Anime Crossover Hell — A Re: Creators Post

Wonder what would happen if you threw an Ace Attorney character in here?

So for those of you who are either a sucker or a pirate, how about that Re: Creators show, huh? The idea of combining a bunch of different anime genres into one package is obviously nothing new, and the idea of fictional characters entering the real world has been done to death by the film industry. Nevertheless, it’s all about how you use those elements at the end of the day, and Re: Creators has me hooked so far. The characters are emotionally cold, but they have very interesting stances regarding how their fictional world is portrayed in the real world. Even the nerdy male protagonist is tolerable due to how he knows his place as a fanboy who’s just thrown into an unusual situation where he acts as the eyes (and hopefully not the damsel in distress, or Robin). If Re: Creators can build on what it’s doing for the two-cour length that’s scheduled for it in a way that doesn’t make me want to send attack drones at Troyca’s headquarters, it’ll definitely be my favorite anime of the season.

It’ll be hard-pressed to beat Scum’s Wish for anime of the year though. The visuals aren’t exactly spectacular, the characters are emotionally cold are too subtle, and while the dialogue is better here than in Ei Aoki’s other works, he’s still not the most natural director when it comes to delivering exposition.

So if you haven’t heard, Re: Creators is a show about a bunch of characters from anime, manga, and video games (with light novels acting as a source for some of them) coming to the real world and discovering that their stories are actually fictional works written by other people. This means that they know who’s truly responsible for all the suffering that happens to their lives (or if they’re villains, why they can never beat the good guy) as well as how millions of people know about their fighting experiences, their romances, their cheesy lines, etc. And of course, the show’s not above a little deconstruction of anime tropes, like when that magical girl in the second episode discovered the hard way that her attacks and idealism are deadly when you’re not in a kids’ show. It’s definitely not a subtle anime, but I don’t think anyone was expecting that from this production team anyways.

At the end of the day, Re: Creators is basically one of those post-modern meta-anime that most of today’s Japanese cartoons have leaned towards, but it’s using it as a springboard for all sorts of topics I find interesting rather than just relying on the meta for substance. What would happen if you found out that everything you’ve lived for was written by someone else? How do you make your story stand out amongst the millions of others? What happens when said stories collide? This is the kind of meta I want to see anime actually go into. I know people are worried that it’s going to turn into another Aldnoah Zero in the future, and I’ll call it out when it does. But for now, I’m just soaking in all the interesting ways this show is exploring its concept.

As of this time of writing, Re: Creators is three episodes into its run, and the majority of it has been dedicated to exploring the rules of its unique situation with three of the main characters still not being introduced. While I’m a little impatient for the plot to actually get a more concrete direction, said world-building leads to amusing moments and revelations like a character from an anime not knowing what happens in a future novel because said anime hasn’t gotten that far or how you have to be really popular with the general audience to even have a chance of materializing in the real world. You know that old saying in stories like The Velveteen Rabbit about how a fictional product can become real if enough love is given to it? Seeing that apply to both these characters and their powers is a pretty neat touch, as well as being a nice satirical dig at what the common audience (in Japan at least) for this stuff actually likes.

I know a bunch of people who liked Yuya the instant they met him, because he’s that douche-y bad character we all love to have Stockholm’s Syndrome for, hence why he’s the one who materialized in the real world over the protagonist Syo. And despite being a random NPC who only shows up at the very end, Meteorre is the one who gets to roam around with the main protagonist of Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier because…I dunno. She’s cute and mysterious, while the main cast in the original game are forgettable? It’s a strong, but by no means the only example of how this show works as a satire of anime, fandom, fiction in general, and gods themselves. There’s probably like ten or so aspects that I missed, mostly because I keep wondering to myself when they’re going to introduce the cast to their own doujinshis.

What I especially appreciate about Re: Creators is that it doesn’t hate its subject matter, like I feel a lot of parodies or deconstructions end up doing. Yes, I don’t like light novel adaptations, but I refuse to watch a parody of the genre that does nothing but stomp all over them. You know how most people think I hate anime in general and thus refuse to listen to me even when I might be bringing something up that should be taken into serious consideration, provided you’re not one of those people who think Yosuga no Sora is brilliant and thus don’t care? Same sort of concept there, and also I feel incredibly sad for typing that comparison out.

But yes, Re: Creators definitely has a lot of love for its subject matter. While the quality of each of its points aren’t equally strong, they are all aspects that only someone who cares would have enough of a grasp on in order to represent it in an engaging way. Obviously a strong love isn’t enough, because otherwise I’d enjoy Saekano, but you’re definitely going to need it to come up with tasty meat and potatoes being sold at the anime satire convention. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Sota is an interesting character, I’m actually invested in his goal of wanting to make his own light novel series someday because there’s a chance that his own fictional character would come to life and meet him, only to break his heart when he discovers that his waifu does not love him. And the moment when the writer and the artist teamed up to try and give Selesia a new power in the real world…well let’s just say that this is what I wanted Shirobako to be.

So as a satire of anime culture itself, Re: Creators is doing a decent job. But it also has to contend with some other topics it’s brought up as well. The whole “what would you do to your creators if you had a chance to meet them” aspect seems to be the driving force of the show’s momentum, and it looks it’s going to be a slow burn if you want revelations on that front. Yuya doesn’t particularly care, Selesia hasn’t been around with her writer enough for me to draw concrete conclusions, Meteora is meeting with her creator soon, and the others’ motivations regarding their writers is unclear. This show is going on for twenty-two episodes, so obviously it can’t front load all the interesting aspects of those unique relationships right away. Hopefully you guys enjoy all the stuff surrounding it to be engaging enough to make you see said aspects in the future (well, I’m assuming the show will bring them up).

And the other big topic that Re: Creators’ plot waves in our faces is the whole “deconstruction of anime tropes” thing due to the different ideals between these characters from different genres and audience preferences. The whole cast is going to need to be introduced before that can truly get off the ground, and like the anime satire thing, it’s more of a side theme to the one regarding the relationship between the creator and the creation. However, that also means it has to carry the plot while the main theme gets going, and while not as prevalent as the fandom satire, there’s enough headway made into that to be satisfying at this point in time. From the violent altercation with Mamika to the restaurant conversation with Yuya, I like how even though the show is always spelling out its meanings, there’s variety being put in it. It’s actually kind of funny how Yuya is the one who prefers talking to the opposition and letting the creator slide while the magical girl is all about violence and forcing her creator to make her world safe, even if she underestimated how things in a non-kiddy world are.

Plus, we get to see who wins in a fight. Erza Scarlet or Madoka? And not in the lame way that most anime fighting games go about it either.

There’s a lot of other things to talk about with Re: Creators as well. Like why Sota has a history with the main antagonistic force. What Mamika will do now that she knows her powers can kill people in this reality. Pretty much everything on a WMG section of TV Tropes or Reddit. But let’s not bite off more than we can chew in regards to a show that’s still just getting started, shall we? All I can say is that I’m personally hooked on this show and I think most anime fans would be too given how it has something for both the intellectual and the fanboy-ish side of the audience spectrum. As long as you’re not one of the ten percent of anime fans who aren’t, i really do recommend trying it out. Just know that I can’t guarantee this show’s future.

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