Melty Sprites

I have been occasionally playing the little treasure that have come from Comic Market 81 including the two anime fighting games I cared the most about, those beingĀ Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code and Ougon Musou Kyoku Cross. Far be it from me to even pretend to be a serious Type-Moon critic but I must complain about Melty Blood. Playing both games back to back makes me realize that Melty Blood SERIOUSLY needs to upgrade their sprites. If you compare the crisp HD sprites of Ougon Musou Kyoku to Melty Blood’s wonderful but outdated character graphics the difference is so noticeable. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy playing the new Melty Blood. Adding the new selectable fighting styles and added characters is very much appreciated. But I would rather the next addition of the game make minimal additions to any game play (which is already quite good) and instead work on the graphics. It would take a great game and modernize it into a spectacular game.

I realize that this is partially a selfish and very complicated request. UpgradingĀ sprites is a major undertaking and fighting games are loathed to change the artwork on sprites that already work unless they have no other choice. The infamous example was the use of the outdated Morrigan spite until Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. I also know that French Bread would probably wish to spend more time and effort on the graphics for the artwork of their own original property game, Under Night In-Birth. It might be a somewhat selfish request but it is one I make anyhow. I know it is a serious investment but it is one that I think would result in an equal amount of returns.

Mawaru Penguindrum’s Visual Library

Kunihiko Ikuhara tends to be famous for his work Revolutionary Girl Utena for several reasons. He is remembered for creating a show that takes the more conventional tropes of magical girl shows and fairy tales and twists them in an unusual but pleasant manner. He also took some very sexually explicit material and infused it into a story without making it gratuitous. He is also known for using some pretty bold symbolism and metaphor while still making an accessible and entertaining product. But the piece of his legacy we will being looking at in Mawaru Penguindrum is his flair with visuals that are both stunning and yet crammed with meaning and purpose.

When I look at Revolutionary Girl Utena, I see so many techniques and a visual library that let’s you look past a low-budget. Working within a limited means can sometimes create innovation and push the limit. So even when a show like Mawaru Penguindrum has more of a financial push behind it, Ikuhara doesn’t leave behind his flair for the dramatic. He combines this with an odd grouping of motifs in spectacular fashion making Penguindrum, if nothing else, an eye-catching anime.

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Nervous in the (Fan-)Service

This single tweet is what sparked this whole post but in Mike Dent’s defense when I asked about Sacred Seven on Twitter the majority opinion seems to be that most people find the show inoffensive but rather lackluster so most would agree with his decision. (I am really enjoying the show but that is a discussion for another time.) What struck me as interesting was that it was the beach episode that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was discussing the episode with my roommate and we both agreed that the episode barely dwelt on the girl’s in bathing suits and the shots of them at the beach were rather tame. But I think Mike’s reaction is the symptom of a the divide in the community that the recent brand of fan service has created. The extremes of fan service have created an equally extreme but opposite reaction from a majority of the vocal parts of fandom.

When I started watching anime in the mid-90’s I thought lots of fan-service was just part of the deal; if I wanted everything else I liked about it, it was just something that I had to accept. So in a way, I understand the inkling now to reject fan-service outright because there are so many other options. And admittedly, I have a much lower tolerance level than I once did. However, I find there can be an acceptable balance that won’t ruin a story.

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