People often tell me cuteness ruins a show and what I always tell them is that’s a load of crap. Cute shows at least me are enjoyable, you can forget yourself and just sit down and watch people go about their lives in pure bliss make and you forget about how terrible the world is but after a while I realized that cuteness wasn’t what people were criticising and what they were trying to say got lost in translation. What let me understand their words in proper context was after I watched Comic Girls and that’s when I got what they had been telling me all along. The show is cute, really cute, sickening cute to the point where if I were to overindulge on it I would get a stomach-ache, you get my point it’s really cute but there isn’t anything else but this. The upbeat happiness always stay’s despite when it should dissipate for the emotional moments to really connect with the viewer, as a wise person once said the light cannot show without the darkness.
Even Lucky Star knew when to deviate to let an emotional scene in. The moment where Konata’s mother’s ghost came into the story viewing the lives of her daughter and husband. The tone allowed it to be sombre, yet with hints of warmth as the character interacted with the viewer rather than each other because although her mother could not physically interact with her daughter and husband we could hear her thoughts as she moved around them and while there was some cute interactions between Konata and her father this didn’t damage the scene but rather the cuteness of that moment allowed this sombre scene to play and feel incredibly sincere to witness. With Konata’s mother remembering the moments when she was alive with her husband enjoying everyday life she say’s, “he accepts all the good in me along with all the bad, he shares everything with me, the good and the bad.” This scene can be referred to the viewer because this doesn’t jar the tone of the show but help them accept taking a small side break from what is especially the golden girls of anime, because this makes the character’s real to us and in turn endears them on a deeper base level from what have know. Humans die, we aren’t immortal and there may be someone in your life or a person who you greatly admired, has passed recently. Death is a connecting experience shared by all, the loss of a person who we have loved is painful and it’s also painful to watch a person who has lost someone they have loved deeply remember them and even if they might possibly be around you can’t see them and while they can see you, they can’t interact with you.
Death is universal and those who are left behind must figure how to keep going despite when it feels like the world should have stopped turning on it’s axis when they’ve lost a part of their world or the whole world, because as painful as it is when people you love die you can’t just keep focusing on them not being there. Now Lucky Star is my go to anime for when I’m feeling sad, wether it be because someone threw rocks at me, a 20,000 word story I had been working on accidently got deleted or a friend tried to commit suicide. Whenever I feel down I put on this anime and whenever that scene crops up it feels like I have a deep connection with these three characters and I feel a little better because as much as life sucks at the moment there is more to life than despair. This story despite it being saturated with cute characters and unrealistic story lines a majorty of the time(those girls never had a big fight nor were any of them bullied), rather it’s an uplifting tale of people coming together and enjoying each other’s presence, there lives are the story of how life can be sometimes.
Comic Girls just had a too stressful concept to be cute, if anyone’s been in a creative industry before you know that it can take a couple hours and on top of that re-writes when creating a script then coupled with the drawing then re-drawing because something went wrong, then re-re-drawing once more because there was a incident at the publisher and then you spill orange juice over your computer and you have to start everything from scratch, at least in my experience that’s how it goes there is always something that goes wrong but this doesn’t happen. They don’t use the cuteness of the characters and their lives to cut the stress of publishing and the hours it takes to compile a manuscript but still are happy despite the stress and problems because they are doing what they love but the problem is that the stress isn’t portrayed as stressful rather an annoyance that they might not make their deadline and although people pull all-nighters they always make there deadline and trust me that does not always happen. The only time the show let’s an emotional scene play out is in the last episode when the character is feeling down and the other girls aren’t there to pull her up and so she has to, the scene plays out as it should getting finding the inner strength she didn’t know was there but for 11 episodes important emotional moments aren’t fully explored when the show prompts for it and instead just allows the cuteness in and dampens any emotional moments that comes along for example, Tsubasa is clearly effected by how her parents don’t support her drawing but when the scene’s play out when she’s at the mansion it’s not conveyed that way and it’s not till episode 12 that we see the deeper effects of her family’s unsupportive attitudes as if prompting me to feel something for this character but I can’t because it’s too late the scene didn’t play out when attended and I don’t feel anything for her or for Koyume or for Ruki. By the end of the series we should see all these characters as real people and get an actual connection with all of them not just Moeta the main character, as this should be a character driven anime by all accounts as this let’s us into the characters personal lives but that’s not what’s happening, to much cuteness isn’t allowing us to get below the surface and we drown in the cute.
Much like gore and gross out show’s when people make such a product like this they’re trying to appeal to there market base not knowing that there needs to be more than this otherwise the audience can’t connect with these characters on more then a superficial level. There is a reason Konata is a character we remember the most and it’s not just because she is an otaku but because we actually got to connect with her on a deeper level than everyone else in the show, while we did see the inner workings of everyone’s lives and got to know them we had an actual deep and meaningful moment with her. People complain about tonal shifts in anime but the fact of the matter is that tones change to have a story and be coherent rather than cute, cute, cute and for those who say this can’t work have never read Oji-san cat a story of a not a particularly attractive cat being adopted by a widower, it has the perfect blend of cuteness and yet despair of what both the pairs have lost respectively and what has been gained. Cuteness can ruin a anime but that’s when it’s just trying to be one thing because these three anime I have referenced in this post are also slice of life or sub genre and what is life without it’s bitter tea.