“I CHOSE this way of life.”
Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. EST on Amazon Anime Strike
Sota refuses to spill the beans about the Military Uniform Princess – including her true name, Altair – to anyone but Mamika, who decides to confront her directly.
First, the actual plot elements: Altair is a fanfiction character who got popular on Not-Nicovideo, based off a mobile game character, and the show itself goes to lengths to justify why this works within the already-pretty-bullshit constraints it has made for itself. Not that this creates any reason for why she can drag in characters from other series, but whatever. After some of the usual faffing about this show is becoming known for, Mamika decides to put a halt to proceedings by going after Altair directly, only to be skewered the second she mentions Setsuna’s name. Didn’t see that coming (Disclaimer: saw it coming)! Be prepared for the net to talk about how edgy and unexpected this move was, or some such silliness.
Seriously though, you can just see the blushing anime-style seams holding this show together. Even though the rest of the main cast has figured out who Altair is, Sota refuses to reveal that he knew her Creator because he feels guilty about her suicide. This – conceptually – could serve as decent characterization, but Sota is just so unlikable and uninteresting of a protagonist that I could not care less about his alleged struggles. What is his motivation right now? Why should we care about this guy in a world with a giant robot pilot and a magical girl? These are the questions the show is trying to answer by giving him a guilt complex, but his utter lack of a personality cripples any of the effort. To put it another way, while Sota now at least has a plot reason to be involved, on a higher story level he has nothing to offer (I can stay optimistic I guess, so let’s say nothing to offer yet, a full third into the show) as a protagonist.
Re:CREATORS obsession with being So Meta! reaches even more tedious heights with the conversation between Altair and Mamika. Conceptually, you could get a decent arc out of a character who previously had a rigidly defined role, gained freedom outside of that role, and then actively chose to retain or return to it. When it happens over the course of three episodes, and when every spoken line is delivered with a wink-and-nod to the camera about the nature of anime tropes, not so much. None of the gravitas is earned. How can I take this show seriously when Altair says that she’s “not following a mere plot outline” with her motivations being as flimsy as wanting to destroy the entire world?
The very premise of Re:CREATORS is meta enough that any further attention brought to the nature of stories exposes its own hilariously contrived plot. Why is anything happening onscreen? Because someone plotted it that way, naturally. Any of the the issues I’ve mentioned above could be explained by saying “that’s what the plot needs to happen” – and that’d be a perfectly valid answer – but it would also require shattering the all-important illusion of fiction as a whole, that of suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, it seems like this show just can’t stop itself. I’ll see you next week.
- The show seems to be going out of its way to have Sota hang out with all of the different ladies.
- At some point, I feel like you should translate names like “Shirotsumekusa”. In this case, nothing is lost by giving their name as “White Clover”.
- Speaking of subbing gaffes, when the title of the episode is given in English as “I chose this way of life”, you’d think the actual line spoken by a character would be phrased identically. I get it though, subbing is hard work and there’s a real tight schedule to keep.