What I look for when I watch something (World Building and Characters):

It seems like every one of those discussion posts I write is fueled by a real-life event or a post that I read online.  This post is brought to you by Rogue One: A Star Wars story.  While this is not anime in nature, it is still relevant.  When I watch an anime, a tv show, or read a book, I always look for how deep the world the story takes place in is and how developed the characters are first.  These two things are the weakest aspects of Rogue One and why I did not end up liking it.  So many of my friends were completely amazed by it, but it just didn’t click for me.  Here is a little about why.

(Disclaimer: Since today’s post is Star Wars related, it is dedicated to Carrie Fisher and her mom who passed away recently.  While she is known for being Princess/General Leia, Carrie was also a person that had some mental, drug, and alcohol issues throughout her life, but Carrie never ran away from them.  She decided to use those issues to boost what causes she advocated for.  Long Live Carrie Fisher who died drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. (Read about that last part online if you didn’t know where that came from.  It’s a funny interview))

While it isn’t as consistent throughout its eight-movie run, the Star Wars movies always have some decent world building going for it.  EVEN THE PREQUELS are decent with it, but the execution is terrible.  Rogue One is the failure here.  Let’s start with the first film as an example.  A New Hope starts with a galactic conflict that we don’t have a full understanding of yet and then two droids drop out of an escape pod to this seeming inconsequential planet.  That’s when the true world building begins.  We follow our protagonist Luke and see how boring Tattoine is by spending time there with him and getting to know it.  Almost every new location presented in Star Wars is like that, despite how nonsensical they can be, except for everything in Rogue One.  Those locations were sped through too fast or relied on nostalgia for the others.  It’s infuriating, because those were cool looking places.

This relates to anime, because my favorite anime have a pre-existing world that had its own conflicts before the main characters showed up.  It’s like you can take a snap shot at any point of this show’s history and most a good show out of it.  The current main characters are the people that changed the history of that time slot until the incident happens.  Like a real world situation.

Characters are the second thing that I look for.  These don’t have to be the most complex characters or the smartest characters that ever lived.  They just need to feel like real people.  They each need to have flaws, strengths, and motivations.  Much more character then a bland self-insert character that is a bad ass with a sword that somehow attracts all of the female characters for no reason at all.  That’s just bad writing.  Star Wars doesn’t have the strongest characters in the galaxy, but they are developed enough to know them.  Luke Skywalker is a farmer that always dreamt of faraway things.  Han Solo is a thief with a heart of gold.  Princess Leia is a Princess that is much snarkier and brilliant then your usual Disney princess.  Are these the most original characters that ever existed, no, but they feel like real people and you care about what happens to them.  I can’t say the same about Rogue One because that movie had no character to it.  Even though the action was phenomenal, I didn’t care about any of it.  The original trilogy’s action wasn’t great all the time, but the characters were what made the action worthwhile.

Well, it’s obvious how this relates to anime.  Characters and action is an important balance that many anime must make for me to like them.  An example of an anime that has mastered this balance is Hunter x Hunter.  The character growth is fantastic and the action isn’t as strong as One Punch Man, but it’s great enough to be entertaining and exciting.  These two things combined together with its fantastic world building make Hunter x Hunter one of the best shonen series I ever watched.

So I think a lot of you have seen through me.  This is a half way baked post complaint about why I didn’t like Rogue One with some anime influenced stuff to make it appear in this blog.  Here is the deal with that.  Before I was an anime fan, I was a Star Wars fan.  I was raised on it and I still watch or read things from it to this day.  Star Wars is one of the many things that influenced my taste for everything that I watch now and that includes anime.  I know this reasoning isn’t as strong as it could be, but this is my blog and my rules.  I do what I want.  Have a Happy New Year everyone.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. For me, the first third of the movie was the only part that had weak world building and the movie would generally be much better if they didn’t jump around all over the galaxy.

    The characters defenitly weren’t amazing, but I felt as if Jyn and Cassian had believable arcs, and also K2 almost immediately became “best droid” in the Star Wars for me.

    Admittedly, Rouge One does have a reliance on familiarity with Star Wars, with plenty of nostalgia easter eggs thrown in. In the end though I personally enjoyed Rouge One much more than A New Hope v2, I mean The Force Awakens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      It wasn’t enough for me. The places they stopped by, except the imperial ones, didn’t feel like they had a reason to be there and the characters were not memorable at all.

      Like

  2. ennadune says:

    I enjoyed all the action in Rogue One, but the characters fell quite flat. I didn’t actually like any of the main characters (save for the droid), and while I felt a twinge of sadness when the K2 ‘died’ , I didn’t feel anything when Jyn and Cassian died. Probably because I found both Jyn and Cassian pretty difficult to relate with. It’s interesting that you brought up the world building; I didn’t actually notice it, but your points are valid – they did rush through some of these worlds.

    On a side note, as someone who watched Clone Wars, I couldn’t help but feel that Ahsoka should have been in this movie… as the protagonist. Her connection to the Jedi, the rebellion and Darth Vader could have provided a deeper story and it would have been a brilliant way to end her character’s story. That’s just wishful thinking on my part though.

    Thank you for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I think the problem is that I think too much.

      Yeah, I wish Ahsoka was apart of movie. That would have been awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alane says:

    Sorry, I admittedly didn’t really watch Star Wars, but you bring up some good points about depth of character and the importance of world building. Just curious, but do you have an example of an anime series with good world building?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yes. Some of the series that have the greatest world building are Moribito, Beast Player Erin, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Yona of the Dawn. Any series that has some political focus on it seem to have the best world building.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alane says:

        Thank you! I’ve been thinking about watching more shows along this line, and will look into all of your recommendations.

        Liked by 1 person

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