Drama filled, philosophical heavy samurai shows are a dime a dozen and, generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of many of them. Anime adoptions, such as Samurai 7, had a few interesting twists thrown in, such as the splatter of high tech alongside the old feudal systems for example. But I often felt more interested in the political workings than the characters themselves. In fact, shows like that often had their main characters so very serious that they ended up feeling stiff, leaving viewers like me unable to really connect with them well. Generally this makes the tension within a show also feel forced, leaving one to think the series was sub-par, if not forgettable.
That’s why death scenes in comedy based shows like Sengoku Basara feel a bit more real than over half the drama found in a typical shoujo show (I actually felt the injustice of it all, despite the show being so brilliantly over-the-top, which was more than a little unexpected). Also, the sweetness of Nano finally realizing she has true friends in My Ordinary Life is actually very touching, despite the fact that the whole series is based off a four panel comic. After all, to see true smiles and to hear hearty laughter is to see that the characters have something to lose. Something amazing. Which, in turn, makes hardships seem legitimately horrid. Of course, because most comedy based anime tend to be slice-of-life, there’s often not much at stake anyway (the whole end of the world thing is pure Sengoku Basara crazy town). Even so, comedy can make the bad falls all the worse and the good scenes all the sweeter, where as a lack of any comedy at all tends to be off putting in most cases.
This isn’t to say that humor is the best way to go story-wise, of course. There are indeed times and places where being serious is vital to a story. But when all you can do is be serious and there is no laughter, no joy, a story feels stilted. I, for one, often wonder why I should be as serious as the characters are being as the only thing the characters have to lose is a boring, stiff and overly dramatic life seemingly without so much as hint of a real smile. Heck, I’ll trade that existence for a gag-reel any ol’ day of the week. Better to live a moderate life full of laughter than an adventurous one full of sorrow, right?
(My apologies for last week. I have been feeling off lately. A review is scheduled for tomorrow and from this Saturday onward regular posting will commence. Thank you for your patience, readers. ^^)