atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#487: It rules

I watched the first episode of I"s and it rules. A lot of the story is being told in flashback; it starts with Ichitaka and Teratani heading for a Christmas party during their senior year, but then goes back to the beginning of the manga for a bit. Then it jumps to the "present day" before another flashback.

Not a bad way to tell the tale. It also means there's a chance we'll get to see the King Game.

The King Game comes up in volume 6 of the manga. Ichitaka and his friends have a Golden Week sleepover at one girl's house, and they play the King Game.

The King Game is pretty simple. You have a number of lots equal to the number of participants, but one of the lots is the "King" lot. The players all draw; and then whoever gets the King lot can give one order to the other players, and the order must be obeyed.

People often wonder how so much horror could have happened in Europe under the Nazis. Psychological research came up with a surprisingly simple explanation: transferrence.

You see, if person A orders person B to commit some act that B normally wouldn't do--and B fears the consequences of disobeying the order--B will say, "Well, I was just following orders" and thereby rationalize his actions to himself. But A will say, "Hey, I didn't do it; I just told B to do it--it's not my fault B listened to me."

The King Game relies on this effect. The coercing factor in the King Game is "merely" peer pressure, but it's easy to see how it can get nuts pretty quickly. And under the right circumstances, it can go all over the place, leading to God alone knows what.

And so in I"s, they play the King Game...and some funky stuff goes down. Surprisingly, nothing really kinky happens, but they come mighty close in spots.

(I was at a party once, where a game similar to the King Game took place. It didn't even get as insane as the one in volume 6 of I"s, but my experience with it was enough for me to understand the true terror of the King Game.) (Damn, I've waited a long time to use "...the true terror of..." in a serious sentence.)

The animation of I"s is fantastic. It's gorgeous, and it was a delight to see Iori in motion. All the voices are perfect. They very neatly captured the essence of the manga without all kinds of unnecessary voiceovers; a lot of Ichitaka's motivations are explained with thought balloons in the manga, but they didn't do any of the animation equivalents for this.

I think to someone who is watching the anime cold, though, it might not be quite so obvious. I've already read the manga (through volume 7) three times. I enjoy it that much. Then again, Masakasa Katsura is one of my favorite artists. He did Video Girl Ai which was one of the primary reasons Viz Communications' Manga Vizions was a staple of my comic store pull list for so long. I've mentioned before that he peppers his stories with incredibly beautiful backgrounds, ones that just take my breath away.

I"s is (or was) a weekly; the chapters are short--but in tankoban format you don't really notice that. The idea of turning out 12-15 pages per week--pages like Katsura's pages!--gives me a spectacular sort of writer's cramp.

* * *

And so then, right after that, then, I watched episde 18 of Lovely Complex and Risa and Otani-kun finally became a couple! It was awesome! It was perfect!

(Come on. It's not a spoiler, is it? It's foregone conclusion! It's like Godai ending up with Kyoko at the end of Maison Ikkoku--you know it's going to happen, but seeing how they get there is still suspenseful and interesting.)

Now there will be other complications, of course. Episode 19 promises to show us a budding romance that gets off to a poor start, though I've no real idea how--but I'm looking forward to it. I hope the guys at KissSub are hard at work. Thanks guys!

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