a good idea; for one thing, her theory was so complicated and was explained in such fancy terminology that I had no idea whether it makes a lick of sense or not. I didn't know what danger signals I should be on the lookout for or what the worse case end result would be. I guess I have a hard time suspending disbelief when such a calamitous possibility is pitched to me and I'm expected to accept it as an article of faith. And it was more fun just trying to solve the original mystery of how fictional characters were becoming real--that was more than enough to blow one's mind.
There's a good deal of inconclusive fighting among the Creations, which kind of seemed like a waste to me. I would rather we had moved forward towards an explanation and solution to the problem, and that seemed to be taking place at a snail's pace. Why is Sota so reluctant to reveal that he knows something that might be critically important? Does he have more loyalty to one old friend than to several new ones? Either he's trying to hide something or this story is simply not going to make complete sense, and that thought is disturbing because it just might be true. The fact that it has never been explained how this Creators business could pose a threat to the existence of our entire world makes it hard to get excited. A number of things don't make sense: why do important people like Sota wander about without bodyguards, even though the government is aware of the problem and has made great efforts to bring it under control? It was frustrating that a show with so much potential seemed to be doing relatively little with it. It was definitely worth watching, but I felt the story was tying me down when I wanted to lunge forward.
At the climax of the first season, the good guys stumble across an unexpected tactic which might just defeat the villain Altair and her plan to destroy the world. I felt that I needed to rewatch an episode or two, because I didn't understand exactly how this technique works, or what relationship it had to the characters showing up in this world to begin with. To a certain extent fictional characters have become real, and have minds and free will of their own; yet the opinions of manga readers and anime viewers somehow affect how the future will play out--I was confused. That, I guess, was the chief problem with the show as a whole: important concepts aren't explained well enough for ordinary viewers to grasp them. Nonsense phrases like 'the world's rationality' and 'variable imaginative force' don't help either. But everybody knows that surely Altair (and the murderous schoolgirl) haven't just been sitting idle for all this time, and the plan to defeat them won't go off without a hitch. And sure enough, that's how things work out. Since I never completely understood how this plan was supposed to work, I couldn't completely understand how Altair had countered it either, which was kind of frustrating and confusing. This is another show in which I only vaguely understood the plot--I got enough to enjoy it, but not as much as I would if it was all made more clear. How much that is my fault and how much the fault of the writers, I do not know. But one trait I admire in good writers is the ability to explain complicated plots to ordinary viewers in an understandable and fully enjoyable manner. I think it's fair to say that it is a skill which doesn't come automatically.
I think it's safe to say that in a well told story, you know when the climax is approaching. It may just be because you know you are watching the final episode. But Creators had an unusual length of just 22 episodes (and the 22nd is a post-climax one)--somewhere between a season-and-a-half and two seasons. So, I did not know that episode 21 would definitely be the climax--and I had become so confused that I did not realize it until near the end. I thought a new arc (which would involve a new character) was beginning, not that the whole story was wrapping up. It was just too confusing--did the crazy schoolgirl play a part in that trick that ultimately won the day? Hasn't she sort of gotten away scot-free for at least one murder she committed? The deaths of several major characters seemed kind of empty and bewildering more than shocking and tragic. I guess we will never get an explanation of what exactly happened in episode one--where Sota was briefly transported to an alternate world. I sort of understand what happened at the end, but nowhere near completely. So, for me Creators ended halfway between a bang and a whimper, as I asked myself 'Is this the ending? I guess it is' rather than being thrilled. The final episode which wraps up several loose strings was fun, however. In the end, I could only shake my head and wonder how the makers of Creators had managed to take such an intriguing premise, bursting with potential—and make it as ordinary as possible.
Last updated Monday, October 09 2017. Created Thursday, April 13 2017.