A thought (well, a speculation) on Oh! Edo Rocket's quality
I watched Oh! Edo Rocket several years ago (before I started writing Roving Thoughts) and enjoyed it quite a lot; ever since then I've felt that it was an underappreciated gem, and I am glad to see people like Author discover it.
(Yes, yes, technically Author 'discovered' it ages ago, back when it originally aired, and merely watched it recently. You all know what I mean. Ironically I think one of Author's old side comments about a bit in the first episode that helped push me towards watching it, although my Google-foo isn't sufficient to find it now.)
One of the interesting things about OER is that it not an original anime work; it is an adaptation. I find this interesting because anime adaptations have a terrible track record; most of them have ranged between bland and bad, even when the source material is pretty good. Good anime is rare, but my impression is that good anime that started in another media is even rarer than that. But the really interesting thing for me is that OER was originally a successful stage play, not a manga, a book, or a game (the usual three sources for anime series), and for a while I've wondered if this is one of the reasons that OER is so good.
Here's why I say that:
The way you tell stories in manga, written text, or games is very different from how you have to do it in anime; this means that adapting any one of them for anime may require fairly significant changes in how the story is told and even call for changes in the story. However, it seems intuitively sensible that a stage play would wind up using techniques similar to what anime uses, which means that adapting a stage play for anime would require much less changes and thus has a higher chance of preserving what made the original material so successful.
(Stage plays and anime are not quite the same, in the same way that stage plays and films are not the same (as early cinema discovered).)
Note that I may well be talking through my hat. If you want an expert opinion, find someone who understands how stage plays and film (and ideally animation) tell stories and how they differ, and see if they fall over laughing at this idea.
PS: this entry absolutely is prompted by Author's roll call of the sleeping and the dead, although the thought has been rattling around in the back of my mind for a while.
Written on 03 October 2010.