Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

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Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

Post by taerKitty on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 19:02

No, not really trolling, but I respect the site and the members too much to post something so opinionated and off-the-wall without some warning that this is probably going to incite some people.

Here goes: I feel that Yu Aida plotted until
Spoiler:
Angie's death
, then said to himself, "Now WTF am I going to do?"

I've seen it happen before. RAH's Time Enough for Love shows the same symptoms. It starts with the main character in a "reverse Scheherazade" position. He wants to commit suicide, but he's the Founding Father of the civilization, and the world's current leader says they need his wisdom, his insight.

"Bull," he replies. "No one has visited me for months." He reveals that he knows they've been reviving him after he suicides and brain-wiping that immediate memory. He's tired of it.

So, he proposes a game. Each night, the world's leader has to visit him and listen to him tell a story. If the leader ever misses a night, he commits suicide, and this time, it's for keeps.

Heinlein uses this as a 'bookend' for the short stories that make up the first half of the book. The world's leader visits, they talk a bit, then the MC tells a story. The story is told longhand, so we get to read it. The first half of the book is really an anthology of these stories, and, true to form, they're good stories.

However, in the bookend pieces, the MC talks about his wife. Now, he's the longest living man in human history (which is why he's the Founding Father - he built this planet's civilization, etc.) He was married, and he's single now, so we know his wife is dead.

Heinlein teases us with this. It's a running game. "I'm going to kill her." "I'm going to kill the wife." There's no spoiler here because this is the whole point of the bookend pieces. Heinlein is saying, "I'm going to kill her, and when I do, I'm going to rip your heart out."

Damned if he doesn't do it, too.

But, that's it. He kills her, and then what? The MC didn't actually do anything but mouth off for days on end. There's no plot to this. So, the second half of the book is him actually doing something.

And you know what? It sucked. It royally stank.

I think that's the same thing here. I think Aida plotted the character's death, then had no other ideas. That's why all of a sudden we have a supervillian, and, as is pointed out elsewhere, he throws a covert ops team into open warfare.

Someone else opined that he's tired of it, that he's been doing it for a decade. I would have to agree, but I'm offering a more damning thought - that he simply ran out of gas.

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Re: Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

Post by Kiskaloo on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 19:24

Well he does have (what I believe is) his doujin project - Versus Underhanded Pitch and he certainly seems to be a huge fan of The iDOLM@STER and Touhou based on his Twitpic Art, so perhaps he is indeed just tired and wanted to wrap it up quickly and neatly.

Overall, I can't complain as to how it went out. Henrietta and Jose got their mutual wish, Rico will now become Jean's legs just as he was once her's, Triela is spared remembering the trauma of Amsterdam and Hilshire is freed from his own guilt. And Claes gets to live on and remember Raballo in her own way.

So we don't get a happy ending - which would have been out of place - but neither was it a complete massacre of the cast.

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Re: Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

Post by Thescarredman on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 19:50

Strong words, Kitty, about Yu and the Dean both.

I was always certain that Angie's agonizing (to the fans) demise was to prepare us for the end of the other girls and, by extension, the series. I just wonder how he's going to wrap it up without killing off Rico and Claes and the others.
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Re: Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

Post by Entropy on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 20:35

It might look that way looking at it in a certain way, but you have to keep in mind the way manga is published. Mangaka don't have the luxury of plotting too far ahead; they don't even know if they're going to be employed for that long. This is why manga is typically structured in story arcs, and GSG is no different.

If there was any "WTF am I gonna do now" moment it was after the first arc, or the "First Season" arc which included mostly exposition, explaining the world and the characters, but with no singular story line. That arc worked very well by itself (which is why it became popular and the first season was so good) but it also presented a challenge when it was clear GSG was going to be longer: what do I do now? He couldn't stretch that expository arc any longer, so he came up with the Padania/Pinocchio arc we saw after that.

After that it's hard to decide whether Aida or his bosses wanted a new character, but that's when we got Petra and the following mini-arcs and then Angelica's death, but this was probably the least clearly plotted part of the series. But even then we saw hints of what would be to come, as early as Fantasma there were indications that there would be something later addressing Enrica's death, and Sandro went over the whole situation with Petra in that middle arc. I think at this point Aida had in mind what he would want for a finishing arc, if it got far enough to do it.

I think after that sort of filler arc he wanted to start to enter the final third of the series. But by god, it seemed like he had a flooded gas tank, by the way the final arc was spread out. Taking up most of an entire volume (12) to go in detail about things we already knew and then taking up three whole volumes with the New Trino arc doesn't signify the idea that he was trying to end in a hurry. I think he plotted out the whole thing since the previous arc and certainly didn't rush it. You can tell by the variety of foreshadowing and whatnot that every step in this arc was completely plotted and planned. Even the fact that it will end right on Chapter 100 also screams it was plotted chapter-by-chapter.

The only question then arises about who made the decision to enter that final arc, whether Aida wanted to end it before it got too stale or whether ASCII Media Works wanted it to end. I think ASCII always liked keeping Gunslinger Girl in Dengeki Daioh, it's a very different series than 90% of the other series that get printed in that magazine so a lot of people who had no interest in the various other ecchi series would still buy it for GSG. So my guess is that Aida wants to move on to other things, and figured this was the best way to end it, with a nice long finishing arc that so far has been pretty good, not going to please everyone but it never will.

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Re: Flamebait: Aida Ran Out of Gas

Post by taerKitty on Mon 24 Sep 2012 - 22:38

I bow of course to your expertise, but I don't really like the wholesale change in tone. As you said, an entire volume is just combat sequence. Until then, there were probably 10 'downtime' pages for every page of 'action', and it made for very strong storytelling.

The action is amazingly well-rendered, and I will concede there was ample foreshadowing (I say 'concede' because I'm mostly blind to that sort of stuff, sorry to say), but it's a sea change. As I said earlier, we now have a super villain, and then a pretty sudden (to me, anyhow) 'burial' of the whole SWA project. I'm sure there were hints of it before, but I missed them, hence my initial post.

Yes, once he came up with the classic "he dies, she dies, everyone dies" ending, he jumped in with gusto, but I can't explain the whole shift from covert ops to assault team any other way than the "WTF do I do now?"

Also, I'm not sure if anyone commented about this before, but I find the plant name very amusing: New Trino == neutrino. Smile

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