Earlier this year I attended both of Hiroyuki Kanbe’s panels that he hosted at FanimeCon. One of those was a panel on the production process of making an anime, wherein Kanbe shared some storyboards for a show that was then still in the middle of production, and even worked on them a little to demonstrate to us how its done. Like I said in my write-ups of the panels, it was really cool to see an anime director in person explain the general in-and-outs of the process. So that was pretty cool, and I’ll always appreciate it when a director takes the time to present a panel like that.
Now, as for what I actually think of Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu now that it’s aired… Eh, it’s okay. Sometimes it’s funny, other times its a boring slog.
The show follows Souji Mitsuka, just your normal highschool kid who happens to be obsessed with the twintails hairstyle; and his best friend Tsube who’s like a tsundere with her own set of twintails. Souji’s mom wants these two to bang each other. The two of them meet a human-like alien Thouars, who grants Souji the “Twingear”, which through the power of his “Affinity” for twintails, allows him to transform into a superpowered loli. Affinity’s are basically peoples fetishes. She calls upon him to fight against the Elemerians, robotic-like aliens who wish to steal all of the earth’s Affinities for twintails, which without the joy of twintails, will doom the earth to destruction. Souji’s mom also really wants him to get laid.
It’s all meta humor poking fun at mahou shoujo and sentai tropes, as well as the otaku culture which obsesses over cute anime girls. It plays a lot of these tropes straight and isn’t explicitely comedic about it 100% of the time, but it’s obvious that Twintails doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is pretty self-aware of just how ridiculous it is. A show doesn’t need to be a complete “comedy” to play around with silly concepts like this, and it’s okay for a story to be simultaneously a mockery of and a straight example of what they’re mocking. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun comes to mind as a recent example of that. So the show is very asinine, but that’s really the point.
But to quote TypicalIdiotFan: “‘I get it, it’s just not funny.'”
So why don’t I find this show funny? A lot of it has to do with the pacing, and how the show chooses to handle the long stretches of dialogue. Quite a lot of the show’s time is taken by the characters simply talking to each other, with not much else happening at the same time. Which is a common problem that light novel adaptions have to work around, and it really crops up badly with Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu. So far episode 2 has been the worst offender. Half of the episode is comprised of just Thouars explaining the situation to Mitsuka and Tsube, about the Elemariens and the Twingears.
Many state that large streams of dialogue should be avoided with visual media, as it’s simply too boring to listen to. It’s visual media! if we wanted to hear character ramble on, we’d just read a book! But like I said, it’s how they present the dialogue that’s the issue. One of my favorite anime series is the Monogatari Series, and the majority of that show is also just the characters talking to each other–not much action happens at all. But it works with Monogatari Series, and the show certainly has the popularity and critical acclaim to back that up. Some people insist it’s just an exception to the rule of keeping dialogue to a minimum, but really, I think the real issue is just many who break that rule haven’t taken note of how shows like Monogatari Series’ handle it.
See, in my amateur aniblogging opinion, the key is that the camera and visuals always have to be doing something to compliment the dialogue and keep our attention. If you just have a still drawing of two characters talking to each other for 20 minutes, it’s going to get dreadfully boring really fast. With Monogatari Series, you’ll notice that although it’s very dialogue-driven, the characters are always doing something. They’re often moving around, and when they are stationary, the camera will constantly move around, switch between background art, and the visuals will just do all sorts of things to keep our attention. The characters don’t necessarily have to be doing something constantly, but the visuals certainly do. Since again, anime is a visual medium.
Twintails is never as bad as just a still with two characters flapping their mouths. The camera does move around a little, and there’s often some slapstick humor interspersed. It at least tries, but at least for me, the majority of the time it just doesn’t do enough to keep it from feeling like a slog to get through. The visuals aren’t played around with enough; it’s not constant enough. This is especially so given that the dialogue itself isn’t all that enthralling or captivating.
The various gags of the show I do find funny some of the time, but more often than not it’s just boring to see Thouars and Tsube catfat all the time, or see the Elemerians gush about their fetishes each episode. It just get olds seeing the same joke repeated, with only slight changes each time. I did think episode 5 and 6 were better; they didn’t feel like as much of a slog, and I found the breast humor amusing. Such as Tsube’s desire for larger breasts, or Erina’s proud exhibitionism. I still don’t find the show hilarious, but it’s getting better—that, or it’s growing on me a little.
Concerning the visuals themselves, they’re nice enough, albeit a rather wonky sometimes. As I explained, they don’t really do much with the visuals, so it almost feels like a waste really. The technological mahou shoujo suits are cool though, and remind me a lot of Vividred Operation, especially with how color-coded they are.
One thing I do really like is the designs for the Elemerians, and how creative and varied they are from each other. At his “Making of Anime” panel, Kanbe did mention how he enjoys drawing buff, manly men more so than drawing cute girls. Kanbe wasn’t the character designer or anything—that’d be Masahiro Yamane for the Elemerians, and Kazuaki Morita for the human characters,—but the Elemerians are more interesting visually than the girls, so I wonder if Kanbe’s directing had anything to do with that. Perhaps it’s just easier to play around with robot-like aliens, while you can only do so much with the designs of typical anime girls; especially when you’re working off of source material.
So that’s what I think so far about the show that I got see storyboards of while it was still in production. I can’t say I was let down, since I was never a big fan of OreImo to begin with. And regardless if I like the show or not, it was still a very cool experience to see those storyboards. I did like episode 5 and 6 better, so hopefully Twintails continues to improve. Maybe the introduction of the megane girl will spice things up.
Now I just hope Kanbe doesn’t read this blog post, since he apparently knows some English.