Imagine I look like this. I don’t, but it’s the book, the reading, I want you to remember.

I think some people may have some sort of view of me that I’m in some mad teaparty where I crap/eat the eyeballs and glands of anything I don’t like. That’s not true for everything. It only happened once. But I am picky. Like my taste in art I am exacting. You see, I don’t want to watch crappy stuff, but my threshold is very HIGH. You see, when shows like Humanity and its ilk cross my sight I am enraged. You see, comedy, even slice of life must have internal logic and rules. It MUST MUST MUST make sense in its own context. It must not violate itself.

This is the great secret of writing. You can add whatever you want to any story, but it must not violate a reader’s sense of the world. In Harry Potter, wizards abound and live in a secret world of their own among us muggles. They do crazy crap, from violating gravity on brooms to fighting dragons, but it never EVER violates the world’s logic. Blame! is about a guy wondering a gigantic Dyson Sphere the literal size of our solar system (he traverses the room that once held JUPITER for pete’s sake. But it never, EVER violates the rules that a reader will eventually get mentally. You see, why I hate humanity? It violates its own rules. Too many characters violate logic set down for them. I recently read a story where characters start acting crazy. The author wanted to get across that they were being mind controlled, but he didn’t pull it off. You can have a psychic, no problem, but if the reader can’t get that a psychic is doing his mojo, then it’s just another form of the hated deus ex machina.

So you say, “Now what Xewleer? How can I be as awesome as you are?” Short answer: “You can’t” Long Answer: “Here’s why: You haven’t read everything I have read. To know what good stuff is you have to read it. A lot.” As a child I rarely, if ever, read ‘crap.’. I literally cannot remember a book in my library that I ever put down in disgust or had a ‘guilty pleasure’. I read the Epics of King Arthur, the Sagas of the Vikings, Greek tragedies, Roman campaigns, Religious manuscripts from literally every major religion on earth, Histories of the Normans, Retellings of the crusades, Gilgemesh and Beowolf were my playmates. What I am is made up of a thousand books and hundreds and hundreds of stories. I am well-read. I know what is good and bad by comparison to what I have read before.

I cannot imagine life without the knowledge I have gathered like an banker. I feel compelled to use it constantly. But when I critique things, I have two fold purpose: Tear down the bad and raise up the good. If you do not feel that I have at least suggested a good idea, then I have failed you. I have not failed you if you do not learn anything, but if I do not offer anything it is a failure. HOWEVER: for things that are complete, like anime, there is no excuse. I am not unique. They should have people editting like crazy. Every director should, like the Romans in triumph, have a slave behind him, whispering: You are only a man. You should probably cut out that kiss scene, or shorten it.

You see, I’m one of those men. Or at least I believe myself to be. I tear down dreams of grandeur and fancy while reminding of humanity. Whenever an author, playwright or poet ever gets full of themselves, they lose a part of their skill. It changes for the worse. Of course, this is a very gradual thing, most do not notice it, except in singers and stars, because every part of their lives are dissected and shown like frogs on the science table. Their arrogance undoes them like it does me. I do not question that I have a high expectation, but I do my part to try to improve works in media res, and to keep people from watching bad shows.

Take Akira. I talked about it earlier, I could go on about it. You see, it’s that good. It’s a masterpiece. The animation is tight and to the point. The characters are all well-developed, even side characters are memorable. Hell, the enemy biker from the first few minutes is memorable! Very little of the movie is ‘wasteful’. Obviously, it is different from manga, but who cares? Everything works and fits. It’s like a full meal where everything is cooked to near perfection (flaws are there, but they are not such that offend the watcher.).

Humanity has declined is a crap sandwich. It’s got a great beginning and a halfway decent ending, but that’s like saying the french baguette surrounding manure is great. No. I won’t eat that. It’s covered in manure. No, it’s covered in french baguettes you say. No a thousand times, there’s MANURE in that there sandwich. Fortunately, the guy pushing it on me has ceased, and I owe him a few words on it. The top of the sandwich, the first couple episodes, are great, amazing. They are prime french baguette. Then I bite again and I get a mouthful of manure. And another. I skip to the end. The bottom of the sandwich is okay. But it still has the taste of it now. It’s not fair to ask a gourmet to eat this. It’s not good for anyone’s consumption.

Crap sandwiches are tricky things. You see, there could be only one piece of crap, and one rotten cold cut. Still give you food poisoning, but that’s later. The sad thing about it, is that people look at the decorations, how its plated and how its presented and call it good. They taste the manure and they find something they like in it. Some flavor may actually BE good. All stories have something new and fresh about them. Humanity genuinely has an amazing pair of first episodes. BUT! It does not have much else to it. Lets talk about the flavors of stories.

See this ship? This is a cool ship. It is not a crappy ship. It has engines, a hull, view ports and a bridge, it has everything it needs to be a cool ship. It is flying in space. This is a metaphor for stories. Stories are made up of varying types of plot, characters, style of presentation and above all context and continuum. It would make no sense for this ship to be underwater. It’s not sea worthy at all, even in a sci-fi setting. This is ‘complete’ so to say.
Bad stories put the ship in the sea. Or they take parts of the ship away. They turn the engines into propellers. Why? Because they think it is a good idea. It’s not that it’s not. It’s just maybe more appropriate for a gas giant like jupiter, that has atmosphere. Humanity tried to do too much, when they had perfectly serviceable space cruiser. They could have kept the plot from crazy things, like going into a manga world that’s governed by what I can only suppose is the popularity polls of the dead. Things like the Voyager and Pioneer probes showing up and then humanity literally pulls a space program out of their collective pie holes to send back 2 anthropomorphized SATELLITES.  Then they try to sentimentalize it all. That’s only a part of it, sadly.

Why did I spend time on that? Because it’s a fish out of water moment. I could imagine two ais running amok in their world. It would stretch stuff a little, but it would be still within the bounds of their world. They violated rules and drove their ship into the water planet. They dragged AI into this, but they made the mistake of sentimentalizing. They tried to play my feelings like a vuvuzula. I am mostly immune. And I HATE it when people play my emotions, especially when it’s so flagrant. It’s a poor writing tool that is overused by authors who have no real touch of the theatrical.

Lets examine this picture. The artist wishes to convey a number of emotions. Snide Amusement. Melancholy, bedraggled. This wasn’t how she imagined her evening going. But she still had a good time, and maybe a little more to be had later. She doesn’t seem sad. There’s rain all about but the emotion is completely departing from the norm of rain scenes.  It defies the normal way in favor for a refreshing manner, art style and bonus pony.

Humanity SHOULD have been like this. The first two episodes turned things on people’s heads. They defied everything I expected then defied it again, but not in a good way. Lets say the artist makes a sequel to the picture. The artist takes all the same color, characters and heck, even setting. He/she makes it about clowns. Puts clown make up on. Makes her sad. Maybe she’s being abused by Fancy pants, who can only be aroused by beating his wife who is wearing clown make up. You WILL say something to the affect of: WHAT. THE. HELL. Is it good art? It says something, but it’s obvious. It’s not subtle. it’s gotten weirder than the vomit paintings of the craziest advant gard artist because it has left logic behind.

But then again. It’s for pictures like these that I do my work. I critique to see greatness. Imagine one more thing for me. A sparkle of light in a tunnel. It is a jewel and you have all the tools to make it worth something. I want to see jewels be worth something. It is a sadness for me to do less. I am harsh on things like Humanity because I see the jewel it could be, but misses. It’s too late though. The jewel has been fractured. I don’t want to think of it for too much longer.

You see, I don’t enjoy being a bastard to shows like Humanity.But it wells up in me, a kind of rage, that they would serve me a crap sandwich. That they would drive my ship into the depths of the sun. That they would fracture their own jewel. Then, they gussied it up so that no one would notice. They told people that it was good. That it was ‘deep’. That’s what dangerous about those shows. They lower expectations or drive other shows, wonderful things like Natsuyuki and make people think that they are good for watching it, when really, all they have in their hands are two pieces of French baguette and a pile of manure.