wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Anime, escapism and other forms of entertainment

This was sparked by belindabird's quick and dirty review of Strike Witches, which got me to reading Chizumatic for the first time in, I dunno, a year? I'd pretty much stopped reading it a year ago, since SDB's taste in anime is not very close to mine. (He prefers kawaii, maho shojo series, preferably with fan service.)

Anyway...SDB has a short essay on escapist entertainment which is well worth reading because I think it has some really useful things to say about why what appeals to me might not appeal to you and vice versa. deathquaker, revolutionaryjo, onsenmark and I really like Revolutionary Girl Utena; other folks not so much, and the same goes for a lot of other anime, movies, books, etc. Boiled down to its essence, the essay asks two basic questions: Does the story show you someplace interesting or attractive? Does it do a good job of drawing you into that place? If the place it shows you is someplace unpleasant, dull, and/or offensive, then the second question is really irrelevant - no matter how good the plot and characters are, the setting sucks, and you won't read that book unless you have to. This is why (for example) the Sharpe series works so well for me - the Napoleonic Wars are a colorful, fascinating period of history, and Richard Sharpe is an awesome character. The same applies to the Caiaphas Cain novels - while I find the WH40K universe pretty appalling on a number of levels and would never RPG there, Cain is similar enough to Harry Flashman (with a strong leavening of Dand McNeil) to keep me amused as he staggers in and out of one mortal peril after another.

This also clarifies why people find EVE and other MMORPG so enjoyable - not only is it a world one enjoys playing in, but your friends can share it in real time and even (unlike watching a movie or reading a book together) interact with you. Multiple win!

So - RTWT. You'll be glad you did.
Tags: linkagery, the bush of fandom

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