I am completely serious about the title. If you don’t believe me, watch the first thirty seconds of the third episode and try to explain what happened to a person that doesn’t watch anime. It’s completely impossible because that is a conversation that requires talking about other anime just to talk about what happens. The main point of that conversation might be lost along the way. That is a minor example to how you how many layers there are to it in this series. To me, the best part is that all of it played completely straight and serious. I’m not a huge fan of the Deadpool or Big Bang Theory’s “haha, let me make a reference to something the audience knows” meta material. That just feels like cheap comedy to me. The very fact that it is being played straight means that Re:Creators is trying to say something. No, this is -> NOT <- a review of Re:Creators, but a quick talk about some of the things that I think it is trying to say and a talk about the layers of meta that is shown in the series in general. A “review” may happen when the series end though. Depends on how I feel. As usual, this is all my opinion and I can be completely wrong. Still, that is what makes all of this fun.
The reason why all this meta talk occurs in the first place is the fact that Re:Creators is a reverse Isekai anime for characters that are in video games and anime. For those who don’t fully understand the Isekai concept, it’s just a genre of anime that one or more characters from our world travels to another world. Something like Vision of Escaflowne, Now and Then, Here or there, or Spirited Away. All this means is that all of these characters are interacting with our world. The world full of people that either created them to entertain people or people that are entertained by what these characters. And yes, these characters do meet up with the people who thought up their character concept and drew them. They are also, for the most part, bound the physics of the real. If the character was from a more positive universe, they are completely shocked by the amount of damage they can do to cities and people. All in all, a very unique concept.
The first idea that Re:Creators brought to my attention is the interaction between characters and creators. How the amount of love and care a creator puts into their work directly affects how complex a character is. Characters that are given a vague description about who they are never develop and are just one-dimensional characters. Everything they do and say is held within a tightly controlled box. Characters that are given a lot of love and passion are free think and talk however they want to, because who they are and how they act are only held back by their defined personalities. So they are just normal people, to put it simply. The next thing I noticed is how a creator thinks is directly connected to what the character thinks in terms of ideology. Even though Meteora’s creator died before she could meet him, she learned about what her creator thinks of her when playing the game her game. That was when she decided to join the good guys. This can have a negative effect as well. The main antagonist’s creator was put in a bad way when passed, so all of those negative opinions about the creator went to her. Now she wants to destroy the world. It’s all crazy, but the idea this part is trying to convey is obvious. The more you love your work, the better it turns out. A lesson for all of us blogger types.
Fan interaction plays an important part of Re:Creators. For one thing, the characters that show up from each series are the fan favorites of each series. The characters could be a main heroine from a series, a popular villain, or a random side character that caught the audience’s attention than anyone else. Even a fan reinterpretation of a character that gained some attention on the internet as well. I like the fact that the characters are from a mix set of roles from a large variety of genres from video games and anime. Almost everything in the show is about fan interaction. A sudden character power up requires enough views and likes on the internet for it to happen. Everything about these characters is based on that sort of thing. Also, there is some representation of fan interactions with characters. Souta is our main protagonist and the audience avatar for the show. When how he wants heroes to succeed and make to save people on time, I was hanging on to every word he said to Alicetaria in the latest episode, because I think the same way. I want heroes to succeed and motivate other people in different ways. Even in shows like Game of Thrones, where it is hopeless. Characters and watchers all have different reactions, but this is mine.
Despite how meta Re:Creators may be, it’s still its own thing. The way the story is being told may be somewhat familiar. Honestly, there is no way to say that this is not an indirect spinoff of the fate franchise. How can it be anything else? It has some of the people behind Fate/Zero behind it. Fate is a series that pulls characters from different areas of history, gives them a DnD character class, and throws them into a modern city to fight in a death game. Re:Creators kind of does that same thing with anime and video game characters, but they already have their own class coming into the world and are teamed up with each other (with one straggler). There is also the fact that some of these characters might look familiar. Does a depressed magical girl with pink hair sound familiar to you? What about that Saber clone named Alicetaria (because every fate series needs a saber). That’s about where the comparisons start. Re:Creators merely references a large variety of characters from different series, without making it TOO obvious, while developing each of them in an interesting way. My favorite way to use meta.
To be honest, this is the most unique way that I’ve seen meta material used in an anime. The closest I’ve seen was Genshiken, which had a side anime wrong alongside it which the characters watched and is an anime about anime fans in general, and Martian Successor Nadesico, which also had an anime run alongside it that the characters watched and that anime eventually became more real as time went on. I have seen countless comedy anime that play up the references to the max level just so they riff on them, quick scenes in anime that are obvious reference to something (that cg car scene in Shirobako’s first opening comes to mind), and something like Osomatsu-san which had entire skit that are just references to something else. It’s nice to see meta used in a unique sort of way. I’ve been having a lot of fun with Re:Creators because of it.
What about you guys? For those of you who are watching Re:Creators, what is something that either draws you in or repels you from the series? Please let me know in the comments and lets have a discussion.