We’re on our last episode of TWGOK season 2. I may as well finish at least one show from spring season before summer season starts. And since I doubt they’re going to try to cram a full capture into a single episode, it’ll probably be a delicious filler-style episode, hopefully rescuing my opinion of it after that disappointing episode 11. Good luck, episode 12 of TWGOK season 2~
…thirty minutes pass…
So amazing! I mean I expected it to be great, and I was still blown away. He spends like ten minutes monologuing (yes!) about game design (yes!!) while parodying parodies various anime (yes!!!) by using them as exaggerated visual metaphor (YESSSSSSSSSSSS!)! I was expecting to watch him play his games all episode, and I thought, hooray, the two episodes last season where he played games were awesome. But he took it a level further, and made this the best episode in either season. It’s fine to simply enjoy your entertainment, but it really takes things up a level to analyze it with a critical eye. Don’t just say, this game is good, think about what makes it good. Don’t just watch anime, write an anime blog!
I was thinking while watching this episode, isn’t it a little surprising how much I look forward to this show’s filler episodes? The arcs are actually pretty hit and miss (Chihiro’s is the only one from this season I would call an unqualified hit), but the episodes between them are great. But you compare that to a show like Yakitate Japan, where the filler is terrible and unwatchable, or Code Geass, where the filler feels out of place and throws off the tone of the show. I’ve decided, there is a right way and a wrong way to do filler episodes. The wrong way is to come up with some wacky situation or unthreatening nonce villain, have the characters react as the characters obviously would react to that situation, and then take your writing staff out for drinks to celebrate the completion of another episode. The right way is… have you played The Sims: Medieval? Probably you haven’t, it’s one of those games that was “guaranteed to be crappy”, but like Keima, I have come to love the hell out of it. One of the great things is, you have quests that your heroes go on, that are sort of like little episodic things, but in the middle of their quests they have to take time off to deal with their job responsibilities, their personal traits, and their relationships. And it’s these little things that help establish them as people, that make The Sims: Medieval into more than a linear task simulator, into a sort of stripped down sandbox RPG. It’s important to see who your characters are, not just what they’re doing. And that’s the proper role of good filler, to show the nature of your characters by showing what they do when they’re not busy saving the world or baking bread or whatever. The problem is, in order to make an interesting episode out of that, you have to have interesting characters, because you’re giving up the ability to put them in interesting situations. Many anime don’t have protagonists capable of carrying an episode.