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