Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Nayu's News #93 A Whoohoo, a mini-anime review of Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream including the essence of a good review

A slightly different post, one which Holo from the anime Spice and Wolf would approve of since I'm stating my opinion, something she enjoys doing.

Today's post was going to be a whoohoo post, as I've finished my latest round of edits on my wip! I've got another 3 or so to go before it goes to be shredded by my writerly friends. Whoohoo! 

The reason this isn't about my week is all because I've started watching a new anime, Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream. 
A story of friendship, aspirations, and self-discovery
 Watching anime is extremely exciting, especially when there are 3 series each with 51 episodes apiece (I think, I know 2 of them are that long...) So, although I rarely read reviews for books (that's a story for another day, if I remember!) I do read reviews for anime. I find reviews useful to discover what level of mature content is in an anime - some sweet looking anime's are anything but sweet. 
Yeah, I leave that type of anime well alone.
I went and read about 6-10 reviews of Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream which I came across on an internet search and I was a bit put out by them. I know reviews are only opinions, but sometimes what people read or watch isn't a genre that they like and thus their view is slanted into the dislike area. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it's good to say what you don't like about something. However, the impressions I got from the Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream reviews were that it's an anime style the reviewers weren't keen on, therefore they missed the subtleties of the show by a long way. Once I've finished the anime I will give a full review, but after reading the reviews I simply have to do a short one now to demonstrate my points. 
Here on NRC I write what I have an opinion on, even when I'm not sure of the reception I'll get

Anime can be realistic, but more often than not it's the opposite. It's accepted that it isn't realistic - I'd love to be a fairy like the girls in Winx and gain Sirenix and move freely underwater using magic. 
Here's my current favourite fairy, Stella, in Sirenix form
That's only going to happen in my head! (Which it has....but my dream about fighting the Trix can wait for another time). Obviously shows which include school are realistic to the extent that studying for exams and completing homework on time is a good thing - as Rhythm discovers in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream. 
Aira and Rhythm studying together when Rhythm needs to pass a test

What made me sad was the way some reviews of this anime said that the magical-ish skating jumps weren't realistic. Um, they aren't meant to be. At least I don't think so. If it was an anime that set about being realistic, then yes I do see a point in saying it's not realistic. But since so often anime isn't realistic, I felt sad for the anime being critiqued like this because in my view the reviewer didn't understand the anime at all. I'm not sure how clear I'm being (writing this at the end of the day probably wasn't the best decision I've made today), but I felt it's like me reviewing a gruesome horror book. I don't like most horror, and if there were lots of elements that were mega scary to me, I'd probably say that they should have been toned down in the book, whereas a horror enthusiastic would explain how clever all the individual scare elements are. 
I prefer cute to scary!

While I appreciate that cliches are overused in every medium, books & anime, and they can irriate some people, cliches are also liked. Take Aira in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream. She is extraordinarily clumsy - a bit like Ichigo in Yumeiro Patissiere,
Like Aira, Ichigo's clumsiness is shown in episode 1 when she falls down the stairs
but this by no means makes the anime dull. Being able to relate to a character is really important - that's why people get interested in anime, books, etc. Aira's clumsiness makes her achievements on the ice all that more incredible. They give her confidence. 
Aira's enthusiasm is catching
  They help her grow as a person. Her growth gives others courage. I was just sad that this kind of cliche was dismissed as a cliche, without thinking about why the cliche was used and the effect it has on the audience. 

We don't all like the same thing 
We are not robots. We all like different things, which is why some people like the same anime/book and others dislike it. I totally accept that. However, again using Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream as an example I felt sad when reviews for this anime didn't see the point in all the costume changes. Fashion is a key part for Aira in the show. She loves figuring out new outfits, she has a sense of style which others appreciate and it's an important part of the Prism show to get to know clothes. 
The Prism store which is heaven to Aira
I feel that the reviewers didn't understand why fashion is used in anime like this (more girl-focused anime). The target audience love fashion, love to try out new styles and I'm sure that like me they'll adore the idea of clothes being put into little gems, 
Clothes gems look like this..
...and here's a close up with the clothes inside!
 so you can mix and match them in the special Prism wardrobe before the Prism show!
The first time Aira & Rhythm see the magical wardrobe
Aira stands on the pod thing which transforms her outfit with the chosen clothes gems
It's an amazing idea which I'd like to have - dressing each day would be heaps of fun & fast! And it also fits in a little with the magical girl anime genre, where the girl (often ordinary) has a magical object to help her achieve whatever the show is about. 

This leads onto my next point. Some of the reviews thought that the 'animated toys' were pointless in the show. The creatures which help Aira & her friends become a stronger Prism star, are more than animated toys. 
Not toys or pointless!
 They encourage the girls to better themselves. They are pivotal to improving Aira's balance and coordination - I loved the episode where she was made to waitress at a local Chinese restaurant. At the time I didn't know what the point of that lesson was, but at the end all was revealed; by going back and forth to the kitchen with orders Aira did a lot of sharp turns which are needed in skating on the Prism show. 
Aira on the show floor skating into a Prism jump
 Not only that, she had to avoid spilling all the soups/noodles, which took concentration and even more balance. Because of all those things her routine for the Prism Show improved tremendously - which increased her confidence which in turn helped improve her technique. All because of a pointless animated toy. 

At least one reviewer didn't seem to realise why the Prism jump had to happen in every episode. It's part of the show. Yes, some of them are the same songs, and the same techniques, but Aira & the other girls learn so much which affect how they do the Prism jumps. Plus they are pretty, sometimes wacky - there's the one where Rhythm has loads of large macaroons flying about her, 
Yummy macaroons!
or the one where Aira skates upside down in the area as she creates a rainbow. 
 The Prism jumps are there to wow the audience, they are cute, fun, and represent so much more than just being something the girls must do. 

Sure, there are parts of Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream that I'd like to change, like lengthening the outfits and getting rid of the mild romance but I appreciate that's part of the anime, and it's there for a reason. It may or may not bring the anime down a grade, because all the parts I do love about the anime, the friendship, the learning to improve yourself, the road to self-discovery, self-confidence and finding your talent (as well as the cute toy-like guides and the funky jumps) they cancel out the parts I'm not so keen on. 
One way or another everything evens out!

The same is true for any book you love, any movie/tv series you enjoy watching. Quite often the awesomeness of the squeeful parts eclipses the not so brilliant parts. I know that reviews are only opinions, and it is important to explain what you weren't keen on, but I really feel that for a good review a reviewer needs to understand the genre they are reading about, appreciating that certain elements are in the anime/book/movie because that's what interests the intended audience. The reviewer may not like the elements, but that's not to say they are pointless - far from it. 

*steps off soapbox* 
Random cute pic!

Hopefully this has made some sort of sense (I am now at the yawning stage of the evening). To use a storyline from AKB0048, where Orine gets upset by her very first hater,
Orine gets to meet her hater
I'd like to say that although I was saddened by the reviews I saw, I'm glad that I saw them. They've helped me to realise that the elements I look for in anime sometimes aren't obvious to others, and can all too easily be dismissed as trivial. It's made me more determined to review the anime that I watch (once I've seen the entire series), and to share my thoughts and feelings on the anime with all of you here on NRC. 

All thoughts/opinions on this post are very welcome! As usual, all pictures taken from internet searches.
Thank you for reading today's post!

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