Beyond God Tier

Published as part of a blog project I’m not participating in.  Honeymuffin.

Yesterday, I read glothelegend’s post comparing Gintama and Nichijou.  Glo, like me, thinks both of these shows deserve a 10/10.  But he argues that Gintama is better because it has more to offer.  Not only is it top-notch comedy, but it also has action, romance (?), and more.  “Literally EVERYTHING,” glo exclaims.

In response, I wrote that I liked Nichijou more (you don’t see me fanboying over Gintama) so I’d say Nichijou is better.

But it’s not just that.  To me, a 10/10 is an accomplishment.  It means an anime is perfect or near perfect for its genre.  Nichijou was my perfect comedy.  Gintama was near my perfect comedy.  But it’s not that slight difference between “near perfect” and “perfect” that separates them.  If it were, I’d peg Nichijou at 10 and Gintama at 9.

No, there has to be a moment.  I talk about this a lot, and I’m not sure if any of you have any idea what I’m talking about.  This moment is when I suddenly realize that I’m watching something amazing, or that the manga I’m reading will stick with me for years.  It can come with a specific scene in an anime, a specific page of a manga, or just anytime.  It can come early on, like it did with Nichijou.  It can come at the end of the series, like it did with Eureka Seven.  Or it can come way after I’m done with the series, like with Welcome to the N.H.K.

These moments make me truly grateful to have spent so much time mucking around in the anime fandom.  It’s rewarding.  It’s makes swimming through waves of trash shows worth it.

Okay.  I get it, they’re good.

No, you don’t get it.  They’re great.  They’re beyond great.

Anime and manga like this are so good that they make me want to exclaim to the world how good they are.  And I do.  It’s not that I’m trying to convince you that Nichijou is good.  I know full well that some of you will never like Nichijou.  But, as I touched on in my last post, I love Nichijou so much that I want to spread the joy.  I want to convince you that some anime are so good that you can devote your entire blog to it, and I want you to give Nichijou a shot so that maybe you can experience what I feel when I watch Nichijou.

Well, why don’t you just reserve 10/10 for these “beyond god tier” shows?

You know what?  I will.

There.  Now Gintama’s a solid 9.

The second half of this post is devoted to Katawa Shoujo.  This is (tangentially) related, I swear.  Katawa Shoujo is beyond-god tier.

I’ve been playing this visual novel for the past three or four days, and I’ve been consistently impressed.  The best reaction (and that closest to mine) to this game comes from Youtube, of all places:

So you’re telling me that a bunch of 4chan anime geeks came up with a Eroge about cute disabled girls? And not only it’s not a joke but it’s also very well made and tastefully written?

This is why I would hand Katawa Shoujo a 10/10 (now revised to 9/10).  But what takes it to and over the top is the script.  I’m not an avid player of visual novels, but even I can tell when something’s well written.  I feel it in my sides when I’m gasping for air while reading Rin’s lines.

You take all the sarcasm I wish I was capable of, add in all the randomness that made Nichijou so incredible to me, and stuff it all into a deadpan grin, and you’re left with Rin.  I don’t want to hype up the game too much (despite what that last sentence sounded like, I put Katawa Shoujo on par with Nichijou), but damn, is it good.

I could write a couple paragraphs on the advantages of visual novels as a medium, but I’ll leave that to somebody else.  I’ll just mention that Rin is more dynamic and interesting a character than any character in any anime or manga I have ever come across.  It has to do with:

  1. The game focusing on solely Rin for more than four hours straight.  No anime character gets that much screentime, except maybe Luffy and Conan.
  2. The game’s audience versus your average anime’s audience.  The former is quite the niche.  The latter is a mob of moe-loving paying customers.  You need to rake in the cash, and some things must be sacrificed.  (For example, what if most people did not like Rin?  You can’t make four hours of an anime devoted to a single character when four hours with four characters means four times the figures and four times the fanbase.)
  3. The person who wrote the script is a genius.  Also, five years of development for an indie game (aka “we do what we want, and it just so happens that what we want is the best visual novel ever made”).

I wish I could take the time to elaborate on this, but I’m busy.  I promised Shizune and Misha that I’d go see the Tanabata festival with them.

19 Comments on “Beyond God Tier”

  1. Scamp says:

    You know, I still genuinely don’t know why you like Nichijou

    • flomu says:

      That’s probably because I never tried to explain why I like it, which is probably because I don’t really know how to explain it. I can explain why somebody wouldn’t like it, and I can explain why the manga is so much more popular than the anime in Japan, but as for my own rabid love of the series? I don’t know.

      But here, I’ll try:

      I like dumb jokes. The kind of humor that Gintama uses. For example, there’s one episode of Gintama where the shogun comes into a barbershop run by the title character. After many antics, he leaves with his hair shaved off and a piece of poop in its place. The entire scene is filled with surprise after surprise, and you’re left with something you would have never expected.

      So maybe that’s why I like Nichijou. It’s not the stupid jokes that get me – it’s the ones that I don’t expect to happen. And every scene of Nichijou holds some kind of pleasant surprise. When others complain that they don’t “get” a scene, I wonder why they’re whining. If a scene ends abruptly with Yukko running out the door of a cafe, it’s unexpected. It’s funny. I can’t contain my laughter as I exclaim, “what the fuck…?”

      It’s not like I understand all of the jokes Nichijou has to offer. There are cultural issues and there are forever incomprehensible issues. I can’t even say that I understand most of the humor in Nichijou. But it’s just that confusion that makes me so happy. It’s not like I’m seeing something extraordinarily witty in something you find boring – it’s that Nichijou takes ordinary events and manipulates them into something unexpected each and every time.

      After all, what’s funny about something you can predict?

      • Scamp says:

        I would argue in return with “what’s funny about something you can’t predict”? I can understand the humour of something that defies your expectations of how a situation is supposed to go, thereby mocking normal standards. But that’s not Nichijou. Nichijou is takes situations that you have no idea how it’s supposed to go normally and does stuff with that. I don’t get how that’s supposed to be funny myself.

      • flomu says:

        Well, I’d argue against that. Most of the time, you have some idea of what’s “normal” compared to what Nichijou depicts. To find a good example of this, I rewatched part of Nichijou episode 4.

        There’s a scene where everybody in the classroom is trying to take a test, and Yukko is freaking out because Mai is doing crazy things that nobody else can see. Yukko tries to get Mio’s attention by patting her on the back repeatedly, and Mio eventually gives in… and hands Yukko her eraser.

        It doesn’t sound funny when I describe it, so I hope you’ve seen it. In any case, I love this scene because it mixes the expected with the unexpected. Mai lying down in the back of the class posing like The Creation of Adam with a hand drawn on the blackboard… that’s expected, and that’s not a typo. Yukko’s surprised expression prepares the audience for this random act, so we don’t get surprised when we see Mai do something strange. Mio handing over the eraser is, strangely, unexpected. It’s something anybody who’s been to school can easily relate to, but not something that we’d expect with the logical flow of events.

        Maybe that’s the explanation.

        “Unexpected” refers not to something random and not understandable, but to something that contradicts what the audience believes should be the next event?

        I’m thinking out loud here.

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  7. Mushyrulez says:

    all your comments are trackbacks


    also im laughing in your face

    • Mushyrulez says:

      also I saw your anime-planet lists

      why does majikoi and horizon get 1/5s

      you horrible horrible monster

      I hate you

      go die in a fire

      die die die

      (p.s. die)

      also I hate you

      (p.p.s kill yourself with a knife)

      tl;dr: drop yourself in a well off the coast of finland. and then die. also i still hate you

  8. SPIRAL says:

    LOL these track backs. I found Ano Natsu to be somewhat entertaining, but not enough to drag me away from my major’s work. Nichijou and Katawa Shoujo, on the other hand, would always throw me against the wall of procrastination and have their way with me.

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