GameSpite 9.2: The subverting subversions episode

No More Heroes
This is another one of those weeks where I randomly pulled stuff together and the articles selected ended up forming a cohesive theme. This happens much more often than probability says it should. But don’t get complacent, assuming this will always be the case — as chud666’s look at No More Heroes explains, life is all about subverted expectations.
I’ve kind of been pushing the site away from non-game stuff, because, after all, it’s not called But I sort of hated FLCL, and I was curious to see if Lumber Baron could work his magic to make me reconsider — to subvert my criticisms, so to speak. I won’t say whether or not he succeeded, but at the very least the result is a fine write-up.

12 thoughts on “GameSpite 9.2: The subverting subversions episode

  1. That’s one of the best write-ups about FLCL that I’ve read, so many different moments popped into my head as I read it.
    Ah, good times.

  2. The first time I saw FLCL I found it to be irritating nonsense. The second time, intriguing nonsense. The third time, still kind of nonsensical, but in a good way, and also kind of brilliant. And now I want to watch it again.

  3. Two really enjoyable articles.
    The whole ‘restraint’ aspect of FLCL (which seems so odd considering how over-the-top parts of it are), is exactly why I loved it so. It had such an effect on me that for two years afterwards all the anime I watched seemed either clichéd and pretentious or clichéd and boring. Eventually I just gave up; I haven’t watched a single new anime in over 4 years. But that’s ok, cuz grad school means there’s little free time for even precious video games!
    Regardless, I’m glad someone finally put that idea into words.

  4. Excellent articles, both of you, and thank you, Mr. Baron, for succinctly summing up the things that everyone should know about FLCL by now but very few people seem to get. I think a lot of people watch it and say, “Well, this is wacky. It must not make any sense, so I’m not going to try and figure it out.” However, what I’ve long tried to explain to people about the series is that that kind of wackiness is difficult to achieve without an underlying logic to drive it. When telling an off-the-wall story that’s packed with metaphors and symbolism, it’s actually easier to choose a simple theme and riff on it than it is to just make up random stuff as you go along.

    Personally, I found the series much more enjoyable, and more impressive, after taking the time to dig into it and unearth the logic underneath. I hope that your article will encourage more people to do the same.

  5. Also, props to chud for somehow working Adaptation and Tetsuo the Iron Man into the same article.

  6. tsk, Nerf guns at dawn!

    Good call on the use of symbols as simultaneous gag items. It’s one of the things that drove me to watch the show more than once, just to keep finding all the weird little details and in-jokes they stuck in on the margin. Speaking of the idea of presenting something more light-hearted to the audience, it’s often been suggested that the employees at Gainax themselves needed something to wind down after working on Evangelion for so long. God knows they deserved it.

  7. I never played killer7, so I sort of stumbled into No More Heroes without warning. Best game of this year so far, and I’m being completely serious.

  8. FLCL is one of the few anime shows I have really enjoyed in previous years. I do think the article was right on in the idea that it was sort of a subdued show – little personal challenges, little personal victories.
    As overwrought and emotional as Shinji was, it was impossible to feel any kind of sympathy for his situation. Naota, on the other hand, was a sympathetic character right from the start. Mostly because his sadness and his story was spooned out in little bits, rather than screamed at his father completely in the first episode.
    FLCL is a great little show, and yes, it’s probably best not to dwell on it too much, lest we hope that it could fill some kind of void that it never hoped to.

  9. Nice job just offhandedly spoiling one of the twists in BioShock in the NMH article. Was looking forward to playing that on PS3. >:[

  10. Honestly, the biggest problem I had with FLCL wasn’t that I didn’t get what they were going for, it was that, from where I sit, they were just entirely too heavy handed about the whole thing. “Yes! I get it! It’s all a big puberty metaphor! You can cut back on the double entendres some!”

    On the other hand, I suppose the case could be made that the target audience here is going to be looking for more of a My First Metaphor-Laden Story sort of thing, and decidedly not the sort of people who will sit around watching stuff by Satoshi Kon and Masaaki Yuasa.

    Of course, on the gripping hand, I reserve the right to gripe about the ultra-squishy house style on display here… unless I waved away that right by admitting that I’ve been watching Kaiba.

  11. Great NMH article! I never would have expected a comparison between NMH and Adaptation but this was quite apt. I really agree with your point about how boring the plots in some really innovative games can be. I mean, how often are you playing a really cool new game and by the time the end rolls around the plot has become yet another cliche? Sometimes I think that developers can’t think of a way to end the game logically so they just go for the biggest and most obvious plot twist there could be. Like the enemy is your relative or whatever. Ho-hum. That really was a problem in BioShock. (Sorry for spoiling, but that game has been out, like, forever) A really original (well, lifted from Ayn Rand, but original for a vid) environment with an interesting and intriguing plot where the end of the story just seems to come to a head far too quickly and obviously. Oh well. Anyway, like I said, great article, I can really tell that you spent a lot of time on the research (emmanuelle?).

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