Washi on Allison and Lillia

November 17th, 2008 by Author

The review at Wakaranai hits the right tone in general. It is a good stuff throughout, which pains me to trim (such as the bland directon), but I would like to comment on the adventure part:

[] Allison and Lillia pulsates with light-hearted energy and tries diligently to capture the pure spirit of adventure. I struggle to think of something that works as comparison, which is funny because one of the first things that sprung to mind to describe this show was “a traditional adventure”.

Washi’s post helped me to focus on what was good in Rocket Girls: it does the same thing, only better. Look at the critique that Washi levels on A&L [1]:

The creators may have spent so much effort nailing the essence of adventure that they completely neglected the details of said escapades. In a lot of cases, the villain presence feels contrived and there are quite a few relatively glaring leaps of logic in the plot that are ignored in favour of in-the-moment suspense.

The animation and direction, however might have been just a tad bland for this kind of show. Some scenes looked really great – some of the dog fights were done very well for a tv anime. But the background art was too simple and the episode direction was boringly conventional. I’m not asking for trippy 3D camera pans or anything like that, but the direction did nothing to add atmosphere to the series. It was generally just close up, followed by another close-up etc – the minimum thought needed in getting the animation into a frame. The director is not an unknown, Nishida Masayoshi worked on Mokke recently and I recall that suffering the same blandness.

Rocket Girls often has hideous, low-budget animation, especially in the first few episodes, and most especially in 3D. But the same “pure spirit of adventure” is taken from strong writing and delivered with solid direction (we may not be talking about Shingu level impeccable direction, but even so, A&L is at the bottom of the ladder and Rocket Girls is 2/3 up).

The war-era West is the perfect choice of fictionalised setting as a time when technology and machinery still had a degree of magic to it.

Unlike the direction issue, this may be subjective, but I rather prefer the “our world” escapism that Rocket Girls use. If the creators start inventing the repulsively fake geography of a pacman-shaped continent, and let characters have adventures which cannot be had in the sane world, they open themselves to competition from works in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Even the run of the mill, mass-produced Druaga, the Tower of begins to look attractive once the real world constraints are lifted.

To sum, the problem with A&L is not that it’s bad absolutely, but that it cannot compete… So I only watched it when and until nothing better was available.

P.S. I neglected to mention that RG has no a gap: no romance there. If it’s essential in the given evaluation, it’s disqualified.

[1] I engage in selective quotation here, using critiques that I approve and discarding the rest, such as this:

It is in this that she show loses a lot of points, with characters who are supposed to be so adventurous being so gratingly nervous with each other, and with the female characters being made so cute that it sometimes seems a bit jarring.

Look, WWII was before the Sexual Revolution, in fact a whole generation before.