KyoAni’s greatest conspiracy, revealed.
Once upon a time, there was an animation studio. The animation studio had had some success with partially working on previous works, and had also done modestly well with a web released OVA… but they wished for more, and as they glanced about themselves, casting their nets in hopes of some brilliance, they uncovered a stupendous plan. And so we find ourselves four years removed, our otaku worlds shaken to their very foundations, worlds where nothing is ever the same, and the grave threat that KyoAni discovered still lurking in our midst.
What was the plan that KyoAni formulated those years ago in their decrepit studio complex? Nothing less nefarious than the undermining of certain bonds of manliness one expected from the acolytes of such shows as Evangelion and G Gundam – KyoAni had decided to make us all cry. And not manly, Kaiji tears, but actual, honest-to-goodness, sob into your keyboard tears.
The first assault on the otaku* collective came in the form of Air TV. While some were familiar with the storyline, many were unprepared for the emotional havoc just waiting to pounce on these unsuspecting young men and women. What was most insidious about this effort was its careful targeting of a male demographic, what with the harem-ish format and the cute young ladies which populated the show. One man in the entire show? Hell yeah. And so the innocent young man settled in to watch, imagining himself, perhaps, as the ‘lucky’ Yukito, completely unaware of what was in store.
As the story progressed, heart strings were pulled at, and the innocent fanboy felt sadness. But the fanboy also took from the first two arcs a belief that out of the sadness would come optimism and a fresh road to take. The fanboy was lulled further and further into the spell of Air, and as Misuzu suffered her mysterious illness, he felt sympathy, but he also believed there was a hopeful ending to be had.
And then, WHOOSH! KyoAni leapt upon them, and tore their hearts out, as Misuzu lay pale and lifeless in her aunt’s arms on screen and thousands of keyboards fried from the sudden onslaught of salt water. It was only the first assault in what was to become a war upon the fandom.
When Kanon came, it was a remake of an earlier TV adaptation. The otakusphere was also aware of the original attack KyoAni had perpetuated against them, and were somewhat more emotionally prepared for this new front. And yet, as Makoto’s humanity waned with her life, there was nevertheless a small flicker of feeble hope for something better for Makoto than to simply vanish. But the shoe dropped, and otakus everywhere once again found themselves in desperate tears as Yuuichi sat in a newly empty field.
Kanon, though, also played games with otakus, giving ultimately a happy outcome for most of the ladies involved – Shiori was implied to have a fate of early death, as was Ayu, only for us to find them once more gracing our screen. The tears dried as fans rejoiced, for here was the happy ending they had so hoped would happen (Nayuki fans were screaming a bit, but that is neither here nor there). Yuuichi headed off into the petal-filled spring air, wheeling a rehabbing Ayu. Weird couple, but happy couple.
Clannad soon visited itself upon us. Fuuko’s predicament reminded us of Ayu – and Ayu woke up, so clearly Fuuko was going to have a similar route. And yet… it suddenly seemed as if it weren’t to be so. Fuuko was able to see her sister once more, but was then borne away on a breeze; Fuuko was not going to wake up, and the heart-rending sequence spotted the eyes of many (and when Fuuko was then pulled out for random bad humor, a lot of us were pretty freaking mad as hell).
But, overall, Clannad kept us fairly happy and optimistic, so long as we ignored any knowledge of the visual novel. Nagisa’s predicament made us sad at points, but as she stepped onto the stage at the end and her parents and Tomoya yelled encouragements to her, any tears were only ones of happiness. KyoAni had us just where they wanted us.
Last week, KyoAni’s cruel plot was in full force, as once again bloggers admitted to sobbing as Ushio cried and Nagisa slipped away. Nagisa and Tomoya, easily the best KyoAni/Key couple ever, had met a fate that was even crueler than Misuzu’s – at least Misuzu was given a reincarnation; Nagisa simply left this world, never to return.
KyoAni has made this aspect a distinct part of their repertoire. You want to know why the newest Haruhi show has yet to make an appearance? Because KyoAni knows that Haruhi will never have the power to make you cry like a five year old with a scraped knee. And KyoAni has found a powerful partner in Key, who has plenty of material left for KyoAni to exploit in order to reduce you to a crying mess curled into a fetal ball under your desk. Think its bad now? Just wait for when they decide to adapt Planetarian.
KyoAni’s strategy has been and is two-fold – not only will it result in your inability to function properly (for you’ll be too busy tearfully protesting the unfairness inherent in the sad fates of the sad girls in the sun/sakura/snow to be at all useful), it will also slowly build up in you an appetite for the tragic. And, slowly but surely, KyoAni will continue to break you down as it ramps up the tragic further and further. And before you know it, you’re merely a pliable pawn in the hands of KyoAni.
You might wonder what KyoAni gains exactly from you being a pliable pawn – they can easily get your monies without making you an emotional wreck. But if you think KyoAni only wants your cash, you are sadly, sadly underinformed.
KyoAni has an ultimate goal in mind – the world. It is slowly building up this base of sad sacks in order to bring about this goal. While you may find it odd to build an army from otaku, given that otaku aren’t quite known for their physical prowess, but KyoAni knows how to counteract this trivial matter, for beneath their studios lies a mass labyrinth of tunnels and rooms. And many of these rooms are dedicated to the training of the hapless otaku pawn. Think an otaku won’t run? Just wait until after they’ve been subjected to the Air finale a few times, and then promised there will be sequel for Misuzu’s reincarnation.
Key is KyoAni’s close associate in this, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Rewrite will be just as tragic as their previous games have been, and will also find itself in an animated adaptation courtesy of KyoAni. This nefarious plan will accelerate, culminating in a new, KeyAni world order. As your resolve begins to weaken, just remember: I warned you.
* I use ‘otaku’ here because KyoAni’s intent was to hit the otaku crowd, primarily; that it got to us less diehard people (a.k.a. the not freaks) was secondary to this primary goal of theirs.