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Author Topic: About the recent Black Lagoon review: Series divisions and such  (Read 1620 times)

Offline loner

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About the recent Black Lagoon review: Series divisions and such
« on: January 15, 2012, 04:42:57 AM »
So I just read kadian1364's review of Black Lagoon, and I was reminded of an old pet peeve of mine concerning anime reviews. That is, how do you exactly delineate a series? One of kadian's main criticisms of the series is its lack of a conclusion, which rather mystifies me. The second season picks up almost immediately right after the first, separated by only three months when it was on air if I remember correctly. I've never considered the first and second seasons to be separate entities, and I highly doubt that a person who has just got into Black Lagoon currently and was hooked by the first season would stop after ep. 12, stop, and go on to ep. 13 in the next season thinking "ok, now I'm watching a new series." Black Lagoon is never a show that follows a sequential narrative anyways, but one that is made up of 3-6 episode arcs in which the order of the events doesn't actually matter that much (though characterization does). Heck, that's the case with the manga, which follows a different sequence. What good would a general resolution serve, when you are right in middle of a story? 

This brings me back to my general issues with these series divisions. Sometimes, the sequel is legitimately a different entity, such as the newest Last Exile compared to the previous one. But sometimes, as in the case of Black Lagoon, the sequel is just the continuation of a story, and the gap between the original series and the sequel should really only be noticeable if, say, you were watching the series as it was being televised. Indeed, the break between Black Lagoon 1 and 2 is much less noticeable within the flow of the story itself than, say, the breaks between your average shonen story arcs in series like One Piece and Bleach. Should a time gap in airing in the past and a new fancy title with the number 2 imposed on it really change our expectation for each part of the series?

This issue has been bugging me since I was active on that old forum with two As as its initials. They had a review up for the entirety of Sailor Moons TV, on the basis that it had a "continuous story" (if I remember correctly). Yet the division between say Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon S is absolutely much sharper than, say, the division between Haruhi Suzumiya seasons 1 and 2. Hell, I'd say you have to very different things on your hands when you change directors from Junichi Satou to Ikuhara.

Anyways, I'm procrastinating, so I'll just throw this one out there.
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Offline Sorrow-kun

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Re: About the recent Black Lagoon review: Series divisions and such
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 05:35:47 AM »
Well the difference between the two seasons of Suzumiya Haruhi were pretty distinct because it was almost a full three years after the end of the the first season that any plans for a second season were finally confirmed (the constant rumours and speculation in the meantime don't count).

But you're right, the issue with delineation is an annoying one, and one we consider from case to case.  Sometimes we review series as split cour shows.  We've done this with White Album and Gantz in the past, and we're taking the same approach with the currently airing Fate/Zero, which is currently on a three month break between seasons.  We'll be waiting until all 25 episodes have aired before reviewing it.

With other cases, like Vampire Knight, Code Geass and, as you mentioned, Black Lagoon, we've reviewed the two seasons separately, despite knowing there'd be a second season coming up even as the first season was airing.  These examples are where the gray area exists, and one needs to figure out a way to review them while staying consistent with the way other two season shows have been reviewed previously.  The easiest criteria to look for is a name change.  If the second season has a different name to the first (Vampire Knight Guilty, as opposed to Vampire Knight, and Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage as opposed to Black Lagoon), we generally take that as an indication that the two seasons should be reviewed separately.  I realize it's a bit of a finnicky criteria, but it's about the most reliable/consistent one we've come across.  That's why, if we were ever to review Naruto, we'd treat Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden as separate entities.  However, One Piece and Bleach are still ongoing shows, and aren't eligible to be reviewed until they finish.  If we were to ever review Sailor Moon, we'd review each name change separately.  So, we'd have one review for Sailor Moon (46 episode), one for Sailor Moon R (43 episodes), one for Sailor Moon S (38 episodes), etc.  That's no different from how we've reviewed Pretty Cure so far.

In cases that are particularly ambiguous, such as the recently finished Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, we tend to defer to a higher authority.  That is, we just check how Wikipedia does it.
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