du5k decided to hold a “blog carnival” among anime blogs, in which we all discuss the same topic for a week. The idea is that we’ll all publish a post on the topic today, discuss, other people will join in, and everyone will do a wrap-up post on the last day, January 15th.
So here’s the topic:
What makes an A+ anime?
I could say that an A+ anime needs detailed and memorable characters. I could say it needs an interesting story. I could say it needs to entertain me. I could say it needs beautiful, fluid animation and an exquisite soundtrack. I could (and do) say it needs to revolutionize the way you view the world.
But all these “answers” simply raise more questions. What is a good character? What is a good story? What entertains me? In the end, we won’t be able to come to any set of criteria (much less objective criteria!) to define what an A+ anime is. So I can’t really say what makes an A+ anime.
But all is not lost. An A+ anime is much like obscenity. I may not be able to define it, but, in the words of Justice Stewart,
I know it when I see it.
Or equivalently, an A+ anime is
Simoun is the only show on my list of favorite anime that earns an A+. Since I can’t define an A+ anime, let’s look at a related question that I can answer: what makes Simoun an A+ anime?
The first thing is the characters. Simoun has a large and diverse cast, and the show leads me to care about each and every one of them. Some I love, some I hate (Neviril), but I am never indifferent. A good story can make you feel morose, angry, joyful, peaceful, and everything in between, but never indifferent. This is the unforgivable sin of storytelling, and the unforgivable sin of anime as well.
The second characteristic that makes Simoun earn an A+ is its setting. It involves steampunk, flying, yuri, time travel, politics and religion (i.e., everything in this world that is awesome), and stitches it together into a vast and detailed world as it chronicles the fall of an empire.
Finally, Simoun has fantastic artwork, one of the best musical scores I’ve ever heard, and one of the most loving fansub jobs ever made. An A+ anime combines the whole package: characters, animation, music, acting, a script, and more to tell a good story, and Simoun blows its competition out of the water.
Is Simoun perfect? Well, it’s the closest to perfect I’ve ever seen, so it gets the closest score to perfect on my scale. Nothing else comes close, and there’s a big gap between A and A+.
I’m always hoping Simoun will gain some peers in the A+ range. But will they share the same traits as Simoun? Certainly not! These are what makes Simoun an A+ anime, not what makes an A+ anime. I don’t know what the next A+ anime will be like, but I’ll know it when I see it!
Go check out what the other carnival participants had to say!
(Article) Ace Railgun
(Article) Anime B&B
(Article) Anime Viking
(Article) Ephemeral Dreams
(Article) Leap250′s Blog
(Article) Lemmas and Submodalities
(Article) Listless Ink
(Article) Mainichi Anime Yume
(Article) Nopy’s Blog
(Article) The Otaku’s Study
(Article) One Minute of Dusk
(Article) World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko