It’s been a long year for The Consulting Analyst, and at last we’ve come to the end of our current cycle of series (or very nearly). The readership around here has grown quite a bit since then, so many of you may not know about the bit that comes next – but I think you’ll find it pretty neat!
Ever since the first proper Consulting Analyst ended, it’s been my practice to ask for reader input on upcoming series. They go on for quite a long while, after all, so it’s as good for me as for you to get a sense of what folks’ll be invested in. Here’s how it works: below the cut I’ve listed three series I’ve considered for the next interim series (that’s the once-a-month one – the weekly series is already decided and will be a surprise), and a short description of what it’s like and how you might expect me to cover it.
There’s also a fourth option on the poll for “Other,” where y’all are welcome to comment with your own suggestions. They might not make it in this time (CA series are limited to subjects I know pretty well, so that I can dig in under the skin for the writing), but if there’s enough interest I might seek it out and offer it in the future (though if it IS something I’ve seen, we’ll play it by ear). Additionally, only finished series are eligible for coverage. Being able to see something start to finish is important for trying to grapple with what kind of story it is!
ADDITIONALLY, both Yuri Kuma Arashi and Penguindrum are off the table for this round – I’m decidedly interested in the former at the very least, but I need a break from Ikuhara for a while.
You’ll have two weeks to vote, since next Friday is the last Silent Hill post (after thinking it over I’ve realized PT isn’t really in a place where I can cover it effectively – all the immediate post mortems on the business end have been done, and there’s not really much in the way of narrative to deal with). Have fun, you lot.
Mortis Ghost’s OFF
Made in 2008 with RPG Maker, originally in French.
Entrusted with helping an entity called “The Batter” complete his sacred mission to purify the world, players journey through a haunting world populated by identical citizens and based in the central elements of plastic, metal, meat, and smoke.
This might possibly be the most popular bit of freeware ever to come out of RPG Maker, certainly in the last decade. OFF’s notoriety seems to have waned since its secondary boom in 2013, but it still remains one of my alltime favorites. With memorable music (all rise for the singing of our national anthem), an expert grasp of mood and pacing, and a smart knowledge of its own limitations that contrasts pastel monochrome landscapes against monochrome hand-drawn sprites, OFF is a stellar experience.
There’s also more than a bit to sink one’s teeth into analysis-wise: the biblical allusions are aplenty, the unreliable narrator is a favored device, and there’s a surprising amount of visual storytelling for such a graphically simple story. And of course, part of the game’s claim to fame is its excellent exploration of the relationship between player and avatar. And y’all know I love me some well-executed meta.
Because of how the story’s constructed, this series would assume full spoiler knowledge from the word go.
Yukiteru Amano most of his time alone, writing entries in the diary on his phone or talking to his imaginary friend “Deus Ex Machina.” One day Yukiteru finds his phone filled with entries he didn’t write: a 90 day calendar accurately predicting the future. Unfortunately, there’s a catch: there are 11 other diary holders, all of them trying to be the last one alive in order to win the title of “God.” Lucky for Yukiteru (not that he thinks of it as such), he also has an ace up his sleeve: besotted yandere poster child Yuno Gasai.
Since it first aired back in 2011 I’ve harbored a weird…awareness of this series. To this day I’ve never watched anything else that managed to so convince me to loathe its leads while also digging its hooks in to the point where the act of turning away is simply unthinkable. Future Diary is hypnotic and bombastic and bizarre, with characters written by someone who has never once met an actual human being and a level of gore that skips merrily into the land of “hilarious splatterhouse.” And frankly, I’d kind of like to revisit the thing with other people.
I’m hesitant to say that this would be a “hate watch” – there are things about the series, from some genuinely sympathetic characters to some grade-A camp, which I genuinely enjoy. There are also some things that have left me with popped blood vessels from which I’ve never truly recovered. It’s quite possible that knowing the ending will make me more appreciative of the thing as a whole. It’s equally possible that having lost the thrilling edge of “what’s gonna happen next,” the whole thing will collapse inward like a moldy mayonnaise sandwich.
Not sure if I’m brave enough to try out the dub, which is purportedly the low point of Funimation’s latter day output as far as missed-mark translations, but we’ll see (it does feature Josh Grelle, who you may remember knocking my socks off as Lieutenant Oscar, as Yukiteru). And yeah I know Mirai Nikki sounds cooler, but we’re going for consistency here.
Depending on reader familiarity, I’m flexible as to whether to play this one as newbie-friendly up to full spoilers.
While visiting the Moon celebration of Carnivale with his friend Franz, 15 year old Albert du Morcef crosses paths with the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo. Enchanted with the mysterious count, Albert ignores Franz’s misgivings and agrees to help the stranger make acquaintances among the nobility back on Earth. The promised day arrives, and the more the Count seems to work his way into the good graces of society’s elite, the more their darkest secrets seem to come to light.
An adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo set in space and told not from the Count’s perspective but that of his victims, Gankutsuou is both my favorite anime and serious contender for the highest in impeccable quality. From breathtaking visual design to strong writing that capitalizes on the source material and makes the most of its unique perspective to seamless balancing of its large ensemble cast, the show is a class act from start to finish (which makes it more than a little intimidating, you understand).
In the interest of how nakedly gaga I am about the thing, coverage would share time and focus between analysis of the series as a standalone and with other adaptations of Dumas’ enormous, formative brick of a novel. While newbie friendly in regards to the series-specific content, these would be written expecting people to know the broad strokes of the novel (i.e. what the Count is doing hanging out with these people and his backstory). Additionally, because this would be a far more research intensive series than the other two, new installments would come every fifth week rather than every fourth.