Subete ga F ni Naru – 02

Subete ga F - 02 -5 Subete ga F - 02 -10 Subete ga F - 02 -17

Greetings from Bogota!

So it turns out the internet at this hotel is damn good and the co-workers and myself didn’t paint the town too dark a shade of red, so I thought I’d check in with a very brief (anything you get from me this week is likely to be brief) post on Subete ga F ni Naru.  As you probably know I liked the premiere very much indeed.  And as you may or may not know, the rampant anti-intellectualism that pervades anime fandom these days asserted itself almost immediately in the largely negative reaction to it.

I don’t need to rehash that here, nor do I have time to.  I’ll just say I liked the second episode almost as much as the first, and I suspect the reaction to it may be slightly more positive due to the fact that the structure was somewhat more conventional.  This is still a weird, esoteric show, but what we saw this week had something of the sense of a traditional narrative structure to it.

I liked a lot of this – Moe’s butler showing up in a separate car with the luggage, and then his conversation with Saikawa-sensei.  The tech (quite realistic, in fact) at the Magata Lab.  Magata-san’s comment that in the future, a face to face meeting will be considered a luxury (many scientists share that opinion).  Saikawa-sensei’s theory that expressing a love of nature actually expresses an unclean lifestyle – which I loved all the more because I know how much it will piss off the pretentious NishiOisin fans who dismiss this series as juvenile navel-gazing.  The deadpan assistant lab director Yamane-san (Suzuki Tatsuhisa – Haru and Asako reunited!).

I was also a fan of the scene at the end, with the opening of Dr. Magata’s door – really creepy and well-played.  And best of all, maybe, the very Murakami-like flashback of “Uncle” driving the 13 year-old Shiki home after what was presumably a sexual liaison (and the irony of his saying she was too young to drink in those circumstances).  This show really has something interesting going on, and it’s beautifully directed by Kanbe Mamoru.  The cast is superb, too. It’s also interesting to see Oono Toshiya take on something so different from his earlier anime work – but in fact, much closer to his work in live television.  Based on two episodes, I’m a fan – and while it’s a deadlock cinch this series won’t sell for beans, I really don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks about it.

Subete ga F - 02 -6 Subete ga F - 02 -7 Subete ga F - 02 -8
Subete ga F - 02 -9 Subete ga F - 02 -11 Subete ga F - 02 -12
Subete ga F - 02 -13 Subete ga F - 02 -14 Subete ga F - 02 -15
Subete ga F - 02 -16 Subete 2-22 Subete ga F - 02 -18


  1. S

    Yeah, I really can't understand the reactions. On the one hand we have "BOOORING! NOTHING HAPPENED BOO". On the other we have "SO PRETENTIOUS THE GUY IS SPOUTING KINDERGARTEN PHILOSOPHY". Which leaves me equally baffled because frankly, it still has to be a show that you can follow WITHOUT a Philosophy major, so it simplifies a bit. I didn't take offence at Interstellar as a physicist because it stopped to explain what a wormhole looks like.

    Either way, this looks very fascinating and unusual in the modern anime landscape. And readers of the original novel seem happy enough, so I'm confident it'll also have a satisfying enough development/ending. I'll definitely follow this to the end.

  2. s

    organic dialogue my friend is key to telling a good narrative. If dialogue starts to stick out from the narrative frame and reveals itself as being expository or being self-indulgent, it starts to distract certain viewers. My view on subete ga f ni naru, is that it is a smart series that is being careful with its narrative. However my small beef with it comes from the fact that at times, the screenwriting wants to try and prove how smart it is .

    This show's philosophy is something that the viewer should be allowed to digest through the experience of the characters and their interpersonal dialogue. Take Serial Experiments Lain for example; that series is rife with philosophy yet not once did it spew it to the audience at such copious amounts. Rather, the viewer gets to experience the show's many philosophies through imagery and character behavior/interaction. That's what i was hoping subete would do as well, which is why i was a bit disappointed that it feels the need to be kinda heavy-handed with its thematic core (at least as far as ep 1 is concerned). Plus, if you're going to have a show interspersed with this much dialogue, you've got to frame these scenes in a way that there is more going on than just the dialogue; Make it so that our viewer is learning more about the setting and characters through mechanisms other than the dialogue itself. This is exactly why movie directors scoff at using a cafe setting to have characters spout dialogue, especially if it's clearly expository. Doesnt matter how intelligent the dialogue is, if you dont have something else going on to provide the viewer with more information other than the dialogue, some interesting way to frame the narrative, then the execution becomes drab and un-engaging; and that's the last thing you want to do as a screenwriter/director. Now for me, my attention was grabbed because i dont mind shows of this nature but i can understand why it may have alienated others. While i do agree that a large amount of the anime fandom has sort of devolved into this anti-intellectualism cult, i could see why someone could be put off by this series.

    It's funny that you bring up interstellar as one of the problems people seem to have with it was that the dialogue came off as expository, heavy-handed dribble. While i can see why some would think that at certain parts of the movie (as i agree to a certain extent), i still regard interstellar as a pretty good movie and an experience i would never want to forget. Nolan's Inception also had a lot of exposition but the difference between that movie and interstellar is that it executed it's exposition better, showing the viewers the dreamscapes and how everything worked not just through dialogue, but by allowing the viewers to visually experience the laws of the world. Right now, i can say that i like what Subete is doing as a whole. The dialogue for a show of this caliber should be a bit more polished, however the way the plot is unfolding is being handled extremely well. It unravels bit by bit, but gives you enough to want to know more and that's a very strong point, at least in my book. Does subete have what it takes to be the best anime this season? Sure does..but as of right now it's not quite there; no anime is for that matter to me, at least not right now but this is in the top five.

    On a side note, i hope this comment shows up. Ever since this new commenting system, my comments have been getting lost in karaho land and not showing up

  3. S

    I agree with Interstellar – it's kind of an extreme example, it WAS wordy.

    But there's two things about Perfect Insider. First, I got the feeling this was meant to pass through as part of the character – the professor isn't just waxing philosophical, he's also a bit pretentious, and that's HIM, not the series. In fact every time he makes those kind of tirades it's always in contrast with Moe trying to suggest that, hint hint, she MIGHT be interested in slightly more romantic interactions. So he HAS to come off a bit obnoxious.

    The second thing is this all would make much more sense if one of the most successful anime of the last year had not been Fate S/N: UBW, one of the most boring exposition-fests I have had the displeasure to come across (the second season especially, and the ending stretch being the worst offender). Lots of anime are full of exposition, except what makes them successful is that it's usually exposition about random fantasy magic systems. I like fantasy magic systems but some of that stuff is just contrived and blatantly made up on the spot.

  4. s

    the philosophical quips being a reflection of the professor's obnoxious personality is the reason why i havent called the dialogue in this series pretentious like others have (that's not what necessarily makes it heavy-handed here and there). And exposition is something that is bound to storytelling; you need it to tell a story; there is no escaping it. The trick is disguising your exposition and that's the difference between a good writer and a mediocre one. Most anime dont boast that kind of talent so then you get unexciting exposition like magical school systems.

  5. S

    Yeah, when we say "exposition" what we usually mean is in fact "graceless, bare bones exposition". Exposition weaved naturally in the dialogue and plot works fine.

  6. J

    Wait, NisiOisin fans have a problem with this dialogue? Excuse me while I build an orbital re-entry vehicle to retrieve my sides from space.

    If these are the sort of comments I can read then I'd keep watching Perfect Insider even if I didn't like it. As it happens, this episode moved things along nicely in my opinion. Getting into the mystery proper helped, as did those scenes of the 13-year old Magata with her "uncle" – the Murasaki was strong with that one – but I think this episode showed that Saikawa & Moe will make pretty good foils for each other. That wouldn't have come about if it weren't for the dialogue between them and with the other faculty members. I was worried last week that this would fall neatly right alongside Box of Goblins, but I don't think it's been *that* heavy handed so far.

    As for UBW, I'm guessing part of the reason it retained its popularity because it's a FS/N work? I generally avoid VN adaptations so I could be talking right out of my arse, but I suspect there is an element of following the crowd going on here (how can any upstanding anon be reasonably expected to shitpost properly if they haven't been watching?) I also think a lot of people easier to get lost in high fantasy especially if it is very far removed from the possibilities of real life, so they will put up with walls of text because they want to know more. But we can't forget the colourful explosions and cute girls, right…..

  7. A

    During the flashback scene with young Shiki and her 'Uncle' I was thinking "This feels very Murasaki", so it's good to see I wasn't the only person to see the similarity.
    Any resemblance has to be a good thing.

  8. C

    Lol dude when you said you were going to rural areas in SA, I thought you meant like the amazon rainforest or something, not the capital city of Colombia. If Salto del Angel club its still open check it out its a great place to, uhhh, enjoy the local view.

  9. ROFL, I wasn't talking about Bogota when I said "mostly" rural – it's just the point of entry. City got like 8 million peeps.

  10. K

    Welcome to my dear country Enzo, you won't have any problem getting Internet access in any named town or turistic place. Unless you're going to some the rural area from some small town. If you can visit Medellin. That city has lots of interesting things.

  11. Sorry, Redice – your comment accidentally got deleted. I agree with you – novels make wonderful source material for anime, generally speaking. You're not going to see this sort of work coming from anywhere else, unless maybe an anime-original.

  12. S

    I'm just going to add one thing in all the praise here: So far, we've seen three or four really strong female roles. It's so refreshing!

    Novels really make the best anime source material.

  13. E

    I'm really glad we have shows like this, I'm genuinely curious about where its heading and I've not felt that in a long time…

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