Saturday, June 30, 2012
F_ck! Even in Fiction Nerds Don't Get Their Way
The aimed-for-adult-fans Sentai parody Akibaranger recently finished its run, and I have to say...I'm disappointed with where it ended up. I didn't expect to like Akibaranger as much as I did -- those early press releases sounded terrible, but barely reflected what the show really was, so I was fearing a show on the same low levels as Lion Maru G -- but I was pretty much immediately won over by its first episode.
Initially, I didn't think the whole "delusion world" gimmick was as cool as if they had just really somehow been transforming, but it was easy to overlook once it became obvious that the path the show was on was similar to the film Zebraman, and it would surely end with them being able to transform in the real world and finally become the heroes they wanted to be. (Many fans' favorite episode is when Nobuo first managed to transform in the real world.)
But the writers couldn't leave it at that, no, no. They couldn't dare have the show end up where the audience expected it to, and had to go above and beyond in proving how "clever" they could be and had the characters realize they were in a TV show. (Now, this isn't a bad premise for a similarly comedic show, but I just think it was out of place with Akibaranger, and seemed unplanned and mismatched with the rest of the series.) I know that the short-run/one cours shows tend to end their series in a disappointing, rushed manner, but Akibaranger had been going at a nice pace, and the final revelation seemed force, discarding what had been built up. I felt like Akibaranger had a good chance at getting a second season, but the whole "it's a TV show thing" blew it -- the writers, in trying to "outfox" the audience, painted themselves into a corner. In my opinion, it's as bad as having a finale that reveals the show's been all a dream; disappointing, wasteful, makes it all meaningless.
The show's charm was having ordinary fans becoming like the heroes they adored. And they did, but it's all just meaningless when they realize it's all a sham. It was already enough when the writers teased viewers by having the first episode reveal it was just delusions, but once they were supposed to break out into reality, it just went too far with them realizing they were just a TV show. That's overkill, it's someone painstakingly explaining a joke to you and trying to immediately retell it.
All in all, I did enjoy Akibaranger, and managed to get a laugh out of pretty much every episode. I thought it nicely picked up where Gokaiger left off, being a sort of continuation of it and its celebration of the anniversary and the franchise. I just didn't care for how the show ended, its final few episodes, and think it's a shame that it didn't have the guts to just stay on the path it was on -- I guess it's just too much to expect for nerds to get their way even in fiction.