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Author Topic: How much is too much exposition?  (Read 2685 times)

Offline hyperknees91

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How much is too much exposition?
« on: September 29, 2015, 05:57:39 PM »
You ever watch a show or read a book and wonder whenever the hell a story is actually going to get a move on? I get the importance of introducing characters, establishing a setting and possibly explaining the mechanics in a universe. But when is it all too much?

I mean clearly I'm not asking every story to just get the plot underway in the first episode, because that just doesn't work for every story. But sometimes I just feel like dropping material even if I've heard it later gets good.

Offline AHideyo

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2015, 08:14:54 PM »
When done like in episode 2 of Classroom Crisis where they show this Nat geo montage, or the battle between Shaltear and Momonga in Overlord where they talk more than they fight. Now thats too much.

Offline thanosmat

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2015, 08:15:50 PM »
Depends on the medium. The novel for example, greater tolerance to exposition in comparison to movies or tv series.

Offline Marid King

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 08:29:29 PM »
Pretty broad topic you've got there. For exposition in anime, I think...

If it's subtle enough that I won't notice without paying close attention, do it as much as you want. (ex. the scene that implies Yayoi and Shion are having sex in Psycho Pass)
If there's something I'm dying to know, feel free to tell me.
If there's an idea or concept that you're going to explore thoroughly, it's probably best to make sure I start off on the right foot.
If the audience will assume your anime is crap unless you explain something, you should do that.

I don't have to understand everything on the screen. I don't even have to understand what a character did, or why, as long as I remember that they did it.
It's perfectly valid to never explicitly explain the lore or the battle system, so long as it's consistent.
If it never plays a part in the plot, then it never has to be said.
Every time you think can get away with not doing it, don't do it.

The bottom line is that there are much more interesting things to do with your runtime than exposition, and I only have so much goodwill to spend. The more time your anime spends doing cool stuff, the cooler it is.
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Offline samui

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2015, 10:15:19 PM »
The Gangsta. level of exposition is fine. Now, if we are talking about Fate/Zero and Fate Stay Night's exposition, then there is a good tendency that the viewers are already asleep by the time the characters begin to move. The worst level is the Munto's exposition (Yes, that unknown Kyoto animations OVA series). God, I fell asleep with that anime.
I am not sure if good animes are getting fewer these days or my taste has gone numb because most of what I watch recently look the same.

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Offline themaster20000

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2015, 10:38:52 PM »
Katanagatari is a great example of this. Granted I enjoyed the show,but Nisio Isin is not economic with his dialogue at all. Those first two episodes were especially hard to get through. That and they never shut the hell up during the fight scenes.
"No matter how wonderful everything in your movie may be, if your script sucks ass, your movie will suck ass."

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Offline KS

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2015, 11:24:55 PM »
Katanagatari is a great example of this. Granted I enjoyed the show,but Nisio Isin is not economic with his dialogue at all. Those first two episodes were especially hard to get through. That and they never shut the hell up during the fight scenes.

That guy is the worst I've ever seen for this and seems to just like writing shit he thinks sounds clever and then getting lost in it.  Writing for the sake of writing almost, that to me is when exposition gets to be too much, when you're literally just filling page space and minutes to pad out an arc before rushing to a conclusion in the final moments like a lot of shows seem to do nowadays, Light Novel adaptations especially.  With Isin in particular who is my favorite example of when expository dialogue goes too far the self-absorbed nature of his writing and things he tends to choose to focus on as well as how he writes his characters pretty much turned me off seeing anything from him ever.  I actually tried to watch Katanagatari because I heard good things about it and figured it might be different than Bakemonogatari which I just could not get through despite trying like 3 times in as many years and just being completely drained of desire to watch any further by that ghost girl arc and the endless droning about the number of syllables in the guys name.  Eventually I just finally gave up and decided it's just not worth it and that I'd never like it.  Katangatari I got about 2 episodes into that and just kind of lost all interest.

I've come to grow fairly tired of what I see as talky shows among other things, though some I don't really mind.  There's something about having characters just banter smugly at each other and almost hinting that they know they're wasting your time, usually leading to meta talk and what feels like the show things it's nose at me while things just go nowhere that rubs me the wrong way if it goes on for like an entire episode or two...or three, but then again I made it through the debate episodes of Zetsuen no Tempest which were largely just characters talking at each other and likewise Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere which could get excessively chatty at times too (and in it's own weird language quirks at that) so it's not like I dislike dialogue driven series so much as ones that just get too self-indulgent and don't know when it's time to move on.  A show that tested my patience at times but never really hit the level of unwatchable smug droning recently was the second season of Oregairu.  What saved it was the sense of purpose aspect that it always came back to, but man there were times when the characters literally muttering monotonously and dispassionately about personal issues that the show seemed to be trying it's hardest to render as vague as possible kind of wore on me in it's final episodes.  I think that season wrapped up just in time for me to avoid losing interest, which is okay because clearly it knew it's limit then and when it was time to call it a cour so if I had to say limit of tolerance that would be a good example, with well beyond it Monogatari being the best example.

The Gangsta. level of exposition is fine. Now, if we are talking about Fate/Zero and Fate Stay Night's exposition, then there is a good tendency that the viewers are already asleep by the time the characters begin to move. The worst level is the Munto's exposition (Yes, that unknown Kyoto animations OVA series). God, I fell asleep with that anime.

I've heard a lot of people talk about this with the Fate adaptions and while I find the principle protagonist and antagonist characters of Zero to be incredibly dry and dull leading me to not particularly care much about their Fates and possibly even my darker side wishing to see them fail for being so bland and unlikeable I never really felt like I was falling asleep because that show knew when to have the other more interesting IMO cast members come in and mix things up.  By the time most of them were all out of the picture at the end of the story and it was largely just between the protagonist and antagonist though I practically felt like I was drowning, but again like Oregairu the show knew when to call it an end just in time to save things from really going south.  Fate/UBW I've only managed to complete the first cour and don't know when I'll get around to the second, but I have yet to run into then problem with it, possibly because I don't find the protagonist to be dry as sandpaper and am actually engaged in his story arc.

Also thank you for reminding of Munto as that series has one of my all time favorite droning scenes of all time where this one guy spends literally 10 minutes repeating over and over again how he want to be with this little girl even though he knows society would reject it.  Something like "I want to be with Suzume, because she completes me, when I'm with Suzume I feel like I'm understood....because she completes me, so therefore I will spend the rest of my life with Suzume, my soul mate and the one that completes me....because she understands me which is why despite what society says I must be with her because if not I will never feel fulfilled" and even if that isn't the exact dialogue that's how I remember.  It's been well over 5 years since I saw it.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 11:34:28 PM by KS »

Offline samui

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Re: How much is too much exposition?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 12:36:51 AM »
The first episode of Fate Zero is pure exposition which nearly killed my interest with that show if not for my patience in waiting Saber (my waifu lol) to show up. I really don't mind the expositions later on because I was already immersed with its atmosphere.
I am not sure if good animes are getting fewer these days or my taste has gone numb because most of what I watch recently look the same.

Oh, another shameless plug. Here's my blog: http://samui26.wordpress.com
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