Author pointed out that I didn’t explain why I found Figure 17 ‘hard to digest’. It’s probably good that he brought it up, because I’m not sure I’d really considered that myself. Justify, justify . . .
A brief preamble is probably in order: Figure 17 takes a premise from the magical girl genre (the young heroine has to use her powers to collect some objects) and unites that premise with an unusually kinetic style of action (the objects are monstrous aliens) and a startlingly intense amount of emotion (‘THE SCENE‘, for instance). It’s not quite The 08th Mahou Shoujo Team, but it may be as close as we’ll get, and I rather like it.
There’s much more than that to say about Figure 17: I could point out how good the animation is (barring the odd instance of re-use); I could praise the pleasant evolution of the heroes’ weaponry, in a kind of arms race with the monsters; I could pick out some examples of its beautifully drawn landscapes, which I enjoyed so much that they entirely sated my desire for any real countryside; or I could describe how it made me cry. But we have more pressing business.
The digestive problem was one of time. The double-length episodes and the resulting, worryingly large, amount of screentime which didn’t involve raucous guitar music and violence caused some thumb-twiddling. Because I enjoyed the action, quite a lot of my mind would have liked Figure 17 to be the anime equivalent of the perfect action movie. This, I think, is a problem with me and not with Figure 17: I thought that in theory you could separate the ‘Tsubasa and Hikaru Create zomgwtfbbqEdgarAllenPwnage‘ story from the ‘Hikaru Helps Tsubasa Become A Stronger Person’ story.
In theory, perhaps – but in bad theory, because Figure 17 is Figure 17, not two separate entities. I could treat the action part of the show as a story in and of itself, but that’d involve skipping everything else, and the sad truth is that action without preparation is action without emotion. (Unless you’re making something like Gundam Evolve. See Gundam Evolve 8: ‘SEED does The Matrix‘. Evolve‘s short sequences piggyback on existing anime for their emotional impact, if they have any.)
I suspect my problem is my attention span, not the way that Figure 17 is written. I’m just not used to sitting still for this long.
- Den Beste thinks that it’s the show’s problem, speaking of ‘economy in story telling’. He may have a point; Richardson destroyed my nose for story-sprawl, so I wouldn’t notice either way.
- ceriselumiere, while critical, says Figure 17 is ‘very good’ and blames her disappointment in it on misplaced expectations.