Earth Girl Arjuna

Done with the series a few days back.

I don’t really blog about anime, and neither do I feel like turning this into an anime blog since half my audience gets misled off Google thinking that they’re here to read something about real postherpetic neuralgia (it’s a metaphor), or insomnia, or other, more hilarious examples I should dedicate another post to, since I’m averaging about 20-30 visitors a day thanks to this. The other half of my audience could care less about it. In any case:

If I could sum up what I want to be in a sentence, I’d wish to do for writing what Yoko Kanno’s done for composing music. Someone who does something innovative, with startling clarity and brilliance; not necessarily known or loved in the mainstream, but approved of by those who matter. For the brilliance lay in the fact that the music saved the anime, in addition to supporting and enhancing it like a good soundtrack should.

Earth Girl Arjuna is a 13-episode excursion in what feels like vaguely experimental mahou shoujo, or the magical girl genre. Which would also mean that it does, in terms of what I like to call “doing an Eva” after Neon Genesis Evangelion, whose plot went awry in tone after the 16th episode, to say nothing of the last 2 episodes that garnered death threats and numerous letters. The same happens here — the plot goes nowhere halfway into the series, there’s no more fighting monsters to save the world — instead a lot of navel-gazing occurs, internal conflicts that are supposed to denote characterisation which actually preach to the viewer instead.

So what transpires is a piecemeal explanation of existence encapsulated into half an hour chunks, disguised as entertainment of the highest variety. You get the works — from the significance of words and what manner of meaning we attach to them; nature, how it’s no longer sacrosanct and why we should “return to the basics”; what exactly is “I” and “you” defined; emotions, how we no longer connect to each other; birth, death, and a lot of other pseudo-intellectual musings — after all, Arjuna happens to also be derived from Hindu mythology, which in turn would give those infallible Japanese a chance to wreak havoc with their creative license, something history’s done before.

Take for example this precedent. On creating Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was asked of assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki, what the various religious symbols meant, as extensive reference to Judaism and Christianity are present throughout the series. He was quoted as saying that “We just thought the visual symbols of Christianity looked cool.” Indeed.

I liked it for the aesthetic value the music presented, which, like I said earlier, isn’t much when you realise that pretty sounds don’t a story make. Character design is shoddy by today’s standards even after discounting personal style (a comparison to Makoto Shinkai’s Voices of a Distant Star only makes it seem worse), animation is decent at best, but showing its age.

Currently having a late start on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I’m pleasantly surprised as to the originality and quality of it, never mind the rabid fanboys that turned me off at first. More on that later this week!

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