Fruits Basket (2001): Subtle Romances and Fake Love Triangles

This piece has actually been sitting on my tumblr for a while now, but with the Fruits Basket reboot coming in March (yay!!) I thought why not post it on here?


Fruits Basket really surprised me with what it offered. I went into the show with a preconceived notion that it was going to be some average, flowery shoujo that gained its popularity out of nothing more than good timing.

Man

I was so wrong.

I mean, Fruits Basket isn’t even all that much of a romance in my eyes. There are romantic overtones, sure, but the show focused a lot more on the friendship that Tohru made with Kyo and Yuki than her possible romantic dynamic with them. To me, Fruits Basket is a lot more about finding good friends, trauma, and how those friends can help you heal from or move on from those traumas.

Fruits Basket is a lot of things.

A lot of things that make it so much more than any ole romance or shoujo.

The heart of the show is in the dynamic between Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki.

Fruits basket did a good job of getting me to like both, Kyo and Yuki, equally. I remember thinking around the tenth episode mark how I would be happy with Tohru ending up with either of them. As more episodes went on, however, the more I realized that Fruits Basket wasn’t about which guy she would pick and end up with. It wasn’t about her romantic feelings for them. It was about how all three of them shared similar struggles and how they could help each other through them and I wasn’t expecting that before getting into Fruits Basket at all. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but this is really crazy to me because I really thought Fruits Basket was going to be a regular romance shoujo with a love triangle. In the end, who was supposed to end up with who romantically wasn’t even important. What was important is that Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki needed each other. All three of them. I think in a way they were made for each other. The three of them were platonic soulmates if you will.

This is something that really frustrates me because I put off Fruits Basket for the longest time because I thought this was a going to just be a romance with a shitty love triangle. But the “love triangle” isn’t really even a love triangle, because Tohru never “picked” between the two, and I don’t think there would have been a point for her to pick between them. All I really wanted was for Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki to be happy. And I don’t think this could’ve been achieved without all three of them being together.  At least not in the anime (I haven’t read the manga, but I’m working on it. I am also aware that most people say the manga is way better than anime. Again, I’m working on it).

However, as I said, I ended up liking Yuki and Kyo equally. I would’ve been happy to see Tohru end up with either of them until I finished the show and actually realized it would’ve been a bad idea for her to pick sides (and wouldn’t have made much sense considering her character). When I was still looking at the three of them as a love triangle (this would be somewhere around the halfway mark), something that I really admired about it was how instead of the girl (Tohru) causing the two guys (Kyo and Yuki) to dislike each other, it’s actually the other way around. Kyo and Yuki have always disliked each other but it’s Tohru who builds a sort of bridge between the two. She’s the reason they get closer rather than the reason they’re relationship worsens.

So even when I look at Fruits Basket as a romance, and the relationship between Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki as a love triangle, it’s still really well done. Except for the fact that there’s no romantic endgame, that’s kind of a no-no in romances.

The three of them needing each other makes a lot of sense too. The dynamics of these three is amazing.

All three of them struggle with feeling alone, not belonging and you see the different ways they cope with those feelings. They have the same insecurities, just for different reasons.

I just…really love these three. Their characters work well off each other. They’re all already likable on their own, but together they have this charm that’s kind of hard to describe.

I think this might explain why it took me a while to watch Fruits Basket as well.

Outside of me avoiding it because I didn’t think it would be anything special, there were two times I tried watching Fruits Basket before in which I only made it halfway through the first episode. I was close to doing it again the third time I picked up Fruits Basket, but I kept watching and when Kyo showed up the way his energy contrasted with all the other character’s immediately gained my interest and then Tohru ends up falling on them and poof, Kyo and Yuki turn into animals and the first episode ends and by that point I’m actually invested and want to get to the next episode as soon as possible. Then I continued to watch and fell in love with our three main characters as well as being surprised with just how sad this show could get. The whole thing makes me feel silly now.

So if there’s one thing I’m trying to say in this it’s that Yuki, Tohru, and Kyo are a pretty good unit. (And also that Fruits Basket is more than seems)

However, this brings me to probably the one real problem I had with the show. There was too much time spent on side characters. It’s a fault of its time in all honesty. A lot of early 2000’s anime fell into that episodic trap of focusing on different side characters every episode. In Fruits Basket’s defense, the same side characters went back and forth through the episodes and they all had the same insecurities of not belonging as Kyo, Tohru, and Yuki and a lot of the times they would help reveal something new about the main three characters. While the only side characters I ended up genuinely liking were Tohru’s best friends, they all suffered from the same things Tohru, Yuki, and Kyo.

Everyone in Fruits Basket was an outcast. In one way or another.

And I think that might be why I and so many others love this series. We all know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong somewhere, or that you don’t fit in, or that there’s no way you could be accepted for who you really are.

Some of us are like Tohru, who avoid bothering/annoying those around them at the price of their own wellbeing.

Some are like Kyo and lash out at everyone around them as an attempt to voice their frustration and emotions while avoiding being too vulnerable.

Some of us are like Yuki and constantly monitor our emotions to keep ourselves from feeling too strongly, just trying come off as a pleasant person while keeping in the fear that they might never make intimate friends.

I think everyone can relate to all three of these to some degree.

So yeah.

I cracked the code to why Fruits Basket is so beloved. And I’m a little annoyed about it. I’m annoyed it wasn’t marketed for the emotional and moving series that it was.

In the whole eight years that I’ve been watching anime, I’ve always thought Fruits Basket was widely liked because it’s a cute romance! And the boys are cute! Or drama! (because I thought the love triangle was going to be a big thing).

Now, this isn’t to say being a romance show or having romance in a show is a bad thing. I mean, what is this blog if that’s the case. There are even shows I can think of that would’ve been better off as romances than the genre they were. I’m not trying to say that Fruits Basket can’t be all these amazing things and a romance as well, either. Or that it can’t become a romance, or that there will never be a time in the story where Tohru could become romantically involved with one of the boys in a way that would make sense (I’m assuming there is an endgame in the manga). This post has to do a lot more with how I personally didn’t see it as a romance after finishing it when I had spent such a long time assuming this would be an average romance. I don’t want this to sound like I’m bashing romances. And the whole issue of calling something “just a romance” is a whole other issue that I don’t think I could cover in this blog post.

I just find Fruits Basket’s marketing strange. It’s not (just) a flowery shoujo. There isn’t that much flowery about the show. It deals with trauma from family and friends, and insecurities around being an outcast, and the extent to which Tohru tried not to burden others would actually scare me sometimes. Sure, it’s light-hearted at times, but I always felt this lingering feeling of sadness even during those scenes.

I could go on about all the other things I liked about Fruits Basket, but this is getting long. So, I’ll just leave by saying that I love Fruits Basket and if you haven’t watched it, I would seriously recommend it

Is this something that anyone else questions? I haven’t really looked at other reviews or other opinions people have on this show. There isn’t exactly a lively fanbase to fall on either. I can’t be the only one to come to this consensus, right?

I would love to hear what other people think of Fruits Basket. I’ve heard that the manga is a lot more depressing (as they usually are). To what degree would you consider Fruits Basket a romance? Do you think Tohru not ending up with Kyo or Yuki at the end was a pro or a con? Honestly, I’m really interested in people’s thoughts on this show.

that movie people keep talking about: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I don’t normally talk about shows/movies I dislike- this is the fourth time I’ve done so (and counting?). I’m not sure if I’d even go as far to say that I disliked To All the Boys I Loved Before. I just don’t think it was that good.

One of the first things I noticed while watching this movie was that the pacing, particularly in comedic scenes, was really awkward. The jokes themselves were fine, but because the pacing was off a lot of it missed. Something along with this would be the acting- man the acting just didn’t deliver in this film. There were a lot of scenes I felt like the actors weren’t even trying.

As for the characters themselves…I didn’t like the love interest: I think the movie was going for the charismatic asshole kind of character but he wasn’t all that funny or charismatic; he just came across as dislikable. And the older sister’s ex-boyfriend OH MY GOD was he a dislikable character. Whenever he showed up in a scene I internally sighed. The rest of the characters were just kind of…meh.

Now to the real meat of the movie- the romance! How was the actual romance element in the movie? Eeeeh it was pretty average if not a little below average. There isn’t a lot of chemistry between the two love interests and I think the film was aware of this considering how much emphasis was put on how ‘oh they actually have quite a bit in common’ and ‘wow they’re the only person they’re willing to share this stuff with’ and while yes, these are things that are useful in making friendships and romantic relationships-if there isn’t chemistry it’s hard to believe that the characters actually get along or have fun together. When the main character’s friend told her she seemed happier since she started “dating” the guy I didn’t…buy it? Like I didn’t see that development myself- but I guess I was supposed to believe it because one of the characters said so.

Yikes, I’m being pretty harsh, aren’t I? I think a lot of it roots from that I see this movie as a bit of a missed opportunity. I really liked the premise- the idea of a girl’s love letters she’d written for the five guys she’s fallen for in her life getting “accidentally”  sent to all of them is really funny and cute! I think if the movie would have used this premise in a way more similar to Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe that it would’ve been SO INTERESTING. But instead, the movie completely forgets about the letters for the most part and follows a much more boring and basic fake dating storyline. I just… there was so much fun to be had with the letters getting released! Her avoiding confrontation from the guys WHILE she was fake dating one of them, her trying to find out who sent the letters in the first place (seriously, why didn’t this cross her mind), maybe one of the guys gaining interest in her all over again through the letter- I mean if a childhood crush of mine from sixth grade sent me a letter today then I think I would 1) want to ask them about it and 2) quite frankly, be a little endeared. They really missed out and it fucking eats at me.

Another reason I probably came so hard for this movies is because it’s been all over my twitter timeline. And my twitter is a bhna stan account so I REALLY don’t know how it kept getting there, but because of this, I was expecting a little more I guess.

That’s kind of all I have to say about the movie. I honestly didn’t dislike the movie, I just…wanted more? I’m gonna start repeating myself if I go on.

If your interested in seeing the other blog posts I’ve made bashing a tv show/movie then here they are lol:

Me going on a huge ass rant about How I Met Your Mother: I wrote this like three years ago so my writing isn’t what is now so you’ve been warned. And for some reason I was comparing the show to a book I read around the same time called This is How You Lose Her? I don’t even know why jjjjnkb.

-In this post I talk about two movies: one which I loved (500 Days of Summer) and the other I disliked (While You Were Sleeping).

Another blog post of me talking about a shitty movie. It’s How to be Single- I don’t think anyone even remembers this one lol.

-Okay so I sort of snapped in this post where I was talking about the final few chapters in  Nisekoi, but I wouldn’t say I bashed it.

Should You Watch ‘Crazy Rich Asians’?

I’ve actually had my eye out for this movie for a while now. Like, since January. It’s only been this past month that the movie has been getting heavily promoted. And I’ve gotta say, the trailer looked pretty good to me. It wasn’t too corny-just the right amount for a contemporary romantic comedy.

Now I know a running joke of mine is how I never write about romance movies and only ever talk about romance anime and tv shows-but I’ve been improving! This is the fifth romance movie I’ve covered this year! (oh god that’s actually terrible).

I probably won’t be able to watch this movie until three weeks from now as I have a full work schedule this week and school for me is starting the week after that but I do intend to watch this in theaters.

Okay, so what is the premise to Crazy Rich Asians? From what it looks like, it’s about a girl who’s been dating this guy for a while- who happens to be crazy rich, but she didn’t know he was crazy rich and now she’ll have to deal with his crazy rich parents, who naturally don’t approve of her dating their rich son.

So yeah, the premise for Crazy Rich Asians isn’t anything new. What makes it unique is it’s (what seems to be) all Asian cast and that the movie was filmed entirely in Singapore and Malaysia.

I have to say though, despite the cliche premise, the movie looks endearing-possibly even charming. If done right, the cliche premise shouldn’t matter.

Something interesting I found while looking into this movie were the past professions of some of the actors and actresses that star in this film. Jimmy O. Yang previously worked in finance, Gemma Chan went to law school in pursuit of becoming a lawyer- in fact, three actors in Crazy Rich Asians went to law school before their career in acting out of parental pressure. So I think it’s reasonable to assume if anything, the movie will at least feel genuine.

The movie will first premiere on August 15th. As I said, I may not be able to see until a few weeks from now, but you guys can comment or message me your thoughts on it!

Anyways these are really fun to write: these little preview-like blog posts where I write how I think a movie will play out. I think I might do more of these? Maybe just be a personal notifier to you guys for whatever romance movies are about to come to the theater, look into them, and tell you if I think it’s worth your time?

These are really easy to write so I think I’ll start doing that lol- but then I’ll probably have to actually go and watch these too. I wrote a similar post to this about Love, Simon that you can read here if you’d like.

I wrote this completely on a whim lol. I went to watch the full trailer and I felt like I had to write a post about this movie.

Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy: What the Hell is This?

You know, I was expecting this manga to be some witty, zany romance considering the uhhh title and premise and instead I got a really dark romance with a theme about obsessive love.

Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy is a relatively recent published manga that I don’t think a lot of people have heard of.

The manga is only eight chapters composed into one volume. When I was looking the manga up online what I found interesting is that the one and only genre it’s categorized under is romance. And while yeah, ultimately this is a romance story, there’s definitely some dark supernatural elements as well. [update: this manga is now on mangafox and it IS categorized under supernatural and psychological as well as romance]

I tried to find some information on the manga author, who goes by “Sanzo” and nothing else, but I couldn’t find anything other than he has written a manga before this one called “My Girlfriend is a T-Rex”, which seems a lot lewder than Caterpillar Girl- it’s also a volume longer. I guess he likes the monster girl subgenre. Other than that, I couldn’t find out much about Sanzo.

Alright enough of the background stuff, what is Caterpillar Girl and Bad Texter Boy actually about?

Well, it’s about two childhood friends that seem to be opposites in just about every way. And what each gets from their relationship is very different. We have Suzume Kikuo, who was beloved by everyone she knew, beautiful, smart, and in love with her childhood friend Akane. Akane was self-loathing, a loner, insecure, and constantly compared himself to Suzume. In the very first page, he says in narration that “Suzume had everything I didn’t”. This all leads to what I said about what each character gets from being around the other. Suzume has a crush on Akane so we can assume his presence makes her feel happy. Akane on the other hand…

Whenever he was with her he felt so miserable he wanted to die. That’s a pretty extreme way to feel by merely being around someone. And can I also add that the way he rejects Suzume’s feelings is really harsh? Not only does he respond to her request to be his girlfriends with “Hunh? No way.” but he then continues to say “If I were to go out with someone perfect like you, Suzume…it’d probably be really hard on me…” And that’s just…a really fucked up thing to say to someone who put themselves out there and confessed romantic feelings towards you. Akane made it all about himself despite Suzume being the one with these feelings. And you see his self-loathing nature to cause him to be self-centered and selfish (I’ve said ‘self’ way too many times in this sentence) a lot more times throughout the series. And the story addresses how this negatively affects those around him. So much so the Suzume turns herself into a caterpillar, bringing us to the premise of the story.

Suzume turns herself into a caterpillar as a means to get Akane to accept her feelings for him. She strips herself of her beauty and “perfectness” all for Akane, thinking he’ll be able to be with her if she’s more miserable than he is.

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This brings me to the theme of obsessive love in this story. Or even how Suzume’s caterpillar form symbolizes obsessive love.

After this turn of events, Akane will continuously ask Suzume why she likes him- why does she like him enough to turn herself into this ugly creature? And she never really gives him an answer. In fact, I don’t think even Suzume understood why her feelings for him were so strong.

Something to consider about Suzume’s caterpillar form is that while she made the decision and purposefully became a caterpillar, the consequences that come after that are not things she wanted. She begins to hate being outside and just wants to stay inside in the dark, she was no longer reliable like Akane described her, she loses her ability to taste food, she can no longer do basic things like fold clothes or pick things up. Sure she gave up being a human, but along with that, she lost even more of herself.

And what Suzume says in that last panel is right. She only continues to lose more of herself, sometimes losing all control of her caterpillar form and not being able to speak or anything. Still, at this point in the story, Akane doesn’t think he’s good enough for Suzume.

Later in the story, Akane finds a way to turn Suzume back into her human form, but only for a temporary amount of time- she’s still a caterpillar. Think of it as a disguise. However, even when she’s in her human form- she’s been a caterpillar for so long at this point that she can’t read or write. Akane also describes her as not being the same happy girl at school she used to be.

Suzume’s love for Akane was to an obsessive point where she willingly gave up a huge part of herself to gain his acceptance. And before she knew it she was losing more and more of what made her-her, not even being able to help it. And in the end, when he finally reciprocated her feelings, she was only a shell of what she used to be. Her human form was just that, a form. It was now a fake version of herself. You see what I mean when I say this was dark?

Now I don’t blame this all on Akane. Suzume is ultimately the one who turned herself into a caterpillar. Akane is… a very distressed person. He lacks any sort of self-worth. That, on top of the guilt from Suzume turning into a caterpillar for him (which he sees as because of him) really messes with him. I mean imagine not seeing anything worthwhile in yourself while also seeing someone give up themselves for you- it would feel very conflicting. He’s so blinded by his own self-hate that he’s incapable of understanding Suzume’s feelings, which I think in the end will only lead him to hate himself even more.

In the end, both characters are hurting each other. And yet they end up together in the end.

This really was a bizarre story, but not at all in the way I was expecting. I did not expect it to be this dark. Then again, I really have a knack for unintentionally finding dark/depressing books/movies/series. I wish I knew how to break the curse.

Would I recommend this? Yeah sure. It’s relatively short and it’s interesting. I could see some people not enjoying it, however.

 

My Thoughts on Chapter 39 of Citrus (and also a lot of 23 and 24)

It truly amazes me how far Citrus has come since chapter 1. Somehow Citrus has managed to go from a yuri romance with a slightly larger amount of smut and angst than usual that had about every yuri trope, to an actually endearing and heartfelt love story of two girls. I reread the first volume and then reread chapter 39 again just to make sure the vast difference wasn’t all in my head and it isn’t. The tone of Citrus has been gradually shifting since the moment back somewhere in volume two when Yuzu realizes Mei needs a family more than she needs a romantic partner. Granted, they still end up dating not too much later, but the relationship dynamic changes after Yuzu has this realization. And the change is to something much healthier. But that’s not what I really wanted to talk about in this post. I wanted to specifically talk about chapter 39 (as the title would suggest).

Chapter 39 is tightly connected to chapters 23 and 24, which are my two favorite chapters of Citrus. If you want to have a vague idea on why then I’d suggest reading this post of mine, which could also probably help you have a better understanding of what I think about chapter 39 as well.

In chapter 23, Yuzu runs into friends from her old high school who she hasn’t talked to in a while. She gets ready to show her friends a picture of Mei, expecting them to be happy for her on her relationship.

And it’s fair to say that that didn’t exactly happen.

Yuzu is typically carefree and has an attitude of doing what makes her happy before anything else. It’s why she didn’t follow the school’s dress code, it was her biggest contrast to Mei at the beginning of the series. She did what she wanted (i.e. what made her happy) without caring about the consequences- because to her, the consequences were worth it in the end. This interaction with her friends almost broke that part of her.

I mean after she tells Mei about the incident with her old friends. She says:

So we know Yuzu went into this relatively carefree- or at least carefree from outside factors in their relationship. She never expected a negative reaction like the one she dealt with. She was just about to show them a picture of Mei before they started being homophobic towards the lesbian couple across the street. This experience has messed with Yuzu on a fundamental level. She’s feeling pain and sadness because she’s chosen to do what makes her happy (date Mei). And…Uhg I just loved these two chapters in the manga because in this time when Yuzu was feeling upset and confused Mei showed Yuzu her own notebook.

And the advice is very...Yuzu. And then Mei says to her-

and we see how the two of them have gone full circle.

Now I’m finally going to talk about chapter 39. Chapter 39 pretty much reinforces how Yuzu’s encounter with her old friends affected her, plus more good advice from her mom.

Chapter 39 is basically Yuzu coming out to her family and friends. But we see how nervous she gets before telling all of them in contrast to how excited she was to tell her old friends in chapter 23.

In the page with her mom you see how she isn’t sure how she’ll react and from her facial expression, you can tell that Yuzu is stressed by that. In the page where she’s ready to tell her best friend, Harumin, about her feelings for Mei you see that while her expression is partly goofy, her eyebrows are furrowed from worry. Her previous interaction with her old friends affected how she tackled telling others about Mei. I also want to mention the sense of urgency from Yuzu in the page with Harumin. Yuzu is determined to tell those close to her about her feelings and relationship with Mei in order to fix their relationship. This chapter kind of helped me realize where Yuzu’s carelessness stops, and that’s with people she loves. When it came to Mei and even her friends, she was always caring and sensitive. Even careful at times.

Of course. You need to take into account that Yuzu and Mei are also stepsisters, so them both being girls isn’t the only reason she’s worried about how others will react to her relationship with her. However, even without that factor, I think the emotions shown by Yuzu are relatable. The worry of not knowing how someone will react to your relationship. Or with Harumin, who she had no reason to think she wouldn’t accept her relationship, but was nervous regardless because of past experiences.

I also like the way Harumin and Yuzu’s mom reacted to Yuzu’s confession compared to her old friends.  Harumin and Yuzu’s mom where two characters that were always framed in a positive light, while Yuzu’s old friends were typically presented as shallow. I thought it was nice how the manga basically said it was shallow to not see same-sex couples as equally genuine to straight couples.

Okay, these two pages actually get me really emotional. Like, I’m tearing up as I write this right now. The look of worry on Yuzu’s face when her mom interrupts her in the middle of her outing herself about dating Mei and her expression when Harumin not only supports her feelings for Mei but offers to help her get back together with Mei is just…a lot. They’re not facial expressions we’re used to seeing on Yuzu. And I don’t know, there’s something about seeing all of Yuzu’s worry being responded to with nothing but positivity from her mom and best friend that felt really good. Especially considering that Yuzu had reason to think they wouldn’t. Hell, we’ve been around these characters for 39 chapters now and we had reason to think they wouldn’t respond well too. And there was Yuzu’s mom, who went on to say some really touching stuff.

Oh god I’m tearing up again. How did Citrus turn into so much? I really like how Yuzu’s mom compared her relationship to Yuzu’s dad to Yuzu and Mei. It shows how she sees no difference between the two relationships. She also talks about how choosing what makes you happy can also cause pain, which we’ve seen Yuzu realize and experience. And she’ll probably have to experience it a numerous amount of times in the future- her mom tells her this as well. But she also says the reason she’s telling Yuzu all of this is because she sees that she’s already made the decision to be with Mei. This is…actually…a pretty good message for a yuri. Not even for a yuri but for a romance. Relationships aren’t meant to be treated with a happy go lucky attitude. Sometimes relationships are difficult not because there’s anything wrong with the two people but because of outside forces like time, work, money, sickness, people, outside forces are especially hard in lgbt+ relationships. Citrus emphasizes how much it really means to care enough about someone to be willing to go through all of that.

Citrus came a long way, and I’m proud of it. This is honestly probably one of my favorite Yuri’s. It’s been revealed that the next chapter will be the last and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about that. (I think it’s chapter 41 that will actually be the last whoops) But hey, how things are heading, it looks like we’re gonna be getting a happy ending! Yay!

Anyways I ended writing this way later than I intended to. I’ll probably end up writing about the last chapter of Citrus as well, knowing me. And I think the new chapter come out relatively soon if it’s not already out. Like I said, I wrote this really late.

NOTE: So last night I saw on twitter that chapter 40 is out in english now. And…I was joking when I said it might be out already. I really didn’t think I was that late like it really took me a month to come up with this post im

 

you can find my original post of this here on tumblr.

Execution in Romance: Amelie, Your Lie in April, and Clannad

A romance with bad execution is like a popsicle made of plain water. While it’s still a popsicle, with a cold and a hard texture, what makes it fun to eat is missing. The popsicle is boring without any flavor.

Okay maybe the popsicle metaphor is a bit of an exaggeration, but execution is a seriously important thing to do well in a romance.

Think about the romances that come to mind when you think of something that sounds cliche or bad on paper, but for whatever reason, they actually turned out pretty well. The ones that come to mind for me are the movie Amelie and the anime Your Lie in April and even Clannad to an extent.

The narration in Amelie in of itself is dull. The way the narrator introduces characters is by listing things they like and dislike. On paper that reads as lazy writing, but because of the way the movie is shot and how it paces these introductions these character introductions actually come across as rather charming.

Amelie knew how to execute itself as charming to a T from the color palette, to the odd narration and characters, to the use of its soundtrack, to the facial expressions of the main character. Amelie knew how to look artsy and quirky in a way that would grab the viewer.

Speaking of color palettes, Your Lie in April is a fucking master at evoking emotion through nothing but the pure color of scenery and characters themselves. It will bw bright and vibrant one moment, monochrome the next, and near the end of the anime: simply more saturated.

When it comes to the actual the story to Your Lie in April, it has been done more than a thousand times at this point and the dialogue can be stale and unnatural, but man does this show know how to emotionally manipulate its audience. The production value is off the charts: the animation is gorgeous, the pacing is…well it depends-sometimes the pacing is steady and at other times it isn’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched Your Lie in April, but I think that can actually add to my argument. As more time goes by I separate different aspects of Your Lie in April. It’s easier to detach the beautiful scenery and soundtrack from the actual story. And as more time goes by the more mediocre I realize it was.  However, the way Your Lie in April presented this story made it something that people regard as a good and emotional romance. Your Lie in April could have easily been terrible if it weren’t for things like the directing, production value, and execution. I think the execution has more to do with it, I mean even the manga is well regarded.

Clannad uses similar tactics to Your Lie in April to get people drawn into the show. The pretty and dramatic soundtrack that amplifies itself whenever a character starts to cry in almost an exaggerated form is genius. I mean, really think about what happens in Clannad. Other than Tomoya and Sunohara, most of the characters aren’t specifically interesting. The plot moves at sluggish pace. It’s the way Clannad executes and presents itself that makes it so rememberable. I mean, I will never forget the scene when Nagisa and Tomoya first met. The way the cherry blossoms fell around them and the soft piano music played as Nagisa talked to herself, just for the piano to turn into a full-on orchestrated piece when Tomoya responded to her and got her out of her own head. Then the camera zooms out to capture the two together as the wind starts to blow harder than previously. See even writing how it worked, it sounds corny as hell. And plenty of people probably did find that scene corny, but when I think of really good romance scenes, this will always be one of the first ones to come to my head.

Now I’ve talked a lot about story in this post, and you know the truth is that romances don’t really need a good storyline or plot. The most important thing to get right in romance is the character interaction between the love interests. If the audience doesn’t see the love interests as having chemistry or if they’re not likable together than the romance has failed. That’s the number one thing to get down. And execution can help with making characters look more compatible than they really are. Think about the love interests in all three of the series I mentioned. Are any of them actually compatible? I don’t really think so. Amelie knows just about nothing about the guy she ends up with and Kaori and Kousei have a…weird friendship dynamic that never made me feel as if they were actually suited for each other, and in Clannad Tomoya seemed a lot more compatible with Tomoyo than Nagisa.

But even if Tomaya was more compatible with Tomoyo, who really wanted him to end up with her? Not a lot…I think. No, we knew we were supposed to want to see Tomoya with Nagisa- it’s the way the show presented their relationship. You see how bad execution would have made this an issue? (This is also where things like ships can come in but that’s an entirely different discussion that I actually plan on talking about in a different post)

Anyways I’m still trying to sort out my thoughts and ideas about execution in romance so I might come back to this topic saying something completely contradictory. This has been on my mind a lot lately though so I figured I should write about it.

If you’d like to see a post of mine from a while back where I talk about Tomoya’s character you can click here.

And just an FYI I meant nothing bad by this post, I don’t think any of the three series I mentioned are bad. I might be being a little harsh right now. This whole post was me basically giving all of them a backhanded compliment skngfjsnkgls. No, but really, I hold all of them in pretty good regards.

 Clannad is the cover gif because it’s my favorite out of these three. Literally while I was picking the gifs for Clannad I started tearing up a little bit.

 

original post here

(500) Days of Summer vs While You Were Sleeping

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Note: I couldn’t find pictures with the same size and I don’t know how to edit for the life of me so you’ll just have to bear with me. Sorry.

I made a new year resolution to watch more romcom movies this year and finally, six months into the year, I acted on that resolution. A prime difference between these movies structure-wise would be that While You Were Sleeping would probably be considered a chick-flick while (500) Days of Summer would…not be. What really separates these two movies would be the aimed audience. Or maybe it’s the method each movie uses to appeal to their audience that separates them. 500 Days of Summer was a romance very clearly written by a man. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just that the main guy character feels especially real. His perspective of love and the way he views Summer and his relationship with her showcases how love can be difficult for men. Which you don’t see a lot in romantic comedies. Probably because it’s a market for women and why would a woman want to see a romance movie with a guy that struggles to find love? That was sarcasm. While You Were Sleeping was also written and directed by only men, which is also obvious but for different reasons. While You Were Sleeping panders. It’s the kind of love story the writers and directors to this film think women would want. (500) Days of Summer is lot more about creating a love story out of one’s on own experiences. Who’s the targeted audience for 500 Days of Summer? I don’t really know. I could imagine anyone past the age of 15 enjoying it to be honest. That’s because it wasn’t trying to appeal to anyone it was just trying to tell a story that would feel real. Even at the beginning the movie makes a joke “If any of this seems familiar to your own life then it’s probably a coincidence. Even you, [i forgot the name used]. Bitch”- that’s a loose quote, but you already know this is the type of romance that’s not a self insert fantasy, but one that you’ll probably find a way to relate to. You get that from one small joke at the very beginning.

Yeah so While You Were Sleeping tries very hard to get women to watch it. You have this nerdy woman who has no family and lives alone with her cat. She thinks she’s in love with a guy she’s never even actually talked to and over time she actually falls in love with another guy. Lucy doesn’t really make choices except for when she saved the guy she thought she was in love with despite never talking to him at the beginning of the movie. Everything else just kind of happens to her. She didn’t mean for the guy’s family to assume she’s the guy’s fiance, that was the nurse. The family forces her to spend Christmas with them. When the guy wakes up from his coma and when he can’t recognize Lucy and everyone thinks he has amnesia Lucy just goes along with it. She doesn’t make any decision of her own until the wedding. She waits until the wedding of the guy she’s not even actually engaged to-to finally make her choice in the movie. While You Were Sleeping was meant to be a self insertion romance. They want the viewer to be able to fit the shoe of the main character. It’s every woman’s fantasy, to be accidentally engaged to a handsome guy, or to unexpectedly fall in love without actually doing anything to pursue the relationship yourself and okay I’m being really harsh on this movie right now. While You Were Sleeping wasn’t a bad movie. A lot of what I just splurged applies to chick flicks in general. While You Were Sleeping isn’t a bad movie, it’s just a stupid one.

(500) Days of Summer on the other hand was definitely not a self-insert kind of story. Have there been similar relationships to the one in this film? Absolutely. And that’s kind of the point considering it’s meant to feel relatable, but there’s also a sense of uniqueness to the story and the writing is good enough that this relationship feels genuine-it’s not an easy copy and paste formula. The writing. The execution. It made the story feel like someone’s own personal experience.

As for the comedy aspect in these two romantic comedies, Summer’s was really good. I laughed out loud a number of times. The humor in While You were Sleeping was corny and not very good.

Something I’ll give both movies credit for would pacing. Both of these movies had really good pacing. Neither of them ever felt like they were too long at any point

I’ve talked about the main characters, the humor, and pacing of these movies. But what about the actual romance within the movie? The romance wasn’t bad in either of these movies. While You Were Sleeping was a story about ‘the chase’-how they got together, while (500) Days of Summer is story that is looking back at a failed romantic relationship. So it’s obvious the romance in each movie will be very different just by that. The romance between the characters in While You Were Sleeping was extremely average. It did the bare minimum. There was a sense of chemistry, but it was small. The characters are just so bland that it’s hard to really care about this romance. Why did they fall in love? I don’t even know the answer to that. Maybe it was because the characters could relate to the one thing they had in common, that they were unhappy with their current job but both felt as if there was no alternative, that it was too late to choose another career path. That’s the only thing they had in common on screen. The romance felt like a relationship that happened out of coincidence. Neither of them really did anything to pursue each other it just fell in place for them. (500) Days of Summer, had a relationship that felt as if it was about to all fall apart at every corner. It was a relationship that was constantly trying to be kept intact. Especially by the main character. What I really liked about (500) Days of Summer was that it was easy to see why the two characters liked each other while also making it easy to see why the relationship wasn’t going to work , and did this without leaving either of the characters looking stupid or sleazy.

The last thing I want to talk about is the final verdict of each movie. They both had pretty solid endings. Unsurprisingly, 500 Days of Summer’s was better. Both endings were satisfying and left you with a feeling of completion. While You Were Sleeping does this to the bare minimum. 500 Days of Summer, however, leaves you feeling something even after the movie is over. It has a sweet and hopeful after taste. I felt happy after finishing it. After While You Were Sleeping I felt nothing.

So yea if you couldn’t tell (500) Days of Summer is the better movie of the two. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to do compare two movies in one post, but I’m planning on talking about romance movies more on this blog. I’m trying to balance out how much I talk about romance anime and western romances because as of right now I talk about anime waaay too much on my blog that’s supposed to cover all romances. Anyways if you haven’t seen (500) Days of Summer then I would seriously recommend giving it a watch.

 

find my original post here