The ‘game’ genre has been becoming increasingly popular lately with anime like Accel World, Sword Art online, BTOOOM!, etc. being produced frequently. One can call it a trend by all means, because that’s what it is, considering the increasing audience these type of shows are gathering. Primarily, the game genre consists of a plot where people are involuntarily (in some cases voluntarily) dragged into a ‘world’ where their only objective is to survive and beat the game to get back to their normal lives. There are exceptions, but this is how it is in most cases. Also, some players start attacking each other and our MC comes and shows them who is boss.
Sword Art Online is an anime which has a great start and build up potential only to lose it in the subsequent episodes like the air oozing out of a punctured tyre. Frankly, the reason I view SAO as a decent anime is because of the complexity of the plot. It feels like at least they tried. When you have a complex plot, moulding it to your will (and keeping in mind that readers and viewers have to like it) proves to be a difficult task. Anime with simple plots are easier to make, take usagi drop for example. Its creators did a fantastic job of course. But throughout the series, nothing much happened. It’s a slow paced slice of life anime and it is supposed to be like that but my point is: it’s much simpler to deal with less intricate plots. Once you get tangled in the complexity, it’s difficult to navigate through it and tie up all the loose ends once you are out of it. That’s what separate the good from the great stories. The ability to wield complexity.
Speaking of plots, there are ones that dictate the rules of a game like Log Horizon and SAO. Also, there are ones wherein players develop and discover new rules as they go (a good example would be No game No life). No Game No Life was more focused on a more practical way of introducing the plot where they didn’t dwell into every detail right from the beginning. Viewers were supposed to take in what was going on during a particular scene as is (instead of applying logic). This can be understood because the creators never intended for the story to be sci-fi, as a result they did not have to tie up loose ends in that domain. They wanted a story which solely had the following: setting followed by a genius strategy. Its 12 episodes were more entertaining than either of LH and SAO (25 episodes). I was curious about what new things I will get to see in the world they were in and of course blank’s genius tactics. There is no denying that they could not possibly explain every tiny detail, but all we knew was that there were 16 races which resembled the chess pieces on each side of a game of chess and that the whole earth was covered by them. There were 10 rules, one god. Pretty much nothing else. Video game based anime had a fixed set of rules that viewers couldn’t possible be surprised by much, since we are acquainted with the setting beforehand. On top of that a video game based anime cannot be lax with their rules, that’s what games are all about right?
One reason that has come to my notice as to why some anime lose their ‘fun factor’ is because they get DEAD serious. Yes, people died. Not that such a plot should become taboo. SAO did a good job with its seriousness for the first few episodes. They should have deviated to being more fun and friendly in the later episodes. Instead, they highlighted selfishness, revenge and killing without reason. Not good. Same with BTOOOM! Instead of being a strategy anime, it turned out to be barbaric death ground. Even the characters were terrible. I really wish I hadn’t watched that. Ha! By the way, Log Horizon feels all the more better to watch because we needn’t worry about our favourite characters dying. With staying alive not the first thing on their mind, the story progressed well. This has been very well thought of, and I am impressed making LH one of the good anime I’ve seen. Need I say anything about NGNL? ;)
I’ll be honest with you, during the time I had just begun LH, it felt like I had covered more episodes than I really had. For example, once I finished the 6th one, it felt like I had completed 9-10. Not because it seemed long and boring but because it felt as if they covered so much in one episode that had it been another anime, the same amount of coverage would have taken a greater number of them. While watching, I thought if it keeps up this kind of awesomeness, I’ll give it a 10 :3
“An anime is as good as its characters” We need cute girls! Haha :D This is where NGNL and LH showed their true colours. I’ve seen plotless anime which had a strength only in character development and their general nature. Sakurasou is of that kind. After finishing it I was like, the person who created this has fantastic potential to create even better work! Sakurasou is a good example of making something out of nothing. Hajime Kamoshida is a genius. Characters are central to anime or any kind of entertainment of that matter. You become attached to them. Some even fall for them (I have a thing for red headed girls :P) and once the anime gets over, we miss them. You know why watching anime makes us feel better? Mainly because of them :) NGNL and LH have both great characters and stories. If you haven’t watched them yet, whatchu waitin’ for ;)