Okay, I’m confused.
I’ll freely admit I don’t have taste and there’s a lot of people in the Otakusphere who are smarter than me, so maybe I’m just not bright enough to get it.
But what the heck is a “trainwreck” and how do people figure out what constitutes one?
First, let me give you some background. I’ve read a lot of fantasy novels, but there are a few novels which have defined my reading experiences. One of those was a book I read back when I was in high school called “The Little Country” by Charles DeLint. It was set somewhere in England. (I think it was either northern England or maybe Wales, but I know it was England.) It contained two plots revolving around a magic book. Both stories were drastically different in tone, setting, structure and plot, but they each shared a common element.
They were set in a “real” world and contained magic.
It was my first encounter with genre blending and I loved it. The setting didn’t hurt the story. It enhanced it. It was a fantasy less about elves, knights, kings and the sinister evil living in Mount Doom, and more of a fantasy about love, laundry, dinner and sinister cats. I was so enraptured with this idea about fantasy happening in the real world; I started hunting all over for books like it.
As it turns out, I was about 10 years ahead of my time.
Now genre blended fantasy is the norm and I still feel the same about it. I like the idea of a wizard in Chicago who solves crimes, while dealing with wizardly politics. I like the idea of a vampire hunter in St. Louis (even if the execution of that idea isn’t really all that good.) It’s interesting to see these genres juxtaposed and see what comes out.
It’s not horribly surprising I like the same thing when anime does it. To be honest, I like “Full Metal Panic” because of the combination of Mecha with wacky high school hijinks. It makes the hijinks more meaningful when you know a secret agent might be right around the corner and it makes the battles more meaningful when there’s something to return to.
I like the first season of Code Geass because of the interplay between what was happening in the war and what was happening at the high school. It brings in dramatic irony, which raises the tension. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Code Geass wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it.
I’ll admit, I’m biased, so maybe that’s why I don’t understand it. Is it a difference in tone? Is it a difference in style? What is it about these genre-blended shows makes them so offensive?
And even more importantly, how is a genre supposed to grow if it doesn’t experiment? I’ll admit I’m all for a well-told genre story even if it’s essentially the same as other genre stories, but I also think this experimentation is good for any type of fiction.
But maybe I’m just crazy.