12/03/2007

Schrodinger's Anime, and other bad scientific parallels

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly.
The experiment would never go through with this cat.

Scientific analysis of anime strikes back.

Unfortunately none of the shows I watch are complex enough to involve any actual scientific theory beyond the hand-waving "if I say a bunch of fancy terms I can confuse you into submission" stuff, so what little knowledge I can derive from the shows I watch is of the humorous kind, which will probably send physics majors into convulsions.

Most of the theories are based off evidence from the current season, so consider it as you will a sort of praise for all the enjoyable shows of fall 2007; although, there are a few classics in the bunch as well.

So get out your pencil and get ready to take notes, there will be a quiz on this at the end of the - you in front! I see you reaching for that 'read more' link...

(Relative spoilers for Myself;Yourself, Clannad, and KimiKiss, and major spoilers for Kanon.)


Or this one.
Ayu's Backpack:
Let us take a hypothetical situation where a taiyaki-loving girl is placed in a coma with an angel doll. When seven years are allowed to pass, there is the possibility that she may astrally project herself relative to the viewpoint of a returning male protagonist. Whether she is a projection or real is subject to the contents of her winged backpack, which may or may not be empty, proving either conclusion. However, if the backpack is not opened it can be stated that the girl may perhaps be in a state of flux between astral and non-astral, existing as a sort of 'uguu'-form.

Sometimes I wonder if the teacher's mentioning of Schrodinger's Cat in Kanon 20-odd was on purpose or not; as a conspiracy theory, I can't overlook it. The implications of Ayu existing, or rather, not-existing are very open-ended at times; where does she go when Yuuichi is not looking? Does she still exist at those times? And why is she wearing the red hairband? These are the questions that fans that dig too deep - like me - love to ask, even if we know there is no answer.

This theory comes in many popular flavors as well:
Kaiji-obasan's Cat: An object belonging to a creepy old lady which may or may not be a cat is placed in a box and buried by two high school students. At a point later in the plot, the contents of the box may be revealed to be one or the other, but until then, the main protagonist gets slapped around a lot.

Again, another case of 'ridiculously amusing parallels'. Although, with the way Myself;Yourself is mostly choreographing itself, the contents of the box should be obvious...

Fuuko's Starfish: A girl astrally projects herself from a coma, again, except different and much more well-received by fans. She carves starfish and passes them out to students, but all the while, her physical condition is worsening. When she reaches the point where only certain students can recgonize her, her state can be claimed to be in a state of flux, where she neither is completely real nor completely astral.

Trying to think about Fuuko's arc made my head hurt in the end; how she managed to carve and give away the starfish without, being, well, physical, was confusing, especially near the end when she was only able to be seen (and physically recgonized?) by Nagisa and Tomoya. Not to mention the ninth episode, where she's kind of there in spirit but not in body for a lot of the time.

The second half of Fuuko's existential crisis was the fact that I couldn't decide whether the story was going to kill her off or have her make a miracle recovery. In the end, neither happened, and it's probably for the better; this way it does not have the cheese factor of Kanon's 'all better!' nor of AIR's 'look, she died! it's sad!'. I'm still not fully sold on Clannad being the best thing since sliced sad girls in snow, but it definitely presents itself in a more realistic manner.

Three Laws of Minami:
1st: Every train of thought continues in its current state, until acted upon by another train of thought.
One of those things that always seems to work well as comedy is when a character's imagination completely runs away from them. Moments like Chiaki manipulating Kana to think Fujioka's out to get her, or pretty much anything involving Hosaka, I think are genius. Maybe that's a bit of my evil puppetmaster side showing.

2nd: The hilarity produced by a particular character is directly proportional to the Idiocy Rating of the character and thus inversely proportional to the character's brain size.
This is essentially the same as above, since this one usually leads to the first law. Note that one's idiot rating can have spontaneous spikes (cue Haruka biting into a onigiri wrapper), so it's not like one character is consistency more amusing than the other; just that masterminds like Chiaki often do more in setting jokes up for other characters than anything else.

3rd: For each sister there is an equal and opposite male foil.
Part of what I think sets Minami-ke apart, aside from awesome camera angles (at least in ep. 1), is how it Actually Has Guys in it; at least relative to most slice-of-life shows. You look at Lucky Star, or Azumanga, there's one guy, two, tops, and they really only play a bit role. But the guys in Minami-ke star in a lot of gags, mainly because they've proven they can be every bit as idiotic - and thus, funny - as the girls.

I mean, come on. Mako's made traps funny.

Conservation of Manliness:
The total amount of manliness - and conversely, moeness - in an anime watchlist always remains constant, although said constant will vary from viewer to viewer.

I used to consider myself to be one who watches a lot of female-orientated shows, since my list contains a lot of romance. But now realizing that a lot of said shows are actually male-orientated harem romances - something mostly unheard of in America, land of the action - I realized that I have a surprisingly low tolerance for genuinely feminine shows, even though I can stand a lot of moe shows.

Therefore, when I watch something that breaks the pink-o-meter like Shugo Chara (ballet, minute-long transformations, negaaative haaato, etc), I need something adrenaline-filled to restore the balance of the world. Something like Kaiji. You can draw your own mental pictures of me injecting Restricted Rock-Paper-Scissors straight into my veins.

(Although, do I need a countermeasure for all the naked guy-ness of episode 8?)

Laws of Haremdynamics:
0th: Two characters in love with one character are at war with each other.
And if their names are Sekai Saionji, Kotonoha Katsura, and Makoto Itou, you're going to get some serious forces resulting from this equation.

But for some reason, it does seem like the most interesting conflicts in harem romances come from one-on-one duels, instead of the five-girl free-for-alls (since, in the end, only Setsuna could be considered the other bit player). For some reason girls in anime are incredibly good at taking a number and waiting for their arc. Perhaps this is because it would be hard to create such an epic fight without it becoming incredibly, ridiculously, soap-opera-dramatic. Still, I'd like to see someone try it.

1st: The change in two character's relationship is equal to the work done on the relationship by its surroundings.
One dedicated to KimiKiss; it certainly seems that Mao is doing all the work in setting up Kouichi and Yuumi. Perhaps, combined with the fact that their relationship is a virtual lock, that's why I find their relationship the most uninteresting, despite the fact that said "oh look I'm too shy to confess to a girl" love stories should be the most endearing to people of my age. Who knows.

Nevertheless, Kazuki's and especially Mao's stories seem to be quite the interesting ones, although these two relationships are self-sufficient enough that they break this rule.

2nd: Love flows from hotter objects to less attractive ones.
A humorous poke at the basis of harem shows. Seriously, if I see one more brown/black-haired, easily-flustered Incredibly Nice Guy surrounded by a bunch of beauties - as much as that might appeal to any potential viewers - I will have to make vague promises of revolting. There's a reason people like Tomoya work so well, because they have an edge in addition to their soft side.

3rd: It is impossible to create a male lead that is perfectly efficient.
See above. You can't have your cake - er, harem - and eat it too, but so many characters are simply horrible at harem managing, or even just seeing the writing on the wall. Yuuji and Sana are bright enough characters, except where it counts in noticing that their Designated Love Tsunderes are completely jealous due to some misunderstanding involving another girl. Or the aforementioned Kouichi, who just might take three-quarters of KimiKiss waiting to ask Yuumi out. Maybe I'm asking too much of characters that I'm supposed to pretend are "just like me" (since a lot of harem makes no bones about being escapist), but I'd at least like to think I could do a better job in their shoes.

Ah well. I don't plan on turning my back on a genre that's been so moe to me any time soon. I complain because it takes forever for the gears to be set in motion; like a car with really bad turbo lag, it just takes a while before the awesome hits.

-CCY
Bonus observations:
* I can now officially say I am watching Shugo Chara mainly for the nekomimi bishies, since Ikuto and Amu's personalities are the real interesting ones of the bunch.
* Konoe and Shijou, two girls this season with no sense of the world around them, are voiced by the same VA. Coincidence? Or something far more sinister?
* Why does Key have no love for the glasses girl!?


Here's a cat I could never forget.

4 comments:

You know, it's really ironic that I'm reading this post while sitting in my physics discussion right now...

A large part of the inspiration for this was my physics class as well. XD

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