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I don't care about writing

john 'mr. customer' smith

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Tell me, how does this image make you feel?

planetarian3.jpg

This was the first thing I ever saw when hearing about Planetarian. I still vividly remember that moment, and how it made me feel. It made me feel like the world was at its literal and figurative end, civilization just a memory. A cold, empty, dangerous world. And somehow, at the peak of it all, this being, standing there. at once a tangible remnant of that civilization, stuck in a warm, cozy world of her own, and at the same time something much older, much wiser than that civilization. No work of fiction has ever drawn me in as strongly as this. Then, I read it.

TL;DR Planetarian is the best VN

The fact that this is a written article about why I don't care about writing should tell you that it's not going to be very well-written, just keep that in mind.

I was inspired to write this by this video by Digibro. I suggest you watch it (up to about 12:13), but to summarize, he says that most media critics value writing above all else, and treat aesthetic elements as secondary. He then claims that, since nearly all critics are also writers, that is not surprising, and then goes on to explain how aesthetic elements can indeed tell a story that no words will ever be able to.

And this made me realize: I simply don't care about writing and prose. I'm not saying that I can't appreciate it, or that I've never enjoyed purely written media, but when it comes to all the works of fiction that I truly love, aesthetic has always been the primary reason for that love.

To me, writing in a VN is just string. It's there to hold the story together (and doing it well is certainly important), but all of the emotion has to be conveyed through the visuals and music. Nearly all VN critics are writers, and therefore not likely to fully acknowledge the value of art and sound direction. Art, in this community, is seen as something that should be pretty (BiMan) and music as something that should sound good (Little Busters) and almost nothing more. Frankly, I think that's bullshit. Neither art nor sound should just be there to make everything feel right, or to 'fit the mood'. They should be there to create a mood of their own, tell a story of their own.

Now, let's look at Planetarian, and how I believe it still works well without a script. May contain vague rambling

0004.jpg

This is a panning shot of a pre-apocalyptic street. I'm a big fan of imagery like this. There's something beautifully immersive about the lighting. Personally, whenever I feel stressed, there's nothing I like to do more than walk outside on a rainy evening, breathing deeply, letting my mind clear. It's a wonderful world. Shame it all had to end.

Now let's add music to it, shall we?

Just listen to this while looking at the next one.

0009.jpg

To me, this is like a massive, fluffy bed of nostalgia. while Yumemi is talking about absolutely nothing, I am somehow right there, in that dusty old planetarium, and she is just sitting there, calmly. An artifact from a bygone age, something that could not be repaired or even maintained by anyone alive right now. When I read Planetarian, these scenes make it feel like Yumemi was part of some strange ritual, somehow kept in a perfect equilibrium all that time, despite everything that has happened, and the protagonist has brutally interrupted that ritual.

Now listen to this.

plntrn2.jpg

In the projection scenes, you are the audience and Yumemi will be your guide for the evening. This is where she really shines. This is exactly what she was made for, what all that (now pointless) chatter was intended for. All she wants is to show you and the protagonist the most beautiful thing she knows, and personally, I was just as moved by the whole thing as the Junker was, and was basically crying sweating from my eyes throughout both parts of the projection.

I think I'll stop here. I'm obviously not claiming writing isn't important, it clearly is, I'm just trying to illustrate (pun intended) that visuals and sound can tell (parts of) a good story all by themselves.

Be sure to look out for any AESTHETICS  you can find, will you?



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Dude, I will say I disagree with you, but Im very very glad to find someone like you. In my opinion, all elements of a work of fiction must be treated equally. Writing can be just as powerful as art or cause the same amount of damage, if bad, imo. I also watched that video but what opened my mind about the subject was this post. Before reading that, I also thought that story and characters> everything else. But then, I started searching and studying more and I finally realize art, soundtrack, animation, voice acting, etc. can all bring emotions and be intelectually stimulating just like story and characters.

It makes me sick seeing people saying stuff like: "I dont care about art" because that is not an opinion, that is a lie. People 'think' they dont care about art because they never studied how it is used and thus do not realize its impact. Those people tend to think good art is just being pretty and therefore it is easier to make than a good story. Now even if I disagree that writing is inferior to art or soundtrack, it makes me really glad to see people like you, at least to balance the amount of overrate writing gets from the community.

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Also,  something I forgot to mention: have you ever read Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou? You might want to check it out. It also deals with apocalypse (in a very different way, tho) and the art is absolutely stunning. Not only it is beautiful, it communicates the essence of the manga in a way is, as Digibro said, hard to describe by words. From glances to smiles and backgrounds, it holds a special place in my heart. The story and characters, although good, would never be able to carry this masterpiece by themselves imo.

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2 minutes ago, starlessn1ght said:

Also,  something I forgot to mention: have you ever read Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou? You might want to check it out. It also deals with apocalypse (in a very different way, tho) and the art is absolutely stunning. Not only it is beautiful, it communicates the essence of the manga in a way is, as Digibro said, hard to describe by words. From glances to smiles and backgrounds, it holds a special place in my heart. The story and characters, although good, would never be able to carry this masterpiece by themselves imo.

That looks really amazing, though shame it's not licensed, I prefer physical manga. nevertheless, I will try. Thanks!

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When I clicked on the link with Winter's Tale, my eyes INSTANTLY welled up while looking at Yumemi. Fuck, planetarian is AMAZING.

I agree with you in various ways. I mean, the most important thing for me in a VN is the lingering feel that gets imprinted on me and it has a lot more to do with its aesthetic than with the story proper. The story is the train, there's scenery for you to look at, comfortable seats for you to relax and listen to the engine's humming and the steam pumping the story forward, but none of these are the actual trip. What I cherish the most in planetarian isn't the story or the art or the music, but the very hard to describe and incredibly specific feeling it made me feel. It's the "planetarian" feeling, that's its name.

The video you linked to talks a lot about Lain and Lain is another example of a work that made this kind of impression on me. It captures some sort of essence that can only be described as a "Lain" feel. I don't know what it is, I don't know how to put it into words, but the writing is a subset pf it, not what the other elements are working for.

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1 hour ago, Palas said:

When I clicked on the link with Winter's Tale, my eyes INSTANTLY welled up while looking at Yumemi. Fuck, planetarian is AMAZING.

I agree with you in various ways. I mean, the most important thing for me in a VN is the lingering feel that gets imprinted on me and it has a lot more to do with its aesthetic than with the story proper. The story is the train, there's scenery for you to look at, comfortable seats for you to relax and listen to the engine's humming and the steam pumping the story forward, but none of these are the actual trip. What I cherish the most in planetarian isn't the story or the art or the music, but the very hard to describe and incredibly specific feeling it made me feel. It's the "planetarian" feeling, that's its name.

The video you linked to talks a lot about Lain and Lain is another example of a work that made this kind of impression on me. It captures some sort of essence that can only be described as a "Lain" feel. I don't know what it is, I don't know how to put it into words, but the writing is a subset pf it, not what the other elements are working for.

Very well put, thanks!

I can only wonder what it truly takes to create a piece of media with such a distinct feel 

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Moe + Science Fiction. Now THAT is comfy. 

I really need to make some time for VN's, but I started replaying the MGS series recently and my gaming time is probably gone till about 2017. :(

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