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Notables: Animation - TROYCA
Souta Mizushino doesn't know what to think when he is somehow transported into the alternate reality of a popular anime--and then several characters from that world are somehow transported back to his.

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Unevaluated Stretch [series:3340#628]
(19 episodes watched):

Here's a show which was clearly being serious right from the noise-less opening moment. The good quality artwork also got the message across that this was not going to be a generic, mass-produced anime. The opening monologue was a bit confusing, with lines like "The horrific world of the Gods of pleasure", which didn't register in my head since they didn't make sense. But a bizarre conundrum is soon established: Souta is somehow dragged to a very real place that is clearly based on an anime he likes, with all the appropriate characters. How in the world did that happen? He wasn't playing any sort of videogame at the time. We viewers need an explanation. 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. Thus, Re:CREATORS (does that imply that we will learn about some group of beings who have 'created' this situation?) is the first new series of the Spring 2017 season that I can say with confidence will be worth watching to the end.

I found that I needed to rewatch episode one before watching episode two, and likewise episode two before three. I had forgotten a good deal because a good deal of time had passed, and the plot is complex. But with many shows, if I found that I had forgotten too much, I wouldn't be willing to rewatch, because the show wouldn't seem good enough to be worth going to that trouble. Instead I'd press on, even though I didn't fully understand what was going on, and get whatever enjoyment I could. I'd basically settle for a second class viewing experience, because the cost of a first class one would be more than the overall quality of the show justified. So it says something for Creators that I'm willing to go to this trouble. Anyway, more colorful characters from works of fiction have turned up in flesh and bones, and the characters struggle to make sense of it all. I like the way a couple of nerdy mangakas rank among the significant characters in this story, rather than just tough fighters. I also like the way a serious effort is underway to figure out WTF is going on, rather than just assembling a vague premise then using it for fights of the week. Only powerful, well known characters seem to appear, for some reason; why might that be? 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.

I didn't exactly follow how Meteora 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 don'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 have no idea whether it makes a lick of sense or not. I don't know what danger signals I should be on the lookout for or what the worse case solution 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.

Things take a turn when the Japanese government gets involved. Contrary to what one might expect, the government has also noticed this phenomena of fictional characters becoming flesh and blood, is taking it seriously, and has formed a competent and effective task force to handle it. I was pleased by this plot shift; the characters had been at a standstill about what to do next, and the decision was made for them. Sota also begins to realize that he might know where the villain woman in a fancy uniform came from, which is critical to fixing the problem. But for some reason he doesn't want to share this precious bit of information. I hope that in the end some sort of explanation will be offered as to why fictional characters have become real and it will make some sense; for example, maybe Uniform Woman's creator wrote a manga about just such a thing, and it somehow set a cascade in motion.

Episode seven involved a good deal of inconclusive fighting among the Creations, which kind of seemed like a waste to me. I would rather we move 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? I can't help feeling that this is a show which started off with a cool and novel concept, but hasn't done much with it. I hate that schoolgirl character, not just because she's a pure psychopath but because her 100% evil personality is so two dimensional, and trivializes the rest of the show. What's the point of her trying to trick Sota when we all know how bad she is? It would be better if it was unclear if she was good or evil, and therefore we didn't know exactly what to expect. For a while it looked like he was going to fall for it, which made me roll my eyes.

At the climax of the first season, the good guys stumble across an unexpected tactic which might just defeat Altair and her plan to destroy the world. I need to rewatch an episode or two, because I don't understand exactly how this technique works, or what relationship it has 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 am confused. Still, the idea is kind of intriguing and I want to see how it plays out. The second season starts with a refresher episode (with some fresh--and humorous--content). Unfortunately, it didn't re-explain what the logic behind the new attempt to defeat the bad Creations is, which was what I needed most. For some reason I could suspend disbelief and accept fictional characters becoming real; but one of these characters declaring that the real world was at risk of destruction was too much of a stretch and my mind couldn't grasp that. And with that being the case, it's hard to make sense of the new project. Nonsense phrases like 'the world's rationality' and 'variable imaginative force' don't help either. Episode 14 seemed rather lacking in drama to me. Prominent manga authors have been tasked with writing a new work of fiction that will hopefully become true if readers like it, and solve everything. Apparently a serious argument takes place between some of them--I can only say 'apparently', because although I watched the scene very little emotion was displayed and I was surprised afterwards when it is implied that several people's feelings had been hurt. Not even a tear was shed. I hope that is not indicative of a new standard of quality for the second season of this show.

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 understand the plot--I get 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.

In episode 18 it looked like the story was wrapping up and I began to wonder if this show might be coming to an end with an unconventional one-and-a-half seasons length. Instead, it seems to be following the common path of creating colorful, respectable opponents, then coming up with an excuse for them to change sides and everybody to cooperate to defeat the real villain. Oh, so Altair hates this world because of what it did to her Creator. That makes some sense; it also means that she, too, isn't completely evil. But if you discovered that you are in fact a fictional character who has been brought to life by some ill-defined magic, would you conclude that you should go and trash the world that was not kind to your Creator? Or would you just have a nervous breakdown?

Last updated Tuesday, September 19 2017. Created Thursday, April 13 2017.

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