Unpopular Opinion: RWBY Franchise

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I love RWBY.  There you go, if you were looking for a recommendation to watch RWBY you’ve got one.  From here on I’m going to spoil the shit out of RWBY especially the latest season, Volume 4.  This is will be long.

One of the things I find most impressive about RWBY as a whole is how it just keeps getting better.  It’s amazing how far RWBY’s come since it’s humble beginnings and boy were those ever humble.  The biggest reason to avoid RWBY is undoubtedly Volume 1.  Even I, huge fan of the series that I am now was not at all convinced RWBY would be good as of Volume 1.  In Volume 1 episode lengths were wildly inconsistent and generally ranged from about 5 minutes to 13 minutes, with the climax of the exam being by far the longest episode, something that happens mid-season rather than at the actual climax of the season.  Moreover the entire experience suffered from a number of problems such as awful comedic effects, some cringe-worthy lines in the script, a pretty bog standard bully arc and most notably a lack of chemistry between all the characters, mostly thanks to the fact I didn’t feel like everyone had really come to own their respective roles yet.

All that said it was still a decent time, especially some of the battle sequences.  The exam final is the most noteworthy on that front, but there’s tons of fun choreography made possible by the ludicrous hybrid weapons and aura and Semblance powers which fill the RWBY-verse.  Perhaps most impressive about the exam final though was the use of tactics, wherein the hastily formed teams of teenagers managed to bring down the toughest enemies in the testing grounds by really making the best use of their own and each other’s powers and and weapons.  The monsters were also pretty good, I mean some were pretty generic in concept but their overall designs given the restricted black-white-red palette of the Grimm were great, especially the giant scorpion (Death Stalker) and the boar (Boarbatusk).  Not to mention despite the many goofy lines in the script my favorite line in all of RWBY comes from Volume 1, specifically where Ruby says that seeing  new weapons is like meeting new people, only better.  On that note the groundwork laid for Ruby’s character in Volume 1 is absolutely critical and it’s handled very well amid the painful comedy and otherwise very basic character intros and plot.  I think Volume 1 is best described as a rough draft or a proof-of-concept, something that isn’t ready yet but shows hints of something far more promising to come.  And say what you will about Volume 1 but those hints came to shine forth in Volume 2.

Volume 2 has more consistent episode lengths with 12 minutes being a pretty good gauge of how long the episodes will be, a trend which continues in later Volumes, though the longest is probably like 17 minutes.  More importantly almost all of the problems that riddled Volume 1 are gone.  Volume 2 opens on an amazing food fight scene that remains the funniest moment in RWBY to this day, finally breaking free of the weak comedic effects of Volume 1.  Even the action scenes, which had still been fun and mostly good, have improved significantly with most people citing better fight direction as the main cause.  Also we meet Penny and a giant mech suit which give us a better idea of what kind of tech humans have in RWBY beyond absurd weapons.  All of the characters have definitely come into their own by now, save perhaps Ren who gets neglected more than anyone else until Volume 4, and as a result their chemistry is solid.  We get more involved character stories, especially Blake, who up until Volume 2 was a mostly silent bookish type that we didn’t know much about.

In Volume 2 Blake reveals herself to be a Faunus, a beastman of sorts and a group which has faced and continues to face discrimination or outright persecution.  She also reveals herself to have at one point been part of the White Fang a Faunus rights advocacy group turned terrorist organization, and it’s clear she still stuck around for a while after the shift from peaceful protests to violent action.  This puts her in conflict with Weiss because Weiss’s family has suffered greatly at the hands of the White Fang for their business’ discrimination and exploitation of Faunus workers, something we have very few specifics about beyond Blake’s assertions.  This is built upon even further because Volume 2 makes it clear the White Fang is involved in terror plots attacking Beacon, the academy-city where the main characters live, where they go so far as to flood the city with a horde of Grimm by breaching old and forgotten underground defenses.  We also get a good contrast to Blake in Sun Goku, another Faunus without her dark past and serious attitude, but who is equally up for fighting the White Fang.  Amid all of this one of the most interesting character scenes comes about during the Hunter assignment, where this goofy history professor-cum-warrior asks all of team RWBY why they want to be Huntresses, save for Ruby, which is telling in itself, and the other three girls really have to mull over their motivations while Ruby gets to observe giant elephant monsters (Goliaths), by far the most imposing Grimm shown in the Volume.

I have to admit though that while RWBY Volume 2 was definitely good, excellent even, I wasn’t quite ready to put it on par with great anime I’d seen.  Maybe it was the CG, some of the really goofy stuff, or maybe the dark elements didn’t feel dark and threatening enough.  Whatever the case, while I was thrilled by RWBY and on board for for future seasons to come, I still didn’t consider it top tier material.  And that would change by the end of Volume 3.

I’ve no doubt that most people consider Volume 3 better than Volume 4 and I can’t really fault them for that.  It has by far the biggest moments in the series, the most involved narrative and probably the most action of any Volume.  Volume 3 opens on an inter-school battle tournament which Volume 2 had started to set in motion, Sun and the bad guys all arrive in Beacon as or posing as students in other schools.  When it first came out I remember people complaining that the fight direction took a big hit thanks to Mounty Oum’s death, but personally I thought the battles were great.  New and crazy weapons got introduced, like the bladed hoverboard from the first fight.  We saw new Semblances and a few cool new characters like the black guy who fights with sonic blasts from his trumpet and can use Naruto’s Shadow Clone justu.   All good stuff across the board.  It was also the first time since the concept of aura was introduced in Volume 1 that we spent some time digging into the lore and hidden powers of RWBY-verse, specifically the Maidens.  The Maidens represent a game changer, a shift from goofy weapons used to kill Grimm to super-weapons capable of  throwing the entire world out of balance.  It was at this point that the darker or just more serious elements to RWBY, things which had been present all along but just lacked the weight and presence to feel particularly gripping and real, finally got some gravitas.

This is helped by the fact the villains play a much bigger role than before.  Even setting aside what they ultimately do, we spend more time with them as their careful plan finally gets set in motion so we can understand what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.  It makes them far more threatening because their plan is cunning and detailed, a shift from the mostly random acts of violence and theft from earlier Volumes.  And what’s more it totally works.  Even though security’s been beefed up and Qrow warns Ozpin that the city’s been infiltrated, and they try to get Pyrrha, who by the way gets a lot more development as of this Volume, to inherit the power of the dying Fall Maiden, the bad guys win.  By Volume 3’s end Beacon is a wreck, a huge Grimm dragon has appeared, Ozpin has disappeared and is presumed dead, Penny has been torn to pieces, Yang loses an arm fighting Blake’s former mentor Adam Taurus and Blake runs away from team RWBY, Weiss is sent home, and Pyrrha, debatably the strongest of the main teens is dead.

It’s all a big shock but Pyrrha’s death is especially hard hitting because a, who expected one of the main 8 teens to die at all, most shows don’t do that, and b, she’d gotten a lot better as a character over the course of Volumes 2 and 3, her relationship with Jean had deepened and she even made out with him before she dies in battle against Cinder, who thus far was presented as the leader of bad guys, and who obtains the Fall Maiden’s power, and c, because she was debatably the hottest girl and I was totally invested in her character arc and was extra sad to see her go.  Pyrrha’s death more than anything else convinced me RWBY was just as good as anything else I loved, that it deserved to be considered on par with my other top tier shows.  That Yang loses her arm and some of the bad guys die in the battle too, only add to a show which mostly felt a bit too light before because despite all the battles no one ever died or appeared to die, not even the random mooks.  But Volume 3 ends in ruin, for all sides really as the good guys deal with the loss of a city and some important people or limbs, while the bad guys deal with the fact Ruby put a giant fucking monkey wrench in their plans.

More so than the previous Volumes, Volume 3 confirms that Ruby is a prodigy.  She figures out part of the villains’ plot and how it’s being done before anyone else, even if she fails to stop it.  She fights Torchwood, a major villain and his assistant Neopolitan, who beat the piss out of Yang in Volume 2, well enough that though she doesn’t land the killing blow she gets them killed because they were forced to come out and try to deal with her.  And she awakens new eye-powers which fuck up the Grimm dragon and Cinder so badly that the battle which should have spelled Beacon’s end becomes a stalemate.  I mean the good guys still end up worse but Ruby goes a long to making an overwhelming defeat into a minor one by herself.  She even joins up with Team JUNPR, Pyrrha’s former team to continue hunting down Cinder, while the rest of her teammates all take a break.  She’s unquestionably the MVP of her generation, especially now that her main competition, Pyrrha is dead.

Volume 3 also reveals a new and greater antagonist waiting in the wings, a Grimm lady whom we later learn is called Salem, and who has been pulling the strings behind Cinder all along.  And as we listen to her grim (ha ha) and cryptic message, we fade out and get ready to pick up the pieces in Volume 4.

What Volume 4 and previously Arslan Senki season 2 have convinced me of is that good transition seasons are literal godsends to any given series and are in their own way more valuable to me than major dramatic arcs.  And make no mistake Volume 4 is a transition series.  It’s by far the slowest and most character focused of all the Volumes and it’s ending sets the stage for the next major arc.  But I think I like Volume 4 the most.  The CG sees huge improvements, I’d argue it’s the best purely CG show ever made or at least that I’ve ever seen.  But setting aside the visuals, if Volume 3 was where the big wow moments were then Volume 4 is where shit gets heavy.  Everyone is grappling with the loss of Pyrrha, most notably Jean, who has taken all that’s left of her, her weapon and armor, and combines them with his old gear, but Yang, Blake and Weiss all have confront themselves and their problems while they mostly sit at home.  If I had to encapsulate this Volume’s appeal in one scene though, I’d pick the scene where Jean is up after everyone is asleep, I mean Ruby gets up because she hears him but whatever, practicing sword drills prescribed to him by Pyrrha via instructional videos, where she says “I want you to know that I’m just happy to be a part of your life, I’ll always be here for you Jean.” at the end of video, while he pauses to hear her say that line before putting the video on repeat and continuing with sword drills, was quite possibly the most emotional thing I’ve ever seen.  I fucking tearing up right now as I’m writing about it.  It hits that hard, and importantly it feels so real because real people do this kind of shit, staring at pictures or reading messages from lost loved ones well after the funeral.  This is probably my favorite scene in RWBY and I doubt that will change.

Moving on, Volume 4 spends a lot of time with Blake, Weiss and Yang as they all deal with their issues before finding their resolve and choosing to continue the fight.  We find out that Blake was the daughter of the head of the White Fang back when it was peaceful and now the governor the Faunus homeland of Menagerie.  We get a lot of whining from Blake about how she wants people, her parents and friends who get hurt fighting the White Fang, to stay away from her so they don’t get hurt.  But ultimately what is shown is that she wants them to lash out at her, she wants to be punished for what she sees as her sins in involving these people in her struggles, and nobody does.  What Sun and her father force her to realize is that they love her and therefore chose this fight themselves or forgive her past transgressions respectively, that it’s not all her fault and that running away is the worst option to take because that hurts those close to her more than the physical wounds or family arguments.  Weiss’s family attempts to  lock her up in the house and after realizing that she hates abiding by Atlas’ high society and social rules when there are greater dangers afoot runs from home.  Yang deals with traumatic flashbacks to Adam cutting her arm off, gets a mechanical arm, spars with her dad and ultimately regains her confidence and fire so she can get back in the fight.  Most notable about Yang’s story is that the new arm comes to her right away but because of the trauma and lost confidence she doesn’t start using it immediately because she’s not sure she wants back into the fight.  It’s a nice touch and it gives her time to talk to adults and work through her problems.

However the real stars of character development in Volume 4 are Ren and Nora.  Nora has always been a fun character since Volume 1 and Ren had no discernible personality whatsoever and was mainly known for being skilled, ironic considering how little this was actually shown after the exam in Volume 1.  In Volume 4 we finally get his backstory as a former rich kid whose life imploded when a powerful Grimm killed his parents and wrecked his hometown, an event which only he and the street urchin he met that day, Nora, survive.  This explains why the two have always been inseparable but more importantly it finally gives Ren in particular a reason for his subdued personality and moments of fiery anger when he meets the monster in the Volume 4 finale.  I’ll cover the monster and that fight in a second but I want to talk about Volume 4 and that fight especially have the only scenes where Nora is actually serious.  She’s such a happy-go-lucky type and her power allows her to live that way, so seeing her be entirely earnest and serious and ultimately give Ren the focus he needs to survive and win the final battle of Volume 4 was pretty awesome to watch and spoke volumes about her strength and depth of character.

Moving away from character stuff Volume 4 introduces us to some of the most powerful and bizarre things in the RWBY-verse.  Ozpin’s body is dead but his soul now has merged with a kid called Oscar and talks to that kid in his head all the time, a well as shares memories and stuff.  We also get a proper introduction to Salem and her other followers, and we see how badly Ruby hurt Cinder in Volume 3, as Cinder had some serious scars, an eyepatch and can barely talk.  The action is a much smaller part of Volume 4 but it’s on the whole very good.  Most of the Grimm introduced in Volume 4 are big, special Grimm that can take a beating like the Geist and Sea Dragon.  Tyrian, a scorpion Faunus and one of Salem’s followers almost kills Qrow in a battle where he basically steamrolls team RNJR before Qrow steps in, and then promptly gets his tail cut off by Ruby because she’s awesome.  The real crown jewel is the Nuckelavee though.

I think it’s by the most terrifying Grimm we’ve ever seen.  Now I want to give RWBY bonus points on three fronts, one for even finding the fucking thing.  I’m a huge fan of mythology and even I’d only heard of the monster once before and didn’t remember the name.  The Nuckelavee is a demon from Orcadian mythology.  Never heard of Orcadian mythology?  Neither had I, it comes from Orkney which is on these tiny islands off the northern coast of Scotland in the ass end of nowhere.  It’s so obscure that I have a “Dictionary of Mythology” which has no mention of the Nuckelavee.  So that it exists in RWBY is impressive enough but I feel the team did an excellent job adapting the mythical monster, you can check the details for yourself if you’re interested, to the Grimm aesthetic.  Even more impressive though was how it moves, fights and sounds.  The Nuckelavee’s signature scream is terrifying, the contorted and ragged movements do a great job making it alien and scary and the extendable arms allow it to fight all of team RNJR at once while still containing elements of the mythical beast.

Moreover the buildup excellent.  We see Ren’s flashback where we hear it, see the destruction it causes but only see it’s hooves and one arm.  We see a battleground covered in blood and broken weapons with a distinct hoof-print in the ground, followed by trees swaying as it moves through the woods approaching Ruby, Jean and the injured Qrow.  Rena and Nora sprint to the others hoping to catch them before the Nuckelavee does and seconds after they meet up with Ruby and Jean we cut to the Nuckelavee at the edge of the town, we finally see it’s grotesque torso and hear the scream before the screen cuts to black.  Then the finale opens on 9 straight minutes of team RNJR fighting their hardest before finally bringing the Nuckelavee down.  And then we get to the end.  We see Yang and Weiss getting near Ruby, Qrow is taken to safety and survives and even meets Oscar, Blake and Sun have geared up to fight the White Fang and this all happens as Ruby writes a super emotional letter, which she also narrates in her head of course, before we end on the big twist, where it turns out where the academy master of Haven, where the characters have mostly ended up, is talking to one of Salem’s subordinates and looks set to betray the world to her.

What I’ve been trying to say here is that even though the narrative and action are slow in RWBY Volume 4, there’s so much going on that it’s just as if not even more engaging than Volume 3.  It adds so much to the characters and the antagonists while setting up the next major event, in addition to having its own awesome climactic battle, that it’s just as important as any major arc.  Storytelling involves a lot of peaks and valleys, the big moments and the transitions, and so many shows opt to have flat expository or lighthearted comedy episodes for their transitions, that I feel transitions that really get shit done and add a lot to the story in some way while still being a blast to watch despite the fact the narrative is slowed down are deserving of the highest praise.  If a transition is strong enough to make it potentially better to me than a major dramatic arc, I think that’s impressive and it should be celebrated.  And that’s what I feel Volume 4 is, the best kind of transition.

Before I wrap up I want to talk about one more thing, our main girl Ruby.  Ruby is one of my favorite kinds of characters.  She’s a prodigy, but instead of being great at everything and having guys fall for her right and left like many anime geniuses (albeit most of them are a different gender so switch out girls for guys) she’s really only good at being a Huntress.  She’s awkward in social settings, she can’t move well in high heels, and she goofs around a lot but she doesn’t seem to have any path in life other than Huntress.  Blake, Yang, Weiss, even Jean and Pyrrha all feel like they could do all kinds of other jobs and be all kinds of other people.  Ruby is alone as someone who more or less embodies the idea of a what Huntress is and can’t be anyone else.  This is great conceptually to me and I feel that it’s strengthened by the fact she’s actually the youngest character in the show, I believe she’s 2 or 3 years behind everyone else but is moved up with them thanks to her talent, talent which makes her totally outshine her peers in battle as the series goes on.  The only one who even feels vaguely on her level is Pyrrha, a former Olympic athlete, who dies.  In addition to having the greatest battle skill, I pretty sure she’s also just the strongest as a person, seeing as how she shoulders a lot of weighty decisions herself and sees lots of trauma without running away in some fashion.  What I’m trying to say is I like Ruby.  A lot.  She’s fun to watch and she’s endearing and I’m a big fan.  And the same applies to RWBY.  That’s it, I’m done, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.

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Understanding Storytelling: It’s Hard to do Well

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Do forgive the title for explaining the obvious.  For this post I’m mostly going to be talking about writing and storytelling and using anime examples to highlight what I mean rather than talking about anime in depth.  The exception to that is Kuzu no Honkai which I’ve more or less been dying to say something about for weeks, so this post will spoil the shit out of it if you not up to date with the latest episode.  In the event you’ve not seen any Kuzu no Honkai I highly recommend it, it’s already been one of the best romantic dramas I’ve ever seen as it immediately disregards the usual anime relationship bullshit and has the main duo get to second base in episode one.  Now into the abyss that is creativity.

Writing and storytelling are at their core made up of two things, ideas and structure.  I’m an ideas guy.  I’ve come up with a ton of characters, scenes, settings, game concepts and mechanics, fantasy creatures and even my own in-universe mythologies and histories.  But I’ve got no structure, or rather I just plain suck at it.  I can never take those characters from a starting point to the scenes I’ve pictured in my head for years, I’ve tried many times but the pacing seems too brisk, or I feel like I’ve crammed in too much crap in between and disrupted the emotions I want to convey, or I want to write a story with a certain tone to it’s overall themes but the tone I’m writing in doesn’t match up.  Point is, if I ever want to work creatively for a living I’d either have to learn a lot about video editing and make a YouTube channel or bust my ass getting good at forming structure competently.  But enough about me because this applies to a ton of creatives.  Part of the reason I’m bringing this up because I feel like Kuzu no Honkai has sort of the opposite problem, but I’ll get to that later, for now I want to address something that came up in a semi-recent PCP podcast.  Namely that some people don’t believe certain shows, or even anime in general can convey meaningful messages and themes and therefore be just as good and valid as more “normal” media.

Kill la Kill is a good example.  There are a ton of people who see, or least back when it was new a bunch of people saw, Kill la Kill as just fanservice and action, like a popcorn flick with no deeper meaning.  And I agree that on the surface Kill la Kill can look that way and it’s easy to enjoy that way.  But if you’re that hypothetical person who sees nothing else in Kill la Kill I want to ask you a few questions.  If Kill la Kill is just dumb action and tits, why is the main school Honnouji Gakuen named after a famous temple (or maybe castle I don’t remember for sure) that Oda Nobunaga built?  Is it just a fun reference?  If it’s just a reference why does the Tri-School Raid also mirror Oda Nobunaga’s conquests, why does Satsuki have (at least at first) the same goal of conquering Japan in her own way and reshaping the established order like Nobunaga?  Why does Sanageyama the strongest of the Elite Four get called monkey all the time like Nobunaga’s companion Hideyoshi? Because I find it odd that Kill la Kill would take a mere reference to a historical figure and run with it so far across the show.  To me it makes more sense that Kill la Kill is utilizing symbolism here to communicate certain themes rather than just make a reference.  There are plenty of other example but I think I’ve made one of my points.  The other main point is that, in case you don’t do much creative work, there’s a metric fuck ton of planning that goes into the creation of anything that isn’t memes.

I can’t tell how many times a story I want to write doesn’t even make it past the planning stage because I’ve got so much I want to do and so much I need to plan out in advance, that I never get around to writing anything but the planning before getting distracted and working on something else.  In the same vein, nothing is that happens by accident.  I mean people get some ideas on the fly and certain scenes or phrases come serendipitously, but everything that is put in a story was consciously put there on purpose.  For example towards the end of Kill la Kill’s Tri-School Raid there’s a scene where Jakuzure and Inumuta insult Sanageyama, by once again calling him monkey, while insulting each other for being snake-like or being unusually clever for a dog.  This scene only makes any sense because the Sa in Sanageyama is the same Sa in saru (monkey), the Ja in Jakuzure means serpent, and Inu, which starts off Inumuta, means dog.  And none of that was there on accident, the writers decided to make sure all of the Elite Four had characters in their names which correspond to animals on purpose, Gamagoori has gama, meaning toad, in the name of rounding out the group.  It honestly doesn’t matter why they put it there for the purpose of this particular paragraph, regardless of what meaning or theme the creators wanted to convey by naming the Elite Four like this the point is that they had to have done it on purpose.  So now that we’ve got the basics out of the way I’m going to praise and rant about Kuzu no Honkai at the same time because otherwise I’ll go insane talking to myself about the show.

Thus far probably my biggest issue is that Kuzu no Honkai has a very coherent narrative, i.e. good structure but some of the baseline ideas seem to be at odds with each other.  The “evil” teacher is the root cause of this.  On the one hand most of her traits, like how she’s totally narcissistic and takes great joy in attracting men because being an object of male affection makes her feel valuable, or how she seems to like being superior to other women by snatching up the men they like even if she doesn’t like the men at all, or how just incredibly shallow and superficial she is a person, are great, by which I means realistic and fine in the context of the story.  But she has an unusual antagonism for the main girl, Hanabi, that I just can’t wrap my head around.  Like if she was just a little spiteful to other women in general I sort of get it, but she goes way out of her way to antagonize Hanabi, to the point where she fucks Hanabi’s “oniichan” and tells her so in a hallway where anyone nearby could have heard her, not a smart move as there were in fact other people nearby.  This would make sense if Hanabi and the teacher were rivals or peers that didn’t see eye to eye, because one-upping a rival or peer you dislike is realistic behavior.  But how is Hanabi a rival or peer to the teacher?  They are least five years apart in age, and probably more, they have very different levels of sexual experience, Hanabi is still a virgin and the teacher will fuck just about anyone just to not be bored, and they’ve known each other for like 3 months tops, it’s not even clear if Hanabi is in this teacher’s music class, for all we know they’ve only talked like 3 or 4 times.  The only reference to them being rivals at all is the incredibly nebulous idea that they both take advantage of others to make themselves feel good and are therefore the same kind of woman, which I call bullshit on.  So why does the teacher go so far out of her way to antagonize Hanabi?

I mean the obvious answer is because it makes her a clear villain that Hanabi, the heroine, must defeat but they didn’t need to do that.  In Golden Time, I’ve written about before and it’s thus far my top anime romance, there’s a scene where Tada Banri and Linda find out that Linda’s older brother’s girlfriend or fiancee, not sure which stage the two were at, was cheating on him with a another man.  The two follow the girlfriend/fiancee the next time she cheats to get evidence, with Linda’s plan being that she would use the evidence to destroy the relationship and protect her brother from this unfaithful woman.  That’s all Kuzu no Honkai needs right there.  There’s even a brief moment where Hanabi mentions something along the lines of protecting her “oniichan” from this shallow bitch of a teacher, that’s plenty of reason for the two to be in conflict without turning the teacher into this cartoonishly petty and evil villain that Hanabi must defeat, there’s no need for the teacher to antagonize Hanabi the way she does to be the “bad guy”, Hanabi can just be in conflict with the teacher in the name of protecting “oniichan” and that would suffice.  This is what I mean by the ideas being at odds, it just seems off because the way the teacher treats Hanabi and the way all the other setting and character details are laid out feel like they’re telling two different stories, I’ll grant that the differences between these stories are subtle but they definitely are different and it just bugs me like an itch while I’m trying to enjoy all the shit I love above Kuzu no Honkai.

And last but not least, not every story is for everyone and Kuzu no Honaki is definitely not trying to appeal to me.  I’ve discussed how shows appeal to specific audiences before, and that’s ok but it does bring the show down for those not targeted, the fact that it’s still good enough for me to consider one of the best romances outright should speak to the strength of it’s writing and presentation.  Let me say this loud and clear, fuck incest.  Hanabi’s “oniichan” isn’t actually related to her at all, so that wouldn’t be incest if they fucked, but the fact she still wants to fuck her older brother figure means it’s the same kind of shit and it pisses me off.  I get that incest is taboo and some people like taboos so it sells but personally I give negative fucks whenever something vaguely incestuous is part of a show.  It’s such an automatic turn off that I almost skipped over Kuzu no Honkai for sounding like an incestuous version of Toradora from the plot synopsis.   Like if we’re be gifted with an anime where characters are actually fucking regularly and a fetish is being targeted to help sell the story can’t we get futas instead?  I’d much rather have a Kuzu no Honkai where Ecchan is a futa in love with Hanabi and how that would complicate their relationship than hear about how Hanabi wants to fuck her boring as shit “oniichan.”  Incidentally the scene where the “evil” teacher said Hanabi’s “oniichan” was so boring she couldn’t see why Hanabi liked him was amazing.  Hell even the “oniichan” himself only seems attracted to the “evil” teacher because she vaguely reminds him of the mother he hardly remembers, i.e. he has an Oedipus complex, another turn off for me.  Though if it ever comes out that and the “evil” teacher finds out “oniichan” only liked her because of the Oedipus complex and she either has a breakdown or throws a tantrum because of it I would love to see that.

Ultimately what I’ve been trying to tell you all is that good storytelling is really hard.  You can have great ideas but fail at structure and tell a mess of a story, you can have an excellent story structure warped by conflicting ideas, and regardless of how well either the structure or ideas are there will be some people that will think the story sucks because it doesn’t appeal to them and their tastes.  Storytelling is hard. You can do so much right and still bug the hell out of your audience by doing a few things wrong, like pandering to the incest fetish.  Seriously I’m sick to death of it, either it needs to go or I need some futa shows to balance things out, that’s only fair right?  Anyway, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you in the next one.