Before I get back to Part 2 of my MO ramblings I thought I'd share my thoughts on some new series that started airing this month.
Fate/Stay Night is probably the most anticipated series in recent memory, well, at least I think it is, given that it's talked about in most forums I've been to, and everybody seems to be blogging it. Don't believe me? Check out Anime Blog Toshokan or the Animeblogger Antenna and either scroll down for the past week or do a search for Fate Stay Night.
Anyway, SOP for this. SPOILERS AHEAD. Check elsewhere for screencaps, summaries and most likely, more informed commentary. (Hint: look at the last paragraph.)
So FSN started out life as a game by TypeMoon, the same people who brought us Tsukihime. Not being a gamer I don't know the proper terminology (eroge, H-game, visual novel, or ren-ai), but basically one of the selling points of the game, I presume, is that you get to have sex with the female characters along the way.
Which got me to thinking about this trend of making mainstream anime series from eroge. (I've decided I'm going to use this term, distinctions and subtle differences be damned. ;) As a corollary, Zyl and I had a brief discussion on a somewhat similar theme in the comments section on his post for episode 5 of another eroge conversion, Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito.
Often lost in the translation from one medium to the other is the sex, which for some games, just transforms them into run of the mill harem anime, so in a lot of respects it's a step down. For others, the story is usually strong enough to survive without the sex, but often doesn't live up to the hype that hardcore fans of the game promulgate.
I'm putting Tsukihime, Air and Kanon into this latter category, all the stories were entertaining and decent, but it certainly didn't inspire the kind of awe in me that Evangelion did, nor were they craptacular enough for me to rant about like GSD, or inspire the kind of over-obsession to write 3000+ word speculative histories like Mai Otome. (Though Fred Gallagher of Megatokyo fame clearly cites Kanon as inspiration for Megatokyo.)
So you can look at this in a couple of ways: 1) I just don't get it, (which is a distinct possibility, I admit) or 2) the stories just aren't as good as the fans think they are. (This second point would probably get me flamed if anyone actually read this blog, so I guess I should count my blessings. ;)
Anyway, getting back to FSN finally, my curiosity was intially sparked by the proliferation of RinXSaber doujinshi and fanart, so as the potential yuri angle is always a major draw for me, I downloaded the raw. The first episode was good, but it wasn't quite clear what was going on. So I did some research, first to Wikipedia, which lead me to The Moonlit World a fan site with synopses of the the different iterations of the game. Armed with my new knowledge, I realized that the yuri potential dropped considerably from what the plethora of RinXSaber stuff among the fans had led me to believe, but I'll continue to watch to see if the story sucks me in.
I remember thinking that Tsukihime would have probably been better served by being longer than 13 episodes, there was clearly more story than what they had budgeted for and I think the series suffered as a result. So, if FSN is similarly interesting and complex as Tsukihime, then I'm certainly open to watching the rest of the series, regardless of whether there is any actually RinXSaber, though that would make me happy.
(NOTE: Found the above image using Google Image Search on "Fate Stay Night." If it's yours and you don't want me to use it, let me know.)