They make a great team….
|We are at the penultimate part of the show, and what a way to lay it all on the line…|
At last, the trade show version!!!
Well I’ve been to conventions before, and I’ve even attended them as support/staff. So with that in mind, I have to confess from personal experience that this is a blast; to attend on a special day/time, away from the great unwashed, is a great experience. Now, I’ve never attended one as a content creator like our characters have and are, so I’m not so different from the audience of the show…but still! Wide eyes! I love how the girls were taken aback at first, then marveled to witness how all of their months of hard work came together in one form. Both Yun and Hajime started before Aoba, so it was a nice touch to see this as an equalizing moment for the new designer; especially since they are her support characters, but more on that after the cut. But, it’s probably something that Kou very much had in mind. Seeing as how this was an industry event, hearing fellow pros dole out praise for the company and the game within earshot of the newbs probably gave them the boost she predicted.
We are worthy!
Passing the book…
But this episode wasn’t just about looking forward. It was also about looking back. But even more than that, it was very much in the present. Soon after returning from the con/trade show, Kou tells Aoba that her work will be collected along with other desingers in the upcoming game’s artbook. When given the chance to correct her old art, put a fresh coat of new paint on it, she declines. I love this bit, because we didn’t know until it happened that this was in character for Aoba, and I suspect that neither did she. You can change clothes easier. She did her best, with the tools she had back then, and they passed the test. To change it would be dishonest to herself as she was then and as she is now, and who she will be, she won’t gloss over how she began. Sometimes we need to look back and see that we didn’t get to be ourselves overnight…that means seeing what we were when we thought, perhaps, a bit less of ourselves.
…but some things you never get over?
I think there is a huge amount of character going on in this throw-a-way scene. Since it’s a moe show we might just classify it as the cuteness on parade that many see it as and move on, but it cuts fairly deep. We see surface design, but do we dismiss character? Even the barest bulb thereof? There’s some blowback to moefied things, to put it mildly. The common complaint is that the cuteness is the only layer to see and that there isn’t anything else of depth to plumb. But here there’s a great deal more. Kou is who she is and she is comfortable with that. She’s not moe/kawaii…no pls, she says. I resist! Is her failed call. She just wants to work, that’s her canvas, not herself. The game’s image is the most important, not hers. Sure, she has a complex about that, and I think that probably adds a great degree of character detail to her as a designer. It’s good to see her negotiate what she needs, then revert back, as there is nothing at all wrong with her. She isn’t totally what she looks like, nor is the game, or is moe for that matter. It’s a design, a way of being, not being itself. And then, we get that subtle bit about her viewpoint into the passage of time…
Six months isn’t what it used to be
It’s all about the hype!!!
…and of course there’s Nene and Umiko. This was the surprise relationship of the show. Nene exists for several story reasons, and I’ve discussed at least one already in past posts. Here she’s working hard as the ingenue. It would be predictable and dull to saddle Aoba with that trope, but it’s still a useful one to work with, especially when you feature young female characters. It allows the sort of clumsy dithering that comes with that character type to be near or in the vicinity of Aoba, so you can use it to form part of an arc, or a character beat, just by dint of shared experiences. Nene is able to pull double duty being an inspired ametuear as well. This gives Umiko a place to put her experience, to explain it, to sharpen it. So this is similar to Kou and Aoba in a few respects, and yet remains it’s own distinct ground. But really, Nene shines as the person that is supposed to bring up trouble, and that has to be not-Aoba. Go bug-checker go!
Let’s play a bit
Well that was really fun. This show always manages to surprise and delight me. The character’s are developing so well, and it’s nice to see so much TLC paid to that. I know it’s not exactly a game lover’s dream show, but I feel the metaphor is something that is worth looking at, and the trade show, and all the points that came out of it prove that. So I’ll see you….