I am a person known to "think a lot," sometimes, more than what I should. I think about absolutely everything that I do, I did, I should do, why to do it, things I see, things I hear, and pretty much everything there is.
Stories are a BIG part of my life, I am ever inspired by stories in movies, animes, mangas, videogames, books, history and else. I rate the things I perceive according to 3 criteria: Story, Sequence of Events, and Presentation. Let me explain.
- Story: It is the objective of the main character; the objective of the villain; the ideas, concepts, and philosophy present in the creation; the personal story of the characters; and everything else I am forgetting to say now (to be edited in the future). A few examples:
- Simple plot: The objective of the villain is to conquer/destroy the world, the objective of the protagonists is to stop the villain. This can be easily seen in some of the most famous, all time favorite creations like "The Lord of the Rings," "Star Wars," "The Legend of Zelda," and the new "The Avengers" (Sauron, Darth Sidius, Ganondorf, and Loki want to conquer the world just because). Nevertheless, the character development of all these mentionned movies are excelent, along with the Sequence of Events along with the Presentation (and gameplay with Zelda), so the simplicity in the plot can easily be overlooked, specially with all the wonderful learning one gets from these movies (not too sure about The Avengers if anything can be learned, but it certainly is inspiring).
- Double plot: In this scenario, the main characters and the villains have different objectives, so the storye does not necessarily end after "beating the final boss." The best example that I can think of is of my favorite videogame: "Tales of Symphonia," where the objective of Lloyd and companny is to restore the world to a shape and system where both worlds (if you have played the game, you know what I mean, if you haven't, I try to keep spoilers to a minimum, and you do not know what you are missing) can live in harmony while the villain is trying to create also a peaceful world free of discrimination by sacrificing half of the population for the sake of the other half as he tries to revive his loved one. So the "villain" is not really evil (for a definition of "evil" see my future post about it) but well intentioned, only that he grew distorted after severe psychological trauma *insert fangirl scream.* Aside from a very original story, ToS also has an unvelievable character development and way too many many (its not a typo, i did write many twice) morals and lessons ("Discrimination comes from the heart of people who are not strong enough to accept the differences in others" *fangirl!*). I cannot think as of now of another "double plot" story, now again, I have not witnessed enough stories. Another example might be "Skies of Arcadia Legends" where you are on a race against the villain to collect all the crystals, although you are ruining the plans of the villain, it is not your motivation (?).
- Free plot: I have not thought too much about this third category for I have not seen many of this kind of stories, but I would say that "Game of Thrones" is much like this, where it is not exactly about villains and heroes, but more about character development than anything else. The characters just live their lives and live through their many conflicts of ideals, beliefs and preferences. Another good example is One Piece, I am now in episode 606 and there is not a villain, it is pretty much Luffy and his crew sailing the world facing everyday perils and entering in conflict with every pirate that competes with them or the marines, who we thought had the villain (Sengoku) but now we see that he has stepped down from the villain seat). Again, I do not know of enough stories as to give any more examples.
- Sequence of Events: This is about what actually happens in the story. I don't have much to say about this but give examples, so let me use some of the already used stories:
- The Lord of the Rings: You may have an objective to destroy the ring, but how you do it reflects the "Sequence of Events." Who is going to do it? Are you going to travel from Rivendel to Mordor by foot or flying on an eagle? Are you going alone or with someone? how are they going to join you? Are you going to take the pass through Caradhras, Moria, Rohan, or all of them? Oh boy! A wild Balrgo has appeared!!! what does this have to do with our quest? I hope I set a good picture of what I meant (by the way, I doubt anything better than TLOTR will ever come out).
- Tales of Symphonia: The main objective of the characters in this case is to save the world from a depletion of mana, but they use 3 different startegies to achieve this and two of them actually ended doing the complete opposite of what they wanted. As they fought their way into replenishing the mana, they had to take a break from their mission many times to fight Desians and save Colette quite a few times and sacrifice many people. All those things they endure and also, you have a lot of freedom to choose in what order to do them in each new game you start, you can even reshape the game to some extent with your decisions and discover new small side-scenes.
- The Avengers: Did anyone else realize of how much time and energy was consumed at fixing the flying carrier? It almost became the main plot of the movie! (I am not complaining, i liked it a lot!).
- Patterns: Some patterns that I have seen that I like tend to be with the death of certain characters, like all those characters you were not expecting to die in Gurren Lagann and Code Geass and that shocked you so much that you cried (you know who I mean!). In fact, I consider the series "Guilty Crown" worth seeing just for one character, yes, THAT character, the one who gets a birthday cake in the last episode (sniff). Unexpected deaths are always excellent plot twists because they arouse every single one of your emotions, people should appreciate more the beauty of crying out of consuming sadness; not only love, but pain is also a force that drives people away and together, the sympathy and empathy you get to feel when you see someone in pain and your desires to help them, to be with them. Character development also enters in this category of Events along with the timing, what is going on that makes the character personality evolve? the "why" is very important. Wars are also very appealing with unexpected or desired alliances. The most difficult event in every story is the very end, the closing, the good bye that the series gives you; indeed its hard to close a series, because it is to be expected that life for each character goes on, but how are you going to close the part of their life that we as expectators get to see? In my opinion, the best 3 endings I have seen belong to the animes: Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, and Digimon Adventure (for me, Digimon Adventure 2 never existed!) [For more on endings, read my future blog on Endings].
- Presentation: This componnent includes the effects, the songs (in my opinion, the most important element), the camera angle, the focus of the image, drawing style, clothes, accesories, the emotions, speeches, dialogues, phrases, etc. This may actually be the single most important element of all stories, I believe that if your emotions get aroused enough, you can ignore the story and the events of a story, after all, most of the reason we see fantasy is for the entertainment, and for me, entertainment is mostly emotion arousal: to be able to laugh and cry without any of the risks of life (but the inspiration and learning also is very important to me! nevertheless, it is not a reason to not like a story, only to like it more!). Examples (spoiler alert):
- Gurren Lagann episode 26: When Simon meets again with Kamina, the scene says "your tears belong to me" because of the yellowish colored background with the "Libera me from Hell" song while Kamina gives us his last teaching in the companny of the Great Gurren Brigade and a casual conversation with Simon about his height... just as if he were still alive (sniff).
- Code Geass R2 episode 25: Lelouch's death, pierced by Susaku's sword as he wore the Zero costume right after you are given but a small hint of what is about to happen, you have only 5 seconds to realize that he is really going to die, only 5 seconds to say "NO!" only five seconds to be in your denial. And so the great emperor falls and rolls , falling rigth into Nunnully's arms who realizes his whole plan and begins to cry of sadness while the whole rest of the world yells in happiness for the death of its savior with the "Continued Stories" song in the background which even further steals your tears (sniff). All of this master piece to be completely ruined with the ending song. UGH! Mosaic Kakera, Shiawase Neiro or Colors would have done a far better job to break the audience into small pieces.
- The Lord of the Rings: Every time the Rohan army appears in their horses with that beautiful violin song, bringin forth the sun shining light of hope and a REALLY awesome phrase from the characters: "King Theoden fights alone... No, not alone, not anymore" (I am paraphrasing). "Ride to the end of the world! Before sun rising! DEATH!!!! Come on Eorlingas!!!!" And any phrase works out, like Sams end thought of the second movie about the stories of the shire or Aragorn's speech in front of the Black Gates of Mordor: "One day will come when men will betray his brothers, BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!!!!" *Fangirl scream.* I can overlook any mistake if you give me something as awesome as this.
To end, I will analyze "The Legend of Legendary Heroes" based on my criteria, after all, this is its wikia :)
- Story: Double Plot and Free Plot. We do not really have a Villain, you could make an argument that Relpha is the villain, but the anime drifts from this idea in episode 21 onward and also, you get insight and material to feel sympathy for Gastark (for more information, read my future blog entry about Good and Evil). Both Sion and Relpha share the same objective and it is exclusive, but the motivation is not really to ruin each other, but to save the world from itself. We also have ideas and concepts about child abuse, solitude, pain of the soul, the stigma, the scar of your past, conflicting philosophies, the everyfay life of countries and nobles with relationships and conflicts with Sion, and character development from these ideas. "Ferris... is it... alright... for me to live? - I would be all alone without you."
- Events: (SPOILER ALERT) I believe Sui and Fiole are the only note worthy characters that die, but you get to see how a lot of people lose arms, specially shocking for Field Marshal Claugh Klom. The couple with magic eyes also gets killed by Rif into a very emotional scene. Also, we have a lot of encounters and Hero relics appearing at really convenient times. I Loved Miran Fraude in every single one of his evil deeds, fighting Ryner and Ferris, "saving" Noah Ehn, killing the nobles, fighting Rif, being saved by Claugh, "helping" save Kuku, kidnapping Milk, and being subdued by Luke. Miran was certainly a blessing to this series. Every charactyer had its moment to shine and spice to add to the series. Sadly, we have the complete catastrophe of episodes 15 and 21 through 24 where everything becomes just random crazyness fillers. Aside from that, simply amazing!
- Presentation: Awesome effects, specially of episode 6: Miran vs Ryner and Ferris. Loved the clothes (specially Ferris' black garments under her armor <3). The english translation has simply wonderful voices with dreamy dialogues of the medieval ages (nevertheless, hard to understand, yet, not a point against the series). Songs do not play a major role in the series (aside from the really good openings and endings) but sound effects of battle are just enough. The spells incantations were melodically pleasing to the ears.
This series was too good, it was almost certainly into my favorite's list with Gurren, Geass, and Digimon, but not quite, all thanks to the jerks of the japanese who do not know how to cope with a divorce from canonical sources. Sigh, still, those 19ish episodes were very inspiring and left their mark in me, I REALLY want to read the Light Novel.
This is just my opinion, you do not have to agree, and if you do not, then we can interact better through our differences :) Let the destiny legend begin.