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Hello again :)
In regards to your earlier comment, I have to say that having just seen Kara no Kyoukai, I realized that presenting a story in a non-chronological order may be apropriate for the true plot/motives/drama/story development to make themselves known early on. Initially, it seemed as though SSY was trying to tell two stories at once, the first one being the Ogre conflict, and the main one being the Monster Rat conflict and all of its implications. Thats pretty hard to do effectively in anything. Not until the end do we learn that they were actually tied together. Because of that, I think it was hard for me to really grasp what we were supposed to focus on. Perhaps leaving out some earlier events would have improved the stability of the show, and allowed us to settle into the series instead of wondering what exactly we are watching at any given point. Truly it was hard to watch in the beginning. It makes up for it with relatively fast progression later on, which is a pretty undesirable aspect in both films and books. It reminds me of a book series I read, The Wheel of Time. Similarly to SSY, the plot begins and progresses at a snails pace, mainly for world building, character development, settling in the story, and explaining certain phenomena in that universe. All of the sudden Bam, just killed a boss, 1st book is finished. It would have been better, at least in my opinion, if SSY started in Saki's adolescence and a time jump to childhood within the first 1/3 of the series showed us the backstory. It would have made the beginning more interesting, throwing us in the middle of the dark conflict of which we know nothing but are about to slowly realize, rather than showing us episodes of children in "school" wondering where the hell this show was going to take us. Idk though.
I don't necessarily think a quiet and explanatory beginning will always do justice for a show but then again its probably something that will vary case by case depending on the scope of the show. For example, Natsume Yuujinchou had a *fairly* explanatory beginning which served the show well but for shows like SSY, which demand a tense atmosphere to pervade throughout its entirety, having an explanatory beginning can mess up the overall tone. I also think working in the backstory is good because it allows room for speculation and requires the viewer to be attentive to details which they may otherwise miss out on. Just like in KnK, those details can develop into a story of their own, which enriches the viewer's experience.
What exactly are you opinions regarding an explained backstory vs worked-in backstory? Any references you have would probably help me understand and expand my viewpoints as well.
Oh yeah, I was definitely saying to myself, "where is this show going?" for a long while. It didn't seem to be doing horror well, and it didn't seem to be doing science fiction well, either. What exactly do you mean by "plain jane mary sue"? I've heard the term before, but don't have an exact idea what you mean, although I get the idea you more than less mean "perfectly boring". I did say in my "review" to mayosamurai that I thought things were fully fleshed out, and I do, but that said, I more than less agree that the characters were not all that interesting. They aren't the worst characters I've ever seen, though, either, by a long stretch. I do acknowledge that the work that was done in shinsekai yori was quality. It really was. I like A-1 in general and think they do a good job with putting lush detail in. But it wasn't the level of quality of the art style, so much as it was the art style they chose itself that I didn't like. They were definitely also going for a dystopian feel, as well, although it didn't really come to fruition until later on. Wandering Son? Ok I think I'll check it out soon. Right now, I'm trying to decide if I want to watch Nana, Dennou Coil, or Princess Kiss next. Any thoughts? And I know you're busy, so take your time with responding about knk! :D I'm excited as ever to hear about it from you, and hope you'll have a lot of thoughts to bring to the table. :)
FYI I just posted a summary of my thoughts about shinsekai yori on mayosamurai's page a minute ago, in case you have interest in reading it.
Also, I finally finished Shinsekai Yori.
Oh no problem! I was just wondering what you were up to, since I hadn't heard from you in a while.