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

A lesbian foreign film you all should watch

I gotta say, this movie pleasantly surprised me. I mean, I just noticed this movie sitting in the foreign film section of my college library and thought it would be a fun, corny watch.

I expected Spider Lilies to be corny and hypersexualized, but it was actually handled with a lot a care. I could tell the director wanted this to be a good movie, not just a lesbian film. Which makes sense after looking up who the director is, but I’ll get into that later.

I doubt most of you know what the movie is so I’ll give a brief synopsis before telling you why I liked it. Jade is a cam girl who wants to get a tattoo. More specifically she wants to get the tattoo she remembered her first childhood love having (if a question mark just shaped in your head, don’t worry. I understand. Jade’s first love looked at least six years older than her and even then they were probably too young to be having a tattoo. The feelings were not reciprocal). So she goes to a tattoo artist to get this tattoo and surprise surprise the tattoo artist happens to be Jade’s first love. This isn’t really revealed to the characters, but it shows that Jade just kind of knew. So yeah, Jade becomes obsessed with getting this tattoo done by the tattoo artist. However, that tattoo holds significant meaning to the tattoo artist so she isn’t all that willing to give Jade the tattoo. But Jade is determined! That’s kind of the premise of the movie.

Despite one of the girls being a cam girl and the cover of the dvd, the movie isn’t that sexual. It contains one make-out scene from one of the girls in a previous relationship when they were younger. The other was a sex scene between the two love interests which didn’t happen until the last 10 minute of the film.

Anyways, the movie is heartfelt. I cared about the girl’s past (yes, they both unsurprisingly have tragic pasts) and I wanted everything to work out for them. They were likable characters. The side characters were likable as well. Especially the guy (I forgot his name) that kept wanting to get more tattoos- he was hilarious. A lesbian film…with male characters that aren’t trashbags…imagine that.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that the soundtrack is good because there’s pretty much only one track that’s ever played in the film. But boy is it a damn good track. Okay maybe it’s not the same track, but each track is played in the same tune. Either way, it was effective and I want to buy the soundtrack now.

I did have a few problems with the movie, however, one of them being the last 30 to 20 minutes being really…weird and generally confusing. I had no idea what was going on for the last 20 minutes of this movie. Another thing is that although the two love interests are likable and have interesting backgrounds, there isn’t a lot of chemistry between them. They kind of like each other at the end of the movie and there’s a sex scene between them, but that’s kind of it.

I don’t know…there’s something about the way the movie is executed that made it really enjoyable to watch and make me care about what was happening.

Because I found this movie from my college’s library, I was able to watch the behind the scenes stuff on the dvd I watched it on and I was able to learn more about the director, along with searching some stuff up about her here on the interweb- and I think this is something you guys should get in on. So ready closely.

The director of Spider Lilies is a woman named Zero Chou who is most well known for directing documentaries- being dubbed the most talented documentary director. She’s also one of the few openly lesbian filmmakers in the world; she’s the only one in Taiwan. She is currently on something called the Six Asian Cities Rainbow Project, which she’s trying to get done quickly since many of these places don’t allow films that present LGBT+ content.

I’m intending to watch more things by Zero Chou, as while Spider Lilies was a weird film that sometimes didn’t make sense, it had a lot of heart in it and it’s clear that Zero Chou handled the love story with care. I think supporting her is of a lot of importance. So guys please go look into her films.

originally posted here